Next week, county officials will present details and ask for feedback on a long-awaited project to restore a pond along the W&OD Trail.
On Tuesday, October 1, Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services will present a draft plan for digging the Swallow Pond in Glencarlyn Park deeper, and restoring some of the wild habitat in and around the pond.
People interested in learning more about the designs can attend the meeting at the Long Branch Nature Center (625 S. Carlin Springs Road) from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Officials are also welcoming feedback from community members.
“The project goal is to restore the pond to the original depth by removing sediment, add a sediment collection forebay to allow easier maintenance and sediment removal, maximize water quality benefits, and restore habitat,” the county wrote on the project webpage.
Officials hope that clearing sediment means clearer water will flow from the pond to Four Mile Run — making this project one of several the county is hoping can cut down on pollution and clouding downstream in the Chesapeake Bay.
Sparrow Pond was man made in 2001 and has been slowly filling up with sediment ever since.
Sediment was first cleared out of the pond 2007, per a county presentation. The pond was due for another clean-up in 2012, but the work was delayed. Several studies later, the pond is now slated for a full restoration project.
During a March community meeting, residents expressed concerns that construction could introduce invasive plants like Japanese knotweed via machinery that’s worked in places already seeded with the fast-growing shrub. Residents also requested crews do the work outside of the sparrow breeding cycle (roughly March to August) to protect the pond’s namesake avian inhabitants.
With summer around the corner, Arlington County has shared an update regarding four newly renovated parks.
The parks have either recently completed renovations or are planned to open soon.
The Fairlington Park playground opened in March. The project included a complete redesign and reconstruction of the playground, exercise equipment, park trail and more. The renovated play area offers options for different age groups and exercise equipment for all ages.
For a more subdued park experience, Glencarlyn Park has also recently opened a new picnic structure surrounded by forest. The shelter includes accessible picnic tables and power outlets with USB ports. The project page noted that renovations also brought the park into compliance with Americans With Disability Act standards.
While there has been no ribbon-cutting yet at McCoy Park, it is fully accessible to the public. Enhancements at the park, which is wedged between Lee Highway and I-66, include a realigned sidewalk and a seating deck with tables and chairs.
Dawson Terrace Park hasn’t reopened yet, but the Arlington County website says it will be “later this spring.” Plans are for the two small courts at the site to be replaced with a single, lighted court that can be used for basketball, volleyball or other court games. A separate playground area will cater to kids and the park will have have upgraded picnic areas and trail connections.
Images 1, 2, 3 via Arlington County
Rare, Tropical Dragonfly Spotted in Arlington — “There was quite the discovery at this year’s Bioblitz in Glencarlyn Park. After a photo posted on the crowd-sourcing tracker, iNaturalist, started to spark a lot of interest… the consensus was that what had been photographed was a Great Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis vesiculosa).” [Arlington County]
County to Open Garages During Snowstorms — “If a big winter storm – or two, or three – hits the region in coming months, Arlington residents will be able to leave their cars safe and sound in county-owned garages for the duration. It’s all part of an effort to keep residential streets as free of vehicles as possible so snow-plow operators can do their job.” [InsideNova]
Crafthouse Going Big — Beer-centric local restaurant chain Crafthouse, which has a location in Ballston, has inked a $250 million deal to franchise nationally. [Reston Now]
Portion of W&OD Trail to Get Separate Lanes — “A major 1.2-mile stretch of the W&OD Trail bike path that traverses the City of Falls Church… will soon be enhanced with the benefit of $3.2 million from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and turned into a dual path — one for bikes and the other for pedestrians.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Amazon News Roundup — Virginia economic development officials say they have “accounted for a host of risks that might arise related to Amazon, from a shift in direction for the company to antitrust litigation.” The Arlington Civic Federation “will host a discussion of the proposed Amazon economic-incentive package at its monthly meeting, to be held on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at Virginia Hospital Center.” Arlington County’s building and permitting staff “won’t be doing anything out of the ordinary to accommodate Amazon, such as fast-tracking, a common incentive offered to big economic development prizes.” And, in a new report on the oft-reported subject, “Amazon’s Northern Virginia headquarters could exacerbate existing economic disparities.”
Flickr pool photo by David Giambarresi
Construction work on some improvements to Glencarlyn Park will likely kick off later this year.
The County Board will consider a roughly $685,000 contract for renovation work at the park during its meeting Saturday (July 14). Crown Construction Services, Inc. is set to manage the renovations.
The work will include replacing one of the park’s picnic shelters, which is “beyond reasonable repair,” according to a county staff report, and updating the park’s open picnic and parking areas. The county expects the renovations to wrap up early next year.
The Board will also consider awarding a construction contract to install synthetic turf at Gunston Park’s Diamond Field at the meeting Saturday.
Photos via Arlington County
Update at 1:40 p.m. — The Arlington County Police Department has released a description of the man that police say attempted to sexually assault a woman in the Arlington Mill neighborhood this morning.
Police were unable to find the suspect despite an extensive search. More from an ACPD press release:
At approximately 9:05 a.m. on April 20, Arlington County Police were dispatched to the report of a late assault in the 800 block of S. Frederick Street. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m., an unknown male suspect forced entry into a residence, brandished a knife and attempted to sexually assault the female victim. The victim suffered minor physical injuries and was transported to a local hospital. The suspect fled the area prior to police arrival.
The suspect is described as a black male, 20-30 years old, approximately 5’7″ tall with short cropped hair. He was wearing a black shirt and black jeans at the time of the incident.
Detectives from the Special Victim’s Unit are actively investigating this incident. Responding officers established a perimeter, canvassed the area and spoke with possible witnesses. Arlington County canine units attempted a track of the suspect and the Fairfax County Police Helicopter Unit provided an aerial search with negative results. Officers will continue conducting extra patrols in the area.
If anyone has information on the identity of this individual or details surrounding this incident, please contact Detective J. Echenique of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit at 703.228.4241 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Earlier: Police are actively searching for a suspect following an attempted sexual assault this morning.
A man armed with a knife strangled and tried to sexually assault a woman in the Arlington Mill neighborhood, according to scanner traffic. A responding officer reportedly spotted a man matching the description of the suspect, but he was able to flee on foot.
Police officers, a K-9 unit and the Fairfax County Police Department helicopter are now searching the wooded area around Glencarlyn Park for the suspect.
Campbell Elementary School has been secured while the search is in progress.
Suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’7” tall with short cropped hair. He was wearing a black t-shirt and black jeans at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) April 20, 2018
Campbell is on Secure the Building due to police activity in the community. Students are having regular classes and a SRO is present.
— Maureen Nesselrode (@CampbellAPS) April 20, 2018
The police have been searching a grassy area near this playground. pic.twitter.com/WchzWnRxxJ
— Tim Barber (@ABC7TimBarber) April 20, 2018
Photo via Google Maps
Kids aged 7-10 can combine a walk among nature with yoga and relaxation at a class this Friday (August 11) at the Long Branch Nature Center.
The class, entitled Yoga in the Nature Center, begins at 10 a.m. at the center at Glencarlyn Park (625 S. Carlin Springs Road). It first begins with a short walk, then attendees return to practice poses that represent the plants and animals they find.
A short relaxation period follows the yoga session, with the entire event expected to wrap up around 10:45 a.m. Organizers said no prior yoga experience is needed and yoga mats are not required, although those that have one are encouraged to bring them.
Registration is available online or by phone at 703-228-4747. The session costs $5 each.
Summer is a popular time for yoga in Arlington for young and old. As well as the new “Yoga at the Fountain” sessions in Crystal City, a sunset yoga session is set for tonight (August 9) at the Ballston Bocce Park at the intersection of N. Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Flickr pool photo by James L.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for a new addition to Glencarlyn Park, along Columbia Pike and the W&OD Trail, over the weekend.
The new park space, near the Arlington Mill Community Center, includes a “learning loop” for beginning bicyclists, a bike repair station, a bike water bottle filler, a sand play area and a rain garden.
Construction of the park amenities was estimated at $400,000 when it was approved a year ago.
Fire Station 8 Task Force — At its Tuesday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved a charge for its new Fire Station No. 8 task force. The task force will review viable sites for the fire station, will seek a location that will improve fire and EMS response signs, and will seek to balance costs with service needs. [Arlington County]
More Metro Delays This Morning — Delays and overcrowded trains made for “another miserable day” on the Orange Line during this morning’s commute. Metro says it’s hoping to have full service restored on the Silver, Orange and Blue lines by the end of the year, following a catastrophic fire at an electrical substation in D.C. [WMATA, Twitter, Twitter]
Old Growth Forest in Arlington Recognized — A 24-acre portion of Glencarlyn Park, just south of Route 50, has been recognized by the Old Growth Forest Network. The park has trees that were likely saplings while the British burned the White House across the river during the War of 1812. [Arlington County]
GW Parkway Repaving Nearly Complete — Crews are starting to wrap up a repaving project on the GW Parkway that has prompted lane and ramp closures over the past few weeks. The formerly pockmarked section of the Parkway north of Reagan National Airport now has a smooth coating of asphalt. [WTOP]
Lee Highway Streetlight Upgrade Approved — The Arlington County Board last night approved a $2.2 million project to replace 1.5 miles of aging streetlights along Lee Highway with new, energy efficient LED streetlights. Some residents have previously complained of an “ugly” blue tint from the county’s LED streetlights. [Arlington County]
Ballston IHOP is Turning 50 — The IHOP restaurant in Ballston will turn 50 years old early next year. Reportedly, it was the first Virginia location for the chain. [InsideNova]
Arlington Hosting Metro Safety Seminar Tonight — Officials from Arlington County and WMATA will be participating in a Metro Safety and Preparedness Seminar tonight in Ballston. A panel of officials will discuss Arlington’s response to Metro incidents and emergency preparedness tips for Metro riders. [Arlington County]
Photo by Justin Funkhouser
Glencarlyn Park, Sewer Main Upgrades Approved — The Arlington County Board over the weekend unanimously approved a sewer main construction project for Old Dominion Drive. The Board also approved upgrades to Glencarlyn Park, including a rain garden, plaza and bicycle facilities. [Arlington County]
Arlington’s Per-Pupil Spending Tops Region — Arlington Public Schools spends $19,040 per student, the highest such figure of any Washington suburb. On a per-pupil basis, Arlington spends 24 percent more than Montgomery County schools, 41 percent more than Fairfax County schools and 84 percent more than Prince William County schools. [InsideNova]
Loan Approved for Senior Housing — On Saturday, the Arlington County Board unanimously approved a $1.35 million loan to help keep the Culpepper Gardens I apartment complex affordable. The complex include 204 committed affordable units for seniors. [Arlington County]
No New Westover Middle School? — The Arlington School Board has informally voted to remove the Reed School site in Westover from consideration as a potential location for a new middle school. Many residents have said they would rather see the building used for a neighborhood elementary school. [InsideNova]
Board Updates Green Building Incentives — The Arlington County Board voted 4-1 to require higher sustainability standards for its Green Building Incentive Program, which rewards developers for environmentally-sound building practices. [Arlington County]
Local Reporter Travels to Germany for Streetcar Story — WAMU reporter Michael Lee Pope traveled to Germany to report on the use of streetcars in Berlin, tying his findings back to Arlington’s proposed streetcar project. Streetcars run in formerly Communist-controlled East Berlin, but no longer in West Berlin. One interviewee said people ride East Berlin’s streetcars partially out of a sense of nostalgia and the “special feeling” one gets from riding them. [WAMU]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
The southern end of Glencarlyn Park — next to the intersection of the W&OD Trail and Columbia Pike — could soon see major improvements, like a “learning loop” path for beginning cyclists and a bike repair station.
At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board will vote on whether to approve a $395,930 contract for the park improvements, with a $39,593 contingency. The improvements were approved by the County Board back in 2009 as part of the Neighborhood Conservation Program for the Barcroft Civic Association, but the project has been delayed to accommodate the Columbia Pike Undergrounding and Streetscape Improvements project.
If the Board approves the contract with Avon Corporation, construction could begin shortly thereafter. When completed, the new portion of the park would have:
- A bicycle learning loop separate from the W&OD Trail
- A bike repair stand
- A “playful plaza” with picnic and game tables and a sand play area
- A separate plaza with bike parking, benches and a water fountain
- Additional plantings of native trees and grasses
- A rain garden to help in “reuse and absorption” of stormwater on the site
The original cost of the park renovations was projected to be $468,000, but in the five years since its approval, the total price tag has jumped to just over $680,000, including the need to install a new sewer after it was revealed the existing line was deteriorating.
The difference is being accounted for with savings from previously completed Neighborhood Conservation projects that came in under budget, according to county staff.
Image (top), via Arlington County. Photo (bottom) via Google Maps
A new playground is coming to Glencarlyn Park, pending Arlington County Board approval on Saturday.
The playground, for children 5-12 years old, will complement an existing tot playground at the park for 2-5 year olds. It will feature a “treehouse” log play structure, a swing set, seesaw, a dry creek bed adjacent to a sand/boulder play area, benches, interpretive signage and cattail spinners.
The lowest construction bid for the project was $441,000, with a $44,000 contingency, for a total contract authorization of $485,000. County staff is recommending that the Board approve the contract, even though it’s considerably higher than expected.
Combining the construction contract with other expenses associated with the project, the total cost is expected to be well above half a million dollars.
“The original cost estimate for Glencarlyn Park of $485,000 has increased due to higher construction bids, bringing the total project cost to $579,255,” according to the staff report. “The additional amount of $94,175 can be funded from savings of other [Neighborhood Conservation] projects that were completed under budget.”