Arlington, VA

Four community improvement projects are on this weekend’s Arlington County Board agenda.

The Board is expected to approve the $3 million slate of projects as part of its Neighborhood Conservation program. The somewhat controversial program, previously on the budgetary chopping block, awards funding to modest infrastructure improvement projects requested by local community groups.

The projects set for funding this fall include:

  • Street improvements in the Glencarlyn neighborhood along 4th Street S., from Kensington to Illinois streets ($1.3 million)
  • Pedestrian safety and intersection improvements in the Dominion Hills neighborhood at N. Larrimore Street and 9th Street N. ($1.2 million)
  • Intersection improvements in the Highland Park-Overlee Knolls neighborhood at 14th Street N. and N. Ohio Street ($0.5 million)
  • Landscaping and beautification in the Old Dominion neighborhood at 24th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive ($28,125)

Photo via Google Maps

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Someone rifled through at least five cars parked in the Dominion Hills neighborhood over the weekend.

The vehicles were all parked along the 900 and 1000 blocks of N. Madison Street, a couple of blocks away from McKinley Elementary School.

Only loose change was reported to have been stolen, though one of the vehicles — a truck — was also spray painted. Police described the spray paint as “alleged gang graffiti;” multiple tipsters tell ARLnow it was “MS-13” gang graffiti, though that could not be officially confirmed.

More from Arlington County Police Department crime reports:

Destruction of Property, 2019-06160101, 1000 block of N. Madison Street. At approximately 9:21 a.m. on June 16, police were dispatched to the report of a destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim’s truck had been vandalized by spray paint and change had been taken from within the vehicle. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

Larceny from Auto, 2019-06174001, 1000 block of N. Madison Street. Between 2:00 a.m. – 4:00 a.m. on June 15, an unknown suspect entered a vehicle and stole loose change.

Larceny from Auto, 2019-06174010, 900 block of N. Madison Street. Between 11:00 p.m. on June 15 and 9:30 a.m. on June 16, the owner left their car open and an unknown suspect rummaged through it. Nothing was reported stolen.

Vehicle Tampering, 2019-06174013, 900 block of N. Madison Street. Between 11:35 p.m. on June 15 and 9:35 a.m. on June 16, two vehicles were rummaged through. Nothing was reported stolen.

“It appears most vehicles were left unlocked,” noted ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, who offered some theft prevention tips. “Residents are reminded to keep their vehicles locked, remove valuables and report suspicious activity such as individuals attempting door handles by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.”

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One month after it served its last beer in D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood, Meridian Pint is planning to open its new location in the Dominion Hills shopping plaza tomorrow.

For owner John Andrade, the move brings his new bar — at 6035 Wilson Blvd — a little closer to home. Andrade is from the neighborhood and many of the wait staff are hired from the nearby neighborhoods.

“I live a quarter-mile away and my daughter goes to Ashlawn,” Andrade said. “I know the neighborhood, and I’ve gotten to understand the void for folks here for craft beer.”

Andrade said oversaturation and competition with a new wave of breweries having their own bars forced Meridian Pint out of D.C., but added that the move is also an opportunity to rebuild the small community bar scene.

“There is a focus on D.C. or even Clarendon or Ballston for beers, but the neighborhoods are neglected,” Andrade said.

A sign at the front says the restaurant will be called Dominion Pint, but Andrade said there was a legal challenge to the name so the bar is sticking with Meridian Pint. The restaurant has been holding a series of soft openings for neighbors and other invitees this week, but the official public opening is Thursday.

It will be the sixth restaurant Andrade has opened, including those no longer operating. Andrade also runs three other D.C. restaurants: Brookland PintRosario’s Tacos & Tequila in Adams Morgan, and Smoke & Barrel in Adams Morgan.

Andrade said the focus of Meridian Pint will be on American grilled food and craft beer — both local and national brands. In addition to beers, Andrade said he’s focusing on the restaurant’s homemade ice cream.

Jace Gonnerman, the beer program director for Meridian Pint, said his goal is to maintain a careful balance of obscure and approachable beers.

In addition to the obscure and higher-end craft beers, Gonnerman said he’s happy to have two more affordable brews for the opening: Narragansett Lager and Genesee Cream Ale.

“We want to have a beer for everyone,” Gonnerman said. “We want something for the community, but also the latest and greatest for aficionados.”

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(Updated at 4:45 p.m.) Meridian Pint hopes to open up in Arlington by mid-May, according to owner John Andrade.

Andrade told ARLnow today (Wednesday) that his new Dominion Hills location is slated to open around May 15, pending final county inspections this month.

The new pub is inside the Dominion Hills Centre shopping plaza at 6035 Wilson Blvd. Andrade said he’s applying the “last layers of polyurethane” to the space.

On Monday, he announced his flagship “Pint” in Columbia Heights will close Sunday after nine years in business. In a statement shared by PoPville Andrade cited “evolving needs of our staff, our customers, our lives and our city” as a reason for packing up shop.

Andrade also runs three other D.C. restaurants: Brookland Pint, Rosario’s Tacos & Tequila in Adams Morgan, and Smoke & Barrel in Adams Morgan.

Construction of the Arlington space began last fall, two year ago after he announced plans to expand across the Potomac. Now he says he’s hiring servers, bartenders, and cooks, and redesigning the Columbia Heights menu to fit an Arlington clientele. 

“IPAs are very popular in Northern Virginia, so you’ll definitely see a nice selection of that,” said Andrade.

“From the food perspective, we expect to cater to a lot more families here,” he added. “The kids menu is going to be very nice, and well-manicured to make sure we’re giving kids healthy options and at the same time satisfying the kids’ palate as well.”

Andrade, who is an Arlington resident, said last year he looked forward to pub being within walking distance of his neighborhood.

“It’s just a great opportunity,” he said. “Especially for those of us that live slightly more than walking distance from Ballston or Clarendon, or have multiple kids, and don’t really want to do the dance of finding a parking garage or hunting down a metered space to go explore out that way.”

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Some work to repair stream erosion will prompt a weeks-long closure of two trails in the Dominion Hills neighborhood starting next week.

The W&OD trail and Four Mile Run trail will both be impacted by the construction, aimed at reversing the impacts of erosion along Four Mile Run as it nears I-66. Construction is set to kick off on Monday (Feb. 18).

The work will force the closure of the W&OD trail for about a month, the county says, shuttering a section between N. Ohio Street and its intersection with the Custis Trail.

The section of the Four Mile Run trail in the area, between N. Madison Street and Patrick Henry Drive, will be closed for about six weeks.

“Tree impacts will be avoided to extent feasible,” the county wrote on its website. “Some trees will be pruned along the Four Mile Run trail in the vicinity of the staging/access area.”

Workers will post detour signs near the closed sections of the trails. Cyclists and pedestrians will be directed onto N. Manchester Street, then 10th Road N. to avoid the construction.

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A masked man tried to abduct a woman outside of her residence along Wilson Blvd this past weekend, according to Arlington County Police.

The abduction attempt happened early Saturday morning on Wilson near the intersection with Patrick Henry Drive. The man tried to drag the woman away but she fought back and the attacker eventually fled.

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ABDUCTION, 2019-01120041, 6100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 3:00 a.m. on January 12, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking in the area when she noticed an unknown male subject following her. As she approached the entrance to her residence, the male suspect pulled the victim’s hair from behind and wrapped his arms around her, preventing her from leaving. The suspect attempted to pull the victim away from her residence, however she resisted and the suspect eventually fled on foot when a vehicle drove by the area. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, with light-olive toned skin, possibly in his late 20’s or early 30’s, approximately 5’8″-5’11”, 150-180 lbs., wearing black pants, a black jacket, black shoes and a winter mask. The investigation is ongoing.

Also last week, police were dispatched to a store in Pentagon City for a man who exposed himself to a group of children inside a fitting room.

The incident happened Friday night, on the 1100 block of S. Hayes Street — which is address of both the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall and the Pentagon Centre shopping center.

INDECENT EXPOSURE, 2019-01110259, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 7:11 p.m. on January 11, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure. Upon arrival, it was determined that the juvenile victims were in the area of the fitting rooms inside of a business when they observed a male expose himself and touch himself inappropriately. The suspect is described as a Middle Eastern male, 25-35 years old, taller than 6’1″, approximately 190 lbs., with short black hair, brown eyes, scruff on his face, wearing a dark gray shirt, black jacket and black jeans. The investigation is ongoing.

Below are the rest of the highlights from this week’s crime report, including some we’ve already reported.

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Meridian Pint is getting closer to opening its first Arlington restaurant, with plans to open a new brewpub in Dominion Hills sometime next spring.

The D.C.-based, craft beer-focused chain announced plans to expand into the county late last year, targeting a spot at 6035 Wilson Blvd in the Dominion Hills Centre shopping plaza. Construction is set to get underway next week at the new space, and owner John Andrade told ARLnow that he’s “tentatively targeting the beginning of April to get it open.”

“It’ll just be another iteration of the expanding ‘Pint’ brand,” Andrade said. “And this is nestled into a great community.”

Andrade currently operates two “Pint” restaurants in D.C. — Meridian and Brookland Pint — as well as Rosario’s Tacos and Tequila and Smoke Barrel. But as an Arlington resident, living just a quarter mile away from the new location, he says he was anxious for the chance to expand into his home county.

“The idea that I can just walk to work, door-to-door in somewhere between 13 and 15 minutes is really great,” Andrade said. “It’s just a great opportunity… especially for those of us that live slightly more than walking distance from Ballston or Clarendon, or have multiple kids, and don’t really want to do the dance of finding a parking garage or hunting down a metered space to go explore out that way.”

Andrade is unsure of a name for the new establishment just yet — he originally planned to dub it “Dominion Pint,” but ran into some legal headaches — but he says it will generally mirror the food and beverage options at his D.C. locations.

“It’ll have an all-American menu and all-American craft beer, with a generous emphasis on wine and spirits as well,” Andrade said.

Andrade also foresees offering growler fills and six-packs for sale at the restaurant, something he’s barred from doing in D.C. but is anxious to try now that he’s operating in Virginia.

He hopes to “start swinging hammers” at the space Monday (Oct. 22) now that he’s won all the necessary permits, and expects it will take roughly six months to get things up and running.

“We’re really planning on being members of the community, so we hope it’ll be a great neighborhood establishment,” Andrade said.

Photo via Google Maps

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Starting in the next few months, Upton Hill Regional Park is set to get a major makeover — but the process of sketching out plans for the renovation work is getting a bit messy.

Some neighbors and county conservationists see the whole project as poorly conceived and deceptively managed by NOVA Parks, the regional body that maintains Upton Hill. Plans to cut down 115 trees at the park, located at 6060 Wilson Blvd near Seven Corners, strike them as a blow to both the country’s tree canopy and a disaster for stormwater runoff in the area.

But park officials, and even some of their fellow neighbors, feel these complaints have been blown entirely out of proportion, arguing that a few malcontents are lobbing bombs against a project that will transform a park sorely in need of a facelift.

The $3 million renovation work is set to proceed over the next year or more, and with a new petition urging NOVA Parks to re-think its plans, debate over the project seems sure to intensify moving forward.

“I look at this as a phenomenal upgrade to the community… and some of the arguments being made against it are beyond ridiculous,” said Chris Tighe, president of the Boulevard Manor Civic Association, where the park is located. “Eventually, we’re going to have to ask what’s more important: a couple of voices, or the safety of park-goers and this park’s future?”

Paul Gilbert, the executive director of NOVA Parks, says his group last upgraded Upton Hill back in 2006, and decided back in 2015 to pursue some upgrades to the park.

Some of the planned changes are relatively uncontroversial: park officials hope to add a new ticket booth for the park’s batting cage, renovate some of its restrooms and build a new playground in the park’s lower half (Tighe compares the current playground there to “something out of a Stephen King horror movie.”)

The arguments start over proposed additions like a ropes course, a new entrance on Wilson Blvd complete with a small parking lot and 103 new parking spaces in Upton Hill’s upper half, near its water park.

The last item on that list has attracted the most controversy, as it would require the removal of more than half of the aforementioned 115 trees in favor of thousands of square feet of pavement — a group dubbing itself the “Friends of Upton Hill” wrote on its website that Joni Mitchell warned of just an occurrence when she sang “They paved paradise/And put up a parking lot.”

“NOVA Parks has never made a convincing case for expanding parking at Upton Hill, which has a parking lot that is barely used for nine months of the year, when the water park is closed,” said Sada Aksartova, a Boulevard Manor resident. Her husband, Josh Handler, helps run the friends group, which notes that many of the trees set to be chopped down are several decades old.

Yet Tighe argues the new parking will help ease crowds at the park, avoiding the need for so many people to park on the street, and Gilbert says there’s a bit more nuance to consider regarding the trees to be cut down.

Of the 115 trees to be removed, he says 19 trees are already dead, while 31 are non-native trees, which he feels don’t add much to the area’s ecosystem. He points out that he hopes to plant dozens of new trees, shrubs and grasses elsewhere on the park to create an “oak/hickory forest” that he believes will represent a net positive for the county’s tree canopy.

Local activist Suzanne Sundberg believes Gilbert’s thinking amounts to: “We must destroy a forest to save a forest.”

“It’s degrading a park that’s just a little postage stamp of green in an ocean of parking lots,” Sundberg said.

She also fears that removing so many trees and replacing them with asphalt will worsen the already substantial stormwater management problems in the area. The friends group posted a series of videos earlier this month illustrating how huge amounts of water already flow off the park’s grounds.

But Gilbert believes the underground cistern included in plans for the new parking lot will alleviate the stormwater problems in the area, rather than exacerbate them. Furthermore, he feels those videos are misleading, as they were taken just after a heavy rainstorm.

Certainly, Gilbert has plenty of problems with the way the Friends of Upton Hill have conducted themselves. He believes the group’s name is a “complete misnomer,” dubbing it “a couple of individuals with an ax to grind” and “not a true friend’s group.” He feels the community has been broadly supportive of the project.

“We’ve worked very hard to work with the various community groups, but that doesn’t mean every individual is going to get everything they want,” Gilbert said. “And some people can understand that and some people clearly don’t.”

Sundberg believes there are plenty of people upset with the project, pointing to the new petition and work of the Arlington Tree Action Group to oppose it. Furthermore, she says that “if there are, indeed, a low number of citizens who are outraged, it’s likely because they have no idea what the plans are.”

“This whole process has been very opaque,” Sundberg said. “NOVA Parks has gotten so used to doing whatever the heck it wants… it barely posts any documents or makes any information available about this.”

Tighe charges that park officials have been “phenomenal partners every step of the way.” Other neighbors, however, are taking more of a wait-and-see approach, rather than coming out so strongly in favor of the park.

“I understand the objections from some… even if some people may be exaggerating points to serve their own conclusions,” said Brian Hannigan, president of the nearby Dominion Hills Civic Association. “Let’s follow the facts and see where they lead.”

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A Dominion Hills resident was attacked by a group of seven men while he was taking out the garbage.

The mob assault happened around 1 a.m. this past Sunday and resulted in the victim going to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

The motive for the attack is unclear. A police spokeswoman said the department “doesn’t speculate on motive.”

More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

ASSAULT BY MOB (late), 2018-05200018, 6100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 12:59 a.m. on May 20, police were dispatched to Virginia Hospital Center for the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that earlier in the evening, the victim exited his residence to take the trash out and was approached by 7 unknown male suspects outside. The victim was assaulted, resulting in non-life threatening injuries that required medical treatment. There are no suspect descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.

The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including one that we’ve already reported, after the jump.

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Morning Notes

Hotel Planned for Pike Development — Attendees at yesterday’s Columbia Pike Progress Luncheon learned that Orr Partners — which is redeveloping the Food Star grocery store and adjacent sites at Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive — has partnered with WhyHotel for the mixed-use project. WhyHotel touts itself as an operator of “pop-up hotels in newly built, luxury apartment buildings.” [Twitter]

County Launches LGBTQ Resource Website — Arlington County has partnered with the Human Rights Commission to develop a website with local, state and national resources for the LGBTQ community. The resources cover a range of topics including housing, domestic violence, sexual assault, health and youth needs. [Arlington County]

Mitten Departing for Illinois — Arlington Deputy County Manager Carol Mitten has accepted the job of City Administrator for Urbana, Ill. “I look forward to advancing common goals for a safe, healthy, sustainable city through thoughtful growth,” she said in a statement. [Smile Politely]

Location Named for Dominion Pint — The owners of Dominion Pint, the new restaurant from the team behind the District’s Meridian Pint and Brookland Pint, have signed a lease for their Northern Virginia establishment. The restaurant is scheduled to open in December at 6035 Wilson Blvd. in Dominion Hills. [PoPville]

VHC Employee Earns ‘4 Under 40’ Award — Virginia Hospital Center’s Taryn Overman, MSN, RN, CEN, has received this year’s “4 Under 40” Emerging Leader Award from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Overman is recognized for going beyond her management responsibilities to help her community, such as during a collaboration with A-Span in which two tons of cereal was collected, and in directing a program that helped train community members in hands-only CPR.

Man Struck, Killed by Blue Line Train — A man was struck and killed by a train at the Arlington Cemetery Metro station last night. Video appears to show that the man was intentionally on the tracks at the time he was struck, according to Metro. [Washington Post, WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by Jennifer Presser

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The County Manager’s fiscal year 2019 proposed budget includes service eliminations to Arlington Transit bus routes 92 and 54.

The reductions would save the county $356,771 in 2019, according to the proposed budget. Public hearings on the budget and tax rate are scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 and Thursday, April 5, respectively.

The routes “are not meeting minimum service standards,” according to the budget document, and “service delivery can potentially be met by other transit or other modes such as Capital BikeShare.”

ART Route 92 runs weekdays from the Crystal City Metro station to the Pentagon Metro station via Long Bridge Park. Several WMATA routes also run through that area.

According to the ART Route 92 web page, “the route also serves as a shuttle for those working at Boeing and the U.S. Marshals Service.”

ART Route 54 operates weekdays during the morning and afternoon rush hours from Dominion Hills to the East Falls Church Metro station via Madison Manor neighborhood.

Both routes have “experienced low ridership (3 passengers per hour) and [have] performed below the established minimum service standards of 15 passengers per hour and a 20 percent cost recovery ratio,” according to budget documents.

The County Board is expected to adopt its final budget on April 21.

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