<b>Arlington Partners With

South Virginia County</b>

At their March 27 meeting, County Board members approved an economic development partnership between Arlington and Martinsville/Henry County, 200 miles south of the Washington region. The partnership between the localities is the first of its kind in Virginia, and is expected to bring benefits to both regions in business development and investment.

The economy in Martinsville and Henry County's economy traditionally has been driven by manufacturing, particularly furniture and textiles. Global economic influences on those industries substantially affected the region, triggering industrial contractions and closures.

The region has worked to redefine its economic development strategy, leveraging its location, access, and its available and less expensive labor force in an attempt to reinvent its local economy. Collaboration with Arlington provides access to the D.C.-area business base and exposure to businesses that may be seeking the type of facility that could not be created in the Washington region.

Similarly, the partnership brings to Arlington a pool of an educated, trained and less expensive labor force and buildings.

A resolution endorsing the Arlington-Martinsville/Henry County partnership was approved by the Martinsville City Council and the Henry County Board of Supervisors in a unanimous vote in February. Tom Harned, Director of Economic Development for the City of Martinsville, was pleased with the Arlington Board's approval.

<b>Grading Arlington</b>

The Partnership for Chdilren, Youth and Families will release its “Community Report Card on the Status of Children, Youth and Families” next month, a collection of 80 economic indicators and community evaluations showing how Arlington children fare in health, education, families and community.

The “Community Report Card” will be discussed in detail at two meetings. On Saturday, April 17, the Partnership will hold a meeting from 2-4 p.m. in the Arlington Central Library Auditorium, 1015 N. Quincy St. On April 22, a Thursday, the Partnership meeting will durn 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Room 126 of the Arlington Mill Community Center, 4975 Columbia Pike.

The “Report Card” is available <a href="">online</a>. For more information, call 703-228-1667.

<b>Arlington OKs New Shirlington Bus Center</b>

On Saturday, the County Board today approved plans for a new bus transfer center in the Village at Shirlington. In addition to providing a safe, weather-protected waiting area, it is designed to improve Shirlington’s pedestrian environment and encourage bus ridership in an area not served by Metrorail. Currently, patrons must cross five lanes of traffic to get to connecting Metrobuses at existing stops in the 2700 block of South Quincy Street.

The transfer center will include passenger information systems to make it easier to use the bus and provide for a future transit store. Plans for the facility were initially approved in 1999. The site, now a parking lot, is across from the office building near the intersection of 31st Street South and S. Randolph Street.

The $2.4-million project is being funded using $1.3 million in federal grants, $800,000 in Transit Infrastructure Improvement Funds from the Washington Area Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and $300,000 in County capital improvement funds. In 2000, Arlington previously contracted with WMATA to perform Phase I concept and design development. Approval of the Phase II agreement enables WMATA to complete final engineering and design work and construct the bus station.

Currently, eight Metrobus lines serve Shirlington with 424 daily bus trips and 1,000 passenger boardings and alightings, making it the third busiest bus hub in Arlington. Ninety percent of the current activity in Shirlington is related to bus-to-bus transfers. However, the existing bus stops in Shirlington can be confusing because some buses headed in the same direction stop on opposite sides of the street; lighting is poor and seating areas are limited. All of these factors may discourage bus ridership.

The Phased Development Site Plan (PDSP) for the Village at Shirlington specifically calls for plans to facilitate and encourage transit commuting for Shirlington residents, employees and visitors. (A PDSP establishes uses, densities, heights, parking, transportation facilities, utilities and community facilities for designated areas.) Recently approved projects for Shirlington include a 245-unit apartment building at Arlington Mill Drive and Shirlington Road, and a new library/theater building to house the Shirlington Library and Signature Theatre.