The 60-year-old Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center is in disrepair and underutilized, and over the next six months staff from Arlington and Alexandria will send back recommendations on its future use.
That could mean co-locating mental health and rehabilitative services to the center, or potentially shutting it down altogether.
Mayor Justin Wilson, in a joint meeting with the Arlington County Board on Monday, said that Fairfax County is not interested in taking juveniles from the center. Wilson said that he recently spoke with Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay, who reportedly told him that the door is not closed on the issue, “but the hill is steep.”
“I think they (Fairfax County) have some some resistance for a variety of different reasons to to bringing kids from other jurisdictions into their facility,” Wilson said. “I think there is a logic to potentially working together again given the way the capacity is, but the door is not closed.”
Fairfax County’s juvenile detention center has 121 beds and is currently at 25% capacity.
The center, which opened in 1958 at 200 S. Whiting Street in the West End, houses youth with serious offenses and behavioral issues from Alexandria, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church. The center has seen a 72% reduction in the number of juveniles in the facility between 2006 and 2019, prompting a reduction of beds at the facility from 70 to 46 in 2016, according to a cost benefit analysis provided the Moss Group.
The analysis also found that:
- The facility is underutilized
- The average age of an inmate is 16.5 years
- There were 150 juveniles committed in fiscal year 2019
- The juveniles were 56.7% African American, 38.7% Caucasian, 30.7% Hispanic and 4.6% Other/Unknown
- 72% of juveniles were male; 28% were female
- Most common offenses are probation violation, contempt of court, robbery, assault, larceny and narcotics
Arlington County Board Member Christian Dorsey said the analysis created more questions that answers, and that staff from Alexandria and Arlington should collaborate to create options for future use at the center.
“I recognize that it is not satisfying to come to the conclusion where we’ve had a study that indicates that we have a need for more study, and more questions and more looked at data to be explored,” Dorsey said. “There’s still probably more opportunities for us to explore diversion and ways in which we can not actually have juveniles entering this facility.”
Half of Popular Duo to Perform at Birchmere — “On the evening of June 24, 1964, Washington was engulfed in Peter and Gordon-mania. Midway through the British duo’s performance at the Alexandria Roller Rink, a desperate Jack Alix, DJ at WEEL radio, halted the music and begged the crowd to please stop pushing. ‘I do remember it was a good gig, where the audience was crazy, with screaming girls throwing themselves at the stage and all that stuff,’ said Peter Asher, calling from his Malibu, Calif., home.” [Washington Post]
Alexandria Man Charged in Arlington Incident — “A 69-year-old Alexandria man is facing a felony charge after police say a minor, two-vehicle crash led to a physical altercation along Lee Highway… [The man] punched a window on the other car several times, then ‘produced a knife and allegedly attempted to strike the victim,’ according to Arlington County Police.” [ARLnow]
City’s Opioid Plan Finalized — “The City of Alexandria has finalized the Opioid Work Group Strategic Three Year Plan (2020 – 2023) to eliminate opioid misuse and its harmful effects in Alexandria. The plan, which is now available at alexandriava.gov/opioids, was formed through several years of extensive engagement and collaboration with community members and experts.” [City of Alexandria]
Alexandria Home Sale Prices Rise Above Arlington — “The Amazon HQ2 effect on home prices in Northern Virginia continues and, at least by one measure, the Alexandria housing market is now more expensive than Arlington County. At least it was in October, the most recent month for which data is available.” [WTOP]
Trampoline Park Hoping to Open By End of Year — “Management for Get Air Trampoline Park, an indoor recreation and amusement park, confirmed that the Alexandria location is scheduled to open in the second half of December. The space Get Air is occupying at 340 S. Pickett St. was formerly a U.S. Post Office in the West End Village shopping center.” [Alexandria Living]
Trash Will Be Picked Up on Thanksgiving — “Thursday trash/recycling routes: your trash and recycling WILL BE collected starting at 6AM this Thursday so the route can be completed in advance of the Turkey Trot. If you are not up that early, please set your material out Wed. night!” [Twitter/@AlexandriaVATES]
Meeting About Southern GW Parkway Safety — “On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the National Park Service will host a meeting to discuss George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) visitors’ recommendations about how to improve safety at key intersections between the City of Alexandria and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.” [National Park Service]
In a rare joint meeting of top Alexandria and Arlington officials, the two communities laid the foundation for a closer collaboration on affordable housing.
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson and the City Council met with the Arlington County Board last night (Tuesday) at Arlington’s Gunston Community Center after Wilson’s proposal to meet on a flotilla of lashed-together kayaks in Four Mile Run was shot down. There was very little set in stone at the meeting, but the gathering allowed both organizations to set priorities for policy goals as they prepare for Amazon’s HQ2, the new Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, and a new George Mason University School of Computing.
“The work around Potomac Yard is different and groundbreaking,” Wilson said. “If we’re not intentional and deliberate, things will just happen to us. We have a chance to get ahead of things. I’m hoping to set a course that our staff can get to work on all of these policy areas.”
“I’m very excited for this step,” Wilson continued. “This is the start of a journey for us and there are a lot of folks rooting for us.”
There was some early discussion of new governing bodies being established to facilitate collaborative efforts across local boundaries. Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey raised the possibility of establishing a community development corporation — a 501c3 with he described as being capable of a great deal of flexibility. The idea, however, was tabled for the time being.
“There are a few different concepts that have been tried elsewhere and have been put in place in our respective communities,” said Dorsey. “We can have a variety of governance models with a broad representation of stakeholders. There is an endless number of configurations we can use and get all the benefits of an independent nonprofit.”
For the most part, the two governing bodies mingled seamlessly — though frequent, joking barbs were traded back and forth, with Arlington at one point threatening to annex Del Ray. Both organizations shared almost identical concerns about the upcoming arrival of Amazon, particularly on the headquarters’ impact on local affordable housing.
Councilwoman Redella “Del” Pepper said many of Alexandria’s most vulnerable populations feel that the loss of affordable housing in the region is a foregone conclusion and some were starting to flee Alexandria before rising costs pushed them out.
ALXnow Launches Today — This is the first post on the first day of ALXnow. Our goal is to bring Alexandria timely, relevant and useful local news coverage that uncovers unreported stories and drives community conversations. We hope you like it.
About the Morning Notes — Morning Notes posts like this one will be published on most weekday mornings and will highlight notable social media posts, press releases and the reporting of other news outlets. Most posts will be shorter than this one — we’re catching up! Each Morning Notes post will also feature a photo from around town, often from our staff photographer, Jay Westcott. You can submit photos for possible publication too: email us at [email protected] or tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
All ACPS Schools Meet State Benchmark — “All schools within Alexandria City Public Schools are fully accredited for the 2019-20 academic year for the first time in 20 years. On Monday morning the Virginia Department of Education announced the results that all ACPS schools met the state benchmark for the first time since the accreditation system first began in 1999.” [ACPS]
Bank Manager Pleads Guilty to Fraud — “An Alexandria bank branch manager pleaded guilty Monday to stealing more than $500,000 from older customers after gaining their trust to personally handle their transactions. Fetehi Mohammed, a manager since 2015 at the Wells Fargo Bank branch near the intersection of Quaker Lane and King Street, reviewed which customers had enough money that his unauthorized withdrawals would not attract notice.” [Washington Post]
Proposed Shelter for Migrant Kids Nixed — “Plans for a facility to house unaccompanied migrant children in Northern Virginia have been scrapped after pushback from local leaders and community members. Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson tweeted an email he received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirming that the Office of Refugee Resettlement was no longer considering Northern Virginia as a potential site for an unaccompanied migrant children shelter.” [WTOP]
Bank Robbery Suspect Arrested — “Alexandria police have a subject is in custody for robbing an Alexandria bank. The robbery happened at the 300 block of South Van Dorn street at around 11:15 AM on Saturday. Alexandria police arrived on the scene and made an arrest.” [Twitter, WDVM]
Hank’s Pasta Bar Closes — “Hank’s Pasta Bar closed Wednesday after 3 years in business. The restaurant, at 600 Montgomery Street in Old Town North, closed to make room for a new Italian restaurant that will open later this year.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
Meeting Today About Proposed Noise Law Changes — “[Alexandria] is planning major revisions to its Noise Control Code, and it is asking the community to weigh in on proposed changes to the ordinance. Changes to the code, which was first adopted more than 55 years ago in 1963, include expanded wording in the animals section, which sets specific limits on barks, howls, bays, meows, squawks, quacks or other sounds between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.” [WTOP]
Joint Arlington and Alexandria Meeting Tonight — “Building on the two localities’ collaborative success in recruiting unprecedented new investments in National Landing, the Alexandria City Council and the Arlington County Board will hold a joint meeting on Tuesday, October 1, to discuss the development of a formal framework to continue working together on key policy issues that support inclusive growth.” [City of Alexandria]