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by Chris Teale June 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

A software startup received a $35,000 grant at Saturday’s Arlington County Board meeting after relocating to Crystal City last year.

Stardog is one of two companies to receive a Gazelle Grant, an incentive program from Arlington Economic Development for fast-growing companies to locate in the county.

The other company to receive a grant so far, Videoblocks, announced it would move to Courthouse last month. It will receive $110,000.

Stardog moved to 1400 Crystal Drive in September, having launched in 2005 in the Shaw neighborhood of D.C. CEO Kendall Clark said the company helps businesses bring together internal data from various different sources.

Clark said that while that process could take a large company like Samsung a week and use 30 people to collate all the data on, for example, the purchases of a certain dishwasher in the corridor between D.C. and New York, Stardog’s technology does the job in a matter of seconds.

Stardog already serves the likes of NASA, Oxford University Press and Bosch.

“We’re lucky to have found a bunch of really big customers who have this problem and we solve it well,” Clark said. “It’s not an area that anyone else is really focusing on in our software, so it’s a good combination of need and the software business that we’re looking at, which is a good combination if you can find it.”

Clark said Stardog chose Arlington after its landlord in Shaw tripled the rent, but he said the new Crystal City location has many benefits for employees. With software developers based as far afield as Hawaii and Moscow, Clark said the close proximity to National Airport and Metro helps staff get around easily, while the places where people can eat and live are numerous.

In addition, Clark said, Stardog found Arlington to be a much easier place to do business in as a startup.

“All the business license and low level paperwork that doesn’t really get you any advantage to being in a place — but if you don’t do it it’s bad — it’s lots of stuff like that in Arlington that you can do online,” he said. “In the District, I found for whatever reason there was always some reason I or somebody else had to go to an office in Southeast, struggle with parking and the whole nightmare and then go in and you’re there all day.”

Under the terms of the grant, Stardog must create 70 new full-time jobs at its Arlington office and lease 3,500 square feet of office space. If, by the end of 2019, it has not hit 90 percent of its space target and 50 percent of its employment target, it will have to pay back some or all of the grant.

A staff report that recommended approving the grant said Stardog will use the grant to help build out its new office, relocate its operations and recruit and train new employees.

Clark said the company plans to triple its revenue from last year, and is “on track” right now to do just that. That new revenue will lead to more full-time employees, which will lead to “more people buying houses,” Clark said.

by Chris Teale June 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

The Arlington County Board will discuss Saturday whether to move forward with a plan to extend a partial real estate tax exemption for Bloomberg BNA.

Bloomberg BNA is a major employer in the neighborhood with 972 employees and a 200,000 square foot office at 1801 S. Bell Street. It signed a deal earlier this year to stay in Arlington, invest $5.5 million and create up to 125 new jobs.

Under the proposal, Bloomberg BNA would be allowed to continue its partial property tax exemption, which expires at the end of this year, for another five years. Arlington first offered BNA an exemption in 2006 to lure it to Crystal City.

The company provides legal, tax, regulatory and business information to professionals who work in fields like the law, taxation and the environment among others.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist with the project, which came as Bloomberg BNA was looking to explore its options for future locations in the region. An extended tax exemption is part of the package of incentives.

The exemption took effect in 2008, and costs the county approximately $400,000 a year. Under the terms of the extension, BNA would need to keep at least its current staffing levels and occupied office space. If not, the County Board could withdraw from the exemption or reduce it.

If the County Board moves ahead with staff’s recommendation to advance the plan, a public hearing would be held in July.

Photo via Google Maps

by Chris Teale June 12, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

The UnitedHealthCare professional cycling team made a strong showing at the Armed Forces Cycling Classic this past weekend throughout Arlington.

The team took home two second-placed finishes and one first-place finish in the showpiece Clarendon and Crystal Cups for men and women.

Carlos Alzate Escobar took first in the men’s Clarendon Cup on Saturday for UHC, ahead of John Murphy of Holowesko Citadel in second and Adam Myerson of Team Skyline in third.

In the women’s Clarendon Cup, Cuban Olympic cyclist Marlies Mejias Garcia took first for Weber Shimano, beating Kendall Ryan of TIBCO-SVB into second and Lizzie Williams of Hagens Berman-Supermint into third.

The following day, UnitedHealthCare finished second in both the men’s and women’s Crystal Cups in Crystal City. Laura Van Gilder took first in the women’s race for Mellow Mushroom Cycling, ahead of UHC’s Laurette Hanson in second and Ingrid Drexel Clouthier of TIBCO-SVB in third.

Tyler Magner took victory in the men’s Crystal Cup for Holowesko Citadel, ahead of UHC’s Sebastian Haedo in second and Brandon Feheery of The Crit Life in third.

In addition to the competitive races, the Challenge Ride offered a closed course to cycling enthusiasts of all abilities in and around the Pentagon, Crystal City and the Air Force Memorial, while young riders could also test themselves in a kid’s race. The races closed roads across various neighborhoods throughout the weekend.

Below are the top 10 in each of the four main races, with teams indicated in parentheses:

Women’s Clarendon Cup

  1. Marlies Mejias Garcia (Weber Shimano)
  2. Kendall Ryan (TIBCO-SVB)
  3. Lizzie Williams (Hagens Bergman Supermint)
  4. Rushlee Buchanan (UnitedHealthCare)
  5. Ingrid Drexel Clouthier (TIBCO-SVB)
  6. Laura Jorgenson (Mellow Mushroom Cycling)
  7. Janelle Cole (United HealthCare)
  8. Laura Stephens (TIBCO-SVB)
  9. Diana Penuela (United HealthCare)
  10. Colleen Gulick (Pickle Juice Pro Cycling Team)

Men’s Clarendon Cup

  1. Carlos Alzate Escobar (UnitedHealthCare)
  2. John Murphy (Holowesko Citadel Racing Team)
  3. Adam Myerson (Team Skyline)
  4. Rafael Meran (Dave Jordan Racing)
  5. Sean McElroy (Chainheart)
  6. Carlos Brenes Mata (Team Somerville Bicycle Shop)
  7. Brandon Feheery (The Crit Life)
  8. Jake Keough (Team Skyline)
  9. Sam Rosenholtz (CCB Velotooler Cycling Team)
  10. Ben Renkema (Palmetto State Medical)

Women’s Crystal Cup

  1. Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom Cycling)
  2. Laurette Hanson (UnitedHealthCare)
  3. Ingrid Drexel Clouthier (TIBCO-SVB)
  4. Marlies,Mejias Garcia (Weber Shimano)
  5. Lizzie Williams (Hagens Bergman Supermint)
  6. Colleen Gulick (Pickle Juice Pro Cycling Team)
  7. Diana Penuela (UnitedHealthCare)
  8. Tina Pic (Papa Johns)
  9. Brianna Walle (TIBCO-SVB)
  10. Kyrstin Bluhm (Fearless Femme Racing)

Men’s Crystal Cup

  1. Ty Magner (Holowesko Citadel Racing Team)
  2. Sebastian Haedo (UnitedHealthCare)
  3. Brandon Feheery (The Crit Life)
  4. Thomas Humphreys (Battley Harley-Davidson / Local)
  5. Jake Keough (Team Skyline)
  6. Brendan Rhim (Holowesko Citadel Racing Team)
  7. Patrick Raines (Hearts Racing Club)
  8. Matt McLoone (Battley Harley-Davidson / Local)
  9. Scottie Weiss (SeaSucker)
  10. Adrian Hegyvary (United HealthCare)

Flickr pool photos by users Eric Schweik and Michael Coffman. Additional photos courtesy Rena Schild and via Facebook.

by ARLnow.com June 12, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

A key transportation goal of the Crystal City Sector Plan is close to becoming reality.

The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to consider a $6.3 million contract to demolish the elevated portion of S. Clark Street between 12th Street and 20th Street S.

While taking away a useful but relatively lightly used shortcut across Crystal City, the project will “normalize the street network and create more development space in the Crystal City area,” according to the county staff report.

More from the county’s webpage for the project:

The South Clark-Bell Street Demolition project is a goal of both the Crystal City Sector Plan and Crystal City Multimodal Transportation Study. It will improve safety for all modes of transportation and will establish the long-term street grid for the north and south portions of Crystal City along with the 15th Street South/South Clark-Bell Street Realignment project.

The elevated portions of South Clark-Bell Street will be demolished north of 18th Street South. South of 18th Street South, new open space will be created in the existing roadway right-of-way and new sidewalks, landscaping, and lighting along U.S. Route 1 will be provided. The project will also establish new building pad development sites for redevelopment of Crystal City, with the necessary infrastructure to transform the U.S. Route 1 corridor in Crystal City on the east side.

The project also includes traffic signal upgrades at 20th Street S. and Route 1.

The winning bid on the project was $6.3 million from Ardent Company, LLC, which was higher than the original $5.5 million county engineer’s estimate, but much lower than the only other bid published: $15 million from Fort Myer Construction Corporation.

If approved by the County Board, the contract would include a $1.3 million contingency for a total authorization of $7.6 million.

Construction is expected to begin this fall and wrap up in the summer of 2019.

Photo via Google Maps

by Chris Teale June 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

The streets of Arlington are being readied ahead of this weekend’s Armed Forces Cycling Classic, the arrival of thousands of competing bicyclists, support teams and spectators.

Races will take place Saturday and Sunday for amateurs and professionals alike, with police set to close roads across various neighborhoods to accommodate the festivities.

And in preparation, as of Friday afternoon crews have begun putting out traffic cones, tents and barriers for the competition, which begins early Saturday morning.

Saturday is the Clarendon Cup, which brings with it numerous road closures in Clarendon, while Sunday is the Crystal Cup in Crystal City, again with more closures in that neighborhood.

The Capital Weather Gang anticipates heat and humidity will descend on the area this weekend, so riders and spectators should be careful and stay hydrated.

by Brooke Giles June 9, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

The Crystal Gateway Marriott hotel at 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway in Crystal City showed off some of its recently-completed renovations yesterday.

The nearly 600-room hotel figures prominently into Arlington’s hospitality industry, hosting tourists, business travelers and large meetings.

Major upgrades were made to the guest rooms, imparting a more modern design and moving away from the hotel’s red and gold color scheme to a royal blue one.

Behind the renovation is general manager Regan Linke, who worked as a bartender when the hotel first opened in 1982.

“I came back about five years ago and the hotel was in need of some renovation,” said Linke.

The remodel also included the addition of the new M Club Lounge for Gold and Platinum Elite Marriott Rewards members. The 24-hour lounge area has coffee, snacks and wine for members.

The rest of the lobby will be completed later this year.

The hotel also gave a taste of its new restaurant 15th & Eads, named after the intersection it sits on. Included were mixed drinks served in mason jars, a selection of flatbread pizza, sliced meats and cheeses and made-to-order samples of New York strip steak.

It also follows a trend for the area, which has undergone significant changes within the last year, including a slew of new restaurants, businesses and the Transitway bus system and its new dedicated lanes in the neighborhood.

“It matches what happening in Crystal City,” Linke said. “Crystal Drive is expanded with restaurants. We’re attached to Metro and so everybody’s really thrilled about what’s happening at the hotel.”

by ARLnow.com June 8, 2017 at 10:15 am 0

Police Investigating Shooting in DoD Office Building — Arlington County police are investigating a fatal shooting in the Defense Department’s Taylor building, at 2530 Crystal Drive in Crystal City. The shooting happened this morning and initial reports suggest it was self-inflicted.

Lyon Village Profiled by WaPo — “Close to both the Clarendon and Court House Metro stops on the Orange and Silver lines, Lyon Village is the kind of neighborhood where families know their neighbors, children play and parents can walk almost everywhere.” [Washington Post]

ACPD Recruiting for Citizen’s Police Academy — Applications are currently being accepted for the Arlington County Citizen’s Police Academy. The academy “was designed to create a better understanding and communication between citizens and the police through education.” Applicants are subject to background checks before acceptance into the program, which shows the “inner workings” of the police department. [Arlington County]

Arlington Hosts Travel Trade Show Attendees — Arlington County hopes to get a big tourism and economic boost from its promotional efforts during this year’s U.S. Travel Association IPW trade show, which was held in D.C. for the first time. The county, in partnership with the Rosslyn BID, JBG Companies, and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall, also hosted 150 trade show attendees in Rosslyn on Monday. [Arlington County]

Crystal City Startup Gets Big Funding Boost — Arlington-based private detective booking startup Trustify has raised more than $6.5 million as part of its latest fundraising round. The company recently opened a new office in Crystal City. [Washington Business Journal]

Letter to the Editor: Kids Over Dogs — The writer of a letter to the editor of the Sun Gazette newspaper doesn’t understand why, in county government, there seems to be more urgency over proposed changes to a dog park than making sure there is enough land to build new schools to keep up with rising enrollment. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by Katherine Berko June 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

The 20th Armed Forces Cycling Classic will take place in Arlington this weekend, and one of its former champions is set to get back in the saddle.

Jake Keough, a three-time winner of the Crystal Cup race, will be cycling in it for the first time since he was forced into retirement three years ago due to an irregular heartbeat.

“After being a professional for 10-plus years, I began to have heart arrhythmias…I had major complications,” Keough wrote in an email.

Keough will be cycling with Team Skyline, run by the acclaimed bicyclist Ryan DeWald. DeWald, like Keough, suffers from another chronic medical condition: Type 1 diabetes. Both were diagnosed in 2014 and took time away.

“I got thin. I got sick. I didn’t know what was wrong with me,” DeWald said. “I missed one weekend of racing then I got back on my bike, I got on insulin, I re-sorted out how to race my bike on insulin. I worked with some of the best doctors in the world.”

When DeWald re-entered the cycling realm after his brief hiatus, he made an immediate impact. In 2015, he was ranked third nationally as a Category One rider, out of 1,475 cyclists.

Despite that impressive statistic, DeWald remembers when everybody told him to stop biking. He refused to take their advice.

“I had nothing to lose so I just kept racing the bike. Now, I’m turning more into an inspirational athlete with dynamic speaking skills,” DeWald said.

He hopes to eventually transfer out of bike racing and take on more leadership roles.

DeWald started the foundation, Winning the Race with Diabetes, to help people manage Type 1 diabetes while also engaging in athletic lifestyles. In addition to running Team Skyline, he runs a team bike shop in Reading, Penn.

While DeWald was getting back on his bike, Keough underwent cardiac ablation surgery. The procedure caused him to go into cardiac arrest.

“I was told by the best sports cardiologists in the world that I could never be an athlete again and that I should live a sedentary life,” Keough wrote.

Yet, Keough persisted. He takes medication to keep his heart rate low and has a sprinter plate on his chest.

“I’m back racing on my own terms and trying not to let my health issues dictate how I live my life,” Keough wrote.

“I think he’s taking his life into his own hands every time he sprints…I think he’s a few steps away from winning a big one,” DeWald said of his teammate. And after years apart, the men rekindled their friendship via social media this past winter.

“He was telling me about what happened to him, he asked me about my condition and we started comparing notes,” DeWald said.

Shortly thereafter, Keough joined DeWald’s team. Team Skyline rides about 15,000 miles per year and races 50-60 events annually.

This weekend’s race will not be Keough’s first since leaving retirement. However, he remains surprised by his recent success.

“I didn’t really plan on making a comeback. But, after racing Speed Week this spring and finishing fifth at Athens Twilight and fourth overall, I realized I could still be a factor at the top level of the sport I love,” Keough wrote.

Skyline is hopeful for this weekend. Keough’s youngest brother, Luke Keough, will also be participating this weekend, on a different team.

“Obviously, as a former winner, the goal is to get back to the top step. But, more importantly, it’s to have a blast,” Keough wrote.

“We’re going to try to win,” DeWald said. “Jake has just got to beat his brother [in the race]. How hard can it be to beat your younger brother?”

The Armed Forces Cycling Classic consists of two days of races: the Clarendon Cup on Saturday, in Clarendon, and the Crystal Cup and non-competitive Challenge Ride on Sunday, in Crystal City. The pro-am races, along with corresponding kids races and the Challenge Ride, are open to spectators.

by ARLnow.com May 30, 2017 at 9:10 am 0

High School Proposals on the Table in June — A pair of proposals for adding high school seats are on the table at Arlington School Board meetings next month. The board is expected to approve a $3.6 million construction contract for adding 300 seats to Wakefield High School, while Superintendent Patrick Murphy will recommend the board approve a “hybrid” option for adding another 1,300 seats, with 600 seats at the Education Center site near Washington-Lee and 700 at the Arlington Career Center. Despite the added capacity, Murphy expects that it will eventually be necessary to build a new 2,200 seat comprehensive high school to keep up with rising enrollment. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Marriott’s Longest-Standing Employee Is in Crystal City — Cecil Exum, a 79-year-old omelette maker at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, is Marriott’s longest-standing employee. He’s been with the company for 61 years, since the Marriott family ran a “Hot Shoppes” root beer stand and opened its first hotel, the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel in Arlington. [Washington Post]

POTUS at ANC on Memorial Day — “President Donald Trump honored those who lost their lives serving the nation as he participated in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery Monday and told emotional stories of just a few who perished.” [Daily Mail]

Cars Towed During Clarendon Memorial Day Ceremony — Some veterans attending the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the war memorial in Clarendon reportedly had their cars towed from a bank parking lot nearby. Del. Patrick Hope (D) tweeted photos of the cars being towed and called it “disgusting.” He directed the tweet at Del. Tim Hugo (R), the sponsor of the bill (now law) that blocked Arlington County from enforcing a “second signature” requirement for certain trespass tows. [Twitter]

Photo courtesy Peter Golkin

by Kalina Newman May 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

The fifth annual Father’s Day Auto Festival returns to Crystal City on Sunday, June 18, where a bevy of vehicles from sport cars to antiques will be on display.

The family-friendly festival is from 2-6 p.m. at 220 20th Street S., and will feature a range of automobiles for viewing.

Presented by the Crystal City Business Improvement District, the festival has a new partnership with automotive website Carsfera. The collaboration allows dozens of new cars to be added to the line-up.

In addition to the display show, there will be other activities like a mini race car painting booth, a race track, moon bounce and live music. A Toyota Prius will also be on display for local artists to creatively paint throughout the event.

The event is free to attend, and it is also free to register a vehicle to display, but online registration is required for the latter.

Photo via Crystal City BID

by ARLnow.com May 24, 2017 at 3:10 pm 0

A building adjacent the Crystal City Metro station is getting a bold new red paint job.

Property owner Vornado will be adding color to its currently beige office building at 251 18th Street S. The painting is expected to begin soon.

The new color “will create an iconic new landmark at [the Metro station] and at the gateway to Crystal City at 18th Street,” according to the Crystal City Business Improvement District, which has been “adding color, vibrancy and art to Crystal City” via projects like Artomatic, Art Underground and various murals around the neighborhood.

While efforts to add to the vibrancy of the neighborhood and improve its aesthetics have been well-received — they were a main topic of an extensive Washingtonian feature last week — the reality is that many of the buildings around Crystal City date back to the 60s and 70s; 251 18th Street was built in 1975 according to Loopnet.

With a wholesale redevelopment of older buildings financially infeasible at a time of high office vacancy rates, Crystal City and its property owners have instead been finding ways to refurbishcreatively re-purpose — and now repaint — existing buildings.

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com Sponsor May 23, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

Stock up on discounted drink tickets to use at Crystal City’s popular outdoor beer and wine garden.

Open every Friday starting in June, Fridays at the Fountain not only features a new name (formerly Wine in the Water Park), but also a vastly expanded schedule stretching all the way through October and an upgraded line-up of live music.

The bar serves delicious offerings of beer and wine, all of which are available for take-home purchases at the Crystal City Wine Shop down the street from the event.

Drink tickets, normally $5 each on site, are available for 50 percent off their online price in this exclusive pack of 5 tickets available for $10 (normally $20 online). Only a limited supply is available so act fast!

As an added bonus, the Crystal City drink cards are redeemable at any Crystal City BID event that features a cash/credit bar including the upcoming Father’s Day Auto Festival.

Purchase Today’s Deal Now
Discount Code: FridaysFountainDeal17

 WHEN: Every Friday June through October from 5-9 p.m.

WHERE: The Fountain (aka Crystal City Water Park) at 1751 Crystal Drive

WHAT: Crystal City’s popular outdoor beer and wine garden returns with a new name and a vastly expanded season stretching from June all the way through October. Open for business immediately after work at 5 p.m., ease into the weekend with a delicious beverage, live music, or even a discounted painting session with ArtJamz. All beverages are also available for take-home purchases at the Crystal City Wine Shop.

by ARLnow.com May 22, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Public Hearings Set for Sign, Rosslyn Streetscape Changes — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board set public hearings for changes to the county sign ordinance related to mixed-use retail centers and industrial districts, which would allow for more blade signs in certain places. The Board also set hearings for a plan that “would establish a cohesive set of streetscape furnishings to strengthen Rosslyn’s character, and encourage more pedestrian use and vibrancy in Rosslyn’s core.” [Arlington County]

Washingtonian Spends Day in Crystal City — The staff from Washingtonian magazine spent Friday — Bike to Work Day — in Crystal City, filing stories about everything from quirky neighborhood fixtures like a reasonably-priced strip club and a long-time puppet store to WeLive, TechShop and other places driving Crystal City’s innovation economy. The goal was to report “stories of a place that’s creating a new future for itself in the ashes of one that didn’t quite work out the way everyone thought.” [Washingtonian]

Bike to Work Day Record — This year’s Bike to Work Day set a regional record, with 18,700 registrants at 85 D.C. area pit stops. [Twitter]

Beyer Calls for Expulsion of Turkish Ambassador — On Friday Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) urged the Trump administration to kick the ambassador of Turkey out of the country in response to a violent confrontation between protesters and bodyguards for the visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey, meanwhile, today summoned the U.S. ambassador to complain about police treatment of the bodyguards who were seen beating up protesters. [Rep. Don Beyer]

D.C. Man Is Big Arlington Thrive Donor — A retired ophthalmologist who lives in D.C. has donated more than $750,000 to the nonprofit Arlington Thrive over the past few years, after reading about it in a Washingtonian magazine article. Arlington Thrive, formerly known as Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs, “delivers same-day emergency funds to our neighbors in crisis, so they can be secure in their jobs, health, and homes and thrive in a caring community.” [Washington Post]

Board Approves Intersection, Stormwater Projects — The Arlington County Board has approved more than $2.3 million in contracts to improve safety at the intersection of Arlington Blvd and N. Irving Street and construct a “green streets” stormwater management system along Williamsburg Blvd. [Arlington County]

Arlington Represented on Route 1 Renaming Group — The former president of the Arlington NAACP and former president of the Arlington Historical Society have been appointed to an “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Renaming Jefferson Davis Highway” formed by the City of Alexandria. The city is moving forward with its effort to strip Route 1 of its confederate monicker, but wants to coordinate with Arlington in case the county decides to lobby Richmond to allow it to rename the road. [WTOP]

Columnist Blasts Website Comments — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark says that reader comments about the candidates in the recent Democratic Arlington County Board caucus were “inflammatory” and “pea-brained.” He singled out ARLnow’s comment section and “the slightly-more-civil commenters in the Sun-Gazette.” Caucus winner Erik Gutshall, meanwhile, said he seldom reads the comments, opining that “some are thoughtful, but it’s like opening a horror show.” [Falls Church News-Press]

by ARLnow.com May 19, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

School Board Hears Opposition to Enrollment Proposal — At last night’s School Board meeting, during a public hearing about a proposed update to APS’ enrollment and transfer policy, some spoke out against what they saw as a policy that would disadvantage applicants to choice schools who do not live near the school. Among those speaking in opposition to the proposal was former U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra, who has also created a Medium post explaining his opposition. [Medium]

Spraygrounds to Open Next Week — Arlington’s “spraygrounds” — play areas for children where water shoots up out of the ground — will open for the season starting Friday, May 26. The spraygrounds are located at Drew Park (3500 23rd Street S.), Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street), Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street) and Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street). [InsideNova]

Startups Galore in Crystal City — More than 300 startups now call Crystal City home, according to the neighborhood’s business improvement district. That’s thanks in large part to coworking spaces like WeWork and 1776, but other startups in Crystal City have grown beyond a small, shared office. [Twitter]

by Chris Teale May 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Representatives from the county and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority came together this morning to celebrate the Crystal City Multimodal Center‘s completion.

The center on 18th Street S. between S. Eads and S. Clark streets — next to the Crystal City Metro station — now has more bus shelters for use by local and regional buses, wider sidewalks, improved lighting, bike lanes and a kiss and ride zone where shuttle buses can also load and unload.

Funding for the $3.4 million project came a $1.5 million grant from NVTA, a grant from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, a developer contribution and money from the Crystal City tax increment financing area.

“With these infrastructure improvements, Arlington is making it easier and safer for people travelling to and through Crystal City — whether they are arriving by bus, Metro, on foot or by car,” County Board chair Jay Fisette said. “It’s the latest example of how the county continues to invest in Crystal City and continues to build on the community’s vision of enhanced access and connectivity.”

NVTA funds projects across four counties and five cities in Northern Virginia, and officials said improvements such as those in Crystal City help the entire region. NVTA board chair Martin Nohe gave the example that a stopped train in Arlington at 7 a.m. can cause parking problems in Woodbridge at 8 a.m., and the center will help ease congestion worries.

“The people of truly every Northern Virginia jurisdiction are benefitting not just from this project, but every other project throughout Arlington,” Nohe said.

Fisette said that such projects and an emphasis on transit helped Arlington be recently named the best city for millennials. Without planning and the community’s input combined with bodies willing to help with financing, projects like these could never come to fruition, he said.

“We can’t do it all ourselves,” Fisette said. “We have to partner to make things like this happen…That’s what makes a community good. You can’t do the last part [delivering a project] without the first part [money], and you can’t do the first part without the community and the vision.”

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