BOARD APPROVES CLARENDON RENOVATION
Clarendon’s historic post office will receive a makeover as part of a development project approved Saturday, July 19.
County Board members unanimously approved a $75 million joint venture between the U.S. Postal Service and Philadelphia-based Keating Development Company.
The developer will renovate and expand the 1937 post office and neighboring Dan Kain Trophies building while building a new three-story office building and an 11-story, 194-unit apartment building next door.
The facility will provide 130-150 parking spaces for shared community use. "We need this public amenity," said local resident Brian Johnson. "There is a lot of nightlife in Clarendon, and people need places to park."
Several speakers urged board members to push the U.S. Postal Service for even more shared parking in the future. Board member Chris Zimmerman said that’s not likely to happen.
"The good will of the postal service isn’t worth a dime," he said. "They aren’t responsive, and they are set up in a way that they won’t be responsive. Whatever you do insist upon today is all you should expect to get."
Fellow board member Barbara Favola questioned the need for additional parking. "Shouldn’t we force the maximum use of parking we do have?" she said. Extra parking spaces simply encourage more people to drive to Clarendon instead of taking Metro, she said.
The entire renovation project lies within 1,200 feet of the Clarendon Metro station.
VIRGINIA IN THE BLACK
Gov. Mark Warner (D) announced Monday that the state ended the last fiscal year with a $55 million surplus in the state's $25 billion budget. Warner said he was reassured by the surplus, which comes after lawmakers and the governor struggled to close a $6 billion budget shortfall.
In a written statement he said it was "comforting" that Fiscal Year 2003, which ended June 30, ended with a balanced budget.
"Despite the worst economic conditions in well over a decade, Virginia finished this past year with a small revenue surplus and a positive budgetary balance sheet," Warner said.
But next year will be marked by similar financial difficulties, he warned, which may force the state to look at further cuts and layoffs.
FIRST WEST NILE MOSQUITO CONFIRMED
Earlier this month, Arlington public health officials said that a mosquitoes found in north Arlington are infected with West Nile Virus, the first infected mosquitoes found in the county.
Officials reported that a mosquito traps in the Donaldson Run area contained mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus. The County uses mosquito traps as part of its West Nile virus surveillance efforts. The confirmation of infected mosquitoes is an indication that the virus has reached Arlington.
However, officials have seen no cases of West Nile in people, dead birds or chickens maintained as West Nile testers in the county.
To reduce residents’ exposure to the virus the County will notify each household and increase larviciding in the area. In addition to the traditional larvaciding, a liquid larvicide will also be used, which will be sprayed using hand-held squeeze bottles, similar to the spraying of roses.
HOMELAND SECURITY GRANTS REACH $24 MILLION
Since the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon, Arlington County has received $23 million in federal grants related to homeland security, according to information released last week.
At Saturday’s County Board meeting, County Manager Ron Carlee presented a summary of grants and expenses in recent years. County expenses related to the terrorist attack reached an estimated $3,896,057. Grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and private contributions reimbursed the county for all but $756,635.
The Police Department budget has increased and average of 4.3 percent since fiscal 2000. During that same time period, the Emergency Communications Center budget increased an average of 3.1 percent, and the Fire Department budget increased an average of 9.6 percent.
The story "Is It Real, or Is It Astroturf?" (July 2-8) should have said that Arlington is considering converting natural grass fields at county parks to artificial grass, not with Astroturf, a brand of artificial turf.