Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

ACPS Nurses Helping Out Health Department — “When Megan Costanza, a nurse at the T.C. Williams High School Clinic got the call to say her skills were needed by the Alexandria Health Department’s Coronavirus task force, she didn’t hesitate.” [ACPS]

Carpenter’s Shelter Raising Funds for Giving Tuesday — “#GivingTuesdayNow and Do More 24 have synched efforts to help organizations like Carpenter’s Shelter raise money during this unprecedented time. Advanced giving is open, so please support Carpenter’s Shelter by donating!” [Facebook]

Second Grader Wins National Photography Award for Merit — “The National PTA announced the results of the national level of the Reflections contest last week, and Riley Zwiselsberger, a 2nd grader at Charles Barrett, for the second year in a row, won the Award of Merit (a 3rd Place NATIONAL award!!) in the Photography category for a photo called “Within the Wall of War.” His work will now be featured in a traveling exhibition!” [Facebook]

Alexandria Aces Season Canceled — “We cherish the health and safety of all of our players and their families. We 🙏🏻 this all goes away and we see everyone in 2021 for a great season of Aces Baseball! Stay safe Aces.” [Facebook]

The Dog Park Offering Discounts for Cinco De Doggo Toys — “The Dog Park will be offering a SPICY deal for Cinco de Mayo….aka Cinco de Doggo! We carry toys for both cats and dogs.” [Facebook]

ACPS Brings Back Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program — “Kids 18 and under, who are present during pick-up, will receive a fresh produce bag along with their meals! While supplies last.” [Facebook]

The Art League is Offering Online Classes — “Our online courses give people a chance to try something new at home, and allows students to touch base with their creative community during an isolating time.” [Zebra]

Jobs: The Salvation Army Needs Administrative Specialist — “Knowledge of general office practices and procedures, effective and efficient record-keeping and bookkeeping practices, knowledge of proofreading symbols and basic mathematics. Ability to transcribe dictation and type information into a computer. Ability to scan documents and work with same. Ability to operate various office equipment including a telephone, Dictaphone, computer, scanner and adding machine.” [Indeed]

Fire Department Celebrates Resilience Week — “Building resilience helps our community recover from difficult experiences, like the current health crisis. As part of #ResilienceWeek VA (May 3-9), DCHS is sharing daily ideas & resources to help in our personal lives, families, work lives & community.” [Twitter]

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(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) A proposal to co-locate affordable housing on the grounds of MacArthur Elementary is unpopular with PTA members.

The MacArthur PTA recently conducted a survey asking how current and future MacArthur families felt about co-locating housing or city facilities on the site of the soon-to-be renovated school, an idea encouraged by the city and under consideration by the School Board.

The survey yielded over 450 responses, according to PTA president Kristina Seppala, and revealed mixed feelings about some parts of the proposal and misgivings about housing in particular.

“About half of the respondents are open to non-housing co-location services such as a recreation center or day care services,” Seppala told ALXnow. “However, while open to other co-location options, a full 70% do not support housing on the site under any circumstance.”

Supporters say that Alexandria is experiencing an affordable housing crisis and must consider a variety ways to build more, including on government-owned land. At a joint meeting of city and school officials earlier this week, however, school board members expressed skepticism about adding housing to the MacArthur project at this stage in its planning. The school board is slated to vote on concept plans for MacArthur at its Feb. 6 meeting next week.

The PTA’s board has not yet taken a formal position on the matter and will take feedback from the survey into account when it does.

“I applaud the city and schools collaborating to provide services to the community,” Seppala said. “However, given the timeline for the Douglas MacArthur new build, the absence of a Joint Facilities Master Plan to guide the process of implementation, and a lack of substantial community input, it is not prudent to push housing forward on this project. There are simply too many unanswered, complex questions without the luxury of time to answer them thoroughly.”

The city council is ultimately expected to vote on the final design for MacArthur in September.

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