Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday (May 10) to allow time for a homeless shelter replacement proposal to come to fruition, extending a review period to Aug. 10.
The capital project will transform the 9,500-square-foot Patrick Henry Family Shelter in Seven Corners to a new 24,000-square-foot permanent supportive housing facility with 16 units and a multipurpose room.
The extension of the 2232 review, which is required for proposed public facility projects, will give the county more time to acquire land rights needed for construction, according to Department of Public Works and Environmental Services spokesperson Sharon North.
“This complex land acquisition is necessary to receive all zoning and permitting approvals for the project,” North said. “As a result, the project schedule has been extended beyond what was originally anticipated.”
The building at 3080 Patrick Henry Drive is part of the Hollybrooke II Condominium complex, which was originally built as apartments in 1952. The county bought the building in 1985 and converted its 10 units into emergency housing shelter.
The units were expanded into the current shelter in 1996 and 2006.
Per a March application on the new project:
The existing structure is in poor condition, not code compliant, has multiple accessibility barriers and does not meet the program change to permanent supportive housing units. There is a critical lack of permanent supportive housing to serve the County’s homeless population. Studies show that no other method is proven more effective than supportive housing for ending chronic homelessness.
The new facility will be four stories and have five 2-bedroom units, eight 3-bedroom units, and three 4-bedroom units to continue serving large families experiencing homelessness.
While the Board of Supervisors owns the existing building, which will be demolished, the surrounding land and parking areas are controlled by the Hollybrooke II Condominium Association.
“For that reason, the [board] must obtain land rights in order to commence construction of the project,” North said. “With final approvals and purchase, the separation and ownership will transfer to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.”
The project is currently being reviewed by the county’s land development and planning staff. North says approvals from both departments are expected to come late this year.
Voters approved $48 million in bond money for the project and three other shelters in 2016. Those include the Embry Rucker Shelter in Reston, a joint fire station and Eleanor Kennedy Shelter relocation project in Penn Daw, and the Bailey’s Crossroads facility that opened in 2019.
The county has been working to increase its permanent housing assistance, making 1,645 beds available this year — a 12% increase from last year, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ annual Point-in-Time count released May 4.
When Metro riders get off the future Herndon-Monroe Metro Station, town planners want the first impression of the town to be a unique experience.
That’s part of the reason why town officials are working on the Herndon Metrorail Promenade, a 500-foot-long and nearly 70-foot-wide gateway plaza that will connect the Metro station to Herndon Parkway.
It’s designed to be the first introduction to the town, offering a “gateway experience…unlike all other major entrances to the town,” staff said in planning documents.
While it’s too early to know what the promenade will look like, town planners hope the “quality, form, scale and aesthetic design of the whole and its components will create a lasting impression” of the town on pedestrians.
A walkway along the center of the future promenade will serve Metro riders once the station opens. Another public walkway that’s currently under construction will run from Metro’s pavilion to the sidewalk of Herndon Parkway and two land bays.
Strategically, the gateway is intended to boost the success of the Herndon Transit-Oriented Core. It will feature a mix of plaza spaces and planted areas with sculptural elements and seating to welcome visitors into town.
It’s not yet clear how the promenade will match up with the proposed Parkview development, which will open up directly to the plaza at 593 Herndon Parkway from the Metro station door. Lerner Enterprises’ mixed-use project went to the town’s planning commission for a discussion last night (Monday).
It will be a while before the town’s vision for the promenade comes to fruition. Currently, the project has no timeline, as only design and engineering funding the project has been allocated.
Town spokesperson Anne Curtis tells FFXnow that the land for the future promenade is currently owned by three different entities.
“The town owns the center portion, where the existing walkway is located; private property owners own the land adjacent to the walkway. These owners will be providing improvements when redevelopment occurs,” Curtis wrote in a statement.
Design and engineering will also be necessary to make sure that the current walkway is redesigned to become a “seamless” part of the promenade, Curtis said.
Developer contributions for the project are expected, along with other funding sources.
While much remains unknown about the promenade design itself, the opening date of the Metro station also remains a mystery. There currently isn’t even an estimated timeline for opening the Silver Line’s long-anticipated second phase, even as crews complete final testing and pre-revenue service activities.
Tysons is going to need a bigger sewer system.
With the population expected to continue growing over the next few decades, Fairfax County is starting to prepare now for the anticipated influx of residents — and the additional wastewater they will inevitably produce.
Over the past two years, the county’s Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has been planning upgrades to the sewer pipelines and pump station that serve the Tysons West neighborhood along Route 7 between Westpark Drive and the Dulles Toll Road.
One of several projects in the works to boost northern Fairfax County’s wastewater capacity, the Tysons Wastewater System Enhancements will replace and relocate an existing pump station, while adding more than 7 miles of new sewer pipeline.
“This project will decrease the risk of wastewater overflows and back-ups during periods of high wastewater flows by diverting flow from existing infrastructure,” DPWES said on the project page.
The department will host a virtual public meeting to discuss its proposal at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday).
@ffxpublicworks will be hosting an informational meeting about the Tysons West Wastewater Conveyance Systems Modifications Project on 𝐓𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐝𝐚𝐲, 𝐌𝐚𝐲 𝟏𝟎 𝐚𝐭 𝟕𝐩𝐦. I invite you to join to learn more about the project and ask questions: https://t.co/LCKgC3yQie pic.twitter.com/qF3HVkLQ9X
— Dalia Palchik (@SupvPalchik) May 4, 2022
According to DPWES spokesperson Sharon North, the Tysons area doesn’t currently have any issues with wastewater overflows or backups, but with the Tysons Comprehensive Plan targeting 100,000 residents by 2050, the current facilities aren’t sufficient to handle that future growth.
One of the most heavily used trails in Fairfax County will undergo construction starting this summer to address recurring flooding issues.
The Fairfax County Park Authority is planning to upgrade a portion of the trail at Lake Accotink Park in Springfield. The $3 million project will add a 325-foot-long, elevated, concrete pedestrian crossing over the park’s dam outfall, along with approximately 300 feet of asphalt trail improvements.
“The contractor, Franco’s Liberty Bridge Inc, will be mobilizing on site with active construction activities beginning this summer,” the FCPA said in an announcement on Wednesday (May 4).
Parts of the Lake Accotink Loop Trail will be closed during construction. The FCPA says signs will be posted on the site and advises nearby residents to expect occasional construction traffic entering and exiting the park.
Despite the short-term inconveniences, the project will likely come as welcome news to visitors like Milo Nekvasil, who says he sometimes takes off his shoes and socks to walk through flooded areas on the trail during light rains. Heavy rains make it impassable for him.
Tree limbs, logs and other debris can clog along the path, causing backups where water would normally flow under the path.
Nekvasil’s experiences aren’t unique. Flooding is frequent and can be sudden, stranding trail users or leading them to wade through waters, according to the community group Friends of Lake Accotink Park.
“Excessive damage due to major storm events has required a total reconstruction of the trail twice in the last five years,” the Park Authority said. “This project will resolve these issues, enhancing safety and accessibility for park users.”
The project is scheduled to be completed in early 2023.
Two Reston pool projects are facing some delays.
The Ridge Heights Pool will open two weeks later than anticipated.
In a statement released Friday (April 29), Reston Association said the delay was prompted by “continuing supply chain delays and manufacturing shortages that have slowed repairs to the facility.”
Repairs include re-plastering of the previous pool surface layers, tile line and in-pool tile replacement, and coping stone replacement on the main and wading pools.
The pool will now open on May 28 instead of May 14. Lake Audubon Pool will open on May 14, along with the heated pool at North Shore.
RA noted that the scheduled opening is “pending supply and contractor availability and weather conditions.”
Raw materials like aggregate and binders are in high demand and short supply, according to Chris Schumaker, RA’s capital projects director. RA has been waiting several months for coping stones.
“RA is doing everything within its control to complete the Ridge Heights pool for a May 28 opening,” RA’s spokesperson Mike Leone told FFXnow.
RA has also delayed the groundbreaking of Lake Thoreau pool’s renovation to May. The $3.5 million project had an anticipated groundbreaking of October or November.
“Unfortunately, we do not have a more specific date. We are focused on a 2023 Memorial Day Weekend opening but it will be tight,” Leone said.
The opening timeframe could be pushed back if permitting delays continue. RA is currently working through the remaining county permits required for the project to proceed.
Key design elements of the renovation include ADA access with a ramp into the pool, a redesign of the overlook deck, pool reconstruction, expansion of the parking lot, and repositioning of the spa away from the bathhouses as well as modifying and expansion of said bathhouses.
Construction on nearly 100,000 square feet of space at Crossfield Elementary School in Herndon is expected to begin next year.
Hunter Mill District School Board Representative Melanie Meren said earlier this month that the project will kickstart next year and is expected to wrap up in 2025.
Preliminary plans include a library, a main office, a media center, an updated kitchen, new classrooms and more communal spaces.
The total project is expected to cost $32.5 million, with construction costs coming out to around $25 million, a spokesperson for FCPS told FFXnow.
Meren said she was most excited about the addition of an outdoor learning space in an interior courtyard of the building.
She hopes to work with the Fairfax County Park Authority to find ways to connect education with the surrounding park.
“Crossfield is unique because it is nestled inside a Fairfax County park,” Meren said.
The school first opened in 1988 and is named after A. Scott Crossfield, an aeronautical pioneer who lived nearby the school.
The project was partly funded by the 2019 School Bond referendum.
Tennis player Lea Blinder practiced with a Slinger ball feeder machine yesterday (Wednesday) at Chalet Woods Park in Centreville, happy to hear that the courts there are slated for repairs.
The Arlington resident, who plays tennis at Chalet Woods a few times a week, was working on her swing before her lesson that afternoon. The three courts are surrounded by towering trees in a cul-de-sac by homes.
“It’s beautiful,” she said, noting that families also enjoy the park.
Expected to undergo repairs and get new color coating for its tennis courts and a basketball court, Chalet Woods is one of five parks across Fairfax County in line for court maintenance and renovations projects this year.
George Washington Park court demolition begins
One of the biggest scheduled overhauls will be at George Washington Park in Mount Vernon (8426 Old Mt. Vernon Road), where the Fairfax County Park Authority has proposed converting the four existing tennis courts into six dedicated pickleball courts and two shared-use courts with lines for both sports.
The county announced on Wednesday (April 27) that a vendor will begin preparing the GW Park courts this week for demolition. The courts are expected to be closed for four months for resurfacing process, depending on the weather.
“Once new asphalt is laid, the courts will sit undisturbed for a period of two to four weeks to allow the color coating to adhere properly,” the park authority said in its news release. “New fencing and nets will be installed once the color coatings have set and the courts are ready to open again.”
People can comment on the proposal through May 27 to 65533@PublicInput.com. The plan is expected to be finalized in early June.
Maintenance needs pave way for pickleball additions
As illustrated by the GW project and a similar renovation planned at Lewinsville Park in McLean, the park authority is using the schedule for repairing and resurfacing many tennis courts as an occasion to make upgrades and add new facilities, especially for pickleball.
“We’ll be nearly doubling the amount of pickleball courts that we have in the next two years,” FCPA Project Manager Adam Wynn said at a March 23 board meeting.
Building on a pickleball study from December, the county plans to create 37 to 42 additional pickleball courts, most of which could take place in coming months, the park authority reported at that meeting.
According to spokesperson Judy Pederson, the FCPA will undertake court maintenance and renovation projects this year and next at Chalet Woods, George Washington, Lewinsville, McLean Central Park, and Dowden Terrace Park near Bailey’s Crossroads.
“As always, [work is] weather dependent and contractor availability will determine how far we get,” she said in an email.
Reston’s Shadowood pool, which will be closed this season, is slated for mid-level upgrades.
Reston Association’s Board of Directors selected a plan to bring the ailing pool out of the shadows.
Of the three proposals under consideration — less costly repairs, a mid-price refurbishment plan, and full-scale renovations — the board chose the mid-tier plan, which is expected to cost between $750,000 and $1 million.
Repairs to the facility’s roof and re-plastering of the main pool are planned. The project will also reconfigure the pool to have lap lanes, relocate an existing transformer, change the security fence, and add a route from the parking lot to the pool house.
RA expects the plan to require between four to five months to clear its approval process.
The pool will be closed this year — leaving the neighboring community without a go-to pool for a third consecutive year.
RA’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee asked the association to consider larger-scale renovations than those originally under consideration in January, said RA President Caren Anton.
The most basic option would have required between $300,000 to $500,000 of “strictly maintenance items,” RA Capital Projects Director Chris Schumaker relayed at a March 24 meeting.
The full-scale renovation would have included a complete building overhaul, including a conversion of a wading pool into a splash pad and a reconfiguration of the pool deck. This option would have cost up to cost around $2.5 million.
Board member Sarah Selvaraj-D’souza said the board’s decision should be guided by balancing the needs of the community and selecting a plan that addresses members’ “must-haves.”
“When we go for the full renovation, there are complications even regarding traffic patterns and parking and the community was loud when they said they wanted this pool open as soon as possible,” Selvaraj-D’souza said, adding that the community has already “lost” three seasons of the pool.
The pool is expected to open for the 2023 season, barring any permitting or project delays.
The discussion follows a long-anticipated evaluation of RA’s recreational facilities. The study by the Recreational Facility Work Group found a major increase in funding is needed to address capital improvement work at decades-old facilities.
Fairfax County staff are moving ahead with a project to relocate the Penn Daw fire station and Fort Belvoir’s Eleanor Kennedy Shelter.
The new facilities will be built on the site of the former Hybla Valley Nursery (2801 Beacon Hill Road), which the county bought for $3 million in 2020, meaning the existing fire station would move one block south.
“[W]e are currently in the process of contract negotiations with an architectural firm, so concepts have not been drafted yet,” Fairfax County public works spokesperson Sharon North said in an email Tuesday (April 5). “We are currently planning for zoning approvals in Spring 2023 and permit approvals in Spring 2024.”
Construction could start in late summer 2024 and be complete at the end of 2026, county staff said.
The project is being funded by approved bond money, including $10 million from a public safety bond in 2015. A total of $15.4 million has been set aside for the fire station, according to the county’s proposed fiscal year 2023 budget. A 2016 approved bond included $12 million for the Eleanor Kennedy shelter.
The county has said the new shelter will have 50 emergency shelter beds and 20 single-occupant permanent supportive housing units. The new fire station will accommodate 23 staff.
The planned facilities reflect the county’s push for more robust development along the Richmond Highway corridor, including in the Penn Daw Community Business Center. In February, the county board approved a private housing development by Shields Avenue to the north, and the branding for a planned bus rapid transit service was unveiled.
The McLean Community Center has a water problem, and it will take about $100,000 in repairs to fix it.
The MCC governing board unanimously approved that funding on March 10 for a roof repair project deemed “urgent” by the board’s Capital Facilities Committee.
A pre-construction meeting with Function Enterprises, the Springfield-based company enlisted as the vendor, is scheduled for the end of April, MCC Director of Marketing and Communications Sabrina Anwah told FFXnow.
The bulk of the project focuses replacing a section of roof that mirrors the hallway to the facility’s Susan B. DuVal Studio. The replacement will cost $82,500, according to a vendor quote.
“This is where we have most of our recurring issues with water getting inside the building,” MCC staff said in an explanation of the quote.
According to staff, the remaining $16,580 will be used for repairs “that can improve our overall roof quality without the need to do a full replacement.” Identified issues include hallway leaks and a clogged roof drain that needs to be cleaned out.
The roofing challenges come a little over three years after MCC unveiled its $8 million renovation of the facility at 1234 Ingleside Avenue.
According to MCC, the existing roof was not a part of the renovation, but “several roofing deficiencies” were found near the end of that project.
“Those items couldn’t be addressed due to scope, budget and timeline issues,” MCC Facilities Manager Joe McGovern told FFXnow by email. “To begin addressing these issues, only a very small portion of the roof is being replaced.”
MCC chose Function Enterprises as the vendor for the repairs at Fairfax County’s recommendation, since the contractor was brought on to finish the renovation in 2018, staff said at a Capital Facilities Committee meeting on March 10.
“[Function Enterprises] recognized issues then and stated that they should take more time to complete due diligence, but the county instructed them to only address the contracted scope,” McGovern said, according to the meeting minutes. “And thus, this is part of the reason we are now experiencing/realizing issues.”