JBG Smith is asking the Arlington County Board for more time to negotiate a lease with the county for a library inside one of its new buildings.
In May 2021, the Arlington County Board approved JBG Smith’s plans to replace Crystal Plaza One (2050 and 2051 S. Bell Street) with two multifamily towers, an “East” and “West” tower, and shift S. Clark Street to the east to create a new S. Clark-Bell Street.
As of now, the developer is predicting it will not make a deadline set as part of conditions for its redevelopment, according to a county report. The conditions require the lease for the library space to be executed when a specific building permit, known as a footing-to-grade permit, is issued as construction progresses at the Crystal Plaza One site.
According to the report, JBG Smith and the county “have been diligently working to complete the lease agreement,” but they won’t be ready before construction reaches the footing-to-grade milestone.
“The result would potentially cause a work stoppage and prolong the construction timeline,” the report says. “To prevent construction delays and allow more time to complete the lease agreement, the applicant proposes to move the deadline for lease execution back to the final building permit for the second building (West Tower). This would provide approximately five months of additional time to complete the lease execution.”
County staff recommend requiring the lease to be executed when the final building permit for the second building is issued, or by April 1, 2023, whichever occurs first.
Additionally, JBG Smith has agreed to revised conditions ensuring it will begin contributing payments for the library’s operations before the footing-to-grade permit is issued.
JBG Smith previously agreed to contribute $250,000 per year, for five years, for a total of $1.25 million, beginning concurrent with the lease execution, per the report. These revisions will allow the payments to begin while the lease is being finalized.
Currently, people who live and work in the area have to cross busy Route 1 to reach the nearest library, the Aurora Hills branch located a few blocks from the Pentagon City mall. Previously, Crystal City residents also had access to a temporary, “pop-up” library.
(Updated at 10:50 a.m.) Arlington Public Library is hosting Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project” author Nikole Hannah-Jones as part of “Banned Books Week” next month.
The journalist and Howard University faculty member who led the 2019 New York Times project will talk about her book and “the freedom to read.” The event is set to take place on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Washington-Liberty High School auditorium.
“While this event is taking place at Washington-Liberty High School, Arlington Public Schools is not involved in the planning or hosting of this event,” notes the event page on the library website.
The event is “first-come, first-served until capacity is reached,” the page also notes. For those who can’t attend in person, the event will be live-streamed.
The “1619 Project” is an effort to better explain and contextualize slavery’s legacy, as well as Black Americans’ contributions, within the center of America’s history. It’s named as such after the date that the first enslaved African peoples arrived in Virginia.
The event at W-L is part of the nationwide “Banned Books Week,” an annual celebration by libraries and bookstores that highlights the value of “free and open access to information.”
The county’s library director Diane Kresh explained in a 2017 blog post that the reason Arlington Public Libraries celebrates Banned Books Week is that books are expressions of freedom.
“Books are change agents. They challenge our beliefs and biases. They expose us to different experiences and cultures. They help us learn to think for ourselves and not follow the crowd or cult of public opinion,” Kresh wrote.
The lecture is also part of the larger “Arlington Reads” event series.
The “1619 Project” has been both celebrated for its groundbreaking exploration of the topic and criticized for what some say are a series of historical inaccuracies and an emphasis on the significance of enslaved peoples in America’s history over other well-known dates, people, and events. It also sparked political controversy, with conservative members of Congress calling for measures to prevent it from being taught in K-12 schools.
(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) A dispute among acquaintances led to an attack outside of and then inside Arlington Central Library, police say.
Police were dispatched to the library around 1:45 p.m. Thursday after receiving multiple calls about two people arguing or fighting. They arrived and found at least one person “covered in blood,” according to scanner traffic.
“At approximately 1:47 p.m., police were dispatched to the 1000 block of N. Quincy Street for the report of trouble unknown,” said Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “Upon arrival, it was determined two known male acquaintances became involved in a verbal dispute outside the library. The dispute escalated when the suspect struck the victim with an object and physically assaulted him.”
One tipster described the incident as a “really savage beating.”
“I was in the library at the time, he was thrown to the ground and punched multiple times for several minutes, bloodied face,” another tipster told ARLnow. “I am not aware of the reason for the attack… the victim kept asking ‘Why did he attack me? What did I do?'”
The second tipster noted that “there were several… eyewitnesses” and said that the attack “continued inside the library” after starting outside.
The man who was attacked was taken via ambulance to a local hospital for treatment.
“The victim was transported to an area hospital and is in stable condition,” said Savage. “The suspect was taken into custody by responding officers and charges are pending.”
The suspect was questioned by police and ultimately arrested near the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Pollard Street. A dog he had been walking was picked up by animal control officers.
In a crime report released Friday, police said the victim was struck with a stick outside and further assaulted by the suspect when he went inside the library to seek help.
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2022-08250137, 1000 block of N. Quincy Street. At approximately 1:47 p.m. on August 25, police were dispatched to the report of trouble unknown. Upon arrival, it was determined two known male acquaintances became involved in a verbal dispute outside the library, during which the suspect allegedly struck the victim with a stick. The victim ran into the library for assistance and the suspect followed and physically assaulted him. Responding officers located the suspect at the intersection of N. Pollard Street and Fairfax Drive and took him into custody without incident. The victim was transported to an area hospital it stable condition. [The suspect], 35, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding. He was held without bond.
Jay Westcott contributed to this report
Children can meet a Washington Nationals player as part of an Arlington Public Library storytime this weekend.
Sean Doolittle, pitcher and player ambassador for the Nats, is scheduled to host a storytime event at Arlington Central Library on Saturday (June 18).
The storytime is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in the main auditorium inside the library at 1015 N. Quincy Street. This event is set to kick off the library’s annual Summer Reading Program.
Doolittle is set to read stories to the participants and sign autographs afterward. The autograph signing is limited to one item per child only, according to a news release from the library.
The event is being held on a first-come, first-serve basis until the auditorium — which has a capacity of up to 180 people — is filled, Arlington Public Library spokesperson Henrik Sundqvist said. He added that this storytime is the “event of the year” for the library.
The Summer Reading Program rewards children, teenagers and adults for reading over 30 days between June 1 and Sept. 1. During the program, Arlington Public Library has scheduled various events at different libraries, including storytimes, talks and handicraft lessons.
Those who complete the challenge will get a free book or a book coupon to be used at any Friends of the Library bookstore, according to the program’s website.
Additionally, the Nationals will offer a limited number of vouchers for two tickets each to anyone who has completed the challenge, according to a news release. The vouchers can be redeemed at any regular or value Nats game in August and September, according to the program’s website.
The Friends of the Arlington Public Library, another program sponsor, has also pledged to donate $1 for each person completing the challenge to Potomac Conservancy, a nonprofit advocating for clean water in the Potomac River.
Expanding Board Would Require State Action — “The Civic Federation’s TiGER (Task Force in Governance and Election Reform] body has recommended a number of changes to Arlington’s governance structure, including changing the election cycle. But the most basic tenet – increasing from five to seven the number of County Board members – could determine whether the Republican governor and House of Delegates want to play nice.” [Sun Gazette]
Serious Crash on I-395 — From Dave Statter: “Serious crash with one ejected on I-395S at Arlington Ridge Road. Fire, EMS & police appeared to be looking to make sure no else was thrown from the vehicle.” [Twitter]
Narcan Now Available at Arlington Libraries — “Starting this month, NARCAN nasal spray has been added to opioid overdose emergency boxes in all seven Arlington Public Library branches as part of the Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative. The boxes are in public access points near the Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at most branches; at Aurora Hills and Glencarlyn, the boxes are in prominent places where employees can easily access them.” [Arlington County]
Cobbler Hoofing It Out of Town — “Sad to report that Best Foot Forward will move out of @PentagonRow at the end of June. Lease expires. They are relocating to Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria, about 5 miles from PRow. Good quality work + family-owned/operated.” [Twitter]
Doorways Partners with Doorbell Company — “A new initiative to provide enhanced safety tools to survivors of violence has been announced by Doorways. In partnership with Ring, Doorways – a social-safety-net agency in Arlington and Falls Church – will be distributing up to 1,000 video doorbells and security cameras to clients, along with a free subscription plan for the life of each device. In addition, Ring will also provide a monetary contribution to help amplify Doorways’ impact for survivors across the local areas.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 79 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:35 pm. [Weather.gov]
One of the first of several Pride Month events in Arlington is happening this coming Thursday (June 9) in Crystal City.
Rock the Lot with Pride is a “Pride Month kick-off celebration” organized by The National Landing Business Improvement District, at 2611 S. Clark Street, a parking lot behind the Hyatt Regency hotel, between 4-8 p.m., according to the event’s webpage.
There will be food, drinks and merchandise giveaways at Rock the Lot with Pride, according to the website. The Kona Ice and Curbside Kitchen trucks are set to provide food for the event, while mobile cocktail bar Toastworthy is expected to bring its Tequila Truck to the event.
Rock the Lot with Pride is free and open to the public. Registration is now available online. Toastworthy plans to give the first 100 participants a free cocktail, according to the event’s webpage. DJ Chan Don, a disc jockey based in D.C., is set to play live music for the event.
Arlington is also getting its first Pride festival, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 25, at Rosslyn’s Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd) between noon and 7 p.m.
The event, hosted by the Polished Kreative, is free and open to all ages, with the theme “Moving Forward Together.” Attendees will be able to enjoy games, food and drinks, live music and entertainment at the festival, according to its website. There will also be a designated area for pets and kids with games, face painting and other activities, according to an Instagram post.
Deejay JL and DJ Swoosh are set to perform at the festival, according to another Instagram post. Sponsors for the event include the Kitchen Shaman 9, a private chef, a local bar Quinn’s On The Corner, D.C.-based pet care firm Puppy Luv Pet Services and others.
Other events around Arlington include:
Documentary and talk on the Lavender Scare
The Arlington Arts Center is set to hold a virtual talk between artist Alexander D’Agostino and historian David K. Johnson about the history of the Lavender Scare, a purge of government employees due to their sexuality during the Cold War, on Wednesday (June 8) at 6 p.m.
The center also plans to make the documentary “The Lavender Scare” available for virtual screening between Wednesday and Tuesday, June 14.
Family Pride Day
The Arlington Art Center organized Family Pride Day on Saturday (June 11) beginning at 10:30 a.m. It is free to the public, according to the event’s webpage. Art-making activities and readings from the Drag Queen Story Hour, where drag queens read stories to children, are set to take place.
Virtual talk with Alex Myers
The Arlington Public Library is set to host a virtual talk with transgender advocate and writer Alex Myers on Monday, June 13, between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. It is open to people over 12. Those interested need to register for the event.
Pride Month for county employees
On Wednesday, June 15, OUTstanding, a LGBTQ+ employee resource group aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion in the Arlington County government, is set to host a Pride Month Proclamation and Celebration event for county employees to “celebrate living, working and thriving,” according to the event’s poster. The event is scheduled between noon and 1:30 p.m. in Courthouse Plaza at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. It is open to the public and no registration is needed.
Book club discussion
The library’s book club is also set to host a discussion session on books with LGBTQ+ themes and its June selection, “Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing” by Lauren Hough. The event is scheduled for Monday, June 27, between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. It is set to be held at the Campbell Room in the Shirlington branch library, at 4200 Campbell Avenue. It is only open to adults and registration is required.
DCA Sign Changes Start Tomorrow — “We’re making it easier to find your gate! Beginning June 4, we will be updating our signage to include a letter in front of each gate number. Don’t worry, no airlines or gates are actually moving!” [Twitter, DCist]
Summer Reading Program Underway — “The Arlington County library system’s summer-reading program kicked off June 1 and will run through Sept. 1. ‘Readers of all ages are invited to immerse themselves in reading, participating in 500 free programs and explore the 2022 theme, ‘Oceans of Possibilities,” library officials said.” [Sun Gazette]
Weekend Road Closures — “There are planned road closures to accommodate the 2022 Armed Forces Cycling Classic bicycle races, which will take place during the weekend of Saturday, June 4 – Sunday, June 5, 2022.” [ACPD]
New Name for Park Near HQ2 — “Before the HALRB’s meeting of May 18, it looked like “Teardrop Park” would be a runaway choice for the new space, which will be bounded (in a teardrop shape) by South Eads Street and Army Navy Drive and bisected by 11th Street South… But at the HALRB meeting, Berne stopped that train in its tracks by countering with “Arlington Junction Park,” which would pay homage to an important trolley-line nexus of the last decade of the 19th century and the first four decades of the 20th.” [Sun Gazette]
Free Donuts Today — “It’s National Donut Day on Friday, and several eateries in Virginia and Washington, D.C., are offering a sweet deal or two to lure in donut lovers across the state.” [Patch]
Paper Calls for Return of SROs — “One wonders if Arlington’s School Board members will have a change of heart, now that there is a national drumbeat for more, not less, public-safety presence in schools. Sadly, one presumes not.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Friday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 78 and low of 65. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]
Gun Violence Rally Planned — “A National Gun Violence Awareness Day rally will be held Saturday in Arlington. The rally will be held by the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group that supports stricter gun laws, at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Hope Garden near Courthouse Plaza in Arlington.” [Patch]
Animal Control Rescues Bald Eagle — From the Animal Welfare League of Arlington: “Our animal control officers were all very surprised this weekend when a call about a large bird behaving oddly turned out to be a fledgeling bald eagle! He is now with a licensed wildlife rehabber and when he’s feeling better we hope to release him back into the wild!” [Twitter]
Blood Drive this Weekend — “Fire Works American Pizzeria and Bar is partnering with Inova Blood Donor Services to host an Arlington Community Blood Drive on Monday, June 6.” [Patch]
Pride Month Events at Library — Pride Month starts today and Arlington Public Library has a page with LGBTQIA+ book lists, stories and history discussions. The library is also hosting a series of Pride Month events. [Arlington Public Library]
It’s Wednesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 89 and low of 73. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:29 pm. [Weather.gov]
From a new Columbia Pike library to a dedicated pickleball court, County Manager Mark Schwartz’s proposed 10-year $3.9 billion capital improvement plan would fund projects across Arlington.
The first 10-year plan for capital projects in four years would budget for infrastructure projects between 2023 and 2032. The CIP proposal, slated for adoption in July, is a 40% increase from the plan approved four years ago, Schwartz said in his presentation to the County Board Tuesday.
“This CIP proposal aims to address current and future capital needs in Arlington County as we emerge from the financial setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Schwartz said in a statement. “We want to focus on key planned investments in addition to following through on commitments from prior plans to benefit county residents and businesses long-term.”
Stormwater projects would receive $331.3 million in funding, including $77 million for Spout Run, $14.7 million for Torreyson Run, $28.5 million for Crossman Run and $49.5 million for Lubber Run — all flood mitigation efforts. Streams and water quality funding is proposed at $52.1 million and maintenance at $50.2 million.
While Metro remains one of the largest investments in the CIP, at $356.4 million, the proposal also outlines $1.8 billion in non-Metro transportation funding. This includes $16 million for Vision Zero street safety improvements program, $64 million for bridge replacements and renovations, and $89 million for bike and walk programs.
Other highlights include:
- Columbia Pike library replacement ($31.6 million)
- Planning for future investment at the Quincy Street site ($16.4 million)
- Army Navy Country Club Trail ($4.9 million)
- Maintenance and expansion of Capital Bikeshare program ($16.8 million)
- Continued funding for Columbia Pike transportation improvements, supporting the remaining reconstruction and the Transit Station program ($117 million)
- Bridge replacements and renovations, including replacing the W. Glebe Road and Mt. Vernon (Arlington Ridge Road) bridges and design and construction of Shirlington Road Bridge ($64 million)
- Construction of new entrances to the Ballston ($147.5 million) and Crystal City ($91.4 million) Metro stations and investment in the transitway extension to Pentagon City and Potomac Avenue ($33 million)
The proposed CIP includes new park programs that focus on emerging needs and natural resiliency, a new fire station on the west end of Columbia Pike, and facilities consolidation to enable remote work for county staff.
Schwartz said the needs of the county have changed since the last 10-year CIP, as the county is in “a world shaped by the pandemic where we do our business differently.”
Michelle Cowan, deputy county manager overseeing the Department of Management and Finance, noted during the presentation that the finance department works entirely remotely now, potentially a harbinger of a money-saving reduction in the county’s office footprint.
“We have reduced our footprint which… allows us then to do some really strategic consolidations that you’ll hear about in other county buildings that could get us out of some aging assets,” Cowan said.
The CIP will continue to fund debt service obligations for the investment in housing at Barcroft Apartments, construction of Fire Station 8, which is scheduled to be completed in fall 2023, and the design and planning process for the proposed Arlington boathouse.
Preliminary construction funding for the lower boathouse site is included in the later years of the CIP.
This CIP returns funding levels for the Arlington Neighborhoods Program, formerly the Neighborhood Conservation Program, which are projects identified by individual neighborhoods and include street improvements, streetlights, parks, beautification and sidewalks. The program had steep cuts in previous CIPs.
The 2023-32 CIP proposal would provide $85.2 million in funding to the program. That includes $4 million of funding for projects in fiscal years 2023 and 2024, and would increase to $9 million in 2030 and 2031, Director of Management and Finance Maria Meredith said.
Arlington Public Library is getting more than a half a million dollars to add 12,000 more titles to its collection, mostly in the form of ebooks.
Last month, the County Board adopted a budget that included a one-time allocation of $543,000 to the county library system for the purpose of adding to its collection. That money will kick in at the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1.
“The additional funds will allow us to get more books into more hands, more quickly,” said Library Director Diane Kresh in a press release. “A well-stocked, diverse collection benefits the entire community.”
Notably, the money will go towards increasing the library’s collection of electronic titles. The demand for both of these are at an “all-time high,” according to Arlington Public Library, with check-outs increasing by 210% for eAudio titles and 98.5% for eBooks since 2019.
The hope is that the extra funds will help “drastically reduce” how long patrons are waiting for popular titles.
“The lion’s share of the one-time funding will go towards bringing down those wait times by adding more copies of ebook/eaudiobooks with high holds to the collection,” Peter Petruski, who is in charge of the library’s collections, told ARLnow via email.
A smaller portion of the funding will go to more copies of print books, since demand isn’t as high as it is for electronic versions. Print books cost less than their electronic equivalents, Petruski noted.
“The growth in the e-material formats has been the biggest change in recent history,” Petruski writes. “This funding will allow us to continue to provide a broad collection for every reader’s interest while bringing wait times down.”
The library will also expand its catalog of Spanish language books with some of the funding.
The County Board approved its $1.5 billion annual budget last month. In it, Arlington Public Library was allocated a total of about $16 million — an increase of close to 6% from the previous year’s budget.
Update at 9:40 p.m. — Power is expected to be restored around midnight for the remaining 500 or so homes without power, according to Dominion says. The company confirmed that a tree trimming company dropped branches on power lines, causing the outage.
Arlington outage update:
➡️520 customers out
➡️ Unaffiliated company trimming trees dropped branches on power lines near Arlington Ridge Rd around 3PM
➡️@DominionEnergy crews continue to safely make repairs
➡️ Estimated Restoration Time is 12AM
Thank you for your patience!
— Peggy Fox (@PeggyDomEnergy) April 15, 2022
Update at 6 p.m. — The number of outages is down to 520, according to Dominion’s website. The cause of the outage, which is now mostly affecting the Arlington Ridge neighborhood, is a tree on a power line, the power company says
Earlier: Nearly 3,400 Dominion customers are without power in parts of South Arlington due to an outage.
The outage is affecting portions of Pentagon City, its surrounding neighborhoods, and eastern Columbia Pike. Firefighters are investigating initial reports of wires down around the intersection of S. Arlington Ridge Road and 23rd Street S., near where a tree crew was working.
Dominion is currently listing an estimated restoration time of 6-9 p.m.
The outage is affecting both single-family home neighborhoods and commercial areas. There have been several reports of power surges in the area, including at the Aurora Hills library.
Due to weather conditions, the Aurora Hills Library is currently experiencing intermittent power surges.
While the Library remains open for browsing, holds pickup and check out, Public PCs are unavailable.
Wi-Fi access may also be intermittent. pic.twitter.com/h9p8UdUkil
— Arlington VA Pub Lib (@ArlingtonVALib) April 14, 2022
— verycaroline (@verycaroline) April 14, 2022