Dear Neighbors: As you may know Arlington will be building a really large stormwater detention vault under the old Reed playing fields. Cardinal Elementary will still open in August, but construction on the detention vault will begin a few months later.
Wednesday, May 26th. 6:30-7:30 PM. Attend this virtual meeting to learn about the stormwater detention vault that is planned to be installed under the athletic fields at the new Cardinal Elementary School/Reed Fields.
At this meeting, County and APS staff will review the 65% designs for the vault, discuss plans for safely managing the vault construction while school is in session, and answer questions from the community. Learn more about the project and view previous meeting presentations on the project web site.
Join on your computer or mobile app
Click here to join the meeting on May 26th.
Or call in (audio only)
Phone Conference ID: 397 633 566#
On Saturday, the County Board received a lengthy and detailed update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Arlington. We know not everyone has time to watch a weekend Board meeting, so here are a few key bits of info. Watch the full segment on the County’s YouTube channel.
- “I know it’s beyond frustrating and downright scary for many of us – including me – about the change and uncertainty in vaccine availability.” – Dr. Reuben Varghese, Public Health Director.
- Within a week and a half of entering Phase 1b, the state informed the entire Commonwealth it was shifting to a per capita allocation by health district region. The primary reason for the sudden change was 1) Virginia is only receiving 110,000 doses per week for the whole state and 2) in a span of just two weeks, all of Virginia moved into Phase 1b.
- Currently, the per capita allocation for Arlington is roughly 2,700 doses per week. “Arlington County has the capacity to do at least 1,000 per day, but obviously without the vaccine we’re unable to do more.”
- “Through Jan. 23, Arlington County has received 5,100 first doses from Virginia. And as of Jan. 22, we have used 4,560 doses, close to 90%, which is what we were aiming for, so we always have supply to start the next week.”
Arlington County is working to reschedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments canceled by Virginia Hospital Center. Affected individuals include people 75 years and older who were scheduled to receive their first vaccine dose after Jan. 26, 2021.
What to Know:
- Individuals who already got a first dose of the vaccine at the VHC-managed clinic at the Walter Reed Community Center will still receive their second dose as scheduled.
- Residents 75+ will be contacted directly by Arlington County to reschedule as vaccines becomes available. The goal is to reschedule the canceled appointments in the order of their original appointments.
- Arlington asks for the community’s patience as it works to incorporate the 75+ group to its plans within the existing vaccine supplies.
Find additional information in our Vaccine FAQ, under the “VHC Vaccine Appointment Cancelations” section.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 has been identified in a sample from an adult resident of Northern Virginia with no reported recent travel history. The B.1.1.7 variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020, is associated with increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
“Viruses change all the time, and we expect to see new strains as disease spreads,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “As our state public health officials closely monitor the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant in our Commonwealth, it is important that all Virginians continue following mitigation measures.”
COVID-19 News & Notes
- Central Library Holds Pickup service will reopen Tuesday
- The County’s ability to inoculate those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is limited only by the availability of vaccine supply
- Columbia Pike extends Buy a Nurse Lunch program through winter 2021
- Read: Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s Letter to Governor Northam Regarding Vaccine Distribution
At our meeting on January sixth, 2021, despite the distractions then taking place downtown in DC, HPOK heard a presentation on the planned stormwater detention vault under the Reed School fields from Aileen Winquist, Demetra McBride, and Liz Thurber of the Department of Environmental services. The presentation is attached below.
Starting in November of 2021, after the school is open, Gilbane will begin building a 540,000 cubic foot detention vault under the existing ball fields. The new school’s playgrounds will be unaffected, but residents should expect significant construction and associated noise and traffic. The concrete vault will require an excavation approximately 14 feet deep: it will fill when the existing seven foot pipe is at at capacity and drain as that pipe drains, via gravity.
When completed the vault will remediate 85% of the excess capacity expected in a ten year storm. Arlington continues t explore other options for stormwater remediation in the Torryson Run watershed.
The topography of the fields will be restored when the vault is completed, including the sledding hill.
For your new calendars: HPOK General Meeting
Topic: Construction of the Stormwater Detention Under Reed Field
Speakers from Department of Environmental Services
- Wed 6 January, 7-8pm
- Zoom link https://jamasoftware.zoom.us/j/4181369268
The County provided the informational graphic below
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
Letter from 4CA to Arlington Public schools regarding naming of new school at Reed site, Dec. 16 2020
Dear Members of the School Board and Dr. Durán,
We are delighted to see the steady construction progress at the Reed School site and look forward to having a new elementary school in our community. We are pleased that the planning unit in which Reed sits is now zoned for the school and that other walkable units will be con- sidered for inclusion in the boundary process in 2022. Neighbors also appreciate the offer of liberal grandfathering for those who wish to remain at Tuckahoe.
We understand that APS traditionally convenes a naming committee for new schools that in- cludes various stakeholders. Our four civic associations, which surround the school, each look forward to participating on the committee. We see this as a great opportunity to meet with all involved to possibly reaffirm a name or consider other names that reflect APS’s core values and may relate to Virginia.
Kathleen Trainor, President Highland Park Overlee Knolls Michael Weinstein, President Leeway Overlee
John Ford, President Tara Leeway Heights
Lilith Christiansen, President Westover Village
Letter from 4CA Stormwater task force to Arlington County and Arlington Public Schools, July 14 2020
Dear Chairpersons Garvey and O’Grady,
Six months ago, our four civic associations wrote to the Arlington County Board and the Arlington Public School Board about the severe flood that occurred in the Westover area on July 8, 2019, seeking leadership and cooperation between your organizations to undertake stormwater management measures that could mitigate against a repeat of that devastating event. In particular, the letter urged the County to consider measures at the Reed School site, which is uniquely situated in the Torreyson Run watershed to provide protection to Westover.
It has now been a year since the 2019 flood. We are pleased to see Torreyson Run included in the proposed Capital Improvement Plan for 2021, and we urge the County Board to support this recommendation from the County Manager. At the same time, our community is frustrated that the County has not yet initiated specific remedial steps to prevent future flooding in the Westover area.
We believe that building detention vaults under the large tract of the Reed School playing fields offers a reasonable, effective approach to save the Westover business district, and thus should be the centerpiece of the stormwater strategy for Torreyson Run.
Why a detention vault? A detention vault captures water during the peak period of a storm and then releases the captured water back to the regular pipe system after the storm. This approach would allow the County to even out the flow of water through its system (similar to “flattening the curve” of Covid19 hospitalizations) to prevent excess water from overloading the pipes and causing localized flooding as well as flooding throughout the 4 Mile Run corridor, down to south Arlington.
Why the Reed School playing fields?
> There are very few parcels of public land in Torreyson Run; the Reed School site is one of the largest.
> This parcel of land is immediately upstream of Westover.
> In fact, the major pipe that carried the bulk of the stormwater into Westover on July 8, and caused the devastating flooding, runs through the Reed site adjacent to the planned playing fields.
> An underground detention vault can be designed and constructed to be fully compatible with the intended recreational uses on the playing fields.
> The site is currently flat, easily accessible and does not contain other features (e.g., mature trees) that complicate its use for this purpose, suggesting that it offers a particularly cost-effective option.
> The underground gradient of the major stormwater pipe at the site would facilitate efficient return of water stored in the detention system to the main stormwater system.
We have been in discussions with staff from both the County and APS. As we understand the current situation, the County has asked APS to study three options for stormwater relief at the site. Once there is an agreement on an option, the County will pay APS’s contractor to construct the detention structures.
We think it is critical that the options for analysis include a full range of choices so that the community can appreciate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the choices. In particular, the study should include an option that fully utilizes the large fields adjacent to the storm pipe.
We understand that APS staff oppose a “whole field” option out of concern that detention vaults could preclude future building on the playing fields and could create contractual issues that might delay completion of the project. While we recognize APS’s concern, we believe that the “whole field” option still warrants analysis so there is full transparency about how Arlington’s final choice reflects public values. We also urge the County to consider ways to alleviate APS’s concerns.
We appreciate the opportunity to discuss this critical issue with staff and look forward to continued work. We know that stormwater management is one of the most complicated and pressing challenges for Arlington and hope that the County and APS can continue to identify and collaborate on solutions.
Mark Greenwood, Chair Torreyson Run Task Force
Lilith Christansen, Pres. Westover Village Civic Association
John Ford, Pres. Tara Leeway Heights Civic Association
Kathleen Trainor, Pres. Highland Park Overlee Knolls Civic Association
Mike Weinstein, Pres. Leeway Overlee Civic Association
Letter from HPOK to Arlington Public Schools regarding Reed Boundary Process
Dear Members of the School Board and Superintendent Durán, I am writing on behalf of the Highland Parks Overlee Knolls (HPOK) civic association regarding your boundary process for the new elementary school at the Reed site. The school is located within the boundaries of HPOK.
HPOK and the greater Westover community have faced a couple disappointments over Reed school. We lost our walkable school when it closed in 1984, and APS began bussing all the children to other schools. The community was again disappointed when APS built a childcare center at the site a decade ago rather than a school, while elementary school overcrowding was clearly on the rise. Several years ago, when the Reed site was again in play, the four civic associations surrounding Westover joined to advocate for it to open as a neighborhood elementary school.
Reed is unique because it is adjacent to Westover Village, a civic and commercial hub that includes a library, post office, bank, small park, many independently-owned businesses, a thriving farmers market, and–two blocks away–Swanson Middle School. Westover is a walking destination for thousands of people every day.
The community was thrilled when APS committed to making the planned new building a neighborhood school, but many were concerned about the potential negative effects on Westover from increased bussing and car traffic. The fact that Reed is walkable for almost an entire school population helped mitigate concerns.
HPOK rated walkability as the most valued aspect of the community, according to a survey of the greater Westover civic associations. HPOK members assisted APS in gathering information for the Reed School walk zone maps, and last year HPOK invited the APS Safe Routes to School coordinator to a meeting to help brainstorm ways to promote and ensure a walking culture for the school.
Neighbors have been watching the construction progress of their new school with great anticipation. We urge APS to look for ways to make Reed the walkable school it is suited to be, and to decrease unnecessary bussing both in and out of the community surrounding Reed.
President Highland Park Overlee Knolls Civic Association
From HPOK Civic Association Board: New school boundary proposals from APS. Arlington Public Schools (APS) is currently reviewing new boundary options for the Reed school under construction in our neighborhood. The initial boundary proposal presented on 5 of October zoned most of our civic association and surrounding walkable neighborhoods to the Reed school. APS is considering new boundary options that differ from the initial proposal. The HPOK board wants to make everyone aware of these discussions because the new school is right in our backyard, walkable from our homes, and will become a natural focal point for our community. Those within our civic association who are currently assigned to McKinely will move to the new Reed School no matter what option is chosen. One option APS is considering would mean a large portion of our civic association that directly borders the new Reed school will not be zoned to attend it. We know there are a variety of opinions in the neighborhood. If you want to voice your opinion here is an action you can take: 1) confirm your school boundary planning unit # https://gis.arlingtonva.us/Html5Viewer/Index.html?configBase=https://gis.arlingtonva.us/Geocortex/Essentials/REST/sites/APS_Attendance_Locator/viewers/APS_School_Boundary_Locator/virtualdirectory/Resources/Config/Default/ 2) review proposed boundary options here. Primarily slides 14-19 and slide 33, attached here. https://go.boarddocs.com/vsba/arlington/Board.nsf/files/BUUTEP7709E7/$file/Elementary%20School%20Boundary%20Process%2010-29-2020.pdf 3) address an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to voice support for your desired APS elementary boundary option. Recommend including your PU # and your reasoning in the email. – “Initial proposal” zones most of the walkable units in the surrounding civic associations to Reed. – “Plan A” zones most HPOK families to attend the new Reed School but leaves out other walkable units – “Plan B” zones a large portion of HPOK families who currently attend Tuckahoe to continue attending Tuckahoe and be bussed to the school. APS timeline for decision: Nov. 3: Superintendent’s recommendation will be posted on BoardDocs Nov. 5: Superintendent’s recommendation will be presented to School Board Dec. 1: Public Hearing on elementary school boundaries Dec. 3: School Board adoption of new boundaries for 2021-22 For more information: www.apsva.us/engage/fall2020elementaryboundaries/
On Wednesday, Sept. 16, HPOK held a virtual meeting. We heard presentations from Laura Crowther of Arlington’s Department of Waste Management and from Laura Simpson, Neighborhood Conservation Planner for the County.
Laura Simpson’s presentation on the forthcoming changes to the crossing at 14th and Ohio is available on youtube at https://youtu.be/dplY1g_UdCw and in pdf form here:
The presentation by Laura Crowther on recycling is here: