Newsletter

It was a clear and slightly brisk Saturday afternoon (Dec. 4) in Old Town for the Campagna Center’s 50th Scottish Christmas Walk Parade.

The parade, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, is one of the most popular events in the city.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner was the grand marshal, and along with the mayor and other local dignitaries, waved at dozens of Scottish clans and bagpiping groups, including the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums.

0 Comments

Alexandria police are investigating a possible home invasion robbery near Mark Center.

A woman reportedly told police she was tied up and robbed during an early morning home invasion on Saturday in the 1400 block of Catlin Lane. Police responded to her residence around 5:15 a.m. after she said she had been hogged tied and robbed of her car and personal items by two men armed with a gun.

Detectives searched for clues and the suspects amid a large police presence in the area.

Via social media this morning police described the crime as a burglary, not a robbery, however.

Photo via Google Maps

2 Comment

It’s been a busy week of highs and lows in Alexandria, with some big bureaucratic decisions and fundraising paired with some crimes and a fatal car crash.

After a long search, Alexandria picked a new city manager this week: James F. Parajon from Arlington, Texas.

In other big news, the Scottish Christmas Walk and other holiday weekend activities like the boat show are scheduled for tomorrow in Old Town. A majority of poll respondents said they plan to attend, so we’ll see you there!

Top stories

  1. Maryland woman allegedly drove on sidewalk while fleeing Potomac Yard shoplifting investigation
  2. Alexandria man identified after Sunday’s crash at Duke Street overpass on Interstate 395
  3. Multiple car break-ins reported in parking lot of Arlandria apartment building
  4. JUST IN: James F. Parajon hired as Alexandria city manager
  5. Alexandria Commons holiday festival scheduled next week
  6. Alexandria heads into Scottish Christmas Walk weekend with declining COVID numbers
  7. JUST IN: Police announce charges for suspect in Woods Place barricade situation
  8. Carlyle neighborhood could change School Board districts
  9. Alexandria VRE project in final design ahead of construction next year
  10. Old Town salon announces grand reopening with huge expansion
0 Comments
Flooding on lower King Street in Old Town, October 29, 2021. (staff photo by James Cullum)

(Updated 9:10 p.m.) In a fairly sizable newsletter, city staff laid out a sort of “state of flooding” message that lays out the city’s response to recent flooding issues and a longer-term look at infrastructure work in progress and on the horizon.

In a newsletter, staff outlined plans for the grant funding received from the state for flood prevention.

“A study and design for two concept projects exploring green infrastructure received funding from a state grant supporting communities that implement stormwater management practices,” stormwater management staff said in the Wednesday (Dec. 1) newsletter. “The state Department of Conservation and Recreation awarded a Community Flood Preparedness Fund (CFPF) grant worth $115,200 to the City on Oct. 5. Alexandria, one of just 19 communities to receive the grant, plans to use it for a study and design for two green infrastructure concept projects in the Four Mile Run watershed.”

The newsletter noted this was the first round of funding from the fund, which will award projects grants on a quarterly basis. Staff said the city will use the grant to fund a study and recommend two projects to implement green infrastructure — citing permeable pavement and tree box filters as the kinds of green infrastructure projects that can help reduce flooding.

“The green infrastructure projects would complement two large storm sewer projects planned for the Four Mile Run watershed,” the newsletter said. “Although green infrastructure will not eliminate flooding issues in the area, it will provide a complementary option to manage stormwater. It will also help improve water quality by filtering out pollutants.”

The newsletter said the city has already applied for the second round of funding through CFPF, which it hopes to use to fund a stormwater storage and conveyance project in Arlandria.

Meanwhile, the Flood Mitigation Pilot Grant Program was designed to help homeowners take individual action to help floodproof their homes, but staff said the program suffers an extensive backlog.

“City staff is diligently working through a backlog of more than 133 applications for its Flood Mitigation Pilot Grant Program,” the newsletter said. “The program, launched on Aug. 30, provides reimbursement up to $5,000 to homeowners who take measures to mitigate flooding in their homes. The City Council appropriated $750,000 starting in FY 2022 to initiate the program, with funding identified annually in the 10-Year budget.”

Staff said homeowners who experienced damage to their homes then installed flood mitigation measures are prioritized when applying for the program, at least in the current pilot phase.

Qualifying flood mitigation measures include basement window protection, flood gates and drain tiles under basement floors.

Meanwhile, the newsletter said the city is also working on smaller, neighborhood projects that aim to increase the functionality of the storm sewer system, identifying sites of future improvement including:

  • Mount Vernon Avenue Cul-de-Sac and Hume Avenue Bypass
  • Hume Avenue inlets and check valve
  • East Mason Avenue inlets
  • East Mason/East Alexandria flap gates and check vales
  • South Jordan Street.

Lastly, the newsletter highlighted some of the larger capacity projects entering the design phase in Fiscal Year 2022.

“Capacity projects at Commonwealth Avenue and East Glebe Road, Ashby Street and East Glebe Road and Hooff’s Run Culvert/Timber Branch Bypass are part of the City’s Capital Improvement Projects Plan for FY 2022 – FY 2031,” staff said. “The City estimates storm sewer capacity projects to cost about $170 million.”

A full breakdown of the project costs and timeline estimates are below: Read More

3 Comments

After seven years in Del Ray, Ascend Cycle (2417 Mount Vernon Avenue) is permanently closing by the end of the month.

Owner Kat Zajac made the announcement this week on social media, and said that the effects of the pandemic proved too much for her business.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I write this announcement,” Zajac wrote. “The impact of the pandemic has continued to be very real across this year. While this decision may come as a shock to some of you, it has been something that I have been working to avoid for quite some time.”

Zajac thanked customers and staff, and said that the closure was not due to a lack of effort.

“From creating an outdoor studio, to online programs, to moving our location to save on rent, to being as frugal as possible, we made every effort imaginable to stay alive,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, our efforts have proven to not be enough – the time has come to let go. This decision comes with a whole host of emotions. Despite it all, I feel grateful to have been surrounded by an amazing community of people. So with that, I want to say thank you.”

Via Facebook

3 Comments

The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities has announced a suite of winter activities for locals of all ages starting early next year.

The city has a seasonal rotation of activities, with everything from full sports and activity camps to lighter day-activities. The age range of the activities varies wildly. The full list is available online and broken down by category.

Registration is scheduled to start on Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 9 a.m. for city residents. Registration launches Friday, Dec. 17, for nonresidents. Interested parties can register online or in-person at the Registration and Reservation Office at Lee Center (1108 Jefferson Street).

“Get ready for a flurry of fun this winter with a variety of in-person options for all ages, plus new virtual programs,” the city said in a press release. “Winter registration applies to classes, leagues and activities occurring from January through April. All current health guidelines for staff and participants will be met, including use of face masks and enhanced cleaning between activity periods.”

Photo via City of Alexandria/Facebook

0 Comments
South-facing ramp in the I-395/Seminary Road interchange, image via VDOT

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is hosting a meeting next week to discuss plans to add the option of non-HOV vehicles to access the Seminary Road ramp to I-395, but with a toll.

The ramp would still provide free access to the express lanes for vehicles with three or more occupants but would open up access to vehicles with fewer than three occupants who pay a toll.

The meeting will be virtual and is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“This south-facing reversible ramp at I-395 and Seminary Road falls within the limits of and provides access to the 395 Express Lanes,” VDOT said on its website. “Currently, this ramp operates as an HOV-only ramp, providing access to the 395 Express Lanes at all times for carpools and buses. VDOT’s private operator of the 395 Express Lanes, Transurban, is proposing to convert this ramp from an HOV-only ramp to an express lanes ramp.”

The plan has been in the works for a while, with meetings in 2019 before the project was delayed by the pandemic. The city website said in November, VDOT informed the city that they were planning to move forward with the project once again.

“The south-facing ramp, opened in early 2016, was planned to remain restricted high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) and transit traffic traveling north in the morning and south in the evening, even after completion of the I-395 Express Lanes,” the city said.

3 Comments

Morning Notes

Arts commission criticizes proposed changes to Torpedo Factory — “The city’s proposals for the future of the Torpedo Factory Art Center have received criticism from artists, and during its Nov. 16 meeting, the city’s Commission for the Arts fired some warning shots as well.” [Alexandria Times]

Alexandria ranks third in national office conversions — “Number of office-to-apartment conversions: 955” [CNBC]

Holiday Card Lane returns to Del Ray — “Now much more than one street, the nationally-famous holiday cheer effort returns.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

LA Musician got her start in Mount Vernon — “Fort Hunt alumni Julie Gigante started playing the violin at age 5 and now is featured on an 11,000-square-foot mural in Los Angeles.” [Alexandria Gazette]

0 Comments
Shelter interior, photo via Carpenter’s Shelter/Facebook

Carpenter’s Shelter opened its winter shelters yesterday as a warm refuge for locals experiencing homelessness.

According to a press release from the city, the Winter Shelters are open from 7 p.m.-7 a.m. regardless of the weather. The shelter opened yesterday (Wednesday) through March 31.

There are two shelters: one for individuals and one for families.

The individual shelter at 2355 Mill Street serves individual adults. The family shelter is at 930 N. Henry Street.

There are also transportation options available at three locations:

  • 6:20 p.m. at City Hall (301 King Street)
  • 6:30 p.m. at Braddock Road Metro Station
  • 6:40 p.m. at Christ house (131 South West Street)

The city’s website also has information for directing those experiencing homelessness to city services:

If you have engaged the individual in conversation and learn that they are in need of supportive services, let them know they can call 703.746.5700 or text 703.346.5599 or walk-in for services at 2525 Mount Vernon Ave. during business hours. Staff will support them by identifying the next steps in assisting them with their current situation. Once screened, individuals will be added to the waitlist and referred once a bed is available at Alexandria Community Shelter or Carpenter’s Shelter. During the winter months, let them know about the City’s Winter Shelter Program run by Carpenter’s Shelter (703.548.7500), which is open daily from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. through March 2021. You can also share with them the Alexandria Community Resources Card, also available as an easy-to-print two-sided flyer.

If you aren’t comfortable engaging in conversion,  contact Alex 311 to report your observations; please refrain from taking photos of residents experiencing homelessness out of respect for their privacy. Your report will be sent to DCHS staff, who will go out and speak to the person within 24-48 business hours and offer available support and resources. DCHS values individual personal choice and does not force services on anyone, but staff work hard to ensure everyone is aware of the supportive services with the City and their right to access them and transition out of homelessness.

For more immediate welfare checks, call the police non-emergency line at 703.746.4444.

Photo via Carpenter’s Shelter/Facebook

0 Comments

Butter will make your heart melt, and he’s up for adoption with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.

The 14-month-old terrier mix is deaf, but that doesn’t stop him from playing his favorite game of fetch.

“He’s a clever boy who’s been learning training via hand cues with the AWLA’s training team,” AWLA spokesperson Gina Hardter told ALXnow. “He loves the tennis ball so much that sometimes, he prefers to keep it and cuddle up with rather than bringing it back.”

Butter’s adoption fees have been paid by a generous donor. Learn more about how to meet him at AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list