Monday, July 23, 2007

Company Exploring a Redevelopment of Glebe & Pershing Corner

It Is All Very Preliminary, Sources Say

Georgetown Strategic Capital, of Washington, is in the “exploration” phase of redeveloping the four corners of the N. Glebe Road and N. Pershing Drive intersection, said Bob Moore, a principal partner in the group.

“We have been looking at this for about a year,” said Mr. Moore. “We’ve become very enamored by it as a sort of gateway to the community.”

Although everything is still very preliminary, Mr. Moore said his company is considering what can be done with the property given current zoning and historical restrictions. Zoning, he said, allows for mixed use of retail and residential space with buildings as high as 45 feet, or about four storeys.

The corner is protected by the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board.

Georgetown Capital has been talking with Jenco Group which owns the property.

Jennifer Smith, a coordinator in the county, said, “I just am trying to pull together some information for someone who’s looking at some options for the property….It’s really a preliminary proposal right now.” She added later, “It’s just not at a project stage.”

The company would lease the buildings from Jenco and redevelop them, eventually returning the improved property back to Jenco, Mr. Leventhal said, an idea that Mr. Moore confirmed.

The redevelopment as Mr. Leventhal understands it is to leave the two strips on the east side of the road as is, but to replace all the buildings—Glebe Market, CVS, El Paso Café, and Popeye’s Chicken—on the west side with four-storey buildings of combined residential and commercial space. It was also Mr. Leventhal's understanding that the owners of the restaurants have been asked to stay in new spaces.

Mr. Moore said that sort of project might be allowed under current zoning. His company likes the idea of redeveloping the west side since there is a lot of parking lot space that could be developed, but access to and from the building is a concern. There are a lot of “ifs,” he said.

“The goal is for everybody to have an improved place there,” he said.

“They are not doing anything at present,” Mr. Leventhal said. “This is not like this is imminent.” No site plan has been drawn up, he said.

“If someone told you there is an agreement with anyone, that’s not accurate,” said Marvin Jower, of the Jenco Group, in a telephone interview today. “I’m talking to a number of people about it.”

Mr. Moore seems sensitive to the historic nature of the property. He called it “a shame” that the corner, with the dirt and disintegrating sidewalks is not appealing right now.

“We have pictures from the 1930s that show landscaping with bushes and trees on the corners,” he said.

He grew up in Alexandria, and remembered going to the Buckingham Theatre (what is now the post office) in his coonskin cap to see a Davy Crockett movie back in the 1950s.

“It has a lot of old time memories for me,” he said.

The plan came to light when Mr. Leventhal spoke at the Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board’s most recent meeting because it is similar in scope to the Lee Gardens redevelopment now in front of the HALRB. The four corners is protected as a county historic district and is regulated by the HALRB, Mr. Leventhal said.

It will be interesting to see how the HALRB handles a proposal such as this, should the project make it that far. AHC Inc. was allowed to build additions onto their buildings at the Gates of Ballston, but were not allowed to change the real slate roofs with faux slate, though it would have saved them about $4 million, AHC officials have said.

“[Georgetown Capital’s] idea was not met with wild excitement” by the HALRB Mr. Leventhal said.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

One Last Post Before I Go...(Whipple on Pedestrians)

Or not. Rumors are brewing, and I'll be looking into them before next Tuesday when I leave until August. Then I'll be double checking while away.

Notice the new link to the Buckingham Neighborhood Conservation Plan in the right hand column (thanks to Bernie Berne for getting me the link).
In the meantime, enjoy this...

Sure, Virginia State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple talked about what happened during the legislative session, and answered questions about everything from fish in the Shenandoah river to immigration, to the Dominion Virginia Power Company (1, 2, 3, 4), but the room of 30-odd people at the Hyde Park condominium last night got a little heated when the topic turned to pedestrian safety in this area.

Mary Margaret Whipple

Ms. Whipple said she has been the patron of a bill which states “the driver would be required to stop if a pedestrian is in the crosswalk” which she is hoping will replace the current law that uses “yield” instead of “stop.”

She said, “The police say it’s extremely difficult to enforce the law as it is written.” This concern gets regular attention with media and politicos.

Even though the legislation makes it through the Senate, “It will not get out of the House Transportation Committee.” She held out some hope, as the chair of that committee is not seeking re-election.

A man—who bikes, walks and drives in Arlington—warned against being too draconian with the laws as they may have unintended consequences. He said that mid-block crosswalks will cause more rear-end accidents as drivers do not anticipate stopping there. He added that the signs at traffic lights that say “No right turn on red when a pedestrian is present” is unclear as it does not say the pedestrian has to be in the crosswalk, merely present, perhaps standing at the corner, unmoving. Drivers have to wait without taking the right turn, even though the pedestrian also might never move, he said.

The room was less sympathetic to his plight. People told him to wait for the green light to make the right hand turn. Ms. Whipple agreed that the signs are a little vague, but she said traffic lights in Arlington only run about 90 seconds at most, so “it’s not going to hold anybody up too much.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Letter: More Than Crosswalks, Give Bham Flashing Lights

I agree that crosswalks are not the whole answer [See the comments posted at the bottom of Steve's Editorial of last week. --ST], but what we have is a disaster waiting to happen.

I have had plenty of terrifying times in Buckingham, all of them in the intersections along Thomas, the nightmare at Glebe and Pershing, and especially trying to walk across George Mason Drive on the north side of route 50. We walk up Thomas all the time from our home in Arlington Oaks up to the mall, Harris Teeter, or to our church--First Presbyterian. It is not fun having three heart attacks while walking to church or to go grocery shopping.

These intersections are in the middle of multi-family housing with tons of pedestrian traffic. I have complained and written letters to the county board at least 3 times--nothing is ever done. I guess if we had single family homes we would have nice crosswalks.

I was pregnant with my first child who is turning seven this summer when I first started giving input to the county on pedestrian issues in Buckingham, and that was just adding my voice to others who had been complaining before me.
With the construction in Bham Village and the large pedestrian population, it is just a matter of time before someone gets killed.

For example, one day our kids were getting off the bus at 2nd Rd and Thomas and one of the neighborhood kids needed to get to his grandmother's house on the other side of Pershing because his parents weren't home yet. There is NO WAY an elementary school aged kid, even a 10 year old, can get across Pershing by himself. So I went with him just as I saw his grandmother coming to get him on the other side.

In other words, kids are cut off from their family as well as from their friends all because they can't get across Pershing safely along Thomas.

So, in addition to the crosswalks noted by Steve, I would prefer a flashing yellow light that pedestrians can turn red by pushing a button---like on Washington Blvd by the housing complex near route 50. We should have these at Pershing, Henderson, and Carlin Springs.

I say SO WHAT if commuters cutting through our neighborhood get annoyed by pedestrians. They should drive around our neighborhood, not through it anyway. I am tired of the county telling us that we are an “arterial” and can’t have decent crosswalks.

These “arterials” of Henderson and Pershing are only two lanes. Does the county not realize that folks who live in Buckingham see what other neighborhoods have and that we don't have the same thing? Look at Ashton Heights! Look at Westover! If Westover and Ashton Heights can have whole stoplights on Washington Blvd. and Pershing Dr. respectively and at intersections with FEWER cars and pedestrians than we have, then we can have it, too.

If Falls Church can put up stoplights, crosswalks, and a 25mph sign on ROUTE 7, then we can have the same on Henderson and Pershing for TWO BLOCKS through a much more densely populated area than the mansions on Route 7 between 7 Corners and Washington Blvd.

As long as I am on the subject of arterials, why is it that when you are traveling south on Quincy/Henderson that there is a sign pointing folks to route 50 at Henderson and George Mason and not at Quincy and Glebe? Drivers coming from Quincy should turn left onto Glebe to go to Route 50 and not travel through our densely populated neighborhood and then turn left on George Mason through our neighborhood to get to route 50.

Arlington Forest has done a good job of trying to cut down cut-through traffic, and if we moved this one little sign from George Mason to Glebe, and put in the cross walks and flashing yellow lights, then maybe folks would take the hint and travel down Glebe instead of cutting through.

PLUS we need to rezone parking for all of Buckingham to get rid of commuters who park in the neighborhood and walk to the mall and the metro and block the view of the intersection and clutter the neighborhood with cars.

It is easy to see on Sunday mornings walking to church that there are NO CARS when then rest of the week the streets are full of them. No one should get to park in Bham unless they live here or are a guest of someone who does.

So in addition to what Steve said in his article we need:
1. Pedestrian-controlled yellow flashing lights that turn to red along Thomas at Pershing, Henderson, and Carlin Springs.
2. Move the “to route 50” sign from Henderson and George Mason to Quincy and Glebe.
3. Re-zone parking so commuters can’t park here.

Cathy Thurston

The writer is the wife of Steve Thurston, this blog's editor. She wrote the letter at her desk, not seven feet from mine, and then emailed it to me. Eh, works for us. --ST

Herald Trib Today: Working Groups and Armed Robbers

Thanks for clicking over this way to the Buckingham Herald Trib. This is, sadly, the last post until mid-August. (OK, I’m not that sad.) I’m heading on vacation. All the time spent at the pool in the morning and the coffee shops in the afternoons has really worn me out. So, I’m done until mid- (or late-) August when I’ll come back full force.

Lots of stuff coming up, including elections of all sorts, and the Herald Trib turns one year old about the time I get back. The site will be an official toddler. Look for the party favors.

My final column for the summer will appear in next week’s Connection; make sure to check it out.

That said, I will be posting once more tomorrow. It turns out that Mary Margaret Whipple, the state senator, (D-31, the northern two-thirds of Arlington), will be appearing at the Hyde Park Condominium (Hyde Parkers and guests only, from what I understand), and I’ve been invited (I feel like Cinderella). I’ll let you know what happens, get photos, or shaky videos. You know, the usual.

After that, I’ll be gone, though I will be checking email and voice mail, so contact me if it floats your boat.

Click on Today's Herald Trib Headlines, or simply scroll down and read everything as it appears:

  • BV3 Sale and Resale to Be Studied (a working group was formed, met…)
  • Kids: Get Caught Reading in Bham
  • Police Notes (One armed robbery suspect caught…)

  • The Herald Trib from Earlier This Week:

  • “SOS” at Glebe and Carlin Springs (a new police unit sent to get speeders)
  • This Weekend at Lubber Run
  • Mosaic Park Has New Sign (so that’s what that park is called…)
  • County: Give Buckingham Clear Crosswalks (Thurston’s Editorial)
  • Glebe and Carlin Q&A (Staff responds to questions posed at meeting on intersection.)
  • Letter: I’m Tired of Being Harassed (more on Loitering, Drinking etc.)

  • Buckingham Village 3 Sale and Resale to Be Studied

    The county has put together a working group of staff and citizens “to investigate, analyze and provide recommendations on an overall affordable housing strategy and development proposal on this Buckingham parcel [Village 3],” County Manager Ron Carlee wrote in county documents. The county and Paradigm Development Co., which owns the property with investors, agreed in June to a sales price of $32 million for the property.

    “We haven’t spent that money. That’s a sales price that we’ve agreed to,” said David Cristeal, in the county’s Housing Division. “The county has not allocated $32 million.” The county has about two years to close the sale.

    A complication to this process is that the county cannot buy the buildings, but instead will buy the land beneath the buiding, and then in someway, transfer ownership of the buildings to another developer. (Similarly, the county actually leases the building that county offices are in, yet owns the land beneath the building.)

    “What we can do is…we can own the ground and lease the structures,” Mr. Cristeal said.

    [The details of parts of this are still being worked out, and they are rather complex, but I’ll get them in August and report to all of you then. For "the skinny" on a lot of this, click that link and then scroll down. --ST]

    The intent of the purchase is to rent, resell, or combine rentals and sales of the units at affordable prices to people of low- or moderate-incomes, county staff and others said previously. Village 3 sits on the north side of N. Pershing Drive between N. George Mason Drive, N. Thomas Street and N. 4th Street.

    “The objective of the working group is to explore and analyze potential affordable housing and creating financing possibilities for the property, and document the program requirements in a Request for Proposal that the County will issue in late 2007,” wrote Kathleen McSweeney, a co-chair of the working group in an email.

    The group will look at the structure of the purchase, which might include a developer as well as state and county programs including tax benefits. The process of creating the request for proposal will be looking at all those factors: sales vs. rental, which programs to include and others.

    Of the first meeting which included a powerpoint presentation, on Monday July 16, Mr. Cristeal said, “It went well.”

    The group will meet every other Monday into November. Scheduled meetings are 7:00 p.m. at Culpepper Gardens.

    Kids: Get Caught Reading in Buckingham

    Preschoolers to 5th graders can participate in the Arlington County Library’s “Get Caught Reading” program. Kids (and parents with the preschoolers) read a certain number of books to win a prize at the end of the summer.

    The Buckingham Outreach Center, 4114 N. 4th Rd., will host an event next Tuesday, July 24, 4:00 p.m. Free tickets are required, web information says; at Buckingham, tickets may be picked up starting on Monday for Tuesday performances.

    Find a full schedule of events here.

    Police Notes for Buckingham

    Armed Robbery Suspect Caught
    July 13: The suspect from the July 7 armed robbery in the 200 block of N. Thomas St. has been captured, reported Det. Steve Gomez of the Arlington County Police Department. At approximately 10:34 a.m. July 13, the victim of that robbery spotted the suspect in the 3800 block of S. Four Mile Run Dr. Officers responded and apprehended the suspect. Edwin Cordero-Cruz, 28, of no fixed address, was charged with Robbery and held without bond, wrote Det. Gomez in an email July 16.

    July 12: Peeping Tom, 200 block of N. Thomas St. At approximately 12:41 a.m. witnesses observed a man looking into the partially open bedroom window of an apartment. The man walked away from the building then returned a few moments later and approached the same window. He tampered with the window blinds and looked into the window again. Officers located the suspect in the area and arrested him. Robin Alduvi Umanzor, 27, of Arlington, was charged with Peeping into an Occupied Dwelling and held on $2,500 bond.

    July 16: Miles of The Green Miles, reported this accident at the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Quincy Street. In his email, he said he has seen many accidents at this corner recently, fyi.

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    “SOS” at Glebe and Carlin Springs

    A police Special Operations Section, the motor section, yesterday began to patrol the intersection of N. Glebe and N. Carlin Springs roads looking to cite speeders and drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, said Lt. William Griffith of the Arlington County Police.

    This special detail came about as a consequence of a recent meeting between citizens and county staff regarding the state of pedestrian life at that corner.
    “[The] next couple of days, should see more [officers] there” at the intersection, Lt. Griffith said.

    The officers on the special detail are different from ones who normally patrol the neighborhood.

    Officers on the special detail keep a tally of citations made at the intersection and hand them up to supervisors. Officers who normally patrol the area are also allowed to take part in the tally.

    “At the end of 30 days, we see what we get,” said Lt. Griffith. He said he should see the tally sheets about mid-August.

    Labels: , , ,

    This Weekend at Lubber Run (July 20 to 22)

    Friday, July 20
    Encore Stage & Studio: The Jamestown Adventure

    Saturday, July 21
    Magpie's Sword of the Spirit: A Play about Abolitionist John Brown

    Sunday, July 22
    National Concert Band

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    Mosaic Park Has Name and Sign

    If you have not noticed the newish park at the corner of N. Quincy Street and N. Pollard Street, now there is a new reason to. Mosaic Park, a combination of a small rock climbing wall and play area with an open field, got a new sign.

    County: Give Bham Clear Crosswalks on N. Thomas Street

    My children and I ride our bikes to Arlington Forest Club, where we swim. My kids are still small, and we’ve only just started the biking, but it’s been an eye-opening experience: clear crosswalks can work.

    The club sits on N. Carlin Springs Road near the intersection with N. Harrison Street. The club has its own “ladder style” crosswalk (one that looks like a ladder painted on the street) and flashing yellow lights with diamond-shaped “pedestrian crossing” signs. The crosswalk is not raised; there are no speed bumps.

    The crosswalk at Arlington Forest Club on N. Carlin Springs Road.

    Each day that my kids and I have walked our bikes across the road there, we’ve started when no cars were approaching in the lanes we have stepped into, yet I can still feel my heart pound as I warn them to watch for cars, and to stop at the island in the middle of the street (Carlin Springs is a boulevard at that point). Each time, a car has approached in the lanes on the other side of the island; once a car approached in our lane after we had left the curb.

    Most times, the cars in both directions have stopped. At times, cars in the opposite lanes have stopped before we have even made it to the center island. Check it: we were three lanes away, and still the cars stopped.

    It is amazing to see: cars speeding along Carlin Springs Road come to a complete stop in order to allow me and my kids a chance to pass. There’s no stop sign. The flashing yellow lights do not turn red. Lines on a road and people in sight are enough to stop cars—at least one car has stopped in order to let us START to cross.

    (If you think that happens everywhere, read this post.)

    The crosswalk at N. Thomas Street and North Pershing Drive. At least there are signs at this crossing.

    All because of an obvious crosswalk. It is not perfect, the cars are less forgiving when I have tried it with myself alone. This morning, we arrived at the crosswalk closer to the morning rush hour than usual, and cars were decidedly less forgiving. Still, the vast majority seem to understand what the crosswalk means.

    Can’t we have this too?

    I mean, really, what is it about Buckingham that makes the county refuse to paint lines on the road?

    How difficult can it be to paint ladders where N. Thomas Street crosses N. Pershing Drive, N. Henderson Road, and dead-ends at Carlin Springs Road?

    The crosswalk at Thomas Street and N. Carlin Springs Road. No signs, no ladders, only two of three corners have markings.

    I’ve been told by county staff, especially those in the Department of Transportation, that if the traffic is not equal from both directions of an intersection (Thomas Street gets much less traffic than Pershing Drive, Henderson Road, and Carlin Springs Road), people will not stop for stop signs. (I have arguments with this, but I’ll get to them later.)


    Then give us the crosswalks. And do not give us any excuses about “arterials” and VDOT. If it works on Carlin Springs Road, it will work in Buckingham. If you can put all the trappings on Carlin Springs Road, the county can make it happen in Buckingham, too.

    The crosswalk at Thomas Street and N. Henderson Road. No signs, no ladders, and again only two of three corners have markings. Hundreds of cars pass by this corner everyday, and visibility, because of parking on the street, is low.

    I will list what the community needs so that it can be easily transferred to a purchase order:

  • Four Signs (and posts to hang them), hung diamond-style, bright yellow, with icons of families walking in intersections. Two already hang on N. Pershing Drive, so add two on N. Henderson Road, and two on N. Carlin Springs Road, all at the intersections with N. Thomas Street.
  • Striping paint, white, enough to draw 11 “ladder style” crosswalks at the corners of those roads mentioned above where they intersect on Thomas Street (Carlin Springs only needs three ladders).

  • I know this might run into the thousands of dollars for a county with a billion dollar budget. So, what’s the excuse?

    We don’t even need the lights, just make them look like the crosswalks in Westover:

    Aren't they pretty? If you didn't notice, there's a sign and ladders on each corner for as far as the eye can see. Must be nice.

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Glebe/Carlin Q&A: No Changes to Pedestrian Crossing Times

    New Signs, New Lines, More Enforcement to Help Traffic Calming, County Says

    The following questions were generated by Buckingham citizens at the June 29 meeting of county staff and citizens at The Carlin senior living apartment building on N. Carlin Springs Road. The responses come from county staff. The meeting addressed the on-going renovation of the N. Glebe Road and N. Carlin Springs Road intersection outside the Ballston Commons Mall.

    The questions and answers are taken from the official notes from that meeting, provided by Tom Hutchings, the county’s project manager of the renovation. Check out the July 10 story on this renovation. The photo, above, also came from the county meeting notes.

    Q: Can the pedestrian lead times be longer? [Lead time is the time given to pedestrians to cross before allowing any traffic to move. –ST]
    A: The current five second lead time allows pedestrians to begin crossing before traffic. It was suggested that residents cross Glebe to the mall on the south side of the intersection from the Goodyear corner and return on the north side Exxon corner to best take advantage of the lead times. Returning on the south side of the intersection may also be a good option. Extensive lead times confuse both pedestrians and drivers and would not create a safer condition overall. Information on Metro bus routes was also shared with the residents as an alternative way to get to the mall or the Ballston Metro rail and bus station. There is a Metro bus stop nearby The Carlin.

    Q: Can there be a complete pedestrian walk phase?
    A: The intersection currently has a very long pedestrian walk time at 38 seconds. This is creating short cycles for vehicles and the back up on Carlin Springs is often more than one cycle now. A complete pedestrian phase would worsen vehicle flow on Glebe and Carlin Springs roads where signal timing is coordinated with multiple signals along Glebe Road. A full pedestrian cycle would need VDOT approval and would significantly increase delay for both motorists and pedestrians.

    Q: Can there be speed humps on Carlin Springs?
    A: Carlin Springs is an arterial street that is a main route for transit as well as emergency vehicles. Speed humps are not recommended based on current county policy for arterial streets.

    Q: Can there be a ladder crosswalk in front of the mall garage entrance? [A “ladder” crosswalk is created when the lines are painted to look like a ladder lying flat across the road. –ST]
    A: Yes. This will be added to the project plans, and staff have submitted a work order to install the striping in August or sooner depending on the contractor’s schedule.

    Q: Can right turn on red be eliminated?
    A: Right turn on red prohibition does not eliminate pedestrian conflicts, and in some situations actually increase them. This is not recommended for this intersection. Some approaches of the intersection are currently signed “No Turn on Red when Pedestrians Present”. Staff will request police enforcement at this intersection to help address this issue. Residents strongly supported additional police enforcement. Visibility on the south side of the intersection is blocked due to the shrubs in the center island. Staff has issued a work order to removed 50’-75’ of the shrubs as needed to open up the view for both pedestrians and traffic.
    [In a subsequent email, Mr. Hutchings wrote: “I have just received word that the Arlington County Police Department will be conducting a 30 day enforcement detail at the intersection of Carlin Springs and Glebe Road. This action will be starting within a week. The officers will be looking for both speeding and turning violations with a focus on pedestrians.” County police were unable to verify this information in time for this post. –ST]

    Q: Can striping be put in front of The Carlin entrance to stop the cars waiting for the Glebe Road light from blocking the driveway?
    A: There is currently a sign in front of the driveway that says “DO NOT BLOCK”. We will add a stop bar on Carlin Springs at the driveway to reinforce driver behavior.

    Q: Can the two parking spaces in front of The Carlin be removed to help with the visibility of oncoming traffic?
    A: If they are removed, traffic will use the parking lane as an extension of the Glebe right turn lane and two lanes of traffic could then block The Carlin entrance. The two parking spaces also have a traffic calming effect by not allowing cars to speed up to the Glebe intersection in a dedicated long turn lane.

    Q: Can the County sign the Street “Senior Citizens Present” or something similar?
    A: Staff is exploring this option, but it has not been used before and it is unclear if this would change driver’s behavior. Police enforcement of current signage may be more effective.

    Letter: More on Loitering and Drinking

    “I’m tired of being harassed.”
    Hi Steve,

    Just wanted to thank you for the information on James Vandeputte and the code enforcement meeting. I rarely walk by Glebe/Pershing anymore because I'm tired of being harrassed and propositioned.

    Is Ms. Terreros-Oronao the best person within Arlington County to contact regarding concerns?

    Thanks very much -- Stacy

  • Ms. Terreros-Oronao is the code enforcer for the historic areas of Buckingham, so she handles more of the trash issues. For those issues, call: 703-228-3818.

  • If you see drinking or public defecation, etc., call the police non-emergency number: (703) 558-2222.

  • [I don’t normally post emails without a full name. However, Stacy had good reason to withhold her last name, and I can trust the veracity of the letter, so I went with it this time. I hold emails in higher regard than comments at the end of posts—if you wish to post anonymously, as this person did at the end of my “Democrats Out of Touch” post, go ahead. I will pull libelous material from the post. –ST]

    Labels: , , ,

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Herald Trib 7/11: Police, Fire Alarms, Intersections, Letters, Wow!

    Thanks for checking out the Herald Trib. You can click the individual links below or just scroll down and read everything as God intended. By the way, somehow I let a headline post and then I didn't remove it (though I thought I did). So if you were wondering was there supposed to be words under the headline (if you happened to see it yesterday), yes there were supposed to be words, but not until today.

    You’ll find stories of interest posted today, right here :

  • A Decade for Lights and Curb Cuts at Glebe and Carlin Springs (the long, drawn-out plans for renovation of that intersection)

  • Alarm and Tar Push Camps from Barrett (A false fire alarm and the smell of roofing tar force officials to move students to Washington-Lee HS)

  • Police Say Three Armed Robberies Not Connected (Three armed robberies since last Thursday. Crazy.)

  • Stories since last Thursday (the most recent email communiqué) are listed here (enjoy!):

  • Letter: Bham Needs Police on Bike or Foot

  • Little Bit of Blues at Lubber Run (including “This Weekend at the Lubber Run Amphitheatre”). I have one more photo from the concert that was lost on my cellphone/camera and I like it since the mic stands and other paraphernalia are not in the way. They are from left, Michael Baytop, Rick Franklin, Jay Summerour, and Warner Williams.

  • Democratic Leaders Out-of-Touch (my take on the Treasurer O’Leary ruckus)

  • Drinking at Glebe and Pershing (coverage of the June 27 Code Enforcement meeting)

  • A Decade for New Lights and Curb Cuts

    The Glebe/Carlin Springs Intersection Still to Receive Upgrades

    Wait just another year. Or more like 16 months. Then, THEN, the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Carlin Springs Road should have gotten new traffic signals, new paint on the crosswalks, wider islands (and shrubs removed) in the middle of Glebe Road, and wider sidewalks with better curb cuts (for those people who drive wheelchairs).

    These improvements, part of the North Glebe Road Pedestrian Improvements Project, have been in the works since 1999—by the time they are completed it will have been nearly a decade to get new lights and curbs.

    “Isn’t that incredible?” asked Tom Hutchings rhetorically. He is the county project manager overseeing the renovations. “I can talk about this without any apologies…I’m as frustrated as the community is.”

    The $1.9 million project, funded by federal and state money, also covers the Glebe Road intersections at N. Fairfax Drive and Wilson Boulevard. The Carlin Springs intersection was the topic of a meeting June 29 at The Carlin, a senior independent living center on Carlin Springs Road about half a block from Ballston Commons mall.

    The "apron" of the curb where this woman stands will be enlarged over the next 12 to 16 months.

    Like other officials and project managers in Buckingham and the county, Mr. Hutchings sited difficulties dealing with VDOT and collecting all the proper easements from property owners.

    “It’s shear process that’s part of VDOT design and approval. And Arlington, Arlington trying to establish urban standards on all our roads,” Mr. Hutchings said. He said the process has included trying to educate VDOT, trying to get them to see that Glebe is not Arlington Boulevard somewhere in Fairfax County, but a dense urban corridor with extreme pedestrian volumes.

    Seniors who live in The Carlin walk through the intersection a lot. As well, residents such as Mick Pulliam, have complained about the speed of cars on Carlin Springs Road and the lack of visibility exiting The Carlin’s parking lot.

    To be fair, Mr. Hutchings said he hopes some new paint will delineate crosswalks more clearly as soon as two weeks from now. He also said that the county tried to complete the relatively minor repairs at Glebe and Carlin Springs with its own money, but VDOT said that would put in jeopardy the funding for the entire project.

    The shrubs that block the driver in the gold car from seeing the entire crosswalk will be removed.

    Shrubs will be removed from the island on Glebe Road to increase pedestrian visibility. The county first has to figure out who “owns” the shrubs; that is, who put them in and maintains them, Mr. Hutchings said. Sidewalks and the islands that run down the middle of Glebe Road will be widened. The islands may get their own crossing lights. Curb "cuts" for wheelchair accessibility will be upgraded.

    This island in the center of Glebe Road will be widened.

    At one point, a pedestrian overpass was considered for the corner, but that was ruled out years ago for many reasons, the main two: the corner really does not have the space to install one, and people tend not to use overpasses, preferring street-level crossing, Mr. Hutchings said. Someday, the Goodyear Tire Company site might be redeveloped, and a new building might include an overpass.

    Mr. Hutchings said the county has decided to make traffic “behave itself” so that pedestrians are safe.

    [Notes from the June 29 meeting with tasks and other information were not available at the time of this post. I assume they will contain information of value; I’ll be sure to update this story. –ST.]

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Alarm and Tar Push Camps from Barrett

    Summer Campers Moved from Barrett to WL
    Both summer camps at Barrett Elementary School have been moved to Washington-Lee High School for the week after a fire alarm mysteriously sounded on Monday, said Yolanda Smingler, the vice-principal of the school.

    Contractors are pouring new tar on the roof of the building, and the smell was a little overwhelming, as well, she said.

    Contractors work, retarring Barrett Elementary School's roof.

    “We decided it was not safe for the children to be in the building,” especially with the smell from the roof maintenance, she said. School officials decided to move the children in the Creative Art and “Patahontas” camps to W-L “just in case, just playing it safe.” “Patahontas” is a science camp that combines in-school and outdoor lab experiences, officials said.

    Fire fighters arrived Monday but did not find fire, Ms. Smingler said. [The fire department could not be reached for comment before this post. –ST]

    “We don’t really know what triggered that fire alarm,” Ms. Smingler said. “We had troubles with the fire alarm system in the morning.” The system was beeping, she said. The students and staff treated the alarm like any fire drill and left the building as quickly as possible, as they train themselves to do, she said.

    The roofers were expected last week, but were a week late. They hope to complete the roof by the end of the week. Summer events will return to Barrett next week, Ms. Smingler said. Children requiring summer school from Barrett attend classes at Glebe Elementary School.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Police: 3 Armed Robberies Not Related; Police Notes

    Armed Robberies with Knives and Guns in Bham

    Three armed robberies in Buckingham over the week do not appear to be related, Arlington Police say, and they will be looking into whether or not they need to step-up patrols in the neighborhood (scroll down to see more details).

    “They [investigators] do not believe that it’s the same suspects,” said Det. Steve Gomez of the police. “They definitely don’t see a pattern in the way the robberies were done.”

    “It was a crime of opportunity,” Det. Gomez said, meaning that the attackers suspected the people in the neighborhood had a good deal of cash or other valuables on their persons.

    Lt. Brian Berke will be meeting with operational commanders, discussing whether or not there needs to be special details patrolling the neighborhood.

    Police Notes for Buckingham

    July 8: Armed Robbery, 4300 block of N. Pershing Dr. At approximately 2 a.m., a man standing outside of an apartment building was approached by three men with their faces covered. One of the men displayed a knife and took the victim’s wallet. The suspects fled on foot. “The impression that the victim got was that they were light skinned people.”

    July 7: Armed Robbery, 200 block of N. Thomas St. At approximately 8:10 a.m., a man was approached by a stranger who demanded his money. The victim was compliant and the suspect took an undisclosed amount of cash. A witness tried to intervene but the suspect pulled out a knife and fled on foot. The suspect is described as a white Hispanic male, 25 years old, 5 feet 3 inches tall, 140 pounds (which is skinny), with black curly hair and a mustache, last seen wearing a dark blue T-shirt and black pants.

    July 6: Attempted Burglary, 700 block of N. George Mason Dr. Between 10:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. July 6, someone broke a window pane on the rear kitchen door of a house in an apparent attempt to gain entry. At the same home, a screen was removed from a bedroom window and the pane was partially shattered. It does not appear that either attempt to break in was successful.

    July 6: Burglary, 4200 block of N. 2nd Rd. Between 6 p.m. on July 5 and 6:03 a.m. July 6, someone entered an apartment under renovation by smashing a window. It does not appear that anything was taken. Det. Steve Gomez of the Arlington County Police said, it might have been a homeless person or someone else who “just wanted to have someplace to crash.”

    July 4: Armed Robbery, 4300 block of N. Pershing Dr. At approximately 12:45 a.m., a 21 year old man was standing in a bus shelter talking on a cell phone when he was approached by four men. Two of the suspects grabbed the victim while a third punched him in the face. The third suspect then produced a gun and pointed it at the victim’s face while the fourth suspect threatened him with a knife. The suspects demanded money and searched the victim’s pockets before fleeing with his cell phone. The attackers were all black males, Det. Gomez said.

    Labels: , ,

    Monday, July 09, 2007

    Letter: Bham Needs Police on Bikes or Foot


    I was generally pleased with the outcome of the community meeting held at the Gates office last week. It was good to see the Oaks management as well as the business owners. I feel that the meeting was productive in that everyone seems to want the same thing. We are all tired of the loitering and the drinking, not to mention the trash and damage left in its wake.

    A couple of weeks ago, there was a lot of trash, beer bottles, food containers etc. by the sign for Buckingham Village. Someone even managed to bend the flagpole and loosen it from the ground. This makes no sense to me. Someone in that courtyard saw and heard the noise. I don't understand why no one called the police. While I have been a thorn in Paradigm's side about common area maintenance, I can almost understand their reluctance to fix things. Why bother, someone will come along and destroy it. And, save for a few tenants, no one else seems to care.

    Last week, the police were a very visible presence in our neighborhood. It made a difference on N. Pershing Drive. The crowds of men who hang around the corner and in the courtyards drinking were no where to be found. It was quiet in the neighborhood for a change.

    I would propose though, that our local police put some officers on bikes or on foot to work in our neighborhood. And I would also suggest that we get together with the police to form a community neighborhood watch. If we ask the police to get out of their cars and go on foot..we need to do the same.

    At times, I feel as if I am bothering the police dispatcher at the non emergency number with my complaints of noise, drinking etc...I really hate to call. The police have more urgent problems to deal with. But if it takes multiple calls on multiple days...I am willing to do my part to work with the police to curb the drinking and loitering in our neighborhood.

    I hope our neighborhood will be able to get together periodically to talk about our common problems. I know we can make this neighborhood a great place to live.

    We just have to all work together.

    Pate McCullough
    Buckingham Village 3 resident

    The writer is a board member of BU-GATA, the Buckingham Village and Gates of Ballston Tenants Association. --ST

    Little Bit of Blues at Lubber Run

    Blues Greats Play Piedmont Style on a "Languid" Night

    The humid air and clear skies made last night “languid” according to my friend Matt Baker, which here means “the perfect night to listen to the blues” at the Lubber Run Amphitheatre. Blues greats (they tour with Smithsonian Folkways nationally) Jay Summerour (snare drum and harmonica), Warner Williams (guitar), Rick Franklin (guitar), and Michael Baytop (“bones” and washboard), played about an hour long set including “Hey Bartender, There’s a Big Bug in My Beer,” “Travelin’ Man Blues,” and, believe it or not, “Auld Lang Syne.”

    People spread out on lawn chairs, and chairs they attached to the bleachers. They were walking dogs. At least one group had their crackers and cheese near the back of the amphitheatre. The audience clapped to beat, and many gave the group of Piedmont stylists a standing ovation at the end. At the height of the performance, about 200 people sat in the audience.

    Michael Baytop claps the "bones," wood blocks connected by a spring.

    After the show, 20 or 30 headed to stage to meet the band and buy the CDs.

    “I thought the show went tremendous, to tell you the truth. The audience was very nice; it was one of the friendliest audiences that we played before in a long time,” said Rick Franklin, who lives in Arlington’s Douglas Park. “They didn’t throw anything at us.”

    “That reached the stage,” others chimed in.

    “That reached the stage! They usually have one of those fences around,” Mr. Franklin joked.

    Audience member Andrew, 11, who said he is in a rock band, came out to see the show, and he bought a CD.

    “I know Rick from awhile ago,” he said.

    Jay Summerour said of Mr. Williams, “We’ve been together like 20-something years.” This includes shows at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, and all the way from Maine to Washington state.

    “Mike and Rick and I play together a lot,” Mr. Summerour said.

    Warner Williams finger picks the chords, Piedmont style blues.

    Mr. Franklin, who plays guitar, said playing Piedmont blues, where the player finger-picks the chords rather than strums them, is a bit like bluegrass music “slowed way down.”

    Mr. Williams and Mr. Summerour, Little Bit of Blues, will celebrate the release of their latest CD along with Mr. Franklin and Mr. Baytop at Strathmore Hall in Maryland on Aug. 1.

    The 30-second video is from an “obstructed view” at Lubber Run—I really never even noticed before that our little theatre had obstructed views, but the light tower blocked my view of Michael Baytop.

    This weekend at Lubber Run Amphitheatre:

    Friday, July 13
    7:00 p.m. “Robyn’s Place” WPFW Jazz Simulcast

    Saturday July 14
    8:00 p.m. A Cappella Festival with “The Tone Rangers

    Sunday July 15
    8:30 p.m. Film: “Slapsticon Festival Preview” accompanied by Tina Chancey of “Hesperus”.

    Friday, July 06, 2007

    Democratic Leaders Out of Touch

    What Did They Know and When Did They Know It?

    The Democrats are in a tizzy over the idea that Treasurer Frank O’Leary, a white man, sent a racially insensitive letter to voters the week before the primary election against Bob James, a black man.

    However, I haven’t seen in any of the stories, yet (Connection, Sun Gazette), exactly why the flap came after the primary election June 12. The Democratic Leadership has censured O’Leary, and O’Leary has taken his name off the practice Democratic ballot that will be handed out to voters on election day in November. (O’Leary has not dropped his affiliation with the party.) Party leaders then voted to remove his name from the practice ballot (it’s a bit like quitting two minutes after you got fired).

    I haven’t seen why the flap is coming now, but I’ll take a guess: because the Democratic Party Leadership didn’t want it to.

    According to the Connection:

    “Despite being mailed on June 6 to 1,500 North Arlington households, the furor over the letter did not begin to pick up steam until several days later.

    Christian Dorsey, leader of the African American Leadership Council of Arlington, said that his group did not become aware of the letter until June 10, two days before the primary.”

    Two days. That’s plenty of time to whip up furor. Leaders willingly ignored the letter until after Mr. O’Leary was voted in, maybe they were hoping it would go away as the party fell in behind Mr. O’Leary.

    Mary Hines, the long time school board member who is running for County Board as a Democrat, wrote an email on June 13 to Mr. O’Leary saying the letter wasn’t fair play, the Sun Gazette reported. June 13 was the day after the primary. What timing. Mr. O’Leary gets elected, Ms. Hines gets to say she rebuked him. Everyone is happy.

    A writer named “Marisol” on the Sun Gazette’s web site chided both the Democrats and the Sun Gazette for not covering minorities and minority issues enough. Among other things, she wrote: “There is hardly any coverage in the Sun Gazette of those of us in lower middle class who are trying to survive in Arlington on $40,000 per year.” I agree. It’s part of why I started this blog. A lot happens in this neighborhood that the Sun Gazette, and the Arlington Connection (a paper I work for), doesn’t cover.

    Republican friends of mine wondered why I endorsed County Board Member Chris Zimmerman in the election last fall. For one simple reason: he shows up. Something happens in this neighborhood, and Mr. Zimmerman often shows up. So does County Board Vice Chairman Walter Tejada. People will tell me that’s a stupid reason, and maybe it is, but at least I can bug them when they do show up. The Democratic Party process is so far beyond my reach to affect it, that it’s nice when I can get the ear of a person in power. Maybe I’m fooling myself. Maybe the party is too far gone.

    Jay Fissette’s office staff asked me to cease sending the email update of the Buckingham Herald Trib to them back in either September or October, just send it along to the county board email address instead, the staff member told me (where it can quickly be discarded—I know Mr. Fisette’s staff wasn’t reading it there, because they would have known that I was already sending the updates to the general inbox). Mr. Fissette lives just a handful of blocks from Buckingham, and I never see him here. (At the treasurers debate Mr. Fissette told me that Bonnie, his assistant, saved him from a lot of problems. Sorry I’m such a problem.)

    I endorsed Mr. O’Leary on this blog, and I’m not going to go back on that. He isn’t the problem as much as is the Democratic Party that is too far out-of-touch with the average Arlingtonian.

    Drinking at Glebe and Pershing

    Code Enforcement Meeting Positive, People Say

    This story was first posted at about 10:30, and was clarified and corrected at about 1:30. Sorry for the confusion. --ST.

    People are on the same page. That is the message coming from the code enforcement meeting regarding littering, loitering, and public drinking in the Buckingham neighborhood, especially in the area surrounding the Glebe Market, CVS and Ravi Kabob at the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Pershing Drive. The meeting was held June 27 at the Gates of Ballston offices.

    “It was very good that property management and some business was represented,” said James Vandeputte, an Arlington Oaks resident (4300 block of N. Pershing) who has been vocal on this matter since his backyard, he has said, turns into a “beer party.” From his window he has seen people urinate and vomit while sitting on the red benches in his backyard, he said.

    James Vandeputte attended last week's code enforcement meeting. He said his backyard becomes a "beer party" and that he has seen people urinate and vomit from benches like these in his backyard.

    Marlene Terreros-Oronao, a historic preservation code inspector for 29 historic districts in Arlington, convened the meeting of about 15 area residents, business mangers, property managers, county staff and police.

    “I was satisfied with being able to make sure that these people were communicating with each other,” she said in an interview.

    One point of the meeting was to make sure everyone knew the roles they played, Ms. Terreros-Oronao said. The police don’t worry about litter, but they do worry about public drinking.

    Officer Joseph Lutz said he was happy with the meeting, as well, but wanted people to know that stopping public drinking was a community affair. We need to "fire on all cylanders," he said in an interview.

    Officers cannot arrest anyone for public drinking unless the officer sees the person drinking the alcohol, or the person is obviously drunk. Therefore, people must call the police when they see public drinking.

    This applies to any location considered "public": sidewalks, space around the businesses, and even the common areas around and behind apartment and condominium buildings, Ofr. Lutz said.

    The police do not have "power of attorney" for the business property in the area, meaning that they cannot re-arrest repeat offenders for trespassing.

    "We have no authority to say 'You can't come back here.'," Ofr. Lutz said.

    Arlington Oaks Condominium and the apartment complexes in Buckingham have granted police the power of attorney.

    Ms. Terreros-Oronao said she is very concerned about littering.
    Progress on these issues will require a lot of work and community input, she said. “It just has to be worked intensely," she said.

    People can call her office (703-228-3818). If business owners do not respond to individuals, “They do respond to us,” she said.

    Businesses are responsible for the garbage in and around their trash containers even if other people are throwing the trash there. If the area is not kept clean, she can site the property manager or owner, she said.

    However, she said, that she makes allowances and works with the property manager when there are extenuating circumstances. A few months ago she worked with Ravi Kabob and the Gates of Ballston to clean up the trash behind the Ravi Kabob and CVS. People from The Gates were using the trash and Ravi Kabob could not keep up, she said. The Gates stepped in, and put out more trash recepticles, Ms. Terreros-Oronao said.

    Noticeably absent from the meeting was Mr. Chon who owns the Glebe Market. Ms. Terreros-Oronao said he has never been too responsive to loitering and drinking on his property for fear that rousting the men who stand along the side of his building will push other customers away.

    Thursday, July 05, 2007

    4th of July; Police Notes

    Today’s Buckingham HeraldTrib:
    I didn’t bother to send out the email (or to post) yesterday, but I assume you don’t mind. Here’s this week’s iteration of the HeraldTrib. Hope you like.

    About 50 of us were out on George Mason Dr., on the bridge over Arlington Blvd, to watch the fireworks downtown last night. The family and I watched PBS’s “A Capitol Fourth,” and when the fireworks began, my wife shuffled us out the door and down the street, the kids in their pjs.

    It’s not the optimal place to watch the celebration, but it beats the last time we went to the mall. This was before kids, maybe eight or nine years ago, and my wife and I headed to the mall to watch the show with friends. More typical of DC, the weather hit the upper 80s or lower 90s, and we brought too little water. Our friend’s fiancé ended up with mild heat stroke as the air pressed down on us. On the plus side, we saw a bunch of people walk our way with ice cream novelties, and tracked the place down ourselves. When we arrived, Park Police were at the man’s cart, and the discussion and activity went something like this:

    Police: So, you’re selling these items on the mall.

    Salesman: No sir.

    Police: Oh, so you’re giving it away, then.

    Into his cart went a dozen or more hands to grab the “free” ice cream.

    Salesman: Nonononono!

    The hands came out, clutching frozen booty. None went back in because now it would be stealing, since the man, apparently, was selling the confections. What was odd was how everyone there seemed to understand this.

    Police: If you’re not giving it away, then you must be selling it, and I’ll have to take you in.

    Salesman: No, you’ve got it wrong.

    More hands into the frozen depths. I got a peek inside about then.

    The poor bastard didn’t stand a chance. He also had nothing worth stealing by the time we got there—all the M&M cookie sandwiches were gone, bummer. His cart was down to just a few cardboard cases of dreamsicles, or something else equally nasty.

    We found another man, who snuck away with his cart to a space between a couple large vans in a nearby parking lot. We bought ice cream from him.

    I think by the time the police officer and the salesman finished their discussion all the “free” novelties had been given away, and since he had nothing to sell, the police had no reason to haul him in!

    Despite the 10 minutes of fun that was, it couldn’t shake 90 degrees and the oppressive atmosphere of the west lawn with about 100,000 bodies smashed upon one another.

    The bridge over U.S. Route 50 last night offered a glimpse of all the fireworks, but we got a really good view of only the tallest. The Grand Finale was fun to see.
    Let me know where you watched them from. Did you brave the rain, or does your office have a great view? Lemmeno.

    Other note: I’ve fixed the “permalink” setting on my site, so now, when you click the links below, you should get the story I’m talking about. At the least, you’ll only have to click and then scroll down a little bit—when I learn HTML tags, I’ll add them and all should be right with the world. But, you’ll notice that you can click or scroll to the stories below. Yea me!

    Headlines today (scroll down to read the stories):

    Police Notes for Buckingham
    I'll have another couple stories tomorrow and early next week. Updates have been going terribly. Sorry. It'll get more interesting.

    Headlines from earlier in the week:

    Three stories on one link (click then scroll down)

  • Letter: Rocknoceros (kids music)
  • Letter: Glebe/Pershing Renovation
  • This Weekend at Lubber Run Amphitheatre (see you at the blues…)

  • Clarification: Planning, but no Plans as yet for Mini-Golf


    Police Notes for Buckingham
    Reported July 2:Stolen Temporary Auto License Tags, 300 block of N. George Mason Dr. Tag number: VA C585551.

    June 29: Felony Hit and Run, 300 block of N. Thomas St. At approximately 9:30 p.m., a tan Toyota Corolla traveling northbound in the 300 block of N. Thomas St. struck a 32-year-old man, flipping him over the hood of the car. The Corolla immediately fled the scene. The victim was transported to the hospital with minor injuries to the face, shoulder, and extremities. No one has been arrested in this case, said John Lisle of the Arlington County Police.

    June 21: Burglary, 200 block of N. Thomas St. Between June 19 and June 21, someone entered an apartment, possibly through the window, and took various personal belongings. Arlington Police have been investigating a series of apartment burglaries through Ballston, Clarendon and Rosslyn. “We do not believe that [the burglary in Buckingham] is related to the other apartment burglaries. Those were all in highrises...and the detectives say those aren’t related,” said John Lisle of the Arlington County Police Department.


    Tuesday, July 03, 2007

    Letters on Renovation and Music; Lubber Run Sched.

    Happy Fourth--Update on Thursday
    Hey everyone, have a great Independence Day; eat a bratwurst for me. So you know, I've got the links to my other posts working much, much better (it was actually an easy fix). If you click, though, you might find that you might still have to scroll down to find the story within that post that you're looking for. But now, you get one day, one post, not all the posts from May, for instance. I hope it helps.

    Letters to the Editor: Rocknoceros and Pershing/Glebe Renovation


    My mom (Kathryn Scruggs) forwarded me your blog about kids music--you MUST check out local favorite Rocknoceros.

    They play during the day at Jammin Java [in Vienna] (Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.) and often have gigs at our own fine Cinema ‘n’ Drafthouse.

    Their new CD is called "Dark Side of the Moonbounce"!

    --Jane Scruggs

    From Steve:

    10:30 a.m. weekdays Jammin Java runs kids shows, fyi. Mondays has even more shows; call their info line for more: 703-255-1566.


    Hello Steve,

    Do you know anything about the alleged remodeling that is supposed to take place
    in the Buckingham area? Reportedly per county representative, they were going to
    begin working on roads, parking lots, lighting, etc. in the spring. It is now
    summer and nothing has happened yet. Thank you in advance for your forthcoming

    --Pat Flanagan

    From Steve:

    Pat sent another email writing that she did a little reporting on her own to find out that the intersection on N. Pershing Drive and N. Glebe Road is still in the works. She wrote: “Since I received the good news this morning, I am once again hopeful and plan to wait patiently and look forward to the anticipated sound of jack hammers, which I believe will be a welcome sound to my ears.”

    For more on this, check out the two posts below.

  • May 23: "This Should Be the Summer of a New Glebe and Pershing Intersection" (this is the first story after the headlines)
  • June 6: "No Public Discussion on Art Removal: 'A Slap in the Face.'" (Scroll down after you click; this is the second story on that day's post.)

  • +++++++++

    This Weekend at Lubber Run Amphitheatre
    Friday, July 6
    8:15 p.m. The Art of Belly Dancing: Demo & Lesson
    8:30 p.m. Film: “The Awful Truth” (1938) with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne

    Saturday, July 7
    8:00 p.m. “Texas Chainsaw Horns,” Five Funky Horns & an Attitude

    Sunday, July 8
    8:00 p.m. Piedmont Blues Celebration, featuring “Piedmont Blues,” a quartet.

    Labels: , ,

    Monday, July 02, 2007


    Clarification: Planning but No Plans as yet for Mini-Golf
    In this space last week, I wrote that the county’s sports commission was to see plans for the miniature golf course at the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Randolph Street. That was not quite correct. In an interview today, Scott McPartlin, the project manager handling that space, said “we have to secure the easements,” for the park before any further plans could be made. “I expect that will happen soon.”

    At the sports commission meeting, as part of making the public aware of the project, Mr. McPartlin ran through the planning for the site that has already been completed: the decision to use the space as a mini-golf course including a section on the history of mini-golf in general and in Ballston; the nearness of parking, shopping, dining and metro; and how the space will “accentuate” the downtown experience, Mr. McPartlin said.

    He said this plan is unique, a mini-golf course in an urban setting. “This really would be the first of its kind,” he said today.

    Mr. McPartlin said the decision to pursue a mini-golf course was made before he came into the position a couple years ago. The county board asked staff to consider an “active” park. Some of the other choices were a rock climbing wall, outside ice, and an amphitheatre, but the mini-golf was chosen because it could be “enjoyed by all generations at the same time,” Mr. McPartlin said. It is also would enjoy nearly year-round use.

    Since then, the county has asked for letters of interest from contracting companies, and the response was strong, he said. Over the past year, or so, Mr. McPartlin has taken the idea to many meetings, including nearby civic associations.

    Labels: , ,

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?