After more than six months of delay, the renovation of Mount Jefferson Park is complete.
City inspections now stand between the park reopening to the public, according to the city. That process could take another two months.
Developer Stonebridge agreed with the city to renovate the 4.6-acre park as part of its deal to construct the massive Oakville Triangle project. The park has been shut down since construction began between the 300 Block of E. Raymond Avenue and Richmond Highway (Route 1) in January 2022. The project, which includes removing invasive species and reshaping trails, was initially scheduled to wrap last September.
“They’ve (Stonebridge) encountered supply chain issues, weather delays, as well as some design revisions that occurred last fall that they’re trying to work through,” Alexandria Park Planner Judy Lo told ALXnow.
She said the city has not done any inspections on the improvements since the park was closed down last January.
“We definitely want to make sure all the improvements are constructed according to the approved plans and that the park is safe for the public to use,” she said.
Alexandria has had plans to renovate the park on the books since 2015.
Today, Friday, Del Ray resident Ron F. was walking his dog near the park when he shared with ALXnow his desire to see the park open soon.
“How long does it take to inspect a park?” asked Ron, who only gave the initial of his last name. “It looks ready to open. It looks safe.”
City inspections are scheduled between March and May, and the park could be opened sooner than May if inspections are completed, Lo said.
“If inspections go well, the park will open,” Lo said. “If there’s a section that can open, we can definitely look at opening it in sections.”
Ron contends the process should not take that long, saying “it’s trails and trees.”
According to the city:
The City, in conjunction with the Oakville Triangle/Route 1 Corridor planning process, developed a plan in 2015 for the Mount Jefferson Park & Greenway between East Raymond Ave. and Route 1.
The approved plan draws inspiration from the site’s former use as a railroad, and seeks to balance the natural characteristics of the park through enhanced landscape plantings and the preservation of the nature trails south of Fannon Street.
Improvements to the 4.6-acre park area include site drainage and stormwater infrastructure, an ADA multi-use permeable trail and trail connectors, an expanded off-leash dog exercise area, native plantings, invasive species removal, a new speed table at Raymond Avenue to slow vehicular traffic, a new water meter, new park wayfinding signage, and new historical interpretative features.
Virginia State Police did not pursue a vehicle into Maryland after an early morning high-speed chase through Alexandria.
No one was injured or vehicles struck in the chase, which began at around 1:30 a.m. near exit 173 (Van Dorn Street) on westbound Interstate 495, according to VSP.
The suspect drove a four-door black Mercedes and was being pursued for speeding. The Mercedes turned off the Glebe Road exit 7 on I-95, then drove up S. Glebe Road toward Potomac Yard, and went south on Richmond Highway (Route 1) through Old Town.
The Mercedes, which drove with a flat front left tire, drove between 115 and 130 miles per hour on Glebe Road and Richmond Highway, VSP and Alexandria Police Department dispatchers reported. APD did not assist in the pursuit.
The chase ended after the suspect got back onto the highway and crossed the Woodrow Wilson Bridge into Maryland.
“The trooper terminated the pursuit once the vehicle left Virginia,” VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller told ALXnow. “Maryland and Washington, DC authorities were alerted of the suspect vehicle. There were no crashes resulting from the pursuit.”
Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota sold for $35 million to a Maryland company last month, and the dealership is keeping the name “Alexandria Toyota.”
Waldorf-based Kody Holdings, which owns a dozen auto dealerships in Maryland, bought the dealership at 3750 Richmond Highway on November 21.
The 390,000-square-foot property is worth $25.3 million, according to a January 2022 assessment. Taylor built the current dealership on the lot in 2000, and five years later it was worth $6.2 million, according to city records.
Taylor is a Living Legend of Alexandria and is well known for his philanthropic efforts, especially with the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria. The son of a Fairfax County Sheriff, he served in the Army during the Vietnam War and afterward got into the car business by partnering with Bill Page Toyota. He bought out his partner in 1984 and became the sole owner of the dealership.
Kody Holdings and Taylor did not respond to requests for comment.
Photo via Alexandria Toyota/Facebook
After complaints of inescapable barking creeping into the neighborhood, Brewski’s Barkhaus might not go ahead with its special use permit (SUP) request to expand outdoor seating.
Barkhaus (529 E. Howell Avenue), the D.C. Metro area’s first-ever dog-friendly bar and restaurant with an off-leash indoor and outdoor dog park, opened two years ago. The business wants to add 20 seats to the outdoor seating area, which already has 20 outdoor seats.
The SUP states that the daily number of guests (around 150 people) won’t change because of the new seats, although business owners are wary of what they see as potentially restrictive restrictions by city staff.
Barkhaus co-founder Alex Benbassat said that the company is closing an hour earlier throughout the week and opening later due to neighbor complaints. He also says that the business has not received a single noise citation from the city.
“We reduced our operations by eight hours a week,” Benbassat said. “All we want is 20 seats. Retracting the SUP would just take away from the customer’s experience. Customers just be wouldn’t be hanging out as long, it wouldn’t be as comfortable.”
Barkhaus is located at the busy corner of E. Howell Avenue and Richmond Highway, and across the street from the full-service dog daycare Your Dog’s Best Friends.
John Kit Wannen lives across the street from the business, and says that his family can’t escape the noise of dogs barking at all hours of the day. Warren has sent letters to city staff, and testified before City Council at last Saturday’s (October 15) meeting.
“It penetrates our home, with all the doors and windows closed,” Wannen said. “They have a right to operate their property as they see fit, but that right ends when they penetrate our homes, and we can not escape that noise.”