The possibility of including a swimming pool in Career Center site planning arose at a joint Arlington County Board/Arlington Public Schools work session last week.
Kristi Sawert, who presented Career Center site considerations for programming and amenities during the work session, said that the pool possibility was “one of the more lively discussions” that the working group has had. Sawert listed several reasons for being pro-pool, including what she called a long-standing APS and School Board policy that aquatics education is essential.
“The main reason I hear that we don’t need a pool at the Career Center site is that those students could be bused to Long Bridge Pool when it opens,” said Sawert.
Sawert said that after having consulted with county staff, she believes that busing students isn’t feasible at the high school level because of the lack of free elective periods that students would need for off-campus travel. Busing, Sawert said, would only be a realistic option if students chose to give up core instructional time.
“Those lost hours would really add up,” she said, adding that this was a matter of equality between wealthy students who could afford private swim lessons and those who couldn’t.
High schoolers take at least eight swimming lessons per year in 80-minute blocks. Elementary and middle schoolers are required to take far fewer lessons, at just five swimming instructional hours annually.
Though County Board member John Vihstadt said that he thought a pool is appropriate and necessary, other board members had questions. County Board member Libby Garvey questioned why changes couldn’t be made to students’ schedules to accommodate activities like swimming.
“I appreciate the discussion of swimming and why we need swimming and pools, I totally believe that,” Garvey said. “But listening to the concerns and the difficulties, they all sit around schedules, and the same old block schedules, and the same old constrained day.”
Garvey suggested, as an example, a school schedule of 6 a.m.-11 p.m. for students, which she said would provide flexibility for students to go to Long Bridge to swim. Her intent with the example, she explained, was to highlight the importance of flexibility for students who need to take jobs, go to internships or do other activities that don’t conform well to the traditional school schedules.
“I totally agree with the need for swimming. I’m not sure we have to preserve the same schedule that we’ve had for a hundred years,” Garvey said.
Board member Erik Gutshall questioned how realistic it would be to have another pool in light of county-wide funding concerns.
“I’d want to know that if we’re going to build a pool, and if we agree it’s a great idea, that that pool is going to get absolute, full use and that all of our other pools that we have get full use,” he said. “Money is an object, and it’s going to be highly constrained in every decision [so] every recommendation has to be fully justified.”
Screenshot via Arlington County
The free block party is an effort the connect the community with police officers. One of the highlights of the event will be “Behind the Badge,” an activity that will give attendees the chance to simulate real-world police scenarios.
It includes brief training on police tactics and will allow participants to play the role of a police officer in two scenarios.
The event will also offer free vehicle VIN etching, demonstrations from police K-9s and motorcycle officers, a distracted driving course, free food and drink and more.
“It’s an opportunity for public safety to give back to our community and also for the community to enjoy entertainment while getting to know the men and women who serve and protect Arlington County,” said Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
To get the word out about the block party, the department is creating promotional videos that show another side of Arlington’s men and women in blue. An anonymous tipster spotted the filming of one such video in progress last week.
“Yesterday, I saw five or six ACPD officers filming some kind of video in the large swimming pool at the Dorchester Towers apartment complex off of Columbia Pike,” said the tipster. “Someone was filming the officers in what looked like full uniform — doing things like cannonballing into the pool and doing synchronized swimming routines!”
Savage said ACPD is filming “some creative videos” for the block party, and that those videos will be released closer to the event. She shared one still image from the filming, above.
Photo via Arlington County Police Department
Local pools could be at risk of indefinite closure due to visa processing issues for potential lifeguards.
According to a resident of the Barkley Condominiums (1016 S. Wayne Street), on Sunday a notice posted to the building’s bulletin board said the pool would be closed indefinitely, due to the pool service company having difficulty getting lifeguards into the country because of visa issues.
The notice also reportedly said the issues would hopefully be resolved within the next week, but that timing was unclear. Another source who lives in the building confirmed the pool’s closure. The condo’s property manager declined to comment.
Many local pools rely on young, foreign lifeguards who come to the U.S. during summer months through a non-immigrant visa program.
A press release on May 26 from the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals explained that pools in Mid-Atlantic states might experience delayed openings because of regulatory changes. The Mid-Atlantic is primarily affected because in this region, lifeguards must be present for most commercial or condo pools to be used.
“The pools affected are those run by pool management companies who recruit lifeguards from certain countries through the U.S. State Department’s J-1 Summer Work Travel Program,” the press release said.
In the meantime, the association is trying to recruit lifeguards from local high schools and colleges so that people can still cool off in the summer months.
Chris Teale contributed reporting. Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick.
Construction Accident in Rosslyn — An accident on the parking garage level of the construction site at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Nash Street in Rosslyn prompted a large fire department and police response this morning. A worker suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the accident, which occurred around 8 a.m., and needed to be carried via rescue basket to a waiting ambulance. The response closed lanes of Key Blvd and exacerbated traffic delays caused by construction nearby on Lee Highway.
Sex Assault Suspect May Have Tried Other Buildings — The suspect in a violent sexual assault in Rosslyn may have unsuccessfully tried to get into other Arlington apartment buildings before somehow entering The Atrium building, where the assault occurred, through the front entrance, NBC 4’s Jackie Bensen reports. The suspect then knocked on doors, claiming to be a maintenance worker, before the victim opened her door and a struggle and the sexual assault ensued. [NBC Washington]
Wakefield Senior Named Top Entrepreneur — “Wakefield High School senior Tasnim Alam was named one of the top six entrepreneurs in the country at the the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Saunders Scholarship Competition in Rochester, N.Y. Tasnim is the founder and CEO of Heatless Hotness, a business that sells heat-free hair curlers that are convenient to use and create salon-like results, which she launched while participating in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s YEA! program.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
When Do Pools Open in Arlington? — Patch has an answer to the question, “When Do Arlington Swimming Pools Open in 2017?” — and that answer is: Memorial Day weekend. More specifically: Saturday, May 27. Unless it’s an indoor pool, in which case it’s open year-round. [Patch]
The incident happened just after 5:00 p.m., at the private Dominion Hills Area Recreation Association pool at 6000 Wilson Blvd.
An 8 or 9 year old boy accidentally swallowed water while swimming and began struggling in the water, according to an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman. A lifeguard spotted the boy in distress and he was underwater by the time lifeguards reached him.
When the boy was pulled from the water, he had a pulse but was unconscious and not breathing, the spokesman said. Lifeguards performed rescue breathing and were eventually able to revive the boy, we’re told.
Paramedics arrived and transported the boy to Virginia Hospital Center for evaluation.
John Aldonis, the pool’s manager, declined to identify the lifeguards who saved the boy’s life but said they are local high school and college students.
“They did a great job,” Aldonis said. “They did everything correctly and followed the Red Cross protocols.”
Aldonis said this was the first time in recent memory that paramedics had to be called to the Dominion Hills pool for a life-threatening emergency.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Arlington County is asking for public input on a possible partnership with Alexandria to build the proposed Aquatics, Health and Fitness Facility in Long Bridge Park, near Crystal City.
The county will reach out to residents this fall to see what they would like to see in an aquatic and fitness facility. Alexandria will also be surveying its residents.
If interests in both counties line up, the two will start to discuss costs and responsibility for the development of the pools and fitness area. The border between Alexandria and Arlington is roughly three miles from Long Bridge Park.
The possible partnership is the county’s latest plan to find the funds it needs to complete the second phase of the Long Bridge Park Project Plan.
“If the synergy is there, and both communities are interested, we will explore this further,” County Board Chair Mary Hynes said in a statement. “Partnerships are just one of the many creative ways we are approaching the development of our facilities and programs.”
Phase Two includes building the aquatic and fitness facility, connecting an esplanade in Long Bridge Park to the building and the creation of public areas, trails, public art, walkways and signs for the park, according to the 2013 Long Bridge Park Master Plan.
The county has been planning a redesign of Long Bridge Park for more than 10 years, with the first phase completed in 2011. Higher-than-expected construction bids and operating costs prevented the county from choosing a contractor to complete phase two, pausing the project in 2014.
Once completed, the aquatic and fitness facility is planned to have a 50-meter pool for recreational, fitness and competitive swimming. There will also be a smaller pool for exercise and recreational program, a small hot-water therapy pool and a free-form water play area that will include a lazy river and slides, according to a 2013 design plan for the facility.
In addition to the aquatic elements, the facility will have a large fitness area and a community room, according to the plan. A “Multiple Activity Center,” which will have a climbing wall, a large indoor fitness space and an elevated track, is also planned.
The plans may change based on feedback from residents, Hynes said. The County Manager is scheduled to present recommendations to the County Board in January 2016.
“A lot has changed since that building was designed,” Hynes said. “The economy has changed. Many things in the region are different.”
While the county is waiting on the aquatic and fitness facility, it will continue to make improvements to the park. In June, the County Board unanimously approved the construction of playgrounds on the south end of the park. The $1.082 million contract includes play areas with cooling “fog” systems, tunnels, play structures, bridges, benches and fencing.
Photos via Arlington County
Arlington County police are asking for help identifying three suspects who allegedly stole credit cards and cell phones from from the locker rooms of two high school pools.
The suspects were caught on surveillance camera at a CVS in northwest Washington where police say they used their victims’ credit cards.
From an ACPD press release:
The Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying three suspect that were involved in larcenies that took place in local aquatic center locker rooms.
On the morning of March 30, 2013, a victim was swimming at the Washington and Lee High School Aquatics Center and had his belongings stolen from his locker in the locker room. In this incident, the victim found that his lock had been cut, and also discovered that his iPhone 4 and credit cards were among the missing items. Later that same day, a victim was swimming at Yorktown High School Aquatics Center and had his wallet stolen from his locker room locker. The victim’s lock, Blackberry phone, cash, and credit cards were among the items stolen. Credit cards stolen from both aquatic centers were used at a CVS in NW, Washington, D.C. by the three suspects in the attached photographs.
Suspect one is described as a black female, wearing black pants, a blue jacket, and a baseball cap while using the credit cards. Suspect two is described as a black female, wearing dark pants, a red hooded sweatshirt, and had a short style haircut. Suspect three is described as a black male with glasses, wearing camouflage pants and a t-shirt with a unique graphic. These subjects have been seen together at the Wakefield High School Aquatics Center in recent weeks, but it is unknown if anything was stolen at that time.
If anyone has information on the whereabouts of this individual, please contact Detective James Stone of the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit at 703.228.4245 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).
Photos courtesy ACPD
At its meeting on Saturday (January 26), the County Board is being asked to provide authorization for staff to advertise public hearings regarding the proposed amendments. The changes include revising parking standards for elementary and middle schools, permitting off-site vehicle parking at community swimming pools and allowing the County Board to modify parking standards.
The issue first arose during the public review process for the addition to Ashlawn Elementary School and the new school to be built on the Williamsburg campus. Arlington Public Schools felt that using the existing Zoning Ordinance for parking requirements would result in an excessive amount of parking. For instance, the addition to Ashlawn would require 228 parking spaces under the ordinance, when APS says it only needs about 100.
“That is way more than we need and it means we would lose open space and ball fields,” said John Chadwick, Director of Design and Construction for APS. “If we do that and we lose open space, ball fields and green space, that sort of counters what everyone is trying to do in Arlington.”
Another concern is that the ordinance requires all of the parking spaces to be on site. One of the proposed amendments would allow for off-site parking on the street or in other lots, like the lots of private swimming pools, which are typically open during the summer but closed during most of the school year. County staff offered the example of Ashlawn’s ongoing shared parking agreement with the Dominion Hills Pool.
Residents who live close to the affected schools haven’t all been supportive of the measure considering it would force more cars into neighborhood streets.
“We are having some push back from neighbors, but very few of our schools provide the number of spaces currently required under this ordinance,” Chadwick said.
The ordinance is not retroactive, so schools already in existence would not have to suddenly rework their parking situation; only new schools, such as at Williamsburg, or school expansions, such as Ashlawn, need to comply.
The changes would also alter the definition of “design capacity.” The new parking proposal suggests allotting one teacher parking spot for every 7.5 students, and one visitor spot for every 40 students.
“We’re very much in favor of the plan and the change and we’ve worked with them [the county] all the way. We really need to get this change approved so we can move forward with the Ashlawn campus and Williamsburg site,” Chadwick said. “This is all good from our point of view. I know it’s a bit complicated, but it actually makes sense.”
Similar parking issues have been identified with the county’s planned aquatics facility at Long Bridge Park. That prompted County Manager Barbara Donnellan to ask staff to examine not only regulations covering school parking, but county recreational facilities as well. As with the schools, parking demand at the aquatics center site was deemed lower than the existing requirements in the Zoning Ordinance.
While some of the amendments deal specifically with parking either at schools or recreational facilities, there are also general provisions covering both categories. County staff recommends that one of the general principles should be to base parking requirements on average daily use and not peak facility uses. Additionally, it recommends sites be examined individually to determine parking needs instead of forcing all facilities to conform to the same regulations. Such a recommendation would be fulfilled by the proposed amendment allowing the County Board to grant special parking exceptions, which it currently cannot do.
The public hearing with the Planning Commission is scheduled for February 11 and the one with the County Board is scheduled for February 23.
Power Outage Update — As of 8:30 a.m., there were 14,860 Dominion customers still without power in Arlington. That’s down from 27,586 outages as of 9:30 yesterday morning.
911 Now Accessible By Cell Phone — Arlington County says its 911 system is now properly receiving calls from cell phones. Problems were reported with the system yesterday afternoon.
Cancel Special Events on the Fourth? — Citing power outages and a dodgy 911 system, Arlington Office of Emergency Management Director Jack Brown says he’s not sure it’s the best idea for Arlington to host events for the Fourth of July tomorrow. He told the Washington Post yesterday: “I’m questioning having a special event during an emergency.” [Washington Post]
School Board Renews Murphy’s Contract — Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy had his contract renewed at Monday morning’s School Board meeting. The contract calls for Dr. Murphy to stay with the school system until the end of the 2015-2016 school year. He’ll be paid an annual salary of $209,976. [Washington Post]
Community Pools Busy — The indoor pools at Yorktown, Wakefield and Washington-Lee high schools were all busy this weekend, in the wake of Friday’s storms. [Sun Gazette]
County Manager Barbara Donnellan’s proposed FY 2013-2022 CIP describes the center as a “one-of-a-kind recreational, fitness, and competition asset [that] will provide long-term value to our community and attract people regionally to the unique combination of assets that is Arlington — to work, to play, to live.”
While supporters say Arlington County “can afford… world-class facilities” like the aquatics center (see statement from Nathaniel Giddings, after the jump), detractors — like fiscal watchdog Wayne Kubicki and GOP County Board candidate Matt Wavro — say that the county actually can’t afford such “vanity projects.”
Kubicki, chair of the Arlington County Civic Federation’s Revenues and Expenditures Committee, said in a statement (excerpt below) that the aquatics center will impose a long-term fiscal burden on taxpayers, who are already faced with a rising county budget.
Donnellan has proposed including $42.5 million worth of the aquatic center’s $70+ million cost included in a larger park bond, to be considered by county voters in November. The Civic Federation has called for the aquatics center to appear on the ballot as a separate bond item.
Kubicki made the following personal remarks to the County Board at Tuesday’s hearing.
The CIP projects 3% annual revenue growth for FY14 through 16….
Combining just the operating costs for new items such as Arlington Mill ($3.3M) and the Silver Line (our first year cost is $1.7M), and increased debt service costs, our FY14 budget already needs over $14M in growth – before increasing anything.
Funding the proposed CIP will necessitate major revenue growth, well over 3%, and unlike the past two fiscal years, where the burden of increased spending fell mostly on our commercial sector, the next several years will more heavily fall on homeowners. Commercial assessments are very unlikely to jump a third straight year.
There is one prime candidate for controlling some of this – the Long Bridge pools building, with its $73M price tag.
With our admittedly deteriorating infrastructure, and pressing school capital & operating needs if enrollment growth continues, coupled with uncertain future revenues and the over $7M in annual operating subsidies for the two streetcar lines upcoming, is Long Bridge really a priority? Can it seriously be called a “need”?
Combining proposed debt service, including the $20M interim non-bond borrowing, with its projected operating subsidy, Long Bridge’s annual cost is nearly $7M per year. That’s over one cent on the current tax rate- for one single building, that most residents will never use, and that many would have trouble finding, even if you gave them a map.
The Long Bridge project raises the term “vanity project” to a new level, and fiscally has the potential to be the Artisphere on steroids.
If Long Bridge is on the fall ballot, it should be as a separate, stand-alone referendum, with nothing else attached to it, as the Civic Federation strongly recommended to you. The fiscal ramifications of this project deserve separate discussion and a separate vote.
Matt Wavro, Republican candidate for County Board, said that the funds proposed for the aquatics center should instead be used for neighborhood projects and for the maintenance of existing recreational facilities. (Excerpt of his remarks, after the jump.)
Next week the water park at Upton Hill Regional Park will host one portion of what’s being called the “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.”
At 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 14, children will gather at Upton Hill (6060 Wilson Blvd) to take part in a swimming lesson that will be held at the same time as lessons at 500 other pools and aquatic facilities around the world. The event is part of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) “Pool Safely” campaign, a national public education effort.
Rep. Jim Moran (D), CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum and other local officials are expected to help kick off the world record attempt.
The event will attempt to break its own Guinness-certified record from last year. In 2011, more than 20,000 kids and adults on five different continents participated in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. While the goal of the event is to set a new world record, the ultimate goal of the campaign is to reduce child drownings, near-drownings and entrapments in pools and spas.
From a press release:
This year the campaign’s focus is on populations most at risk of drowning: children younger than 5 years old (who represent nearly 75 percent of child drowning fatalities) and African-American and Hispanic children between the ages of 5 and 14, who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drown at higher rates than white children. CPSC reports that annually there are 390 pool or spa-related drownings for children younger than 15.
Photo via Ocean Dunes Waterpark
Editor’s Note: This periodic sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.
Question: I’m moving to Arlington and would like to find a neighborhood with a pool. Do you have any advice?
The majority of single family home neighborhoods in Arlington do not have a homeowners association (HOA), and therefore do not include amenities like swimming pools. I’ve found that this can be a letdown for families moving from Fairfax and Loudoun Counties.
The good news is that there may be other pool options available. The bad news is that it may take a few years to work your way up the local pool’s waitlist. Who knew pool memberships were in such high demand in Arlington?
I’ve put together the following guide to help you out. The information provided is deemed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. Please reach out to the individual pools you are interested in to learn more about the waitlist process and the cost details.
6030 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA
Waitlist: Currently there are 666 families on the waitlist. The estimated wait is 3-5 years. You must be a resident of Arlington, Falls Church or McLean to join.
August passes are available for non-member at a cost of $325 / family.
Cost: A non-refundable initiation fee of $2,000 (as of February 2011 — this amount is subject to change), plus $1,000 construction fee is required. In 2012 the annual dues are $700.
The military base announced a policy change today that will open up most recreation facilities there to non-Department of Defense federal employees. Among the facilities that federal workers can now take advantage of are the Fort Myer Bowling Center and the Fort Myer Officers’ Club. The club has a swimming pool, tennis and racquetball courts and fine dining facilities.
Federal workers don’t have to be an Officers’ Club member to use the facilities, but they will have to pay a non-member fee. Official government ID is required to access the facilities. The policy change announced today also allows federal employees to join the Officers’ Club, if they wish.
The fitness centers and child development center at Fort Myer will continue to be for DoD personnel only.
The Officers’ Club and the bowling center can be accessed through the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Hatfield Gate.
In mere days, anyone looking to dive into a new exercise routine for the new year will have another option. The Yorktown Aquatic Center is set to open on Sunday.
The facility replaces Yorktown’s older pool that had been in use for decades. Visitors now have access to an eight-lane competition pool and a separate instructional pool. There’s also a separate diving area with two springboards and a scoreboard. At least 175 people can overlook the pools from the spectator area. The facility also houses a “wet classroom” which will be available to rent for pool parties.
Sunday’s grand opening open house celebration will run during normal facility hours, from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. You can get the full operating schedule here. The pool is located on the Yorktown Boulevard side of campus, and can be accessed from the parking area on 28th Street.
Misti Wise and Amy Borek were bartenders at Champion (2620 S. Shirlington Road) during the 90s. Now they’re coming back as owners, hoping to turn around Champion’s moribund business by making the place more attractive as a local food-and-drink destination.
“We want to appeal to everybody in the community, not just the staunch pool players,” said Borek. “Our hope is to be a real neighborhood destination… It will be a great story if we’re successful.”
The actual changes planned are somewhat minor. At the end of the month, Wise and Borek are planning to close Champion for a week to freshen up the place: add a new coat of paint, replace the old TVs with new flat screen TVs, spruce up the bar, etc. They will also be changing the name, from “Champion Billiards” to “Lucy’s ARL.” The pool tables and other staples will remain, although a skeeball machine may be added.
Then there are the planned changes to the menu, which Borek says will be key to attracting new customers. The tired old bar food will be replaced by “good bar food,” while prices will be kept relatively low.
“Before, food was kind of an after-thought,” Borek said. “I don’t want to alienate the existing customer base, so we don’t want to go high-end, but we want to have fun food with a bit of a twist.”
Among the signature menu items that the new owners plan to introduce are “zawiches” — sandwiches that use two slices of pizza instead of bread, like the kind Borek saw venders offering on the streets of Italy. A new, more interesting chicken tender appetizer and a pulled pork sandwich are among the other planned signature items.
Borek and Wise, who officially take over ownership on Sept. 1, will be renting the space from Champion’s existing owner. After working there for many years, then leaving, then coming back, Borek says they’re looking forward to reviving a place that “has history in the community.”
“We’re very, very excited,” she said. “You walk back in and it’s like old times. It’s a cool feeling.”