The Arlington County Board deferred a vote Tuesday on the design of the new Lubber Run Community Center after confusion over the timing of meetings on the project.
But the Board did agree, by a 3-2 vote, to a $37 million contract to replace the center, out of a total project budget of $47.8 million.
The new center will replace the one built in 1956 at 300 N. Park Drive, Arlington’s first purpose-built community center.
The building will provide programs for youth, adults and seniors including a preschool, senior center, gymnasium and fitness center and several multipurpose rooms. It also will house about 70 employees in the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Construction could begin as early as next fall.
A meeting is scheduled for today (July 19) at Barrett Elementary School for residents to give feedback on the new building’s design. That meeting coming a day after the Board’s scheduled design vote left some members perturbed, as they wanted to see the community engagement process play out before taking action.
Before the start of deliberations, County Manager Mark Schwartz apologized for any communications that caused “confusion or anxiety” in the community.
A timeline in May provided by local resident Michael Thomas had the Board likely voting on the design in September. But Jane Rudolph, director of the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said the plan was moved up after staff found they could have the construction contract ready for July’s meeting and advertised on July 7. She also apologized for any confusion
“This is really, I think, close to a smoking gun,” said Board member John Vihstadt. “I don’t understand why we couldn’t defer to September to realize and fulfill the original intention of staff to have the board meeting after the next concept presentation and another PFRC meeting as well.”
Vihstadt was joined in voting to defer, while simultaneously approving the construction contract, by chair Jay Fisette and Christian Dorsey. The trio emphasized that no “fundamental changes” should be made to the plan during the review.
Board member Libby Garvey and vice chair Katie Cristol voted against the plan. Cristol said that the consensus on the Board that no major changes should be made, coupled with the support of many in the community for the new center, should be enough to proceed.
Of those who testified on the project, many had concerns around the project’s impact on the environment, including the need to cut down some trees and possible erosion. Independent County Board candidate Audrey Clement, reading remarks on behalf of local activist Suzanne Smith Sundburg, said people wanted more open green space and more trees, rather than more pavement and buildings.
“Staff’s perception of the community’s feedback on this project continues to be at odds with the public’s perception of what it has asked for,” Clement said.
Community engagement for the project took a more modern approach than similar efforts in the past. The engagement used more technology like online surveys and looked to reach out to previously under-represented communities like the Spanish-speaking population in the county.
While Board members and staff recognized the foul-up with the timeline, some residents said the majority of community outreach was done well.
“This is textbook on how to do community engagement,” said Nathan Zee, an Arlington Forest resident. “You went above and beyond what would be reasonably expected, and should be commended. The outstanding design reflects this hard work.”
Images via county presentation
Thirty performances including big band, blues, soul and orchestral music as well as cabaret acts will come to the Lubber Run Amphitheater this summer.
The acts begin on June 16 with roots rock band The Grandsons, then children’s entertainer The Great Zucchini wraps things up on September 17.
The performances are being organized by Arlington’s Cultural Affairs division, with the cooperation of the Lubber Run Amphitheater Foundation, which funded the four family-friendly shows at the end of the season.
The amphitheater is located near the intersection of N. Columbus Street and 2nd Street N., about a 20-minute walk from Ballston. It is also accessible on Metrobus’ 4B route between Rosslyn and Seven Corners.
It almost closed five years ago but the foundation worked with the county to find a way to keep it open through some cost-effective renovations.
The full performance schedule is below.
- Friday, June 16 – The Grandsons (Rock)
- Saturday, June 17 – Rene Ibanez y Cubano Groove (Latin)
- Sunday, June 18 – Mr. Knick Knack! (Children’s music)
- Friday, June 23 – JoGo Project (Jazz)
- Saturday, June 24 – Caz (Soul)
- Sunday, June 25 – Arlington Philharmonic Pops for Pets (Orchestra)
- Friday, June 30 – Revelator Hill (Blues)
- Saturday, July 1 – Cissa Paz (Brazilian)
- Sunday, July 2 – Sligo Creek Stompers (Bluegrass)
- Friday, July 7 – Los Gallos Negros (Latin)
- Saturday, July 8 – King Soul (Soul)
- Sunday, July 9 – Akua Allrich (Soul)
- Friday, July 14 – Company Danzante (Contemporary Dance)
- Saturday, July 15 – Chopteeth Afropunk Big Band (Afrobeat)
- Sunday, July 16 – Kenny Rittenhouse (Jazz)
- Friday, July 21 – Little Red & The Renegades (Creole)
- Saturday, July 22 – Elikeh (Afro-Pop)
- Sunday, July 23 – Little Bit of Blues (Blues)
- Friday, July 28 – Chieck Hamala Diabate (African)
- Saturday, July 29 – Elena y Los Fulanos (Latin)
- Sunday, July 30 – Cristylez Bacon (Progressive Hip-Hop)
- Friday, August 4 – Dupont Brass (Soul)
- Saturday, August 5 – WSC Avant Bard (Theatre)
- Sunday, August 6 – The Scotch Bonnets (Punk Reggae)
- Friday, August 11 – Rico Amero Sr. (Blues)
- Saturday, August 12 – Signature Theatre Cabaret (Vocals)
- Sunday, August 13 – National Chamber Ensemble (Orchestra)
- Sunday, August 27 – “Speed” The Magician (Magic)
- Sunday, September 10 – Mystic Drumz (World Music)
- Sunday, September 17 – The Great Zucchini (Children’s Entertainment)
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman. Kalina Newman contributed reporting.
Arlington County will host a public meeting Saturday for residents to help the design of the new Lubber Run Community Center evolve.
Saturday’s gathering will be at Barrett Elementary School at 4401 N. Henderson Street from 1 to 3:30 p.m. It comes on the heels of a similar meeting Wednesday.
After a kick-off meeting last month, the next session will present “Big Idea” design schemes, developed from community feedback.
At that kick-off meeting, almost 200 people shared their ideas for the building and park design. Architectural firm VMDO, Inc. has led the process alongside county staff.
The Lubber Run Community Center is the oldest county facility specifically designed as a community center. But a revamp is necessary, said staff, as it is not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act due to a lack of elevators.
“We need everyone’s participation from start to end of the work sessions to hone in on the best possible options,” reads a previous announcement. “Together, we’ll share what we like and don’t like about various schemes, and chart a path forward for the new Lubber Run Community Center.”
Ultimately, the new community center will have “a full complement of recreational, social and learning activities for all ages,” according to the county.
In addition to the meetings, other work is being done in the area of Lubber Run.
Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. has been hired to do an inventory of all trees, to help guide the design process and reduce its impact on healthy trees. Meanwhile, Toole Design Group is conducting a traffic volume study to determine the number, movements, and classifications of roadway vehicles along the George Mason Drive and Park Drive intersection.
According to a project timeline, the design is expected to be finalized this winter, with construction expected to begin next year.
Arlington County will hold a “community kick-off meeting” next week where members of the public can help design the new Lubber Run Community Center.
The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Barrett Elementary School (4401 N Henderson Road) next Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m.
In December, the Arlington County Board approved a $3.9 million contract to plan and design a new four-story Lubber Run Community Center at 300 N. Park Drive. As planned, the new center would include a gymnasium, playgrounds, offices and underground parking.
More on the upcoming design meeting from Arlington County:
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the Community Kick-Off Meeting to design the new Lubber Run Community Center.
While youth 10 and older, teens, adults and seniors are invited to attend the kick-off, there will be free supervised recreation activities for preschool and elementary age kids at Lubber Run Community Center starting at 6 pm. – so caregivers can come to the kickoff meeting. If you will be dropping off a child, please RSVP so we know who to expect.
In the event Arlington County Government is closed on February 8 for inclement weather, the kick-off will be rescheduled for February 15 at the same time and place.
In December 2016, the County Board approved a contract to plan and design the new Lubber Run Community Center. The community engagement process, led by the architectural firm VMDO, Inc., will include public meetings starting on February 8, community feedback options and other outreach for the building and park design. All community members are invited to participate!
Over this past summer, the County Board confirmed the scope for the Lubber Run Community Center project and provided guidance as follows:
- The Lubber Run Community Center is to be built up to four stories along with underground parking to enable more green space.
- The new center should include a gym and accommodate relocation of the senior program from Culpepper Garden as well as continue the DPR preschool program.
- Sports and Recreation Division staff currently located at Lubber Run and 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive will be consolidated at the new community center.
- Office use should remain subservient to the community center use in the form and function of the overall facility.
High School Boundary Change Petition — Matthew Herrity, the Washington-Lee student who penned a widely-shared open letter to the School Board regarding its recent high school boundary change decision, has now started an online petition. The petition, which calls for increasing diversity at Arlington’s high schools, has more than 1,000 signatures. [Change.org]
Community Center, Gymnastics Contracts Approved — At its meeting on Saturday the Arlington County Board approved a $3.9 million contract to plan and design a new four-story Lubber Run Community Center, with a gymnasium, playgrounds, offices and underground parking. In response to heavy program demand, the Board also approved a $1.7 million addition of a second gymnastics area at the Barcroft Sports and Fitness Center. [Arlington County]
Ebbin on Trump and Other Topics — “Trump is making me nostalgic for Reagan,” said state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) during a wide-ranging interview on the Kojo Nnamdi Show Friday. Ebbin also discussed casino gambling, with the opening of the new MGM casino in National Harbor, and Confederate monuments in Alexandria, among other topics. [Kojo Nnamdi Show]
D.C. Police Misconduct Story Has Arlington Connection — There’s an Arlington connection to one of the misconduct allegations against Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, the head of the D.C. police Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Liaison unit. Hawkins reportedly took two underage summer interns to Freddie’s, the LGBT bar in Crystal City, and laughed about one using a fake ID. She’s now facing possible disciplinary action for that and for allegedly showing the interns a homemade sex tape on her phone. [Fox 5, Fox 5]
Lubber Run Community Center Redevelopment — With voter approval of a “community infrastructure” bond that funds it, work is set to proceed on the redevelopment of the Lubber Run Community Center. Design work on the new four-story, $47 million facility will wrap up next year. Construction is expected to take place in 2018. [InsideNova]
Arlington to Keep One of the Last Kenneth Cole Stores — Kenneth Cole is closing 63 stores in the U.S. to concentrate on online and international operations. One of the fashion house’s two U.S. locations to remain open indefinitely: the store in the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Bloomberg]
TransitScreen Expands to Coworking Spaces — TransitScreen, which was founded in Arlington in 2013, is expanding its presence from apartment buildings to coworking offices. The creator of screens that show the schedules of various transit options — including buses, trains and Uber vehicles — has announced that it has struck a deal with another Arlington-founded company: MakeOffices. [Bisnow]
AED to Host ‘Arlington Premiere’ — Arlington Economic Development is continuing its outreach to startup businesses. Next month AED will be hosting an event called “Arlington Premiere,” which is billed as “an exclusive reception welcoming new businesses to Arlington County.” The event will take place in Crystal City and will include networking opportunities for business owners. [Arlington Economic Development]
Cat Stuck in Tree — The Arlington County Fire Department was called last night for a cat that was stuck in a tree. Yes, that does actually happen. [Twitter]
Civic Federation Debate — The candidates for Arlington County Board, School Board and Congress took the stage at Tuesday’s Arlington County Civic Federation meeting, marking the unofficial kickoff of general election campaign season. During the County Board debate, independent challenger Audrey Clement went on the attack against “backroom deals” allegedly facilitated by incumbent Libby Garvey. [InsideNova, InsideNova, InsideNova]
September Heat Wave — Temperatures are expected to soar into the upper 90s today, and the heat and humidity will stay mid-summer-like through Saturday. [Capital Weather Gang]
New Flight Path Closer to Arlington? — To appease unhappy Northwest D.C. residents, the FAA is considering a new northern departure flight path for Reagan National Airport that’s closer to Arlington. A community meeting will be held to discuss the plan on Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 6:30-9:30 p.m., at Washington-Lee High School in Arlington. [WUSA 9]
Outdoor Movies on the Pike — Four films are left on the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization outdoor movie calendar. Tonight, the critically-acclaimed film Brooklyn will be screened outside the Arlington Mill Community Center. [CPRO]
Clement Against Lubber Run Plan — County Board candidate Audrey Clement says it’s “inappropriate and unnecessary, given the county’s current 20% office vacancy rate,” for Arlington County to be planning to spend $46 million on a new four-story Lubber Run Community Center that will include new offices for the Dept. of Parks and Recreation. [Audrey Clement]
Beware the Cute Puppy Scam — Scammers are active on some local Facebook groups, trying to convince people to part with their cash and personal information to adopt a (fake) cute puppy from a (fake) man who can no longer afford to take care of it. [Fox 5]
Police Conduct Pedestrian Safety Detail — Arlington County Police conducted a pedestrian safety detail at the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Utah Street, in Ballston, where a teen was struck by a car and seriously injured in April. In a tweet, a driver is shown receiving a ticket for failure to yield to a pedestrian. [Twitter]
Pure Barre Coming to Pentagon City? — Exercise studio Pure Barre is finalizing a lease on the ground floor of the new Bartlett apartment building in Pentagon City. That was revealed during an opening party for the Bartlett on the building’s rooftop (see photo, above) Wednesday night.
Photo Shows Big Changes in Pentagon City — As seen in an old black-and-white photo, 56 years ago Pentagon City was mostly empty fields on the outskirts of Crystal City and the Aurora Highlands neighborhood. Development has transformed it into a Metro-accessible hub for shopping, apartment living and offices. [Twitter]
Arlington Mom Gives Birth Live on Facebook — An Arlington mother gave birth to her son live via Facebook Live for the TLC show “A Baby Story Live.” [Patch]
Light Pole Snaps During Storm — Earlier this week, a light pole in the park along Lubber Run snapped during a storm. [Twitter]
Thirty-one performances ranging from family-friendly magicians to rock to old time country to Ethiopian jazz are planned at the Lubber Run Amphitheater this summer.
The performances start on June 17 with a cabaret from Shirlington’s Signature Theatre and wrap up on Sept. 18 with a magician Captain All-Star.
The eclectic lineup includes a focus on African and Caribbean music.
The performances are being organized by Arlington’s Cultural Affairs division, with the cooperation of the Lubber Run Amphitheater Foundation, which funded the four family-friendly shows at the end of the season.
Nestled in the woods and enjoyed by locals for decades, the amphitheater is located near the intersection of N. Columbus Street and 2nd Street N., a long walk from Ballston. It almost was closed five years ago but the foundation worked with the county to find a way to keep it open through some cost-effective renovations.
The full performance schedule is below.
- Friday, June 17 — Signature Theatre Cabaret
- Saturday, June 18 — ELIKEH (Afro-Pop)
- Sunday, June 19 — Nicole Saphos (Jazz)
- Friday, June 24 — Bowen MacCauley Dance
- Saturday, June 25 — Feedel Band (Ethiopian Jazz)
- Sunday, June 26 — Arlington Philharmonic (Classical)
- Friday, July 1 — By & By Bluegrass
- Saturday, July 2 — Mary Ann Redmond (Roots Rock)
- Sunday, July 3 — The Sweater Set (Folk Duo)
- Friday, July 8 — The Harry Bells (Island Brass Band)
- Saturday, July 9 — Cissa Paz (Brazilian Jazz & Pop)
- Sunday, July 10 — Los Carribeat (Caribbean)
- Friday, July 15 — National Chamber Enesmble (Classical)
- Saturday, July 16 — Cheick Hamala Diabate (Malian Griot)
- Sunday, July 17 — Hollertown (Old Time Country)
- Friday, July 22 — Telecaster Masters! Featuring Anthony Pirog and Dave Chappell (Guitar Virtuosos)
- Saturday, July 23 — Orlando Julius (Nigerian Afro-Pop icon)
- Sunday, July 24 — Levine School Interactive Family Concert (Family Fun)
- Friday, July 29 — DC Highlife Stars (African Highlife)
- Saturday, July 30 — CAZ (Rock, Soul & Reggae)
- Sunday, July 31 — The Grandsons (Roots Rock)
- Friday, August 5 — Amadou Kouyate (Malian Kora Master)
- Saturday, August 6 — Army Blues (Jazz)
- Sunday, August 7 — Margot MacDonald (Singer Songwriter)
- Friday, August 12 — Mary Alouette (Gypsy Jazz)
- Saturday, August 13 — Mbongwana Star (Congolese Fusion)
- Sunday, August 14 — Rico Amero (Blues)
- Saturday, August 27 — The Great Zucchini (Magician)
- Sunday, September 11 — Rocknocerous (Family Music)
- Saturday, September 17 — Mr. KnickKnack (Family Music)
- Sunday, September 18 — Captain All-Star (Magician)
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
County Announces ‘Energy Lending Library’ — Today, on Earth Day, Arlington County is formally announcing what it says is the nation’s first “energy lending library.” Via Arlington Public Library, residents will be able to borrow thermal imaging cameras, energy meters and books that will help residents identify areas of energy waste in their homes. [Arlington County]
Woman Arrested After Foot Chase in Pentagon City — A shoplifting suspect was taken into custody in Pentagon City after leading police on a foot chase yesterday, just before 6 p.m. Police were still searching for the woman’s shoplifting accomplice. [Twitter]
New Lubber Run Community Center Planned — Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has proposed a new, $45 million Lubber Run Community Center. The four-story structure would also include a parking garage, so that the existing surface lot can be converted to parkland. [InsideNova]
Arlington Hires Full-Time Ombudsman — Arlington County has a new ombudsman. Former Dept. of Human Services assistant director Robert Sharpe has been named to the county’s newly-created position of Director of Constituent Services. Sharpe’s job will be “troubleshooting issues on behalf of his fellow Arlington residents while working directly with departments, County leadership and the County Board.” [Arlington County]
Free ‘Pop Up Yoga’ Session on the Pike — On Sunday, from 11 a.m. to noon, a free “pop up” yoga class will be held at Penrose Square (2503 Columbia Pike). “Lisa Marie, local artist and certified yoga instructor, will lead the participants through postures, intentions and breath” that are specifically inspired by the pair of sculptures in the park. [With Love DC]
Medics on Motorcycles? — The citizen task force coming up with recommendations for Arlington’s Fire Station 8 has struck upon a novel idea: using motorcycle-based paramedics to get to patients faster in traffic than would a big, lumbering ambulance. Not every member of the task force, however, thought that was a good idea, citing potential issues with staffing. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Police are still not willing to say that the attacks are the work of the same sexual assault suspect, but did say “there’s potential” that it’s a serial attacker.
The latest incident happened just after 8 p.m. on Friday, as a woman was walking down a path with her young child in Lubber Run Park, near N. George Mason Drive and Barrett Elementary School.
The 27-year-old woman saw an apparently intoxicated man approach her as she tried to get back to the busy road. As he neared, she bent down to shield her three-year-old child, and the suspect groped her, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“The victim was able to scream causing the suspect to flee,” according to a crime report. “The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his twenties, approximately 5’7″ tall with a medium build. He was wearing a solid grey t-shirt, black shorts, and black tennis shoes at the time of the incident.”
“From the suspect description provided there is a possibility it could be the same guy, but we’re not willing to suggest that quite yet,” said Sternbeck. “We have not identified or arrested the suspect or suspects involved in the attacks.”
ACPD is advising residents to trust your instincts, be aware of your surroundings, travel in groups if possible and to contact police immediately if you are a victim of a crime.
Police Answer Resident Questions About Murder — Arlington County Police held a community meeting in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood last night to answer questions about the murder of Bonnie Black. Police said that Black was stabbed in the chest and neck. Officers have been conducting extra patrols but police say no immediate danger to the community. Meanwhile, it was revealed that police are searching the home of Black’s estranged husband, who so far is not being named as a suspect. [MyFoxDC, WTOP]
Judge Considering Deaf Inmate’s Suit — A federal court judge is considering testimony in the lawsuit against the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office by a deaf inmate who says he was denied access to an American Sign Language interpreter during a jail stay last year. [Associated Press]
TDM For APS Teachers — Arlington County has launched the first transportation demand management (TDM) program in the U.S. for public school faculty and staff. The program is “aimed at reducing the drive-alone rate of the more than 5,000 employees of Arlington Public Schools (APS), one of the top employers in the county.” [Mobility Lab]
No ‘Bells and Whistles’ for Lubber Run — Arlington County is in the early stages of a plan to renovate the Lubber Run Community Center (300 N. Park Drive), but the officials are already tamping down any expectations of gold-plated features. “We’re not going to build everyone’s wish list,” said County Board Chair Mary Hynes on Tuesday. A community forum about the renovation project is scheduled for next Wednesday at 6:30 at the community center. [InsideNova]
Arlington Native Named People’s ‘Most Beautiful’ — Actress Sandra Bullock, a 1982 graduate of Washington-Lee High School, has been named People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman of 2015. [Patch]
Photo courtesy @TheBeltWalk
Same-Sex Marriage Stats in Arlington — One in nine marriage license applications in Arlington — 11 percent of the total — have been from same-sex couples since October, according to Circuit Court Clerk Paul Ferguson. The first legal same-sex marriage in Arlington took place on Oct. 6, 2014. [InsideNova]
Disease False Alarm at Lubber Run — County officials were informed last week that two children in a preschool program at Lubber Run Community Center had been diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. In response, parents of children in the preschool and a daycare program at the center were notified, toys and surfaces in facility were disinfected, and toys that could not be disinfected were thrown away. Within a day, however, county officials say they were told that the diagnosis was wrong and that the children did not, in fact, have the disease.
Sweet Leaf Now Open in Ballston — The Sweet Leaf Cafe at 650 N. Quincy Street in Ballston opened last week. The cafe is open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., according to owner Arita Matini.
Storytime with Caps Player at Library — Washington Capitals forward Eric Fehr stopped by the Westover Branch Library Monday night for a reading of his new children’s book, The Bulliest Dozer. Fehr signed books, hockey sticks and at least one library card. [Arlington Public Library]
The Arlington County Board has scrapped the affordable housing-oriented “Public Land for Public Good” initiative, voting unanimously last night to wait for the findings of its new Facilities Study Committee.
The county’s new, 24-member Facilities Study Committee will broadly look at all county- and school-owned land and evaluate what facilities are possible on different sites in the county.
The Arlington Planning Commission recommended the County Board set aside the initiative — which was intended to identify county-owned property that can be used for affordable housing or new schools — last month. County Manager Barbara Donnellan agreed with the commission yesterday in her recommendation to the Board.
The action was taken “because the planning commission urged us to do so and told us they thought a better approach to this was to do the study committee, which we have launched,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said at the meeting. “I think that makes sense.”
Along with scrapping the initiative, the County Board voted to move forward with studies for the renovation of the Lubber Run Community Center, renovation of Jennie Dean Park in Shirlington and the future of the Salt Dome facility and Fire Station 8.
“The Lubber Run Center needs to be redone,” Donnellan said. “The opportunity is to look at what we’re currently providing there and how it can be updated.”
While those studies continue, the Board unanimously decided that no standalone affordable housing may be built on current parkland or open space.
“As we launch into the facilities study committee, we do not have the luxury to rule anything out based on the buildout of our 26 square miles of space as far as our facilities are concerned,” Board member Walter Tejada said. “This is going to challenge everyone again and it’s going to make us uncomfortable in our seats at times. But the time has come.”
Donnellan’s response to the criticism the Public Land for Public Good initiative received from the public, the planning commission and the Long Range Planning Committee was to defer to the Facilities Study Committee and simply say “criteria for locating new uses on county lands will be reconsidered,” and public facilities policies will be “revisited and built upon.”
Arlington County is receiving some pushback over its “Public Land for Public Good” affordable housing and school capacity initiative.
Specifically, the identification of the Lubber Run Community Center (300 N. Park Drive) as a site for potential affordable housing has drawn the ire of the 76-unit townhouse community Cathcart Springs, across N. George Mason Drive from Lubber Run.
Arlington is expected to begin studying Lubber Run, the “salt dome” along Old Dominion Drive and land adjacent to Jennie Dean Park in Shirlington as county-owned land that could be developed or redeveloped into affordable housing. The community planning portions for those sites, if approved by the Arlington County Board, would begin next spring.
The county is already accepting online comments on the proposed sites, and recently extended its deadline to receive those comments by a month, until Oct. 31. The association is passing out flyers to its residents, encouraging them to send this comment to the county:
“Using park and recreation facilities should be preserved for future generations and should NOT be considered for conversion to alternative uses. Once beautiful parkland is gone, it is gone forever. Preserve LRCC as a recreation/community center only.”
So far, the county has received about 70 comments, according to the county’s Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development.
“Many of the comments suggest revisions to improve the proposed site evaluation guidelines,” CPHD spokeswoman Jessica Margarit told ARLnow.com today. “Other comments range from concerns about preserving parkland to ensuring that affordable housing locations are balanced across the entire county.”
Cathcart Springs Homeowners Association President Sandy First told ARLnow.com that she’s not opposed to affordable housing — far from it — but that site should not be considered. She also said Cathcart Springs has teamed up with the Arlington Forest Civic Association to rally against the proposal.
“I’m not against affordable housing at all, it’s just that most of it is [in the 22203 ZIP code],” she said. “Across the street at Lubber Run you’ve got an opportunity over there. With the community center, playground and amphitheater, it could play into an incredible array of programs.”
The opposition to Lubber Run’s redevelopment joins opposition from the Old Dominion Civic Association to plans to redevelop the “salt dome” site, for which adjacent green space had originally been slated for a new fire station and emergency management headquarters. That plan has been scaled back since as the county mulls its options, but the County Board approved $28 million to redevelop Lubber Run.
Photo via Arlington County