Letter from 4ca Stormwater task Force regarding detention vaults at Reed Site, Dec. 10 2020

Dear Chairpersons Garvey and O’Grady,

This summer our four civic associations wrote to you urging the County to undertake construction of a substantial stormwater detention vault under the playing fields at the Reed School site to protect the Westover commercial district from the kind of devastating flood that hit our area on July 8, 2019.  Since then staff from both Arlington Public Schools and the County’s Department of Environmental Services have been working together diligently to evaluate this approach.  Recently County staff alerted us that an agreement on such a project has been reached at the staff level, and they have provided us with a general outline of the contemplated detention vault.  We are very encouraged by the direction of this project.

In particular, the current plan significantly increases the capacity of the detention vault compared to the initial plan that was under consideration, a critical step that will clearly enhance flood protection in the Westover area as well as in downstream communities along Four Mile Run.  We also understand the need to break this project into two phases.  While we would like to see a solution for the flooding problems in Torreyson Run as soon as possible, we appreciate the importance of completing the new Reed School on schedule, which the two-phase approach is intended to accommodate.

Our understanding is that the County will be initiating a public engagement process on this project at the beginning of 2021, which we fully support.  This will allow the community to understand more about the specifics of the project and work with County staff on any implementation issues that may arise.  Our group would be happy to help with community outreach for this project through its four civic associations.

We further understand that the County Board will be considering an interagency funding agreement for this project at its upcoming meeting.  We strongly support favorable action on this agreement to maintain momentum on the construction of critical stormwater infrastructure, which is needed in our watershed and will further improve the County’s ability to address flooding risks across the whole County.

Finally, we want to commend the efforts by the staff in the Department of Environmental Services and Arlington Public Schools for their cooperative efforts in reaching this agreement.  This project represents a significant, and precedential, step toward practical implementation of “dual-use” strategies for the use of Arlington’s limited public lands for both recreation and stormwater management, an approach that is increasingly necessary for the County to protect and enhance our neighborhoods.


Mark Greenwood, Chair Torreyson Run Task Force
Lilith Cristansen, President Westover Village Civic Association
John Ford, President Tara Leeway Heights Civic Association
Kathleen Trainor, President Highland Park Overlee Knolls Civic Association
Mike Weinstein, President Leeway Overlee Civic Association

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