Manager's Report - August 3, 2012
City Begins Construction on Crystal City/Potomac Yard Transitway
The City of Alexandria begins construction on the first segment of the Crystal City/Potomac Yard Transitway on Tuesday, July 31. The project will upgrade a 0.8 mile segment of Route 1 between Potomac Avenue and East Glebe Road with dedicated transit-only lanes, signal prioritization for transit, specialized transit stations, and enhanced passenger amenities. This construction, part of a joint project of the City of Alexandria and Arlington County for a five-mile planned transit corridor between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City Metrorail stations, is being delivered as part of a design-build contract, scheduled for completion in December 2013. Initially, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will operate in the transitway, offering higher frequency and reliable service, as well as additional transit capacity. The project supports the City’s Eco-City Alexandria initiative by providing residents, workers and visitors with high-capacity transit.
Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project Construction Delays
This week, expect travel delays on Telegraph Road and the Capital Beltway Interchange. Weather permitting, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project will be continuing ramp and road closures in the Telegraph Road/Capital Beltway interchange. This work will cause significant traffic impacts on local streets (including Duke Street), and motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes.
Permits Filed for Notable Construction Projects
During the week of July 16, Code Administration reported three building permits for notable construction projects being processed:
- the Safeway grocery store replacement at 3526 King St. (King/Quaker/Braddock);
- the Yates commercial building at 525 Mount Vernon Ave. (excavation of the City parcel sold to Yates is the first step); and
- the Oronoco residential condominium conversion project at 601 N. Fairfax St., where $29 million in renovations is planned for the former Sheetmetal Workers office building.
The Harris Teeter grocery store on St. Asaph Street also had its formal ground breaking ceremony.
City Achieves Additional Future Affordable Housing Resources in Fiscal Year 2012
The City secured potential affordable housing resources for the future as part of the City’s Development Special Use Permit process during the most recent fiscal year. Within three different projects (Mount Vernon Village Center, Braddock Metro Place, and The Delaney), the City secured 61 units of planned, committed affordable housing that will be available to households at or below 60% area median income (AMI) for a period of at least 30 years. In addition to the committed affordable units, five additional projects were approved, which resulted in pledged future monetary contributions of more than $3.3 million to the City’s Housing Trust Fund. All units and monetary contributions will be received when individual projects are completed.
City to Host “Helping Responsible Homeowners” Roundtable
Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the City will host a Housing Roundtable – Helping Responsible Homeowners on August 14 in the City Council Workroom, City Hall (301 King St., Room 2410), from 7 to 9 p.m. The Roundtable will feature lenders, housing counselors and other stakeholders discussing the refinancing process, recent changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP2), and other opportunities to help homeowners reduce their monthly housing costs by taking advantage of historically low mortgage rates. Residents should contact the City’s Office of Housing at 703.746.4990 to register. Please note that seating is limited. For more information, contact Shane Cochran at the City’s Office of Housing, 703.746.4990 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gadsby’s Tavern Ice Well Rehabilitation Update
City Contractors have begun construction of the joint Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) and Department of General Services project to restore the historic subterranean ice well adjacent to Gadsby's Tavern to its 19th-century condition. The goals of the project are to preserve the historic feature and improve the visitor's experience to the site. The planning and design process was completed in early 2012. The entire project is intended to be funded solely with private donations and grant funds, with City funds only being loaned temporarily as needed to complete specific phases of the project. The recent allocation of $347,208 provides funding for the construction portion of the Gadsby's Tavern Ice Well Restoration project. Of this amount, $165,000 of currently allocated OHA Capital Maintenance Capital Improvement Program (CIP) funding is allocated to cover project costs while fundraising efforts are completed. The remainder of this allocation includes two grant awards ($49,000 and $25,000) and $108,208 in private donations that have been secured to help fund project construction. Funds will be repaid to the OHA CIP. If fundraising efforts fall short, then the OHA CIP funds would become part of the permanent ice well rehabilitation financing plan.
Phase 1 of project construction includes necessary drainage improvements at the ice well and is currently underway. Phase 2 of project construction is planned to occur later in the year and will include stabilization of the ice well's interior, reduced moisture accumulation, and improved ventilation. The project design focused on improving a visitor's ability to access, view, and understand the rarity and historical importance of the feature.
Residents Can Apply Online for Public Assistance Benefits
The Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is rolling out the State’s new online, self-service application process, Common Help. Residents can now apply online for benefits including child care assistance, cash, food, medical and energy assistance. A single application can be used to apply for all major state and federal benefit programs. DCHS has computers available at several Department locations for clients to use, and residents can apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any computer with Internet access. The Department will provide information to community partners to expand access to this new resource.
SNAP Food Stamp Schedule to Change
Beginning September 1, SNAP (the former food stamp program) will change its schedule for issuing benefits from the first of the month to a staggered schedule. This change will allow SNAP beneficiaries improved access to nutritious food choices by allowing retailers to adequately restock their shelves. All SNAP recipients have received information about how the change will affect them.
City Supporting Northern Virginia Home Energy Makeover Contest
The City is working with the nonprofit Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) and the Dominion Foundation to promote the first ever Northern Virginia Home Energy Makeover Contest. This contest offers residents of Northern Virginia the opportunity to win a home energy makeover valued at $10,000. This is one of 10 prizes being offered to homeowners who enter the contest at www.novaenergycontest.com. LEAP is the official sponsor for the Home Performance with Energy Star Program in Northern Virginia. The City of Alexandria and CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union are supporting LEAP’s work through the Alexandria Energy Saver and Home Performance Loan Programs. These loan programs offer low interest rate financing for City residents to complete energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. Contest deadline is September 21, 2012.