Two years after historic floods wiped out swaths of the Holmes Run Trail, Alexandria is hosting a community meeting next week to provide an update on long-term repair efforts.

Parts of the trail in Dora Kelley Park have been inaccessible since flooding in 2018, but much of the rest of the trail has been in a state of disrepair since floods in 2019 undermined the structural integrity of two of the bridges and three stretches of trail.

A community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 28, at 6:30 p.m. at the Patrick Henry Recreation Center (4653 Taney Avenue). The city said meeting will include a restoration schedule and planned restoration activities, as well as an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

:As part of the design phase of the restoration project the City will study how the flood impacted Holmes Run and determine how the trail, bridges, and slopes should be modified/stabilized to minimize potential damage from future flood events,” the city said in a press release.

Three sites along the trail, including the two bridges, are listed on the city website as Tier 1 repairs — repairs that are most essential and should be prioritized.

“Tier 1 repairs are the most complex and costly to complete due to the structural damage caused by recent floods,” the website notes. “Unfortunately, these are not quick fixes, and substantial civil and structural engineering is required to ensure these repairs are sustainable and not subject to damage by future flood events.”

These repairs are funded with the design phase scheduled to start in September 2021.

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Morning Notes

NOVA Parks pledges $800K to maintain River Farm, if sale goes through — “Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has taken steps to sweeten the offer it made on the historic River Farm property. Nova Parks Executive Director Paul Gilbert announced that the regional park authority has pledged $800,000 toward maintenance and improvement of the property should the American Horticultural Society, the current owner of River Farm, approve the sale.” [Alex Times]

Alexandria hosting Around the World Cultural Food Festival July 31 — “The biggest outdoor food festival in the D.C metro area will happen on Saturday, July 31. And this year’s edition will be held in Alexandria. Enjoy food, music, and an experience highlighting cultural diversity at Oronoco Bay Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.” [Zebra]

Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery dedication ceremony this Saturday — “Join Historic Alexandria in honoring Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial’s inclusion in the African American Civil Rights Network (AACRN). The free dedication will include a wreath laying by the 31st Masonic District, a reading by representatives of the United States Colored Troops (USCT), and remarks by Reverend Taft Quincey Heatley. The ceremony will take place rain or shine.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s weather — “Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High near 90F. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph… Mostly clear skies (in the evening). Low 67F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Part-time chess coach — “As a chess coach for us, you are the core of what we do! You provide a welcoming environment for elementary school children and instruct them on the game. Typically, you teach a group of 10 – 20 children (ages 5-11). You bring all the equipment (provided by us) and teach according to our curriculum, ensuring that you personalize and adjust your teaching to each kid and each group of kids as needed.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Two ARHA residents receive $6,000 college scholarships — “Two Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) residents have been awarded $6,000 scholarships for the upcoming school year, thanks to the Resident Scholarship Program from the Housing Authority Insurance (HAI) Group. This is the second consecutive year Natasha Cross has been selected for the funding… Yonael Tekleberhan, a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Business is the second awardee.” [ARHA]

The Italian Place is opening a location in Fairfax — “We are getting closer and closer to the grand opening on July 24th of the new Mosaic District location. 🤩 If you haven’t registered yet, head over to our website to do so! We hope to see you all there!” [Facebook]

Del Ray Citizens Association hosting community pizza party Thursday — Come on out and join us this Thursday July 22 from 5 – 7pm at Del Ray Pizzeria, where the DRCA will be hosting a Del Ray Citizens Association Meet & Greet Pizza Party! Hang out with your fellow Del Ray superfans and enjoy some pizza, salad, tots, fries, and special happy hour pricing. DRP has set us up in the bar space, so we can enjoy some much-needed air conditioning. For those who may feel more comfortable socializing outdoors, we’re also working to set up a ‘spillover’ table in the Lot behind the restaurant.” [DRCA]

Park and recreation center signs replaced — “The signs at Ruby Tucker Park, Fort Williams Park, and Mt. Vernon Recreation Center were replaced with City standard signs last week. The signs were replaced to update addresses or broken and missing signs. Look out for new signs coming to Shirley Tyler Unity Park and William Ramsay Recreation Center coming this fall.” [Facebook]

Today’s weather — “Sunshine and some clouds (during the day). High 92F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph… Considerable clouds early (in the evening). Some decrease in clouds late. Low 72F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Package delivery driver — “UPS is accepting applications for temporary, seasonal full-time Package Delivery Drivers. This is a physical, fast-paced, outdoor position that involves continual lifting, lowering and carrying packages that typically weigh 25 – 35 lbs. and may weigh up to 70 lbs. A DOT physical exam is required. Package Delivery Drivers must have excellent customer contact and driving skills.” [Indeed]

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After taking a year off, the Around The World Cultural Food Festival will be celebrated later this month at Oronoco Bay Park on the Alexandria waterfront.

It’s the first year that the annual event will be hosted in Alexandria, and it will feature more than a dozen food, dessert and smoothie vendors making dishes from around the world.

“This pandemic changed our lives and the way we look at tomorrow in a drastic way,” wrote event organizers on Facebook. “We should never take anything for granted, so while we have this opportunity to host the event in a safe way for everyone- a large, spacious park, we hope to see you on July 31st at Oronoco Bay Park.”

Food trucks and vendors include:

The festival will also be held at Freedom Plaza in D.C. on August 28. Admission is free.

via Facebook

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Morning Notes

New Virginia laws on marijuana, death penalty take effect today — ” Virginia lawmakers voted earlier this year to end executions, marking a dramatic change in direction for a state that has executed the most people in the nation’s history. Only two men remain on death row in Virginia. Their sentences will be commuted to life in prison without parole. The state will also legalize simple possession of marijuana, effective July 1, and allow adults to grow up to four marijuana plants per household.” [Patch]

Rare bird visits Huntley Meadows Park — “A Roseate Spoonbill, which the Audubon Society describes as “gorgeous at a distance and bizarre up close,” landed in Huntley Meadows this week, drawing hundreds of local nature photographers. The bird is far from its normal home in Florida, Louisiana, Texas and other parts of the far Southeastern United States. No one is sure why this spoonbill came so far north, but a recent tropical storm in the Southeast may have sent many birds flying for safer locales.” [Alexandria Living]

New lights installed at Armistead Boothe Park — “The existing pole lights at Armistead Boothe Park’s tennis and basketball court were removed and replaced with a modern energy savings LED lighting system. Work started in June 2021 and is anticipated to be completed in mid-July 2021. Take a moment and check them out!” [Twitter]

Fire Department says fireworks are illegal and unsafe — “Did you know it’s illegal to use or sell any fireworks, including sparklers, in the city limits of Alexandria? Nationwide, fireworks cause thousands of injuries and fires each year, and 36% of those injured are under 15 years old.” [Twitter]

Today’s weather — “Scattered thunderstorms in the morning becoming more widespread in the afternoon. Storms may contain strong gusty winds. High 87F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%… Showers and thundershowers in the evening, then overcast overnight with occasional rain. Low 67F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Locally heavy rainfall possible.” [Weather.com]

New job: Temporary COVID POD flow staff — “Are you a hardworking individual who is eager to join our efforts to augment and expedite vaccinations in the community? Does your passion drive you to commit to a cause that could have a positive impact on many? If this is you, we invite you to apply to one of our temporary City of Alexandria Vaccination site opportunities.” [Indeed]

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Alexandria City Public Schools won’t be looking for classroom space in recreation centers.

That’s according to last week’s virtual meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission, which looked over a slew of updates for various projects throughout the city.

The Commission, like most city bodies, will start going back to in-person meetings starting next month. It was an issue that has caused a mini-controversy within the city’s boards and commissions.

The state-level ordinance allowing local in-person meetings doesn’t expire until September, but the city has been encouraging commissions to start resume in July. Gina Baum, chair of the Commission, said there had been pushback both from the Planning Commission and Waterfront Commission, but that the city hasn’t budged yet.

Recreation Services Division Chief Margaret Orlando said that an Alexandria City Public Schools’ survey of families found that 93% of students plan to returning to in-person teaching, which will be so many students that the schools wouldn’t be able to accommodate social distancing in recreation centers as per an earlier proposal.

“Schools can’t do that with distancing, so they’ve pretty much said everyone is coming back, so they’re not going to use recreation center space for potentially classroom space or school space,” Orlando said.

But the city’s recreation centers still face their own challenges, particularly with low staffing.

“Our challenge right now is staffing,” Orlando said. “We’ve lost a lot of staff. We’re just not getting applications. We’ll keep recruiting through the summer, but may not be able to start with highest enrollment numbers in the fall. We may have to scale back. It won’t be numbers we had this summer because we won’t have to do distancing, but won’t be full enrollment like we’ve had in the past.”

Currently, Orlando said the city’s summer camps are currently full, with some small waitlists.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to pull everyone off of those waitlists,” Orlando said. “We’ve started pre-registration for the fall for people who need financial assistance.”

Meanwhile, the commission looked at a few other projects:

Joseph Hensley Park

The Parks and Recreation Commission approved the redesign of one of the baseball diamonds at Joseph Hensley Park as a synthetic turf field, the first in what will be a handful of synthetic baseball fields around the city.

“This should be exciting because it’s our first one,” said Baum. “All I hear from baseball is that it’s delayed or cancelled because of rain. It’s about all I know about our baseball situation here.”

Staff said funding for the project is scheduled to become available next month, with work beginning on the park early next year.

Jack Browand, Acting Deputy Director for Parks and Recreation, said within the next three years the city should have three or four synthetic baseball fields.

Flooding Damage

The city is also on a similar timeframe for fixing some of the city’s severe flooding damage to trails near waterways. Browand said the city is likely three years away from fixing the main damaged areas along Holmes Run, but other areas of lighter damage could be fixed by the end of this year.

“We’re hopeful the area behind 4600 Duke [Street] can get back online sometime later this calendar year,” Browand said.

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Morning Notes

Inova Alexandria Hospital rezoned to allow Landmark project to move forward — “Inova’s Alexandria hospital campus is now zoned to allow for future residential development, after city council voted 7-0 to allow the rezoning to make it easier for Inova to sell the Seminary Hill hospital land to a developer.” [Alexandria Living]

New Harris Teeter grand opening set in Alexandria — “A new Harris Teeter grocery store in Alexandria is holding a grand opening on Wednesday, June 23 beginning at 8 a.m. at 4550 King St., in the West Alex development at the corner of King and Beauregard streets.” [Alexandria Living]

Little Theatre of Alexandria presents ‘Will Rogers’ USA’ at Fort Ward Park on July 3 — “Covid-19 is not keeping the Little Theatre of Alexandria down! LTA is coming back in 2021 even stronger than ever, and to prove it, they are presenting a delightful (and free!) evening of Will Rogers’ USA, in the Fort Ward Park Amphitheater off West Braddock Road, Alexandria, 7 pm, July 3.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Mainly sunny (during the day). High 77F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph… Clear skies (in the evening). Low 57F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New job: Server at Cafe 44 — “Café 44 is a stylish American eatery situated along the Waterfront in Old Town Alexandria. We cater to a local crowd, attracting those who appreciate a spectacular view, quality food, great wine and craft cocktails. Whether you are a regular or a first-time guest, you are received with warmth and enthusiasm. Known as a hidden gem, we’re the ideal place to gather with family and friends.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Pastor gives back to honor son’s cancer survival — “Porras, pastor at Beverley Hills Community UMC in Alexandria, is participating in the 10-week Man/Woman of the Year Campaign for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society in the DC metropolitan area.” [Patch]

Restaurant Revitalization Fund registration to open in Alexandria — “The Restaurant Revitalization Fund, part of the American Rescue Plan Act stimulus package, will provide emergency assistance for qualifying businesses with revenue losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible restaurants will receive funding to match their pandemic-related revenue loss:up to $5 million per physical location, or a total of $10 million per business. The funds will not have to be repaid as long as businesses use them for approved purposes by March 11, 2023.” [Patch]

NOVA Parks, Northern Virginia Conservation Trust make another offer for River Farm — “he organizations are trying to purchase River Farm, the 25-acre estate currently owned by the American Horticultural Society.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria chef wins awards for cookbook — “Alexandria author Kimberly Cataldo Thompson has reason to celebrate. Her debut cookbook, “Amen to the Garden: Dandelions to Dinner,” won a 2020 NYC Big Book Award. The book – the first in the ORGANIC GARDEN GIRL® series – has also been recognized as a Distinguished Favorite in the Cookbook category.” [Zebra]

Today’s weather — “Cloudy (during the day). High around 85F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph… Considerable cloudiness (in the evening) with occasional rain showers. Low 58F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%.” [Weather.com]

New job: Delivery driver — “This position is ideal for a student, stay-at-home parent, or retiree looking for consistent and part-time hours.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Alexandria health director reflects on sudden retirement, tenure with city — “When Dr. Stephen Haering, director of the Alexandria Health Department for the past 11 years, unexpectedly announced his retirement on April 9, he did so for what he called ‘deeply personal’ reasons. Haering, whose retirement was effective immediately according to a city news release, told the Times in an interview that his departure was ‘not associated with the pandemic response.'” [Alex Times]

Vaccination drive brings a dose of hope for restaurant workers — “More than 1,000 restaurant and small business employees have filed through the doors of the old Fireflies restaurant over the past few weeks with the same purpose: receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. The location’s current vacancy made this the perfect site to administer such a large number of shots, Bill Blackburn, restaurateur and co-owner of Homegrown Restaurant Group, said. Blackburn joined forces with community organizer Charlotte Hall and Scott Shaw of Alexandria Restaurant Partners – who donated the space – to orchestrate the Alexandria Restaurant Drive whereby restaurant workers could receive vaccinations in a streamlined way.” [Alex Times]

Bren Mar Park demolition project to begin — “Demolition work will begin at Bren Mar Park on Collier Lane and Edsall Road in Alexandria, Virginia, as the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) removes a home on the property.” [Fairfax County]

Reimagined ‘Taste Of Old Town North’ to be held over 2 months — “The Reimagined Taste of Old Town North will start on April 21 and will continue through June 21. During the two-month period, residents can purchase a Taste Passport for $10 to use at participating businesses. These businesses will offer discounts to Passport holders.” [Patch]

Today’s weather — “Intervals of clouds and sunshine (during the day). High 63F. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph… A few clouds from time to time (in the evening). Low 44F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.” [Weather.com]

New job: Taekwondo instructors and camp counselors — “Our growing company is currently seeking motivated and enthusiastic individuals who are GREAT with people to join our team at multiple locations. Our programs include martial arts classes for all ages, as well as After-school & Summer Camp programs for children 6-12 years old. Work hours tend to fall in the afternoons, evenings and Saturday mornings. This is a part-time position that can lead to a full-time position with excellent opportunity for advancement.” [Indeed]

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The Alexandria City Council on Tuesday will honor residents lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, 128 city residents have died from the virus. Council will also vote on a memorial at Rivergate City Park along the Potomac River in Old Town North. The memorial will be sponsored by the North Old Town Independent Citizens’ Association, the Old Town North Community Partnership and private donors.

Council will decide on the memorial at a legislative meeting on Tuesday, April 6.

“The memorial will be composed of small white flags, each representing an Alexandria resident who has died of COVID-19, that will be displayed from April 16 through June 21, 2021,” notes the Council resolution.

The memorial will be similar to the effort by Christ Church in Old Town. Small white flags were recently planted for the victims on the church grounds.

“(T)he COVID-19 pandemic has upended life as we know it, with its devastating effect on our physical and mental health, and on our social and economic wellbeing,” the city said in the resolution. “(I)n the City of Alexandria, we have lost approximately 128 beautiful souls to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The vast majority of deaths have been senior citizens, with 53 fatal victims in their 80s, 33 in their 70s, 20 in their 60s, 15 in their 50s, three in their 40s, three in their thirties and one resident in their 20s, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

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