Friday, October 17, 2008

HeraldTrib Today: Oct. 17, 2008

Mosaic Park

The main story this week catches you up on the Mosaic Park reconstruction (scroll down to find the link there). Scott McPartlin, a planner in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, said the planning team—a group of county staff, the landscape architecture firm Oculus DC, and civic association leaders—is still in the earliest phases. More meetings are to come, but the dates have not been determined.

Their meetings are open to the public, but at this point public comment is not taken at the meetings, though people can always contact him at the county. Mr. McPartlin said there will be open public meetings down the road.

The Mosaic Park redevelopment is part of the overall Founders Square redevelopment (the site between N. Randolph and N. Quincy streets where the Metrobuses are parked). When that site plan was approved by the county board in July, the board gave the planning team 90 days to determine whether they would recommend proceeding with a density transfer in exchange for improvements to Mosaic Park. The developers want to pack more square footage into the block, largely going up rather than spreading wide.

We will know in a week what the planning team decided.

"The fact that the report will be ready in 90 days is incredible," Mr. McPartlin said, adding that a report like this can take as long as a year. "I've got to hand it to the citizen team, they did a really good job."


While I had him on the phone, I had to ask Mr. McPartlin about the proposal for miniature golf at the corner of N. Randolph Street and N. Glebe Road, next to the Ballston Commons Mall parking garage.

This has been a topic of some rather heated public discussion over the past year, as people in the Buckingham Community Civic Association have said they were not properly included in the planned redevelopment of the grassy, vacant site.

"Right now the official position," he said, and then he paused. He found the official position from the manager's office so that he would not get it wrong, and continued: "The county is considering a number of options including mini-golf."

He said for me to call in a month as he thinks there will be news. You know I’ll keep you posted.

Sorry, kids, this is not for you!

It’s not all fun and games for amusement ride workers.

Jeff Davis—spelled “just like the highway”—had to turn away a couple families of small children when he filled his moonbounces on the Arlington Assembly of God parking lot Wednesday.

Spring cleaning comes early for Mid-Atlantic Adventures. They store their equipment—moonbounces, climbing walls and bungee jumpers—on the church’s property over the winter in exchange for giving the church some free use of the fun. But if they do not dry out the rides now, they stink come springtime, Mr. Davis said.

A man quick to the sales pitch, he said his company had plenty of smaller moonbounces and games for indoor fun, if anyone was looking for something to do.

Vote, Damn You!

I have gotten at least three emails and have seen a bunch of stories in the last couple of weeks urging me to vote early and absentee. Sheesh, back off. I get it, I get it. Long lines, delays.

Arlington County hopes to free up some of the lines at the polling stations. Here’s a link, if you are interested in voting early.

You want my predictions: The Republicans across the state stay home and Democrats across the ticket win in a landslide.

Jim Gilmore is getting trounced from all quarters by Mark Warner in the Senate race. Combine that lackluster campaign on the Republican side with the polls all tilting away from John McCain toward Barack Obama, and I expect a lot of Republicans will just say, “Why bother?” I actually have that as my nationwide idea, as well. Nationally, what might look close in the popular vote will be a landslide in the electoral college.

Obama by 10 percent, at least, in Virginia. He will tip the electoral college at over 300 (I have actually had 330 in my head for a couple weeks). I’ll bet someone a beer.

Rocket J. Squirrel

I saw a dead flying squirrel on a N. 4th Road sidewalk the other day. I have known for years of flying squirrels in heavily forested parts of the county such as the area around Long Branch Nature Center, but I have always wondered about their existence elsewhere.

Might just have to make a feeder and see what swoops in this winter (that’s when they are most likely to visit backyard feeders). If you have never checked them out at Long Branch, do so. It’s very worth the effort.

The Week’s Headlines…
As always, you can scroll down to see all the recent stories, or simply click the links below (if the link doesn't work, scroll down to find the story, and email to tell me what's busted: --Steve Thurston).

Headlines from Earlier in the Week:

  • Summer Flashback: County Approves Founders Square and Mosaic Park projects
  • Sewer Line Failure Pollutes Lubber Run
  • Letter: County's Secret Santa Program Is Open to Help Those in Need

  • Comments:
    I'm curious to learn more about the controversy over developing the vacant, grassy area near the Ballston parking garage. Have you heard of specific alternatives to miniature golf that might be preferred by the neighborhoods?

    Thanks for keeping us informed about the neighborhood and welcome to Arlington Forest.

    Mark Alves

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