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Alexandria’s Office of the Arts has announced new funding aimed at helping to revitalize community programs in the West End, Arlandria and Old Town.

The Creative Neighborhood Grant Program (CNGP), funded by the City of Alexandria and a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, launched in April with $60,000 to distribute.

Ultimately, the release said the program is granting $61,143 to 13 organizations, which in turn will hire and engage over 200 artists with 38 different programs.

“The Office of the Arts is truly pleased that the Creative Neighborhood Grant Program awardees will be able to help energize three neighborhoods in Alexandria including the West End, Arlandria, and Old Town by hosting unique and engaging community programs,” the city said in a release.”All Alexandria city residents are cordially invited to participate in the upcoming Creative Neighborhood programs and to take part in this historic initiative which will help create vibrant creative communities in our city.”

In Arlandria, two of the programs receiving funding are a “MakersFEST” — a free art-making day with local artists in October — and a concert/”instrument petting zoo” hosted by the Alexandria Citizens Band.

In the West End, the grant funding will go to benefit an Ethiopian Film and Art Festival later this month, a Tango Concert series in September, and more.

Another Ethiopian arts event is planned for Old Town at the Durant Art Center (1605 Cameron Street) in October. The “Made in Ethiopia DMV Trade Fair” event spotlights traditional music and dance.

The link to the press release was broken at time of writing, so the full release is posted below the jump: Read More

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Inova Health System announced today that it plans to put $1 million in grant funding into non-profits addressing health needs in Alexandria and its neighbors.

The hospital system announced today that applications are open for the 2022 Health Equity Grant program, into which Inova is putting a record $1 million in funding. The grant program helps nonprofit organizations that provide services for under-resourced locals and promote equity.

“In 2021, Inova awarded $240,000 to 14 nonprofit organizations in Northern Virginia through the (then named) Community Health Fund,” Inova said in a release. “With the healthcare inequities experienced by many in our community exacerbated by the global pandemic, Inova nearly quadrupled its grant funds to $1 million and refocused the program to specifically address health equity locally.”

In prior years, organizations such as The Campagna Center in Alexandria and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington received grant funding. Special consideration will be given to eligible nonprofits that are owned and operated by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), the hospital system said. Applications are available online and due April 6.

“Meeting the healthcare needs of the Northern Virginia community is a priority for Inova, and our community partners are instrumental in helping us identify effective ways to support under-resourced groups,” said Dr. J. Stephen Jones, President and CEO of Inova Health System. “Improving the health of our community is about more than direct healthcare, and we are proud to offer these grants to the wonderful organizations who provide the resources our residents need to thrive.”

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Ewald Park, image via Google Maps

Ewald Park is in notoriously rough shape, but the City of Alexandria is looking for grants to start revitalizing the Duke Street park.

At a City Council meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday), the Council will consider a grant application (Item 14) to the 2022 Land & Water Conservation Fund in an effort to help finance the park revitalization originally approved in 2015.

A report from 2015 details the pretty sorry state of the 3.9-acre park.

“Today the park features a playground, basketball court, swimming pool (closed), and open field,” a city report from 2015. “It previously held tennis courts, though they were removed in the
early 2000’s. The former tennis area, pool and playground sit high on a hill and are not well seen from the Duke Street. The topography and hidden areas of the park have contributed to on-going safety concerns in the park, as frequently noted by the Alexandria Police Department.”

The report said that a pool in the park opened in 1969 but closed in 2012 because it was so lightly used, despite being the only pool on the west side of the city at the time. The existing playground is hidden behind the pool house and features outdated equipment and is inaccessible to people with disabilities.

There is a field at the site frequently used for casual soccer games, but there are no programmed games at the site.

“The City and its affiliates do not program the field, rather it is a site that players know to go to for unscheduled recreation,” the report said. “The field is in poor condition due to its heavy use and lack of proper irrigation and drainage.”

The plan the city is seeking grant funding for would transform much of the park space. The park would get a second basketball court with the possibility of added lighting. The dusty open field would be renovated with new turf and added irrigation, with a possibility of using synthetic turf and adding lighting. The closed pool would be replaced with two new multi-use courts.

The current decrepit playground would be replaced with a new forested area, while the former tennis court would be replaced with a more modern playground. The park would have new pedestrian access and better parking.

Photo via Google Maps

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Alexandria secured a $45,000 grant to kickstart a program to identify “near misses” on local streets.

The NoVA FSS Near Miss Data Collection Survey is a form that allows pedestrians and other “vulnerable road users” to report incidents where a collision with a vehicle is narrowly missed, according to a press release from Alexandria Families For Safe Streets (AFSS). Users can also report dangerous traffic conditions and areas of roadway where they feel unsafe.

FASS said the grant funding will help provide a consultant service to improve survey analytics.

“[The services prove] an advanced analytics tool that provides data correlation and predictive analytical algorithms between [Virginia Department of Transportation] crash data and NoVA FSS’s Near Miss data [and] a smartphone application of the [near miss] data collection survey,” the release said.

The survey will also be translated into non-English languages to help expand user access.

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A number of local nonprofits are rolling up their sleeves to increase outreach for COVID-19 vaccines for children with families ages 5-11.

The “Sleeves Up, ALX: COVID-19 Vaccine Partnership Program” is a collaboration between ACT for Alexandria and the Alexandria Health Department, which dispersed $145,657 in grant funding to increase awareness of booster shots with populations disproportionately affected by the virus and provide information for young families.

“These organizations bring that critical message to our underserved communities by meeting people where they are and in the language they prefer,” said Natalie Talis, AHD’s population health manager. “Our residents deserve access to life-saving information and vaccines.”

The following nonprofits received grant funds:

“These organizations have the trusted relationships, innovative ideas and know how that will enable us to reach neighbors who are most at-risk,” said ACT’s President and CEO Heather Peeler.

The program started last month and will run until March 2022.

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Morning Notes

Man Fatally Struck on Alexandria Sidewalk — “A man died after he was hit by a truck when its driver jumped a sidewalk on Saturday night in Alexandria, Virginia. His family wants to know why the driver is not behind bars and said they think the driver’s actions after the crash may have killed their loved one.” [NBC4]

Alexandria named second-biggest art-buying city in US by Artfinder — “Yesterday the company released a list of the top art-buying cities in the U.S.  It appears that Alexandria residents love their art, because our city came in second place, behind Savannah, Georgia.” [Zebra]

Chopt opens its doors in Kingstowne — “Chopt Creative Salad Co. will open its doors Wednesday, Nov. 17 in the Kingstowne Towne Center, the company announced Tuesday.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Alexandria tutoring consortium awarded $16K grant from AT&T — “[Alexandria Tutoring Consortium] (ATC), which helps the youngest students enrolled in Alexandria’s public schools learn to read, is the recipient of a $16,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation.” [Zebra]

Alexandria police union pleads for more pay and resources — “The union has requested a 10% raise while the city council is considering a 1.5% raise.” [WUSA9]

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Alexandria is getting some state help to boost its stormwater resilience, though the city is at the lower end of the $7.8 million distributed in grants.

Governor Ralph Northam announced today that the $7.8 million would be going to 19 local projects across the Commonwealth that address flooding, sea-level rise, and extreme weather.

Alexandria, which has faced frequent and devastating flooding, will receive $115,200 in state funding to help “resilient stormwater capacity and [the] green streets project.” The grants are the first allocated through the state’s Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund.

“Virginians have experienced the devastating effects of flooding over and over again,” said Northam in a press release. “Without strong investments in resiliency, we will continue to see more of the same. The Community Flood Preparedness Fund grants are so important because they will jumpstart projects in more than a dozen localities, including some that have been impacted by recent disasters.”

The city is currently budgeted to spend $266.6 million in stormwater capacity projects over the next ten years, according to the FY 2022 budget (page 12). The city has also doubled its stormwater utility fee to help upgrade the city’s stormwater capacity.

The Eastern Branch of Elizabeth River Wetland and Floodplain Restoration took the lion’s share of the state funding — $3 million. Other projects in Richmond and Norfolk each won around $1 million in funding.

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Morning Notes

Alexandria announces $7.1 million in funding for first-time homebuyers — “The City of Alexandria is pleased to announce the availability of Sponsoring Partnerships & Revitalizing Communities (SPARC) funds to provide eligible first-time homebuyers with permanent financing for their home purchase. SPARC is a special allocation to local governments to reduce first trust mortgage interest rates.” [City of Alexandria]

Six ways to celebrate Oktoberfest in Alexandria — “Port City Brewing Company’s Hefeweizen brew is a Bavarian-style wheat hale pouring hazy golden with fluffy white foam, tinged with aromas of clove and spice with a softer note of ripe banana. Pick up a four-pack via curbside pickup or Port City On Demand, or sip at an outdoor table at the West End headquarters.” [Visit Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Showers likely along with a possible rumble of thunder in the morning, then partly cloudy late. High 72F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%… Partly cloudy skies (in the evening). Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 53F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Play expert — “Play Experts provide engaging and educational services to children in their homes. A step above a typical caregiver, our Play Experts are trained in child development as well as positive-behavior systems. They understand the importance of developmentally appropriate and engaging play, as well as consistent structure and boundaries.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

City hosting The Fund for Alexandria’s Child virtual gala — “The Fund for Alexandria’s Child (The Fund) will host its second virtual gala on August 12, at 8 p.m. to benefit at-risk children and children in foster care. The public is invited to attend the interactive and inspiring event featuring a live auction, prizes, a raffle, entertainment, special guests and more, all from the comfort and safety of home.” [City of Alexandria]

Alexandria public pools update — “Memorial Pool will be closed on… Thursday, August 5 due to a maintenance issue. Warwick Pool and Old Town Pool remain open. Visit alexandriava.gov/Aquatics for operational hours at RPCA’s three outdoor pools.” [Twitter]

Alexandria introducing flood mitigation grant program — “On Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 7 p.m., the city plans to hold a virtual information session. This webinar will introduce the new Flood Mitigation Pilot Grant Program, meant to offer financial assistance to homeowners who have installed flood mitigation measures on their property.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Sunshine (during the day). High 88F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph… Partly cloudy skies (in the evening). Low 68F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Flag football and soccer coaches — “Kids in Motion is hiring sports coaches to teach super fun summer classes for kids ages 8-10 years old. Classes run during week days from 3;30-4:30 throughout Springfield and Alexandria. During sports classes, we coach kids using basic drills and work them up to scrimmaging. Payment is $40-50 per class depending on the location.” [Indeed]

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The Alexandria Black History Museum (902 Wythe Street) has just secured a substantial new grant that will help the museum digitize much of its collections.

The museum announced yesterday that it will receive a $243,356 grant from the IMLS Museum Grants for African American History and Culture. The grant will help fund digitization and interpretation for four of the museum’s archival collections.

Audrey Davis, director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, said in the press release that the museum will be digitizing documents, objects and other material from some of Alexandria’s most Black historic figures, such as:

The process will involve creating and updating catalog records along with scanning or photographing collection items.

One of the end-stages of the project will be an exhibition on Kendrix’s work, scheduled to open in spring 2023.

“We are excited and honored to be a 2021 recipient of the IMLS Museum Grants for African American History and Culture,” Gretchen Bulova, Director of the Office of Historic Alexandria, said a press release. “Support from IMLS permits us share Alexandria’s vibrant African American history with new and wider audiences as well as educate future generations about Black excellence and achievement in Alexandria.”

The goal is to develop an online exhibition space that will help explore themes of civil rights and equality in the city’s history.

“By digitizing these collections,” said Davis. “We will be able to provide increased public and research access, improve collections care by reducing future handling, and ensure best practices in collections management. It will also enable the Museum to develop future learning opportunities and programming for life-long learners, families, and school-age students.”

Courtesy ACPS

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