Arlington, VA

Aspire! Afterschool Learning is planning to open its new facility in the Arlington Mill Community Center.

A ribbon-cutting celebration of the new program is planned for 4:30 p.m. on Thursday (June 6), according to a press release.

Aspire! launched a campaign in 2016 to finance a 7,300 square-foot expansion. The expansion ultimately cost $1 million.

“Words can’t express how thrilled and grateful we are to achieve this amazing feat, thanks to the incredible generosity of our partners, donors, and supporters,” said Aspire! Board Chair Steve Manlove in the press release. “This truly has been the most amazing public-private partnership between Aspire! and Arlington County, with invaluable support [of sponsors].”

The summer camp at the facility is planned to open on July 1 for 120 children. Aspire!’s Learning ROCKS! Program for upper-elementary students is planned to return in the fall.

“Aspire!’s new home at the Arlington Mill Community Center is the next step in a great partnership with Arlington County,” said Jane Rudolph, Arlington County director of Parks and Recreation, in the press release.”As a permanent fixture at Arlington Mill, Aspire! will continue to empower students through their after school and summer programs and bring energy and inspiration to this well-loved intergenerational community center.”

Photo courtesy Aspire! Afterschool Learning

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(Updated at 2 p.m.) Someone fired a gunshot into the air early Saturday morning during a dispute in the Arlington Mill neighborhood.

The incident happened in the area of Tyrol Hill Park, on the 5100 block of 7th Road S., a few blocks north of the Arlington Mill Community Center on Columbia Pike.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

WEAPONS VIOLATION, 2019-06010010, 5100 block of 7th Road S. At approximately 12:45 a.m. on June 1, police were dispatched to the report of shots fired. Upon arrival, it was determined that the reporting party was in the area when he heard the sound of a single gunshot and then observed numerous individuals running out of a park. Arriving officers canvased the area and located a vehicle matching the description provided in a lookout and initiated a traffic stop. It was later determined that the vehicle occupants were in the park when they observed a dispute between known individuals escalate and the suspect fired one shot into the sky, prompting them to flee in the vehicle. No injuries were reported. The investigation is ongoing.

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Morning Notes

A Look at Bryce Harper’s Rosslyn Apartment — “For much of the time that Harper was in a Nationals’ uniform, he rented a two-bedroom, 2,000 square-foot loft condo at the Wooster and Mercer Lofts, a luxury residential development from Abdo Development in Arlington.” [UrbanTurf]

Crash Takes Out Traffic Signal Near Fairlington — Per Alexandria Police yesterday: “Use caution in the 3600 block of King St, the Bradlee shopping center. A vehicle crash caused a traffic light outage. Treat uncontrolled intersections as 4-way stops. Be patient & take turns.” [Twitter]

Car Careens Over Wall in Arlington Mill — A car somehow rolled over a low wall and onto a sidewalk across from the Arlington Mill Community Center yesterday. The circumstances surrounding the crash are unclear. [Twitter]

Big Hole in Road Near Shirlington — A main road between the Shirlington and Fairlington neighborhoods was blocked for a period of time yesterday due to large hole in the road. The closure happened on 31st Street S., where a new sound wall is being constructed, during yesterday’s nightmarish evening commute. [Facebook]

Ballston Startup Gets Funding — MotoRefi, an auto refinance startup we profiled earlier this week, has “announced a $4.7 million seed raise led by Accomplice with participation from QED Investor sand Motley Fool Ventures. Ryan Moore, co-founder of Accomplice, will join MotoRefi’s board of directors.” [MotoRefi]

Service Cut to Metrobus Line — Metro is reducing service to Metrobus Route 2A (Dunn Loring-Ballston), after a ridership drop. Metro increased service to the line a few years ago and that net increase is now being eliminated. [Twitter]

Nearby: Companies Worried About HQ2 — “‘Recently a company was looking to put 600 jobs in this area, and they decided not to come here because they were concerned about getting the workers they need,’ [Fairfax County Economic Development Authority Chair Cathy] Lange said, not identifying the company. ‘Many of the companies are worried that their workers in Fairfax County are going to be hired by Amazon. And they are not going to be able to have their growth plans.'” [Washington Business Journal]

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Firefighters extinguished a garage fire that spread to an adjacent house in the Arlington Mill neighborhood Sunday afternoon.

The fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. on the 5600 block of 7th Place S. Photos from the scene, below, show significant flames and smoke visible from the street.

The fire was reported out around 3 p.m. and there were no injuries, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. Fire marshals are now investigating the cause of the blaze.

Map via Google Maps

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Residents of an affordable housing complex in Arlington Mill could soon get access to free wi-fi, thanks to the county’s own fiber optic network — but is that legal?

It’s a question that vexes broadband experts and legal observers alike, who see the county potentially running afoul of some restrictive state laws, even though the project happens to be in service of a good cause.

The county’s plans for this “Digital Inclusion Initiative” over at the Arlington Mill Residences have attracted new scrutiny as local officials and a team of independent experts have begun studying the “ConnectArlington” dark fiber network.

That group identified a whole host of problems with the county’s management of the program, which was designed to build on Arlington’s existing fiber network to provide high-speed internet to local businesses. The county already uses the network to link its facilities together, and expanded it in 2015.

The experts did not identify any issues with the Arlington Mill project, specifically, in a report they prepared for county staff, but some members of that “Broadband Advisory Committee” told ARLnow that they harbor deep concerns about it. And a survey of other lawyers specializing in telecommunications policy reveals that it’s entirely unclear whether the project’s structure is actually legal under state law.

Arlington officials and attorneys believe they’re perfectly within the bounds of the law with their efforts, and the county held a community celebration to kick off the installation of some internet equipment last month.

Thus far, county leaders have billed it as a pilot project, which could inform other efforts to connect communities that lack access to low-cost internet. Officials are particularly enthusiastic about its potential to connect students living at Arlington Mill with the internet, closing the “homework gap” and helping kids get online and keep up with their increasingly high tech studies.

But, at the very least, experts fear this means that the county has wandered into a confusing legal gray area that could invite future court challenges.

“They’re doing it for the right reasons, and I don’t fault them for it,” said Chris Rozycki, a member of the county’s Broadband Advisory Committee with 30 years of telecom regulatory experience. “But I think they know they’re tiptoeing onto thin ice here.”

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Summer may feel pretty far off these days, as temperatures dip into the 20s, but there’s already a full slate of outdoor movie nights scheduled along Columbia Pike.

The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) announced the schedule for its annual movie series last week, with screenings set to start in mid-June.

The theme of this year’s series is “Heroes and Sheroes: Movies with a Mission.”

On Fridays, screenings will be held at the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street). On Saturdays, movies will be shown at the Penrose Square development (2501 9th Road S.).

The full schedule is as follows:

Arlington Mill

June 14: Moana (PG)
June 21: On the Basis of Sex (PG-13)
June 28: A Wrinkle in Time (PG)
July 5: Hidden Figures (PG)
July 12: Aquaman (PG-13)
July 19: First Man (PG-13)
July 26: The Incredibles (PG)
August 2: Mulan (G)
August 9: Brave (PG)
August 16: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (PG)
August 23: Won’t You Be My Neighbor (PG-13)

Penrose Square

June 15: Black Panther (PG-13)
June 22: Wonder Woman (PG-13)
June 29: The Post (PG-13)
July 6: Apollo 13 (PG)
July 13: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (PG)
July 20: Akeelah and the Bee (PG)
July 27: Selma (PG-13)
August 3: Norma Rae (PG)
August 10: A League of Their Own (PG)
August 17: Life in the Doghouse (NR)
August 24: Won’t You Be My Neighbor (PG-13)

CPRO says it’s still looking for businesses to sponsor the movie series. Anyone interested can apply on the organization’s website.

Photo via Facebook

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(Updated at 9:55 a.m.) The Arlington County Board has done away with parking restrictions on a handful of streets in two South Arlington neighborhoods, putting to rest a contentious dispute that has dragged on for years between Forest Glen and Arlington Mill residents.

The Board voted unanimously Saturday (Jan. 26) to end zoned parking on eight streets in the area. As part of the county’s “Residential Parking Program,” the county previously barred anyone without a permit from parking on the roads from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day.

The following streets, once part of the county’s “Zone 24” and stretching into sections of both Forest Glen and Arlington Mill, are now open for parking around the clock:

  • 6th Place S.
  • 7th Street S.
  • 7th Road S.
  • S. Florida Street
  • S. Greenbrier Street
  • S. Harrison Street (north of 7th Street S.)
  • S. Illinois Street
  • S. Jefferson Street

Arlington officials first zoned the streets off in 2016, largely due to Forest Glen residents arguing that too many drivers from outside the area were occupying the neighborhood’s limited parking spots. But residents of Arlington Mill said they started to feel the squeeze instead once that change was made, as it cut off street parking near the many apartment complexes in the neighborhood.

“Street parking in Arlington Mill became so scarce that it was rare to find a parking spot anywhere after 7 p.m.,” Austin McNair, an Arlington Mill resident who fought for the change, told ARLnow via email. “Anyone not working a traditional 9 to 5 job was now faced with the extra task of finding parking more than a mile away from their home. I can promise that this is the story for many families.”

Ordinarily, the county likely wouldn’t have waded into such a dispute — the Board put a two-year moratorium on any parking zone changes as it reviews the efficacy of the entire program, a process that isn’t set to wrap up until sometime early next year.

Yet the Board subsequently determined that county staff didn’t follow their usual process for setting up the zoned parking in the area, convincing officials that the parking restrictions both weren’t working well and that they were likely set up improperly in the first place.

“This was not a decision that we take lightly or came to easily… but the status quo is not acceptable,” said Board member Erik Gutshall. “What this is all about, for me, is the efficient allocation of a public resource, which is on-street parking. I’m sorry that this is the least objectionable of lots of other bad options.”

Board members stressed that they’d urged staff to work out some sort of compromise position between the two neighborhoods over the past few months, perhaps by putting restrictions on one side of each street but freeing up the other side. But they could never quite find an acceptable solution to all sides, or manage to find one that county lawyers thought would hold up in court — the county’s parking restrictions were challenged all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977, and officials have since been careful to limit the parking zones to the narrow intent of keeping commuters out of residential areas.

“While the neighborhood has grown in density, it has never been and is still not a destination for commercial customers or commuters who would be parking their cars to access public transportation,” McNair said.

The dispute has also turned a bit ugly in recent weeks. A community meeting the Board convened to discuss the matter drew plenty of raised voices, with some in Forest Glen arguing that the parking restrictions were necessary to prevent speeding, littering and other criminal activity in the neighborhood. Others in Arlington Mill, particularly some advocates for Latino residents, claimed those concerns were based in some deep-seated racial stereotypes.

That divide was evident at the Board’s gathering as well. Danny Cendejas, an activist on variety of local issues, told the Board that the current parking restriction “has discriminated against our neighbors,” while Forest Glen residents argued that reversing the restriction would harm their quality of life.

“I had to place trash cans in the middle of the street to slow down people who were racing to find parking while my three young children were riding their bicycles,” Brent Newton, a six-year resident of the neighborhood, told the Board. “When we were granted the [Residential Parking Program designation], our neighborhood became quiet, clean and tranquil. With utmost certainty, it will return to what it was before the RPP: speeding cars, trash and noise.”

While Board members sympathized with those concerns, they didn’t believe changing the parking restriction would make a difference on those fronts. Board member Libby Garvey suggested that they may be “related,” but she would rather see police step up enforcement in the area to address those worries.

Gutshall pointed out that his own neighborhood, near Clarendon, has parking restrictions in place, but still deals with its own share of littering issues as people flock to the area to reach nearby bars and restaurants. For him, and the rest of the Board, the parking staff’s missteps in evaluating the neighborhood for earning zone restrictions were more important to address.

Stephen Crim, the manager of the county’s parking program, told the Board that his staff discovered that they didn’t check license plates on the affected streets against records maintained by the county’s Commissioner of the Revenue, which tracks tax payments on property like vehicles. That means that staff didn’t necessarily have a full picture of how many people from outside the county were actually parking in the neighborhoods.

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(Updated at 8:15 p.m.) Arlington officials are gearing up to erase parking restrictions on several streets in the Forest Glen neighborhood, angering some residents there but meeting the demands of others in nearby Arlington Mill.

The County Board is set to consider a resolution later this month ending zoned parking restrictions along the following the roads, per county spokeswoman Katie O’Brien:

  • 6th Place S.
  • 7th Street S.
  • 7th Road S.
  • S. Florida Street
  • S. Greenbrier Street
  • S. Harrison Street (north of 7th Street S.)
  • S. Illinois Street
  • S. Jefferson Street

All of those streets are currently covered under “Zone 24” of the county’s residential permit parking program, barring unauthorized cars from parking there between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day.

The Board has generally avoided any changes to the program recently, after declaring a moratorium on applications for new parking restrictions while members weigh potential reforms to the county’s entire zoned parking system. Board members and some community leaders have started to doubt that the current program, originally designed to keep commuters out of D.C.-adjacent neighborhoods, is working as intended.

But the Board could soon make these changes in Forest Glen all the same, given the loud complaints from people in Arlington Mill.

According to a letter sent to Forest Glen residents from the Board, and provided to ARLnow, people in the neighborhood have “experienced great difficult with curbside parking” since the parking restrictions went into effect a few years ago. County staff have worked for months to find an “interim solution” to the dispute, without success, pushing the Board to take this step.

It doesn’t help matters either that staff believe the parking restrictions “depart from the program’s original intent and place an undue burden” on surrounding streets, the letter reads. The Board has since concluded that “the determination for the restrictions deviated from standard staff practices, including data collection and verification,” spurring the need for the change.

“The County Board is unwilling to allow restrictions to the public right of way continue considering the fundamental discrepancies in establishing the eligibility of the above streets for the RPP program,” Board members wrote.

But one Forest Glen resident, who requested anonymity for this article, claimed that neighbors had “myriad reasons” for requesting the parking restrictions in the area. Those ranged from concerns over “out of county parkers, unregistered and abandoned vehicles” to “crime” and “blocked driveways,” all of which, this person believes, meet the standards of the county’s parking rules.

The Forest Glen resident further argues that the Board would be taking an “unprecedented and historic” step by removing the parking restriction, which will “put all other RPP areas in Arlington at risk of being removed.”

“The removal of Forest Glen’s zone parking represents an unprecedented intervention by the County Board into administrative decisions of county government,” they wrote in an email. “Additionally, every RPP area now faces the increased likelihood of removal.”

O’Brien stressed in an email, however, that the Board’s proposed resolution “only applies to these streets in zone 24 and will not impact any other neighborhoods or zones.”

The Board is set to consider the matter at its Jan. 26 meeting, and plans to hold a community meeting on the subject tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. in the Arlington Mill Community Center (909 S. Dinwiddie Street).

Meanwhile, the county is hoping to wrap up its review of the parking program sometime by the end of the year, or in early 2020, according to county spokeswoman Jessica Baxter.

Photo via Google Maps

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(Updated at 7:10 p.m.) Arlington police have arrested a woman in connection with a fatal stabbing in the Arlington Mill neighborhood on New Year’s Day.

Police announced tonight (Wednesday) that they’ve charged 60-year-old Linda Marie Snow with second degree murder, after she allegedly stabbed another woman along the 5100 block of 8th Road S. around 10 a.m. yesterday (Tuesday).

Investigators believe Snow began fighting with the victim, identified as 64-year-old Alice Carter of Arlington, inside a home in the area, leading to the stabbing.

Carter was rushed to an area hospital, where she soon died.

Snow is being held without bond at the Arlington County Detention Center. She’s set for a hearing in Arlington General District Court on March 28.

Photo courtesy of Arlington County Police Department

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A woman was killed in a reported stabbing in the Arlington Mill neighborhood Tuesday morning.

Police are investigating the New Year’s Day incident as a “suspicious death” but have released few other details. Officers were called to the scene on the 5100 block of 8th Road S. around 10 a.m.

“Based upon the preliminary investigation, this appears to be an isolated incident with no known threat to the community,” Arlington County Police said on Twitter. “Police remain on scene investigating.”

Map via Google Maps

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Police were called to the Arlington Mill neighborhood, north of Columbia Pike, over the weekend for a report of a man standing around with his pants unzipped.

According to Arlington County Police, a resident of the 800 block of S. Frederick Street spotted the man standing in the woods, staring with him, around 6 p.m. on Saturday. The man’s pants, according to the resident, were unzipped.

Ten minutes later, the same man was spotted “exhibiting the same suspicious behavior,” prompting the call to police. By the time officers arrived, the man had zipped out of the area and could not be located.

More from an ACPD crime report:

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2018-10200181, 800 block of S. Frederick Street. At approximately 6:24 p.m. on October 20, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was in the parking lot of his residence when he observed an unknown male suspect in a wooded area staring at him with his pants unzipped. When the victim returned approximately ten minutes later, he observed the same male exhibiting the same suspicious behavior and called police. Arriving officers observed the male in the area, however, he fled on foot. The area was canvased with negative results. The suspect is described as a white Hispanic male, in his 40’s, approximately 5’6″, with an average build, dark hair with a receding hairline, wearing jeans and a light grey and black sweatshirt. The investigation is ongoing.

Map via Google Maps

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