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Morning Notes

It’s gosling season at Lake Audubon in Reston (photo by Marjorie Copson)

Family of Slain Alexandria Man Urge FCPD to Resume Search — Family members and friends of Ahmed Hasheem Ebrahim called on Fairfax County police yesterday (Thursday) to resume searching for his body at a landfill in King George County. Police believe Ebrahim was killed in an attempted robbery in Lincolnia and have arrested and charged two people in connection with his disappearance in mid-January. [The Washington Post]

FCPD Sex Trafficking Lawsuit Allowed to Advance — “A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit against two former police officers accused of protecting a sex trafficking ring in northern Virginia in exchange for sex can move forward…The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a Costa Rican woman identified in court papers only as Jane Doe.” [WTOP]

Local Groups Call for Lockheed Blvd Improvements — “Together, the leaders expressed appreciation for the county’s proposal to add standard bike lanes along the roadway near Huntley Meadows Park but insisted that protected bike lanes or a cycle track were necessary to ensure cyclist safety.” [On the MoVe]

New I-66 Express Lanes on Track to Open This Year — “Although VDOT has not given an exact date yet, spokesperson Michelle Holland tells 7 News that as long as the weather does not cause major construction delays, the new express lanes should open some time in December at the latest. Construction on the lanes has now been going on more than four years.” [ABC7]

Nearby: Landmark Mall Demolition Begins — “After two decades of Landmark Mall redevelopment being just out of reach, city officials and developers alike let out wild roars of satisfaction as the wrecking ball crashed into the side of the building…There’s still a long way to go before the first buildings of the new hospital and mixed-use development start coming online — currently slated for 2026.” [ALXnow]

Man Pushing Stroller Hit by Vehicle in Vienna — A pedestrian told police that he was knocked to the ground by a vehicle while pushing his child in a stroller past the Chick-fil-A parking lot at 538 Maple Avenue W on April 27. According to the Vienna Police Department’s weekly recap, the driver attempted to talk to the pedestrian, who left the scene but later reported the incident. [Vienna Police]

Local Foster Parent Awarded — “Congratulations to Sue Christenson! She’s been recognized as the 2022 Fairfax County Foster Parent of the Year by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). Sue has been a foster parent for nearly 15 years, and she is happily spending her golden years giving precious children a new beginning.” [Fairfax County Government/YouTube]

Lunar Eclipse May Be Visible Sunday — “The first of two total lunar eclipses visible to Virginia and DC residents in 2022 occurs Sunday night into Monday and will turn May’s full flower moon blood red. Oh, and it’s also a supermoon — depending on whom you ask.” [Patch]

It’s Friday — Overcast throughout the day. High of 69 and low of 58. Sunrise at 5:59 am and sunset at 8:14 pm. [Weather.gov]

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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.

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Crews are planning to demolish a building on the campus of W.T. Woodson High School that was engulfed by flames earlier this year.

An hours-long fire consumed an administrative building facing Main Street in the early morning hours of Jan. 30. Part of the roof and an external wall collapsed, WTOP previously reported.

A spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools said the damage was “beyond repair” during the fire.

There is no word yet on what’s in store for the site once it is demolished. It’s unclear when demolition will begin, although county permits were processed in March.

“Plans will be submitted if there is to be a rebuild,” FCPS spokesperson Julie Moult wrote in a statement.

Fire investigators did not conclusively determine what caused the fire, which was accidental in nature and started in an office. The fire caused roughly $8.8 million in damages.

The building was used for ground maintenance and operations support, a locksmith, stock room, offices, a break room, and storage.

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The vision for a mixed-use development — formerly known as Midline — is coming to life at Michael Faraday Drive.

Bethesda-based developer EYA plans to demolish an office building at 1840 Michael Faraday Drive within a month or so to make way for a seven-story apartment building with 229 units and around 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

EYA project manager Alexander Collich said demolition permits are currently processing for the site, and the building has already been decommissioned. Collich presented the project design to Reston Association’s Design Review Board at a meeting Tuesday night.

Although the presentation was only informational with no vote required, DRB members lauded the architect for the design of the building.

Michael Wood, president of the board, said the proposal depicted a “beautiful-looking building.” Others called the mix of colors and materials on the building interesting and appropriate.

But member Bruce Ramo lamented that the site — which is near where he works — is packed with so much density.

“That is a ship that is long gone,” Ramo said.

The site is part of a major mixed-use development that courted two big-name developers in the region: JBG Smith and Chevy Chase Land Company.

EYA began building 115 townhouses as part of The Townhomes at Reston Station in the summer of 2020. The project has since been completed.

Once completed, the project will include close to 1.8 million square feet of development spread across 18 acres. Fairfax County approved the project in 2018.

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A Security Public Storage facility is planned for 331 Victory Drive in Herndon (via Town of Herndon/handout)

A new self-storage facility could take the place of an existing warehouse in the Town of Herndon.

Security Public Storage is hoping to get the town’s blessing to demolish a warehouse at 331 Victory Drive to build a self-storage facility.

The existing warehouse was built in 1965 and is currently divided into tenants’ spaces and rough metal edging.

So far, town staff say they’re in favor of the preliminary proposal. In an April 1 report, town staff said the new facility seems to “soften” the current building’s “stark industrial facades further.”

“Efforts seem to have been made to break up and soften the basic industrial design of the building,” the report says.

The application requires more planning approvals because it is part of a zoning map amendment.

The town’s Architectural Review Board will discuss the project at a meeting on Thursday (April 21) at 7:30 p.m. in the Herndon Town Council’s chambers. The board will then provide findings to the town’s Planning Commission for additional discussion.

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Taco Bell in Reston could see a facelift as part of a demolition proposal (via Fairfax County Government)

The opening of Pupatella, a Neapolitan pizzeria, in 2020 marked the end of an era for McTacoHut, the name Restonians had for a block of fast food outlets on Wiehle Avenue with Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and McDonald’s.

More changes could be on the horizon, as Taco Bell proposes to rebuild its current location at 11257 Roger Bacon Drive with a more modern restaurant with an additional drive-thru lane.

The company is seeking Fairfax County’s permission to demolish the existing 2,309-square-foot restaurant and replace it with a 2,722-square-foot building. The extra space is primarily to accommodate a larger freezer.

The more modern building will feature gray cement siding and metal panels with accents. The company also wants to reduce the number of seats for customers by 10, allowing for a total of 52 seats.

In order to meet demand, an additional drive-thru lane would be added. A patio is also planned with 13 seats.

“The additional drive-through lane will allow the applicant to provide a more efficient customer experience and respond to trends at quick service retail facilities, which are seeing increased demand for drive-through space utilization, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company wrote in the application that the county received on Feb. 16.

The company did not immediately respond to requests from FFXnow for comment.

The application is in the early phases of the county’s approval process and has not yet been formally accepted for review by staff.

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