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<b>Board OKs $1.9 Million for Neighborhood Projects</b>

At their meeting on Saturday, Feb. 7, County Board members accepted 15 Neighborhood Conservation projects valued at $1.85 million, along with new or updated Neighborhood Conservation plans for the Old Glebe, Bellevue Forest and Penrose communities.

“This plan was 37 years in the making,” said Janet Dorn, vice president of the Penrose Civic Association. “It updates the 1967 Central Arlington Neighborhood Plan.”

Arlington’s Neighborhood Conservation program provides bond funding for small capital projects to improve, upgrade and preserve residential areas. The projects are proposed by citizens in Neighborhood Plans, endorsed by civic associations and reviewed by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, the citizen group that guides the program. Projects are then referred to the County Board for funding approval.

Projects approved by the Board today include street improvements (sidewalk, planting strips, curb and gutter, paving), neighborhood signs, park improvements and street lighting and will be designed and constructed over the next two years.

Currently, 47 neighborhoods participate in the Neighborhood Conservation Program. Nearly all of them have completed plans, a few are finalizing new plan preparation, and others are updating older plans. Neighborhood plans, based on surveys of each household within a civic association, typically include an inventory of existing conditions and identify projects and policies that citizens would like to see implemented. The program was founded in 1964.

Board members hailed the program on Saturday, pointing to individualized planning for each neighborhood. “There’s no cookie-cutter framework for these,” said Board Vice Chair Jay Fisette. “Each neighborhood that does this puts their plan together in a different way.”

Any Arlington neighborhood can join the program, managed by Arlington’s Office of Neighborhood Services. More information is available on the <a href="http://www.co.arlington.va.us">County's website</a>.

<b>Schools Announces Makeup Days</b>

Arlington Public School students will make up the two instructional days lost last month due to inclement weather on Monday, Feb. 16, and Friday, March 26.

The first makeup day, Feb. 16, President's Day, was previously scheduled as a holiday for students. March 26 was previously scheduled as a teacher workday. Both days will now be used as full instructional days.

When the School Board adopted the 2003 - 2004 school year calendar in March of 2003, two makeup days were built into the calendar. Schools were closed on Sept. 18, 2003, and Sept. 19, 2003, due to Hurricane Isabel, and on Jan. 27 and Jan. 28 due to inclement weather. This brings the total number of instructional days lost to four and leaves two days to be made up at this time.

If additional school days are lost, school officials said a plan would be devised to makeup any additional days lost. The plan could include lengthening the school day for the remainder of the school year and/or adding one or more of the following days to the end of the year:

* High School - June 18, June 21, and June 22

* Middle School - June 21-23

* Elementary School - June 22-24

For more information, contact The Office of School & Community Relations at 703-228-7660.

<b>County Gets Donaldson Run Cleanup Grant</b>

The County Board accepted a $75,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation on Feb. 7 to restore a half-mile section of Donaldson Run stream in Zachary Taylor Park, the largest stream restoration project in Arlington to date.

The project will evaluate stream and watershed conditions and recommend ways to control erosion and improve stream habitat. It also will identify methods to reduce the transport of sediment and nutrients downstream to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Stormwater runoff is a key environmental challenge facing Arlington today, as much of the County was developed before local environmental statutes addressing stormwater took effect. The Donaldson Run project is part of the County’s long-term strategy to address stormwater pollution through a comprehensive watershed management program. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, urban development and runoff are among the leading causes of water pollution in the country.

The project was initiated by the Donaldson Run Civic Association, which identified erosion control in Donaldson Run as a priority issue for the neighborhood. The civic association wanted to preserve the natural resource of the stream, protect trees and walking trails along the stream valley and improve water quality. The civic association applied for funding through Arlington County’s Neighborhood Conservation Program to study the issue of erosion in the stream. The Department of Environmental Services and Department of Public Works are also providing funds for the project.

Design concepts for the project have been developed and are currently being reviewed with the community. A community workshop and stream walk were conducted in November 2003, and a second workshop is planned for Feb. 25. Construction of the restoration project is planned to begin in September 2004. The project will serve as a model for future stream improvement projects and with the stream location in a public park, will continue to educate citizens about nonpoint source pollution and stream protection.