The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority was authorized by the Board of Supervisors last Tuesday (Oct. 10) to sell up to $43 million in facilities bonds to fund the community center, which has an estimated cost of $41 million.
The bond financing will also partially cover the county’s share of infrastructure costs, including the 75 parking garage spaces that will be designated for community center workers and visitors.
“This is a big step in this project,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said Tuesday. “This community center was really important to attracting the funding from Amazon for this project. It’s going to be a really useful asset to the broader community, to that area. It’s certainly going to help make it a great place to live for future residents.”
Designed and built by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), the 30,000-square-foot, two-level community center will be located in one of two residential high-rises that the nonprofit developer is building at 1592 Spring Hill Road.
Planned amenities include a full-size gym, sensory and recreational spaces, meeting rooms, fitness rooms, a kitchen and a 1,900-square-foot outdoor courtyard. The center will be open to the general public as well as future Dominion Square West residents.
Replacing a parking lot next to the Jaguar and Land Rover dealership near the Spring Hill Metro station, APAH’s development will provide 516 residential units for households earning 30% to 70% of the area median income, which is currently $152,100 for a family of four in Fairfax County.
Funds for the project’s housing components and construction are coming from a range of sources, including a $55 million grant from Amazon, American Rescue Plan Act funds, developer contributions, and $10 million from the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA).
According to a staff memo, the Department of Housing and Community Development expects to close on all project requirements, including housing bond financing, by mid-December.
As of this summer, APAH anticipated starting construction this December and completing the project in November 2027.
County staff said the community center will “provide social, recreational, health and wellness activities for older adults and youth” that are currently lacking in Tysons. Since July, the county has been offering some programs for teens and families through its Community Services Room at Tysons Corner Center.
Fairfax County is considering renaming its community center in Bailey’s Crossroads after a mid-20th-century pillar of the Black community.
At a Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday (Tuesday), its first since July, retiring Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross proposed looking into renaming the decades-old Bailey’s Community Center after Minnie Peyton.
Peyton was the well-known matriarch of Springdale, a historically Black community in Bailey’s Crossroads that originated as a home to freedmen after the Civil War.
Peyton founded several local churches and donated land to the county, specifically for an elementary school for Black students. When the school was completed in 1956, per county tax records, Fairfax County was still segregating Black and white students.
Today, the land once occupied by the school is the site of Bailey’s Community Center and Higher Horizons Head Start Program, an early education facility founded in 1963.
Naming the community center after Peyton would be a fitting acknowledgment of her role in the area’s history, Gross said in a board matter.
The Springdale community in Bailey’s Crossroads had its beginnings as home to freedmen following the Civil War, and has nurtured hundreds, perhaps thousands, of families in the last century-and-a-half. As with many traditional Black communities, the residents erected a church and built a small elementary school to educate their children, but the neighborhood received few local services – no paved roads, no sidewalks, no public drinking water or wastewater infrastructure. There is a growing desire in the community to re-name the community center to honor Minnie Peyton and reflect its historic roots.
While advocating for the change, Gross acknowledged that “more research needs to be done” and requested that the Fairfax County History Commission “verify available documentation” before the switch.
Gross gave the commission a deadline of next summer to report its findings.
The Board of Supervisors approved the request unanimously, though no date or timeline was given on when the community center’s name might actually change.
Scott was a former supervisor and represented the county in the Virginia House of Delegates for over two decades. He was most known for advocating for the state’s “motor voter” law, which allowed people to register to vote at DMVs, employment centers, and welfare offices. He died in 2017.
A renaming ceremony for the community center in Oakton will be held on Sept. 30.
The tennis courts at Bready Park in Herndon are slated for major upgrades — one of several renovations projects undertaken by the town’s park and recreation department this month.
All six courts at 814 Ferndale Avenue will be closed today (Monday), as crews work to install new fencing and replace the court surface, bubble structure and mechanical equipment.
Players can turn to Chandon Park (900 Palmer Drive) and Bruin Park (415 Van Buren Street) for playing options. Parks and recreation programs will also be relocated to Bruin Park to ensure “uninterrupted” access for participants, according to a news release from the town.
The tennis courts are expected to reopen by Oct. 9, according to the town.
In addition, the indoor pool at Herndon Community Center will close starting July 22. Crews plan to remove lighting fixtures, repair tail and replace the boilers and ultraviolet (UV) light systems. General maintenance and application of a new white coat is also planned.
The pool is expected to open on Sept. 11.
“We apologize for any inconvenience caused by these temporary closures but believe that the resulting improvements will greatly enhance the overall enjoyment of our facilities,” the town wrote in a statement. “We appreciate the continued support and understanding of our valued citizens and patrons during these projects.”
The town also plans to build a new picnic pavilion at Haley Smith Park. While the impact to parking will be minimal, the town will set up a restricted area around the new facility. Work is expected to begin today (Monday) and end on July 28.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new pavilion is scheduled for Aug. 16 at 11 a.m.
Photo via Herndon Community Center/Facebook
(Updated at 4:40 p.m. on 6/29/2023) Tysons could have a community center all of its own within the decade.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement yesterday (Tuesday) committing the nonprofit Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) to building the future Tysons Community Center as part of its Dominion Square West housing development near the Spring Hill Metro station.
Located at the base of one of two planned residential high-rises at 1592 Spring Hill Road, the community center will feature a “full-size gymnasium, sensory and recreational spaces, multigenerational and community meeting rooms, fitness rooms, a kitchen, and administrative offices,” along with an outdoor courtyard, county staff said in a summary for the board (page 664).
Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn, whose district includes the southwestern quadrant of Tysons, trumpted the center as “a big deal” not for future Dominion Square residents, but for the whole area, which he said has “a dearth of public facilities.”
“It’s going to be a major asset,” Alcorn said before the board voted on the agreement. “…I know NCS has been engaging with other communities in the area about programming and how the community center’s going to be a benefit to the broader community, which is just fantastic. I’m a little bit over the moon on this one.”
Under the agreement, APAH will develop the 33,000-square-foot, two-level community center. The property will be owned by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority and operated by the county’s Neighborhood and Community Services.
Replacing an auto dealership parking lot, the Dominion Square development will provide 516 units to residents earning 30% to 70% of the area median income. Fairfax County’s AMI for a family of four in 2023 is $152,100, per county staff.
APAH intends to construct both 20-story buildings concurrently, thanks to a $55 million grant from Amazon, which was secured in part by the community center’s inclusion, Alcorn said.
APAH says it anticipates simultaneously starting construction on the northern Building 6 and Building 5 to the south — which contains the community center — in December 2023, putting the overall project on track to be completed in November 2027, as shown in a schedule submitted to the county.
(This article previously cited incorrect dates for the beginning of construction.)
The agreement notes that the schedule is “preliminary and subject to change.” An APAH spokesperson confirmed that the construction timeline hasn’t changed since the schedule was developed on June 6.
Conditions for the community center include a ground-floor entrance at the corner of Boone Blvd and Spring Hill Road separate from the access for residents, along with a designated drop-off area and a courtyard.
It will also get 75 parking spaces reserved for employees and visitors in a planned below-grade garage with 427 spaces total — 65 of them available to either community center users or residents.
During yesterday’s meeting, the board approved a 17.2% reduction from the 516 parking spaces that the county’s zoning ordinance requires for the development.
The county had explored allowing a 29.3% reduction, bringing the number of spaces down to 365, but none of the potential nearby, off-site parking options “penciled out,” according to Alcorn.
“In this part of Tysons anyway, we have the interesting conundrum of an over-abundance of parking, but it’s privately owned and wrapped up in development approvals and sometimes other uses that aren’t fully using those parking spaces,” he said, adding that he and supervisors John Foust (Dranesville) and Dalia Palchik (Providence) are pursuing “some longer-term leads for public parking” in the area.
According to a provided budget, the community center will cost an estimated $38.8 million, over $34 million of which is for construction.
Earlier: Community members will be able to enjoy a colorful new mural in the parking lot of the Providence Community Center (3001 Vaden Drive) today, June 26.
Set to take place from 4-6 p.m., the mural unveiling event will include family-oriented activities and games, snacks and face painting. Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik will lead the ribbon-cutting ceremony, with Neighborhood and Community Services officials on hand for the event.
Without enough physical space to expand the center’s outdoor facilities and build a playground, NCS instead created the parking lot mural as an alternative means of engaging with the community and providing kids with increased outdoor programming, the county says.
“We thought this was a good idea and a good use of space to have a place where children can come out and play outside,” NCS Division Director Chris Scales said.
According to the county, the mural is the “first of its kind” at an NCS center.
The vision for the mural was brought to life by several artists of color, including muralist Kendra “Kay” Lee, Artbae and Artbae Foundation founder Cary Michael Robinson and NCS staffer LaShari Celistan.
Celistan, who is also a member of Artbae, initially “brokered” the partnership between the Maryland-based artist collective and NCS, which led Robinson to enlist Lee as the artistic lead of the project, Lee says.
Lee noted that the project’s primary goal was to create a “bright” and “interactive” space for children.
“Before, [kids] would just come out and play in the end of the parking lot with balls and stuff like that,” Lee said. “There was nothing really to do.”
To carry out this goal, Lee and NCS decided to pair “nature” and “popular games” as the mural’s dual theme. Lee spent three weeks painting both nature-related images — such as bees, sunflowers, snails, leaves and a caterpillar — and childhood favorites, like hopscotch, four-square and a racing track.
“[I wanted to make] sure that the kids could relate to the things that we were putting on the ground,” Lee said.
The team also tried to incorporate as much community feedback as possible, taking into consideration comments made by community members passing by as Lee worked to complete the mural. For instance, Lee says she and NCS decided to scale down certain interactive paintings after several parents remarked that their children were too small to jump between designated spaces.
“This is their neighborhood, and it’s important to them,” Lee said. “…So we definitely wanted to make sure that they…felt included in the end product.”
As the pioneer behind an art-based community engagement project, Lee expressed that she hopes the county continues these types of projects and “look[s] forward to doing more.”
“I’m just excited for the reveal and excited to actually get the feedback from the community because at the end of the day, I just hope that my idea and [Celistan’s] idea and the things that we put together really meets the needs of that area,” Lee said.
Fairfax County is looking to convert the Original Mount Vernon High School into a collection of public facilities, including possibly an early childhood center, a senior center, a performing arts space and a business incubator.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is seeking a special exception amendment that will allow the county to turn the 84-year-old, now-vacated high school into an accessible public facility with a variety of proposed uses.
Potential uses listed in the application, which was filed last week, include a gym, an early childhood education center, a teen and senior center, a culinary and business incubator, visual and performing arts space, a welcome center, a commercial kitchen for education, and space for nonprofit programs focused on education, career and workforce development and financial literacy.
“Developing a cohesive facility with creative open spaces and classroom areas will nurture these coalitions and support the exchange of ideas and shared innovation,” the application says. “Design concepts will allow for flexibility and adaptability, so the spaces are changeable based on future needs.”
The special exception amendment was actually approved by the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 13, 2022, and a design and site plan are in the works, Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck reported on June 6.
However, in March, the Virginia Supreme Court struck down the county’s updated zoning ordinance, which created the “Alternative Use of Historic Buildings” category that is the basis of the proposed conversion. The ordinance has since been readopted, but the application has been resubmitted and is going through the approval process again as a precaution, Storck said.
The school’s location in the Mount Vernon District makes it ideal for a multi-use public facility, playing a “critical role” in providing educational opportunities to those in the Route 1 corridor, according to the application.
A special exception is needed to convert the 140,000 square-foot, 22-acre property at 8333 Richmond Highway due to its historical nature.
Once part of George Washington’s original estate, the school opened in early 1940 and its Colonial Revival buildings were constructed under the federal Public Works Administration program. The school was initially only open to white students, due to Jim Crow segregation that was common across Northern Virginia.
The Original Mount Vernon High School is listed on both the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places.
The county has been planning for its adaptive reuse since at least 2016. The facility is already hosting a renovated and reopened gym, a satellite Fire Marshal’s Office and a Fairfax County Public Schools registration site.
But the county wants to add a lot more. Under the proposal, the building would be in use for up to 17 hours a day, with the early childhood education center opening as early as 6 a.m. and the community spaces closing as late as 11 p.m.
The hope is to design the building so it can accommodate up to 2,000 people on a daily basis, per the application.
To accommodate a requirement that new additions to buildings on the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register “distinguish themselves from the existing historic building,” the welcome center would have an all-glass facade with a small section of red brick.
The application is scheduled for a planning commission public hearing on Sept. 13, which will be followed by a hearing before the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 26.
Fairfax County has already decided to rename the Providence Community Center after the late Jim Scott, a former Providence District supervisor and state delegate.
The exact phrasing of the new name, however, remains up for debate.
Fairfax County Neighborhood & Community Services launched a public vote on June 1 to determine which name out of three options should be adopted:
- Jim Scott Community Center at Providence
- Jim Scott Providence Community Center
- Jim Scott Community Center
Votes can be cast online or in person at the Providence Community Center lobby. Respondents are limited to one vote per device.
The poll will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 23.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted on Oct. 25 to initiate a process to rename the community center after Scott, who represented Providence District on the board for 14 years, starting in 1971. He was then elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1991 and served 11 terms.
Scott died in 2017. Here’s more from the county on his legacy:
During his decades of service in local and state government, Jim was a strong advocate of affordable housing, education and school-based daycare centers, and civil rights. Rep Gerald E. Connolly, former Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, credited Jim as a “gentle but forceful advocate for all who feel powerless.”
Jim championed formation of the School Age Child Care program, which provides Fairfax County children in kindergarten-sixth grade with high-quality before- and after-school educational care. We look forward to naming the building in his honor to recognize and preserve the legacy of Jim Scott’s community-first representation.
Located at 3001 Vaden Drive in Oakton, the Providence Community Center provides classes, summer camps, and other programs as well as meeting space. It operates on Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
It’s also one of 12 additional sites that will open at 9 a.m. tomorrow for early voting.
Fairfax County leaders will celebrate the grand opening of a community center in Annandale’s Heritage Mall tomorrow (Saturday).
Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw and the county’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services will open the Annandale Community Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony, an open-house, and community activities, according to a release.
The county is partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington to provide affordable after-school activities and youth programming in the 2,100-square-foot space. The center will add more programs and resources after the grand opening.
“The Annandale Community Center name was selected following multiple community engagement forums where the community gave input on the vision for the space, including resources, activities, programs, and names,” the release states.
Previously, the center was tentatively known as the Community Space at Heritage Center.
The facility occupies a former CrossFit space in the shopping center at 7879 Heritage Drive. It has been in the works since the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a townhouse development behind the mall that included a commitment to providing a community resource center.
The grand opening will start at noon.
Join me + @FairfaxNCS this Saturday, March 4, to celebrate the opening of the new Annandale Community Center @ Heritage Shopping Plaza @ 12pm!
— Supervisor James Walkinshaw (@JRWalkinshaw) March 2, 2023
A new kid-focused community center is opening tomorrow (Thursday) inside a long-vacant space at a Hybla Valley apartment complex.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. for the Communities of Trust Center, a renovated two-story community gathering place within the Creekside Village Apartment complex at 7932 Janna Lee Avenue.
The project comes from the local nonprofit organization Communities of Trust (COT), which works to build trust between public safety agencies and the community, and HomeAid, an organization that builds housing and facilities for nonprofits.
“Within this two-story building, COT will focus on preventive solutions for at-risk youth by providing a safe haven, teaching job skills for employment, and building ties within the community,” the event flyer says.
The new community center in the Franconia District will be a “safe place” for kids to gather, do schoolwork, and participate in structured programs, Communities of Trust Chair Shirley Ginwright told FFXnow.
“This has been a community where there has been a large amount of negative interaction with law enforcement,” she said. “This facility will provide a place for them to go, after they get out of school and while their parents are working.”
The 1,582-square-foot space had been vacant for a decade and was very much in need of renovations, per a press release.
Walls and the kitchen were removed to create a large, open-space area, while vinyl plank flooring was installed throughout. A kitchenette, two water fountains, new lighting, and windows were added. All three bathrooms were renovated as well.
The renovation ended up costing about $125,000, but all the materials, labor, and project management were donated.
Ginwright said creating a space where kids can learn was important, because the pandemic hit this community particularly hard, while setting many students back in terms of reading, writing, and math skills. There will be workshops and programs aimed at helping kids catch up on those skills.
There will also be a number of specialized programs aimed at different interests, including filmmaking, podcast production, and music recording. STEAM education will be a focus too, Ginwright said.
“We will also be engaging with our law enforcement in implementing many of these programs to help build positive relationships and trust,” she said.
The Communities of Trust Committee was first established in late 2014 in response to the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The committee’s intention was to bring together public safety agencies and community representatives to prevent what happened in Ferguson from happening in Fairfax County.
From there, a nonprofit organization was established in 2016. The community center in Hybla Valley is the first of its kind to be built by COT.
The all-affordable residential high-rises planned at Dominion Square West are officially moving forward.
During its meeting on Feb. 15, the Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously approved the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing’s (APAH) project, which will replace parking lots currently used by auto dealerships with two 21-story buildings.
In addition to providing 516 units for people earning 60% of the area median income or less, the development will contain private and publicly accessible open spaces and a 33,500-square-foot, two-story community center, all of it supported by a five-story underground parking garage.
“I think this is great,” Dranesville District Commissioner John Ulfelder said. “It fits what we agreed to earlier, it’s going to be a terrific opportunity, and that it’s going to be all affordable is amazing.”
Early in 2022, the commission approved a 175-unit building at 1592 Spring Hill Road that was intended as the first phase of development for the 2-acre parcel.
“We really think that getting these units online quicker, getting the community center online quicker and the significant increase in the number of units really is a great thing for the county, a great thing for the Tysons area,” said Scott Adams, a McGuireWoods land-use attorney representing APAH.
The community center will be operated by Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services and feature a full-size gym, meeting spaces, multi-purpose rooms, kitchen, administrative offices, and flexible classroom spaces, according to a county staff memo.
It will also have a 1,900-square-foot skypark — the second level of a courtyard with play equipment, outdoor seating, grilling stations and other private amenities for residents. The skypark will be open to the public when not being used by the community center.
Public forums held last year confirmed there’s “a distinct need” for a community center to serve both residents of the new development and Tysons in general, Adams said.
“There was a desire and a need for these types of facilities where they can have community meetings, where they can have CPR classes, where they have those recreational opportunities that really just don’t exist right now,” he said.
Braddock District Commissioner Mary Cortina said she prefers this location for a community center over The View, a mixed-use development planned at the Spring Hill Metro station that had proposed a similar facility.
With the community center going in Dominion Square, The View’s developer will likely provide support for a new athletic field instead, county staff recently told FFXnow.
As discussed at a Tysons Committee meeting last month, several commissioners suggested the county needs to be more “strategic” or thoughtful about what public facilities are needed in Tysons and where they should be located.
“While we’re concerned about community centers and having too many of them or having them in the right spot, schools I think is another thing for us to consider where they are,” Hunter Mill District Commissioner John Carter said. “We have one maybe committed. We’re probably going to need more in Tysons over time.”
According to a Dec. 27 letter, Fairfax County Public Schools projects Dominion Square West will result in 43 to 70 new students for the Marshall High School pyramid.
While that isn’t expected to push the schools over capacity, FCPS warns increased residential density “will necessarily increase [student membership], which may negatively impact the instructional program to the detriment of the students involved.”
Adams said the Tysons area should have more capacity by the time the development opens. Planning is underway to convert the Dunn Loring Center into an elementary school, though the boundaries won’t be determined until construction begins next year.