School Board Hears Opposition to Enrollment Proposal — At last night’s School Board meeting, during a public hearing about a proposed update to APS’ enrollment and transfer policy, some spoke out against what they saw as a policy that would disadvantage applicants to choice schools who do not live near the school. Among those speaking in opposition to the proposal was former U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra, who has also created a Medium post explaining his opposition. [Medium]
Spraygrounds to Open Next Week — Arlington’s “spraygrounds” — play areas for children where water shoots up out of the ground — will open for the season starting Friday, May 26. The spraygrounds are located at Drew Park (3500 23rd Street S.), Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street), Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street) and Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street). [InsideNova]
Startups Galore in Crystal City — More than 300 startups now call Crystal City home, according to the neighborhood’s business improvement district. That’s thanks in large part to coworking spaces like WeWork and 1776, but other startups in Crystal City have grown beyond a small, shared office. [Twitter]
Slide the City brings the gigantic vinyl slide to cities around the country and charges between $15 and $60 for participants to slide in their own inflatable tube down closed-off roads and parks. On the event’s website, Arlington is listed as a site for Saturday, June 27.
Utah-based Slide the City is in the process of acquiring a special events permit to run the event and has yet to set a location within the county. We’re told that the June date is not final, and that it may ultimately be scheduled for as late as August.
Event organizers have been using elevation maps to try to scout out the best place for the slide, and have discussed locations in Rosslyn, Clarendon and elsewhere, we hear. No decision is made, and no permit is expected to be granted until May at the earliest.
Participants have the option of booking one slide, three slides or unlimited slides. All get a mouthpiece, a temporary tattoo and a drawstring bag. Those interested can sign up for a mailing list to be updated on Slide the City’s progress, including when registration opens.
“We like to think of ourselves as carney workers, without the mullets and the missing teeth,” Slide the City says on its website. “Slide the City is a family friendly slip-and-slide water party event. There will be live music, food, drinks, water, and of course the biggest slip and slide ever to hit asphalt. Don’t worry, we’ve got it padded. This slide’s got more cushion than your grandpa’s orthopedic sneakers.”
Slide the City’s organizers did not respond to a request for comment.
Photo via Slide the City
The spraygrounds will be open most days between this weekend and Labor Day. You can see the schedule, which may vary on holidays, for each individual park at the county Parks and Recreation website.
Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation has ground rules for using the spraygrounds, including asking users to “interact with the spray ONLY if free of diarrhea for the past two weeks,” and “diaper-age children or incontinent persons must wear a ‘swim diaper.'”
Photo via Parks and Recreation
The three parks — Drew Playground (3514 22nd Street S.), Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street) and Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street) — opened over the weekend and will remain in service until Labor Day weekend. Hours of operation can be found online.
The proposed sprayground at Virginia Highlands Park is behind schedule and likely will not open until next year.
County officials say the project schedule has been extended while they take “some additional measures to ensure cleaner water enters the storm sewer from the sprayground.” That may be a disappointment to residents who were hoping to have a new place for their kids to cool off this summer.
We reported in 2010 that the sprayground — the county’s most elaborate water park yet — was originally scheduled to open by Memorial Day 2012. Now, we’re told, the county hopes to begin construction late this summer, which will allow the sprayground to open on Memorial Day weekend 2013.
Arlington’s sprayground parks include Drew Playground (3514 22nd Street S.), Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street) and Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland Street).
The county is hoping to open a fourth spraygound park near Pentagon City next year.
Photo via Arlington County
Update on 3/23/12 — This project has been delayed, according to Arlington County.
Virginia Highlands Park is in line to get the county’s most elaborate sprayground park yet.
The spiral-shaped park takes elements of Arlington’s existing sprayground parks, as well as elements from other water parks around the country. It will be located in a corner of the park, near the volleyball and basketball courts.
As planned right now, the park will feature water cannons, buckets that fill and dump water on anyone below them, mini waterfalls, small pools of water for play, bubblers, interactive locks and dams, jumping water jets and a boulder wall dividing the active and passive play areas in the park. The boulder wall will also provide a place to sit during the off-season.
The sprayground will be partially bordered by a rain garden, which will benefit from the park’s runoff. Other excess water would be directed to a large underground tank, which could then be used for irrigation or for the park’s toilets.
Funding for the park is still in question. An official who gave a presentation to the Aurora Highlands Civic Association last night suggested that the construction could be paid for with Neighborhood Conservation funds while the county tries to secure other funding.
If all goes according to plan, the park will be open in time for Memorial Day 2012. (Sprayground parks are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Recently park hours were reduced, but it sounds like the county is confident that normal hours will be restored by 2012.)
It may look like county workers are installing a new sprayground park in the middle of the intersection at North Henderson Road and North Thomas Street, near Ballston Common Mall. Alas, they’re just working on the pipes.
One worker told us the geyser was created on purpose to help drain one of the pipes.
Hat tip to D.P. for the heads up.
On this, the 50th 90+ degree day of the year, you’re probably already a pro at beating the heat. But just in case you need a refresher on hot weather best practices, here are a few resources that may come in handy.
For bike commuters, Bike Arlington’s Chris Eatough has a number of important tips for staying cool and hydrated on the road and non-smelly in the office. Among them: leave earlier in the morning, don’t wear a backpack and freeze your water bottles before heading out.
For pet owners, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington has advice for keeping your pets safe in hot weather. Limiting exercise for older dogs and dogs with thicker coats is recommended. Put sunscreen on your pet’s nose and ear tips if he or she is going to be out in the sun for awhile. And, of course, never, ever leave your pet in the car while running errands.
For people of all ages, Arlington County’s Hot Tips for Keeping Cool includes classic, common-sense hot weather advice that sometimes we can lose sight of in the midst of our busy schedules. For instance, if you’re going to be outside drink plenty of fluids, even if you’re not thirsty. Exercise in the morning or evening hours. And, again: never, ever leave kids or pets in the car unattended.
For local parents, the county’s spraygrounds are a great place for younger children to have fun and cool off. Check out the list of sprayground parks and their hours.
Finally, the county also has a page with tips for reducing your electricity usage during times of high power demand, such as hot and humid days like today.
The county has revised its sprayground park hours after receiving complaints from parents.
This year, budget cuts force the parks department to reduce Monday through Thursday summer hours from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. Now, the hours have been revised to make sure parents have the option of using the parks in the morning, before the heat of the day reaches its peak.
Now, park hours will alternate between 2:00 – 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Each park will still be closed one day per week.
The new park hours took effect July 17.
With temperatures hitting 102 degrees in Arlington this afternoon, it would be a perfect day for kids to cool down at the spray park in Shirlington’s Drew Park. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts that took effect last week, the park is now closed on Tuesdays.
Tomorrow, as temperatures again climb toward the triple digit mark, the water will be shut off at Hayes Park, on North Lincoln Street near Clarendon. On Thursday, the county’s third spray park — Lyon Village Park — will go dry.
“Our FY2011 budget cuts included closing each spray park one day a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day,” Parks Department spokesperson Susan Kalish said in an email. “The good news is that there are at least two spraygrounds open in the County on any given day.”
In addition to cutting three days from the spray park schedule, the budget also included a reduction in hours. Formerly, each park was open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during the summer. Now, the parks are open from noon to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 8:00 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
Some people question the wisdom of cutting morning hours.
“Now parents who wanted to take their kids at 10:00 a.m. before the heat of the day will be forced to take their kids during the hottest parts of the day,” one parent told us.
The cuts will collectively save the county $20,000 in water costs per year.
Arlington County photo.