Arlington, VA

Zitkala-Ša Park in Lyon Park could be ready by July to welcome neighbors who have gone without their community green space since October 2019.

Construction on the park at the corner of 7th and N. Highland streets is nearly a year behind schedule due to pandemic- and weather-related delays. Upgrades include re-doing the basketball court and adding new play structures, a picnic shelter, as well as fencing and landscaping.

New signage also went up recently to reflect a name change. In December, the County Board officially renamed Henry Clay Park after Zitkala-Ša, an Indigenous rights activist who lived near the park.

Initially, the Department of Parks and Recreation set out to complete the changes by July 2020 but the pandemic caused manufacturing and shipping delays. A new timeline of December 2020 was set. Now, work is being hampered by weather, said parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish.

“We are progressing along as best we can, however, due to weather we have not been able to complete all the work we’d like to do,” she said.

Kalish added that many of the remaining tasks — planting, laying asphalt and safety surfaces, striping the basketball court — “are weather-sensitive and can be completed only after the weather gets a little better.”

These two complications combined led the department to move the completion date sometime between April and June 2021.

When completed, the community “will see a new basketball court, playground, open field and picnic shelter with updated site circulation, site furnishing, fencing, drainage and landscaping,” Kalish previously told ARLnow.

The park “is a heavily used facility,” the county said in a 2019 report. “The outdoor amenities for [Zitkala-Ša Park] are now past their useful life and are in need of replacement.”

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Morning Notes

Statements of Support for AAPI Community — “Arlington Public Schools condemns racism and all expressions of hate, bias and discrimination. The horrific shootings in Atlanta earlier this week are a tragic reminder of the increase in violent attacks, hate speech and discrimination targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We grieve with the families of the victims of the shootings in Atlanta on March 16 and share the sorrow of all who stand against hate and discrimination.” [Arlington Public Schools, Press Release]

Opposition to Zoning Proposal — “The proposal has nevertheless attracted some pushback from Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future, a community group that has begun organizing opposition to the county’s housing efforts on the grounds that Arlington hasn’t properly prepared for additional growth… Other affected neighborhoods, including Green Valley in South Arlington, also offered opposition.” [Washington Business Journal]

Citizen Group Wants Tree Update — “‘Don’t call us, but we promise we’ll call you’ appears to sum up the Arlington County government’s reaction to an Arlington County Civic Federation call for an expeditious effort to update an analysis of the county’s tree canopy… The Arlington government last conducted a tree inventory in 2016, reporting the findings in 2017. The roughly 750,000 trees in the county’s 26 square miles cover about 41 percent of the county’s ground area.” [Sun Gazette]

Chainsaw Art Coming to Lyon Park — “This summer, Mallon is scheduled to do chainsaw sculptures on three stumps trees near the community center in Arlington’s Lyon Park, a community-owned park in the county. Mallon, who grew up in Arlington, said he usually brings about five chainsaws to a project, depending on the level of detail of the work.” [Patch]

GOP Gov. Candidate in Arlington — Glenn Youngkin, a Republican candidate for governor, made a campaign appearance at the Crystal City Sports Pub over the weekend. The event was criticized by Democrats for its crowd of maskless supporters. [Twitter, Twitter]

Airport Passenger Volume Going Up — “TSA screened 1,543,115 people yesterday, Sunday, March 21. The last time checkpoint throughput topped 1.5 million was March 15, 2020.” [Twitter]

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(Updated at 11 a.m.) The Arlington County Board is set vote this Saturday, March 20 on a nearly $1 million project to improve the intersection at N. Pershing Drive and Washington Blvd.

The busy intersection in Lyon Park lacks accessible curb ramps and has narrow sidewalks, long crossings and outdated bus stops, per the county manager’s report, creating a harrowing experience for many pedestrians and cyclists.

Concerns about the intersection were first brought up in May 2018. Four other nearby intersections along N. Pershing Drive were approved for “Complete Streets” pedestrian safety upgrades last year.

The requested $987,270 for the newest project will improve safety and accessibility at the Pershing and Washington intersection by expanding sidewalks and updating curb ramps to better comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the county says. It also shortens crossings.

Designs were completed last summer.

If approved, construction is expected to start early this summer according to Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesperson Eric Balliet.

More details about the timeline will come after the county’s approval and a contractor is onboard, Balliet notes in an email to ARLnow. The project is being funded by grants from the Virginia Department of Transportation, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, as well as funds from the county’s Capital Projects Fund.

Ardent Company is being recommended as the construction company by county staff, after the firm came in as the lowest bidder out of six.

Ardent has worked with the county on numerous projects, including the Green Valley Town Square project, the Ballston Metro station’s bus bays, and pedestrian improvements in Crystal City.

Photo via Arlington County

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If you love everything the city has to offer but find yourself wishing for quiet small-town living, we’ve got great news: Arlington’s Lyon Park neighborhood offers both!

Like all of Arlington, the real estate market in Lyon Park is thriving right now. Join us as we share everything that you need to know about the in-demand neighborhood of Lyon Park!

And, as always, if you have any questions about Arlington real estate, contact the Keri Shull Team, the No. 1 top-selling real estate team in the Washington, D.C. area.

Where is Lyon Park?

Lyon Park is a suburban neighborhood in Arlington, resting just south of the Orange Line corridor and directly adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery.

Lyon Park is beloved by many for its amazing mix of urban conveniences and suburban privacy, as well as its abundance of parks and green spaces. Coming home to Lyon Park from elsewhere in Arlington or D.C. really feels like you’re living far from the bustle of the city.

Things to Do in Lyon Park

Most of Lyon Park is dedicated to residential spaces, but there are still great options for dining and recreation in the area.

We have two favorite restaurants in particular.

Texas Jack’s Barbecue is a popular — and highly-lauded — smokehouse that is sure to satisfy your cravings for ribs, brisket and more.

Also be sure to check out Mocha Cafe and Pastry, a lovely delicatessen offering unique Persian flavors in addition to classic European fare.

Living in Lyon Park

Most homes on the market in Lyon Park are detached, single-family homes. Although the neighborhood is quite close to Clarendon — an area with an abundance of high-rise condominiums — Lyon Park retains a tranquil, suburban feel.

In general, houses in Lyon Park hold their value and appreciate well, meaning that buying a home in the neighborhood can be a smart investment for many people.

Getting Around in Arlington

Lyon Park is within easy reach of all the shopping, dining and entertainment of nearby Clarendon, while also having plenty of conveniences within the neighborhood itself.

Although there is no dedicated D.C. Metro stop for Lyon Park, residents still have easy access to public transit options. The D.C. Metro Clarendon station is within walking distance, and to make getting around even easier, Metrobus stops dot the neighborhood.

If you want to find a nice, quiet home in Lyon Park with access to cosmopolitan amenities, you’ll need every advantage you can get!

At the Keri Shull Team, we have hundreds of off-market properties you cannot find online or anywhere else… and we want to give you priority access to these homes before they even go on the market!

And if you are selling a house in Arlington, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are taking the proper precautions to protect your investment. The best way to do that is to speak with a top-tier real estate agent and create a completely customized home selling strategy.

So what are you waiting for? Just schedule a time for a free, no-pressure consultation with one of our Real Estate Needs Analysts!

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Morning Notes

Restaurant Delivery Popular in Arlington — “When WTOP asked UberEats what the top neighborhoods for deliveries are around D.C., it ranked the top five, based on number of orders in 2020. They are Northeast D.C. (it did not specify a specific neighborhood), Shaw, Adams Morgan, Arlington County’s Lyon Park (a dense residential neighborhood south of Rosslyn) and Pentagon City.” [WTOP]

County Board to Elect New Chair — “The Arlington County Board will elect its 2021 Chair and Vice-Chair during its Monday, January 4 virtual Organizational Meeting, and Board Members will lay out their priorities for 2021. The new Chair will succeed 2020 Chair Libby Garvey and will serve for one year.” [Arlington County]

Arlington Housing Market Stays Hot — “Arlington County remains the most expensive D.C. suburb, with a median selling price of $660,000 in November, up 20% from last November, according to Long & Foster data. The number of homes that sold in Arlington last month — 221 — was 23% more than a year ago. The good news for potential buyers in Arlington is that the 530 active listings at the end of November was up 122% from November 2019.” [WTOP]

Gelato Comes With ‘Woke’ Facts — “Most ice cream pints display little more than nutritional information and ingredients, but Amore Congelato founder Thereasa Black wasn’t about to waste an opportunity to advance her company’s social justice mission. Each pint contains ‘stay woke’ facts printed on the side that cover pitfalls of the U.S. criminal justice system. Pick one up at her storefront in Arlington or at Glen’s Garden Market.” [Washington City Paper]

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A park that’s under construction a few blocks south of Clarendon is expected to get a new name.

Arlington’s Park and Recreation Commission is recommending Henry Clay Park be renamed Zitkala-Ša Park, after a prominent Indigenous activist and author who lived in Lyon Park. The County Board is set to consider the name change at its Saturday meeting.

The park at 3011 7th Street N. remains closed while it undergoes extensive renovations. It is slated to reopen in early 2021 with the new name.

The Lyon Park Citizens Association presented the idea to the Park and Recreation Commission this summer. In October, the change received unanimous support from the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board and majority support from the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, per a county staff report.

“This proposed name change comports with the County’s naming guidelines and will add significantly to the diversity of park names,” the Lyon Park Civic Association said.

Only a handful of individuals provided public testimony, mostly in favor of the change, though at least one person spoke out against it. The Commission voted for the change in late October.

According to the Department of Parks and Recreation, the park is where the original Lyon Park School stood. The building was renamed Henry Clay School in 1927 after Clay, a slave-owning Kentucky lawmaker and Secretary of State who fought a duel near Chain Bridge.

“It is believed that Henry Clay Park was created in the early 1980s and retained the name of the school previously located on the site,” the park website said.

Clay held abolitionist views but kept the slaves he inherited as a child, freeing them upon his death.

Zitkala-Ša (“Red Bird,” or Cardinal bird) and her husband, Captain Raymond Talefase Bonnin, moved to Lyon Park in 1925 and lived there until their respective deaths in 1938 and 1942. Both are buried in Arlington National Cemetery and their home still stands at the corner of 3rd Street N. and Barton Street.

Born in South Dakota in 1876, Zitkala-Ša was eight when Quaker missionaries recruited her to leave the reservation and attend a manual labor school. There, she was given the name Gertrude Simmons, her long hair was cut and she was forbidden from speaking her native language.

“Although she enjoyed learning to read and write, she experienced first-hand the damage of having her heritage stripped away,” Arlington Public Library wrote about her. “Feeling torn between her life on the reservation and her forced assimilation into white mainstream culture, Zitkála-Šá pursued higher education and distinguished herself as a public speaker on social and political issues.”

From 1911 to her death, she was politically active. She joined the Society for American Indians, speaking nationally on its behalf. She and her husband founded the National Council of American Indians and advocated for voting rights, healthcare, legal standing and land rights, the library said.

She also created the Indian Welfare Committee of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, speaking in Washington, D.C., Arlington, and Fairfax.

She spent the rest of her life in as president of the Council of American Indians, “speaking and writing about the continuing political and social mistreatment of Native Americans,” the library said.

A county staff report recommends the County Board endorse the name change proposal.

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Morning Notes

RBG Buried at Arlington National Cemetery — “The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was buried at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday. A spokesperson for the Supreme Court confirmed that she was laid to rest and said it was a private service. She was set to be buried alongside her husband, Martin David Ginsburg, who was buried there in 2010.” [WJLA]

DCA Work May Cause Traffic Delays — “Beginning on or about Thursday, October 1, portions of the Terminal B/C Ticketing (upper-level) roadway will close for work related to Project Journey. At least two vehicular lanes will remain open as the construction areas periodically change.” [Press Release]

Police Investigating Lyon Park Attack — “As the parties exited the business, the dispute continued and became physical. The suspect waved a knife at Victim One, who then fell to the ground. The suspect kicked her, at which point a second victim attempted to intervene, but was struck with the knife by the suspect. The suspect then fled in a vehicle.” [Arlington County]

Cristol Joining New Equity Program — “Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol has been named one of 14 Southern elected leaders who will form the inaugural class of E Pluribus Unum (UNUM) fellows. The program is designed to equip Southern leaders with resources that advance racial and economic equity within their communities.” [Arlington County]

Ballston Hosting Local Restaurant Week — “You’re invited to sip and savor your way through Ballston. Join our neighborhood’s Sip & Savor Restaurant Week. From October 1st through the 4th, support your favorite restaurants and eat local!” [Ballston BID]

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As renovations are underway for Henry Clay Park, some local residents are hoping for one more additional change: getting rid of the name honoring slave-owning former Secretary of State Henry Clay.

Clay, who represented Kentucky in Congress before and after serving as Secretary of State under President John Quincy Adams, fought a duel in Arlington: at Pimmit Run in 1826. Neither participant was wounded and no Broadway musicals were written in Clay’s honor. Though he owned slaves and had a negative view on a multiracial society, Clay was opposed to slavery and freed those he enslaved upon his death.

The Lyon Park Civic Association is now hoping to change the name to one honoring Zitkala-Ša, a Native American writer and political activist who lived in the neighborhood from 1925-1938, the Falls-Church News Press first reported.

“The Lyon Park Civic Association has requested that the park be renamed the Zitkala-Ša (Red Bird) Park,” confirmed Susan Kalish, spokesperson for Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “They presented their request at the July 28 Park and Recreation Commission meeting.”

Kalish said after receiving the request, the proposal will be reviewed by the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board and the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee.

“The Park and Recreation Commission will consider the renaming request again after they receive comments from these citizen advisory groups and adjacent civic associations,” Kalish said. “Once the commission approves the name, the County Board will make the final decision on the proposed park name.”

Henry Clay isn’t the only slaveowner in Arlington whose name could be removed from public property. Arlington County is also currently considering renaming Lee Highway, named for Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

Whatever its name will be, Kalish said renovations to the park at the corner of 7th and N. Highland streets are still on track to be completed by the end of the year.

“While the pandemic caused delays in procurement and site furnishing manufacturing,” Kalish said, “it all came together and the community will see a new basketball court, playground, open field and picnic shelter with updated site circulation, site furnishing, fencing, drainage and landscaping.”

Image via Arlington County

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This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.

On this week’s edition of the Neighborhood Spotlight, join Keri Shull, founder of the Keri Shull Team, as she gives you a tour of 5 more of our favorite family-friendly playgrounds in Arlington.

Between amazing food, drinks and entertainment, there are plenty of great things to do in Arlington — but not all of it is family friendly. Luckily, when it comes to finding fun for the whole family, we are here to help! So take a look below to learn about 5 more of our favorite recreational parks!

Lyon Village Park 

Sitting just south of Lee Highway, Lyon Village Park is a cute, 2-acre space that offers tons of fun activities. Families can enjoy their snacks at the picnic pavilion — and with so much fun to be had, you and yours are sure to work up an appetite!

This gorgeous park is great for toddlers and big kids alike, with enjoyable activities for all ages. In addition to spaces to place tennis and basketball, the park’s sprayground is a perfect way to escape the summer heat.

Rocky Run Park

Rocky Run Park is a great option for school-aged children and toddlers alike, with plenty of fun to be had across its 2 acres. Although there are distinct spaces for each age group, they are close enough together that parents or guardians can keep an eye on all their kids at once.

Little athletes are sure to fall in love with Rocky Run Park — in addition to a full-sized basketball court, the recreational area also features a turf field that is perfect for playing soccer or football. Rocky Run Park also has some convenient luxuries, such as public bathrooms and off-street parking options, that are much appreciated.

At the time of publication, Rocky Run Park is closed for ongoing repairs — so make sure you check the Arlington Parks and Recreation website regularly to see when you can come enjoy this great space!

Hayes Park

Located off of I-66 near the Virginia Square neighborhood is Hayes Park, another one of the best parks in Arlington. Hayes Park is the perfect place to enjoy a steamy summer day, with a great sprayground, fun play structures and courts for playing tennis or basketball.

Hayes Park is also fenced in for ultimate peace of mind, and the spot has an off-street parking lot and public bathrooms. This makes Hayes a great place to spend an afternoon — and you can pack a lunch or snack to enjoy at one of the picnic tables!

Read More

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A lot of local businesses are struggling during the coronavirus outbreak, but at least one seems to be doing just fine.

Nova Armory, the Lyon Park gun store that generated controversy when it opened four years ago, has had lines out the door for at least the past week.

The store at 2300 N. Pershing Drive, which did not respond to a request for comment from ARLnow, said via social media last week that it was only allowing six people inside at a time and increasing sanitation efforts, in order to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

Gun stores across Virginia have been seeing an increase in business amid the pandemic, NBC 4 reported.

The News 4 I-Team requested statewide data since the beginning of March and found the highest number of requests for background checks, 3,753, on Saturday, March 7, the very day Virginia announced its first COVID-19 case.

In the 10 days that followed, background check requests were up 45% from the same time period last year.

But Virginia State Police say this uptick hasn’t come close to the single-day record of 5,645 background check requests, set on Black Friday in 2019, shortly after Democrats won control of the Virginia legislature.

On Sunday, Nova Armory said it would be shifting to primarily appointment-based sales, starting Tuesday.

“All appointments will take priority over any walk-in customers,” the store said.

Photos courtesy anonymous

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(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) The driver of a landscaping truck, accused of ramming at least three vehicles, a bus stop and a house in Lyon Park earlier this week, is now facing criminal charges.

Arlington County Police say 33-year-old Jose Gomez of Gaithersburg, Maryland was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence and Driving with Open Container of Alcohol after Monday’s incident on N. Barton Street.

From an ACPD crime report:

At approximately 3:29 p.m. on March 2, police responded to the 700 block of N. Barton Street for the report of a vehicle crash with property damage. Upon arrival, it was determined that the driver of the striking vehicle allegedly hit a parked vehicle, overcorrected and then drove through a bus stop, a County light pole, metal trash container, and into two parked vehicles. The force of the impact sent one of the parked vehicles into a residence, causing structural damage. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. Officers administered field sobriety tests and executed a warrant for a blood draw. Jose Manuel Carranza Gomez, 33, of Gaithersburg, MD was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence and Driving with Open Container of Alcohol.

The crashes destroyed the bus stop near N. Pershing Drive and, we’re told, might have caused foundation damage to the house, prompting a building inspector to place a large, orange sticker on the door.

Today a blue tarp covered the spot where a car was pushed partially into the house.

A short video of part of the incident, shared with ARLnow, shows the truck backing up onto the sidewalk and then pulling forward again, as residents yell at the driver to stop.

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