Two years since Henry Clay Park in Lyon Park closed for renovations, the since-renamed Zitkala-Ša Park is on the verge of reopening.
Arlington’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation is aiming to open the park by Friday, more than a year after its initial target reopening date. That will be a relief for neighbors, who have been peppering ARLnow with emails asking when it will finally open back up.
A parks department spokeswoman said the construction delays are related to the pandemic and the supply chain disruptions it has caused.
“Zitkala-Sa in particular has suffered heavily from the pandemic causing fabrication and material delivery delays, specifically we waited an extended duration for playground equipment to be manufactured and shipped and for the playground surfacing materials to be shipped to the site,” DPR’s Susan Kalish tells ARLnow. “Once those were in hand progress on addressing many of the smaller details that are not readily apparent to casual observers has progressed steadily. We anticipate the park to open by October 1.”
Earlier this year the parks department also cited weather-related delays. At the time the department was hoping the park would open by July, which would have been one year behind the initial expected completion date of July 2020.
Upgrades to the park at the corner of 7th and N. Highland streets include a new basketball court, play structures, a picnic shelter, and upgraded fencing and landscaping. Last year Henry Clay Park was officially renamed after Zitkala-Ša, an Indigenous rights activist who lived near the park.
Kalish said a grand opening celebration will likely be scheduled for mid-October. There will also be a private ceremony for the family of the late County Board member Erik Gutshall, who lived nearby and for whom a memorial plaque is being placed at the park.
A resident was seriously hurt after trying to confront a thief in his backyard.
The incident happened around 3:30 p.m. Friday on the 6200 block of Washington Blvd, in the Highland Park-Overlee Knolls neighborhood between East Falls Church and Westover.
Police say the resident saw a man standing in front of the shed behind his house and went to confront him.
The suspect then “picked up the victim’s tool box and attempted to leave the area,” said an Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The victim grabbed the suspect in an attempt to prevent him from leaving and a physical altercation ensued, during which the suspect struck the victim multiple times. The victim then fell to the ground and the suspect fled the scene on his bicycle.”
“The victim sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries and refused the treatment of medics,” ACPD said. “The suspect is described as a Black male, approximately 40 to 50 years old, 5’6″ tall, 150 to 180 pounds, wearing all black clothing and a black hat. The investigation is ongoing.”
In its weekend crime report, ACPD also reported an attempted robbery in Clarendon on Thursday night and an armed robbery of a taxi driver in Lyon Park late Saturday night.
ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2021-07290227, 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 10:50 p.m. on July 29, police were dispatched to the report of threats. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male victim was in the area when he was approached by the two known male suspects who began throwing rocks at him. The suspects then demanded that the victim give them money and fled the scene on foot when the victim confronted them. Suspect One is described as a White male with a thin build, approximately 19 years old, 5’10” tall with dark hair, a goatee and mustache, wearing a black backpack. Suspect Two is described as a White male with a thin build, approximately 18 years old, 5’5″ tall with blond hair, wearing a black backpack. The investigation is ongoing.
ROBBERY, 2021-07310275, 200 block of N. Fillmore Street At approximately 11:50 p.m. on July 31, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that a cab was dropping off passengers when two dark colored SUV’s pulled up and blocked in the cab. A male suspect then approached the rear passenger side door, brandished a firearm and demanded money. The suspect stole wallets and a cell phone from the victims before fleeing the scene. The suspect is described as a Black male in his early 20’s, approximately 5’6″ tall, with a skinny build. He was wearing a black mask, white tank top and dark colored pants. The investigation is ongoing.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) Firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria and elsewhere battled a house fire in the Lyon Park neighborhood Tuesday night.
The fire was first reported around 8 p.m., near the bike trail at the intersection of N. Edgewood Street and 1st Road N. A tipster tells ARLnow they saw a column of smoke and fire trucks racing down Washington Blvd, en route to the scene.
“Crews arrived on scene locating fire to the rear of the structure,” the Arlington County Fire Department said via social media. “Crews are still actively engaged in fire suppression operations on the interior.”
A support crew from the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department was also called to the scene.
After a protracted firefighting effort involving 70 firefighters, the flames were finally reported out at 10:20 p.m. Two firefighters suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.
#Final : Fire is out. Crews remaining on scene are conducting overhaul operations. There were 2 FF’s injured, they were transported with non-life threatening injuries. 0 civ injuries. Cause and origin under investigation. Over 20 apparatus and 70 FF’s responded to the scene.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) July 7, 2021
The cause of the fire was grilling too close to the house, ACFD announced Wednesday morning, reminding residents to keep grills away from the sides of homes. The blaze caused more than $350,000 in damage.
The ACFD Fire Prevention Office would like to remind everyone about the importance of keeping open cooking flames at least 10 feet from any combustible construction.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) July 7, 2021
Map via Google Maps
The site, at the intersection Arlington Blvd and N. Pershing Drive, has development potential as “the de facto neighborhood gateway,” wrote Jonathan Kinney and Matthew Roberts, land-use lawyers representing Shooshan, in a letter to the county.
Shooshan set its sights on the motel in 2019.
“The hotel is nearing the end of its useful life and is increasingly becoming functionally obsolete,” the lawyers said.
If redeveloped, most of the hotel would be torn down to make way for a mixed-use development that will likely include apartments, townhouses and retail, with open space and underground parking
But making these changes require a study of the site and surroundings to see what level of development would be appropriate, a study that just concluded. The resulting Pershing Drive Special General Land Use Plan study views the land as a “highly visible gateway node” that can support higher density and provide needed open space and trail connections, meaning Shooshan may soon be able to take the next steps toward redevelopment.
“The amendment is critically important to the effective redevelopment of the site and completion of the ‘gateway’ entrance into the Lyon Park neighborhood,” a report on the study said.
This study recommends rezoning the land for office, apartment and hotel use with a maximum height of eight stories or 90 feet along Arlington Blvd, with shorter maximum heights of three to six stories, or maximums of 50 to 70 feet, where the building transitions into nearby apartments and single-family homes. The document envisions a building with all-underground parking, “welcoming” ground floor retail and open space.
The open space would be on the northwest corner, along N. Pershing Drive. Along the southern edge, where the hotel faces the Washington & Lee Apartments, the document recommends the site should “present an inviting façade with three to four-story buildings, individual entrances, trees and landscaping…rather than turning its back on its neighbors.”
This area will have a shared street that pedestrians and bicyclists can use to access the Arlington Blvd Trail.
The study also recommends preserving the sign and lobby, described as iconic examples of mid-century modern design, and incorporating them somehow into the redevelopment. Before becoming a Days Inn, the hotel was called ARVA Motor Hotel, a name created by blending together “Arlington” and “Virginia.”
“The original shape and design of the blade sign should be rehabilitated to capitalize on this unique community landmark, while allowing for the sign to be reused to advertise the name of the new development, business, etc.,” the document said. “The lobby area could, in fact, serve as a trail-oriented retail space or cafe.”
Overall, according to the staff report, participants during a community engagement process — mostly neighbors — said they are in favor of redevelopment and reinvestment along this segment of Arlington Blvd, preferably with new apartments, restaurants and retail. Respondents to a survey stressed the importance of a casual-use open space, connections to the Arlington Blvd Trail nearby, more tree canopy and better sidewalks.
“There is general support for the recommendations outlined in the Study Document among Long Range Planning Committee and community members,” the report said.
This Saturday, the County Board is set to decide whether to approve future public hearings to consider adopting the special study and to consider changing the zoning of the site, per the study’s recommendations. The adoption of the document could come on July 17 or 20.
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.
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.”
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]
(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.
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.
Photo via Arlington County
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!
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!
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]
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.
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]