FYI Alexandria — August 2011
In This Edition...
- Waterfront Plan Work Group Members Appointed
- BRAC-133 News Update
- Alexandria Restaurant Week
- City Receives International Recognition for Use of GIS Technology
- Alexandria Named One of the Nation's "Most Livable" Cities
- The Signs, They Are A-Changin’ (Slowly)
- Public Input Sought By Ad Hoc Retirement Benefits Advisory Group
- Rebuilding Homes, Rebuilding Lives
- It's Hurricane Season...ARE YOU READY? (Watch an Emergency Preparedness PSA)
- Name that Gator!
- August 23 Primary Information
- 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony
- City Seeks New Town Crier!
- "Pets in the City" Photo Gallery
On July 11, Mayor William D. Euille appointed seven members to form the Waterfront Plan Work Group, based upon recommendations submitted by City Council members. In late June, the City Council adopted a resolution establishing the work group to identify Plan consensus areas. The group is also charged with defining, categorizing, and narrowing differences on the concerns that residents have raised about the Plan. An outside facilitator has been selected to lead the group through the Workgroup meetings, which are public and will be posted at alexandriava.gov/Waterfront. The following individuals were appointed:
- Christopher Ballard, principal at McWilliamsBallard, a residential real estate and marketing firm focused on the East Coast.
- Bert Ely, head of Ely and Company, a financial institutions and monetary policy consulting firm.
- Mindy Lyle, Vice President Client Development, Haley & Aldrich, Inc.
- Elliot Rhodeside, Principal, Rhodeside & Harwell, a firm offering urban planning and landscape design with a focus on revitalization and sustainability.
- Nate Macek, a transportation consultant representing the Waterfront Committee.
- David Olinger, realtor, Senior Foreign Service Officer (Ret.) with a background in urban planning, representing the Old Town Civic Association.
- Lt. Gen Bob Wood (ret), who served as the Army’s senior strategic planner in developing and implementing the Army’s strategic response plan for combating worldwide terrorism in the wake of 9/11.
- City Councilman Paul Smedberg, who will serve as a non-voting City Council representative and convener of the Work Group.
The first Workgroup meeting was held July 27, and video from the meeting has been posted to alexandriava.gov/Waterfront. In addition to the video, a comprehensive, updated copy of the Plan, fact sheets, and related copies of documents, meeting summaries, maps, public presentations and meeting schedule are now available on the site.TOP
Employee Move-in Schedule: The BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) -133 project will begin moving employees into the Mark Center building this week. According to the proposed schedule, approximately 2,300 employees will move in between now and September 15, 2011; 2,500 employees between September 15, 2011 and December 31, 2011; and 1,600 employees by December 31, 2012. While the Department of Defense will not release the actual week-by-week planned move-in numbers, it is likely that the employee move-in will be conducted in relatively equal weekly levels.
Transit News: Alexandria’s DASH and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metro bus systems started new routes to provide additional service to Mark Center. DASH is adding a new express route providing service from the King Street Metro directly to Mark Center. Metro will add service between the Pentagon and Mark Center, and some DoD employees may be able to ride free by showing their Mark Center identification card. The federal government is paying 100% of these new bus route costs, as well as for additional shuttle service.
Emergency Management: To train for public safety and emergency response at the Mark Center building, the City has been invited to participate in a Pentagon senior policy level exercise series and is making plans for an internal exercise. The exercises will focus on 1) incident command and control, and 2) understanding the emergency operations center interface for large scale incidents.
VDOT Mark Center Task Force: On August 8, Governor Robert F. McDonnell announced that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will establish a new task force and implement a traffic management plan to closely monitor traffic impacts, help manage delays and coordinate increased transit service near Mark Center. Alexandria will have representatives participating on the new task force.
For weekly information on the BRAC-133 project, sign up for Alexandria eNews service and subscribe to the BRAC-133 News Bulletin.
Alexandria Summer Restaurant Week returns August 19-28. This year, 62 restaurants will feature a $35 prix-fixe three-course dinner or $35 dinner for two. Savor the flavors of Alexandria’s distinctive collection of eateries, from fine dining establishments to casual neighborhood favorites, with special offers available exclusively during this event.
Hungry for more? Restaurant Week menus and online reservations are available at VisitAlexandriaVA.com.
The City of Alexandria and other members of a Northern Virginia partnership were named winners of a Special Achievement in GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Award. The award was presented at the Environmental Systems Research Institute’s (ESRI) International User Conference in July.
The City of Alexandria, along with Arlington, Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William counties and the Virginia Geographic Information Network, are being recognized for the Northern Virginia Regional Road Centerline Project. The partnership was selected for the award from more than 300,000 organizations worldwide. ESRI makes the award to organizations that have made significant contributions and advancements through geography and “have used GIS to improve our world – and set new precedents throughout the GIS community.”
This project helps ensure emergency vehicles will be directed along the most efficient routes when responding to calls, both within the City and when supporting our neighbors in the neighboring Northern Virginia counties. In addition, while this data was built to serve public safety needs, it will have many other GIS applications.
The Northern Virginia Regional Road Centerline Project was funded by a grant from the Virginia Information Technologies Agency’s E-911 Services Board.
Photo: Back Row (L to R): Mike Fauss, Loudoun County; Tom Conry, Fairfax County; Bill Everingham, Arlington County; Jack Dangermond, President/CEO of ESRI; Brian Wooley, Loudoun County; and Steve Chozick, City of Alexandria. Front Row (L to R): Dave Simms and Helen Walla, Prince William County; and Kate Nedrich, Loudoun County
The City of Alexandria and the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria have been awarded Honorable Mention in the 2011 City Livability Awards, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Waste Management, Inc. The award recognizes mayoral leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve the quality of life in America’s cities, focusing on the leadership, creativity, and innovation demonstrated by the mayors. This year’s winning cities were selected by former mayors from a pool of over 200 applicants.
The Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria is a citizen-led coalition of non-profit organizations, schools, city agencies, local businesses, local foundations, government and community leaders, and concerned citizens joined together to promote and preserve a healthy Alexandria community.
For more information on the Partnership for a Healthier Alexandria, contact Carrie Fesperman Redden at 703.746.4914 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here and there, new street signs are popping up in the city—signs once lettered in all uppercase letters are being changed to “mixed case”—in response to a new federal mandate. The reason for this change is that mixed case lettering with the first letter being uppercase in every word was found to be more interpretable by motorists than all-uppercase lettering.
These new requirements can be found in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, a set of standards published by the Federal Highway Administration. All states are required to follow the standards in this publication to ensure uniformity of traffic control devices across the country. The change will be gradual. Like many municipalities, the City will only be following the new requirement standards for signs that need to be replaced due to damage and old age.
The Ad Hoc Retirement Benefits Advisory Group, appointed by City Council in January 2011, is charged with evaluating the current structure and status of the retirement benefits programs offered to City of Alexandria employees. The City Council asked the Group to make its evaluation using the criteria of: protection of established benefits, competitiveness with neighboring jurisdictions, encouragement of employee retirement savings, the advantages and disadvantages of defined benefit versus defined contribution retirement plans, and present and future fiscal sustainability of any existing or recommended retirement benefit program(s).
As part of its duties, the Group must provide the City Council with a written report of its recommendations by November 2011. In preparation for drafting this report, the Advisory Group is seeking public feedback. Any feedback provided should be based on the information made available to the Group during its meetings, and all materials are available online. The Group will consider all feedback; however, feedback taking into account the City Council’s evaluation criteria will be most useful to the report’s development.
Public comment and feedback must be submitted by September 4, 2011. Visit https://www.alexandriava.gov/45962 for more information.
“To bring volunteers, communities, and resources together to improve the homes and lives of Alexandrians in need” is the mission of Rebuilding Together Alexandria.
Rebuilding Together is a non-profit dedicated to preserving affordable homeownership by repairing and revitalizing homes—free of cost—for those in need, including (but certainly not limited to) the elderly, persons with disabilities, military veterans, and families. One such homeowner, Ms. H., couldn’t maintain her home and yard, so she was evicted until it could be brought up to code. Many of our volunteers worked numerous hours and she was able to move back home! Over the past 25 years, in-kind donations of labor and materials have resulted in almost $5.3 million worth of value on nearly 1,300 properties. Last year, Rebuilding Together repaired 102 homes with over 1,000 volunteers.
Whether you are a homeowner looking to apply for home assistance at no cost to you, or an active citizen who would like to volunteer to help a neighbor stay in their home—please contact us with any questions or to see if you qualify for our services by calling 703.836.1021 or visiting our website www.RebuildingTogetherAlex.org.
Watch an Emergency Preparedness PSA
There’s something new in the Ben Brenman Park pond—an alligator! But there’s no need for alarm. The 2-foot plastic reptile is there to scare away messy geese that upset the park’s ecosystem. Even though he’s not really a pet (or even real), the Ben Brenman “gator” needs a name. Send your suggestions to email@example.com (with subject line “Name That Gator!”) by September 30, 2011. The new name will be announced on the City’s Facebook page, on Twitter, and in an upcoming issue of FYI Alexandria.
Tuesday, August 23, marks primary elections in two of the City’s State Senate districts: a Democratic primary in the 30th State Senate district, and a Republican primary in the 39th State Senate district.
These will be the first elections in Alexandria since redistricting. Many city residents will find themselves in new legislative districts, and a few voters will have newly assigned polling places. Stay informed! Visit alexandriava.gov/Elections or call 703.746.4050 for more information on primary elections, absentee voting information, maps of the new legislative districts and voting precincts, and more.
9/11 Remembrance Ceremony
301 King St.
Noon – 1 p.m.
The City of Alexandria cordially invites you to a remembrance ceremony for the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001 to give thanks and pay tribute to those who responded without fear, acted without hesitation and gave their lives to save others. Admission is free. For more information, call 703.746.4184.
Can you shout but still be understood clearly? Do you have a sense of humor that can stand up to extreme cold and heat? Are you available for most City-wide commemorative events? If so, you may have what it takes to be Alexandria’s next town crier!
Those interested in applying for this volunteer position are invited to an information session on Thursday, September 1, at 7 p.m., at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal Street. Tryouts will be held at the same location on Wednesday, September 7, at 7 p.m. The new town crier will make his or her first public appearance at the first Legislative Meeting of the Alexandria City Council on Tuesday, September 13. Call the Office of Historic Alexandria at 703.746.4554 to RSVP for the September 1 information session. See alexandriava.gov/TownCrier for more information.