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December Meeting to Focus on Cookies (& Election)

Participating in the Yorktown Civic Association is a great way to learn about progress (and pitfalls) of living in Yorktown; to connect, collaborate and occasionally commiserate with neighbors; and to stay up to date on all the neighborhood news worth knowing.

The December 13 meeting, held at Yorktown High School, will be our annual business meeting, with elections needed to keep our Executive Committee going, and a thoughtful discussion around the idea of incorporating in Virginia.

It will also be a time to share holiday snacks, baked by the Yorktown Civic Association Executive Committee (we’ll vote on the favorite!) as well as connect with old friends and new neighbors. To entice you out during this busy holiday season, we promise to have hot apple cider; delicious cookies; a relatively quick business meeting.

Please join us at 7:30 p.m. in Yorktown High School Patriot Hall on Wednesday, December 13–use door #8 near the basketball courts. Future meetings will feature county speakers, school topics and more opportunities to connect with your neighbors. The only thing missing from the Yorktown Civic Association is YOU!

by Elizabeth Kiker
elizabeth.kiker@gmail.com

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Incorporating the YCA: Join the Discussion

The Yorktown Civic Association (YCA), created in 1992 via merger between Milburn Terrace and Garden City Associations, serves the common needs of our community. The leaders of the YCA are considering incorporating in Virginia, which would mean clarifying our mission, updating our bylaws and would allow us to purchase directors’ insurance.

Currently, the mission of the YCA is: to preserve the quality of our neighborhood; to keep the community informed on issues that impact us; and to be an advocate for the community on those issues with local and state government. In addition to reaching out to neighbors and experts, we are in discussion with other neighborhood groups in Arlington to learn from their work.

As we start to revamp the bylaws, mission, and election processes, we’d love to hear from YOU. We’ll start this discussion at the December 13 2017 meeting. Join us!

by President Mike Cantwell
mcantwell@msn.com

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New Middle School Means New Boundaries

In an attempt to relieve overcrowding at Arlington middle schools, most notably Williamsburg and Swanson, Arlington County has been considering a variety of revised school boundary options. The new school boundaries allocate students to the new middle school that will open in 2019 at the Stratford site. Students who will be affected by these changes are those currently in grades 4, 5 and 6.

At the “What We Heard” meeting held at Yorktown HS on Wednesday October 25, APS staff presented drafts of only two refined options, A and B, that the county was considering before submitting their recommendations to the school board for their vote. The current middle school student population is 6,613 students, with roughly 1,300-1,400 students proposed to attend the new middle school. Their handouts noted that a majority of students will remain in their current middle school attendance zone and that more than 50 percent of students are in the potential walk zone for 4 schools.

APS will reassess the transfer policy for middle school students for 2018-2019 after the new boundaries have been finalized. Of most importance, according to APS, is that none of the middle schools will be over 110% capacity in 2022. As of November 8, APS favors option A and is no longer considering option B. Superintendent Dr. Murphy presented his recommendation
for middle school boundaries on Nov.14, 2017. Citizens also were able to speak up on Nov. 30, 2017. For information about speaking at a School Board meeting, visit www.apsva.us/school-board-meetings/sign-up-to-speak/. School Board action is scheduled for Thu, Dec. 14,

by Craig Mastrangelo
craigmastrangelo@gmail.com

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Election Slate Announced for YCA Executive Committee

The Yorktown Civic Association Bylaws state that the “Association shall elect biannually from among adult (over 18) full-time residents of member households a President, Vice-President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, and seven at-large directors, who collectively shall constitute the Executive Committee.”

The bylaws stipulate that nominations for the Executive Committee must be published in the newsletter prior to the fall membership meeting where the election takes place. The terms of the officers shall begin on the first day of the month succeeding that in which they were elected and are for two years. The following slate of officers and members of the Executive Committee is being proposed for the December 13, 2017 YCA meeting. The slate is as follows:

  • President: Mike Cantwell
  • Vice President: David Friedman
  • Secretary: James Churbuck
  • Treasurer: Dustin Anderson
  • At-Large members: Terry Costello, David Gelman, David Haring, Elizabeth Kiker, Craig Mastangelo, Brian O’ Flaherty, Frank White.

We are also soliciting members to sign up for “Executive Committee Member in Waiting.” As members leave the Executive Committee, these members would be appointed to join the Executive Committee. Members of the YCA can volunteer to be placed on the list at the December 13 meeting.

by David Haring,
jacmatt@verizon.net

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Letter from the President – December 2017

YCA Sets Attendance Record; Meets Alliance

Join us at our next YCA meeting: December 13 at 7:30 p.m. Each member of the YCA board is bringing cookies to share; extras will be given to residents who attend! It’s also our annual election.

In September, more than 60 residents (a record!) attended the YCA meeting. Our main topic was teen drug use. Speakers included Captain David Giroux (ACPD First District Commander), Captain Tom Trumble (ACPD Drug Enforcement), Corporal Andrew Nucelli (Yorktown Schoool Resource Officer), and Ms. Mila Vascones-Gatski (Yorktown’s Substance Abuse Coordinator).

An informative and eye-opening presentation was followed by a spirited Q&A. Captain Giroux asked the residents to help reduce teen drug use in Arlington. Residents should look out for drug paraphilia and suspicious activities. If you see something, say something.

The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) held a Board Meeting in September at their new office space at 4620 Lee Highway (Suite 208).

The Arlington County Planning Department has interviewed candidates for County Planner who will lead the upcoming re-planning of the Lee corridor. The process will include a Community Forum (task force) with 40 members, and a working group of 8 participants, who will meet with staff and consultants to re-plan the corridor. The County has agreed that LHA, civic associations, and advisory groups will be represented on the task force. The process is likely to begin in early 2018.

The County is also in the early stages of planning the design of Fire Station #8. Many LHA board members feel that some space in the station should be made available for community
needs. I encouraged the Board to focus on core emergency management functions of the Fire Station.

I continue to engage with the business and property owners at Garden City Shopping Center to try to improve site conditions and better engage them. One idea being discussed is creating a Merchants’ Alliance. There are a number of issues common to both the businesses and the neighborhood, including trash removal, code enforcement, snow removal, and parking.

The YCA Executive Committee is deciding if we should incorporate the Yorktown Civic Association as a 503c4. Incorporating will reduce personal liability for Executive Committee members and add clarity to the annual elections, finances, and record keeping. We plan to engage in a transparent process as we move forward, and bring information to the December meeting. Please join us!

By Mike Cantwell

President, Yorktown Civic Association

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Letter from the President – September 2017

It has been a busy summer! We are continuing to track issues related to school capacity, high water bills, traffic and pedestrian safety, the Lee Highway Alliance, and the Garden City Shopping Center.

I recently attended a meet-and greet session with the new Yorktown High School Principal Bridget Loft. YHS parents expressed their concerns about teen drug use and their perception that the Yorktown High School staff was not doing enough to address it. I met with Ms. Loft privately and expressed the community’s concerns about overcrowding at Yorktown High School, traffic and parking. We discussed how the common areas in Yorktown High School (gym, cafeteria, sports field, etc.) are significantly smaller than similar areas at Washington & Lee and Wakefield.

Throughout the summer months, local homeowners continued to post replies on Nextdoor and Facebook related to unusually high water bills. Several homeowners wrote letters to Sun-Gazette editors, Arlington County Staff, and Board members. The Department of Environmental Services is refusing to conduct a thorough investigation into the unusually high water bills. Homeowners experiencing this should continue to contact DES and County Board Members and call for an independent audit of the water meters and water billing process.

The Lee Highway Alliance (LHA) continues to make steady progress. LHA has a budget, leased office space, and an updated website. Google “Lee Highway Alliance” for more information. We have some improvements at the Garden City Shopping Center (GCSC), but we continue to see issues. The LHA, YCA Executive Committee, and the County Staff are working together to encourage property owners and tenants to form a Merchants Association. Ideally, the merchants will work together to improve trash/garbage removal, paving, sidewalks, landscaping, parking, and snow removal.

The guest speaker for our next YCA general membership meeting will be Captain David Giroux. Captain Giroux was recently selected to be First District Police Captain. He will address teen drug use, traffic safety, and violence in our community.

We need your help! We can match your passions, skills, and time constraints to the right “job.” Email me with “I want to help the YCA” in the subject line. Please get involved with the political process. You can’t move the ball forward if you are sitting on the sidelines. Stay engaged Arlington!

By Mike Cantwell
President, Yorktown Civic Association
mtcantwell@msn.com

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Update on Chestnut Hills Park Frontage Improvements

Photos: January 24, 2018

Chestnut Hills Park on Harrison has been going through a major expansion and improvement, which should be completed by October. The expansion involved the acquisition and demolition of two homes just to the north of the park. And now the expansion is being complemented by a frontage improvement project that was sponsored by the Yorktown Civic Association and funded through the County’s Neighborhood Conservation program to install new entrances, fencing and pathways. The frontage improvements, which started in mid-June, were actually funded in 2012. Construction was delayed twice, first in 2014, to allow for playground renovations, and then again in 2015, when the County had the opportunity to purchase the first of the adjacent homes. The park frontage improvements will include a new solid steel fence recessed 1’ behind the existing sidewalk; four recessed gates to provide stroller passing zones; a new enclosure and location for the portable restroom; pervious circulation pathways; and new benches and trash cans flanking the new walkways. The planned fencing and entrances will now include those recently acquired adjacent properties. It is expected that the Park will continue to stay open during the work. The County has a web page, including drawings, for the project at: https://projects.arlingtonva.us/projects/chestnut-hills-frontageimprovements/.

By David Haring
President, Yorktown Civic Association

 

 

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Traffic Control at Harrison/26 and George Mason/Yorktown

Arlington County recently installed traffic control measures at two major intersections in the YCA. The committee tried an innovative approach in reaching out to county officials. The group met at the intersection of 26th and Harrison on a Friday at 3 p.m. just as YHS students were coming out. This proved persuasive, convincing officials that something needed to be done.

The group also looked at the intersection of George Mason Drive and Yorktown. This site regularly sees minor accidents and close calls. This intersection also now has safety measures to protect pedestrians and realigned vehicle lanes. One member of the committee noted that, on his own, he had raised issues about the intersection near his house to no avail. When he linked up with others and worked through YCA, something positive happened. Nobody can guarantee such results every time, but there’s a lot of power in working together.

by James Churbuck
churbuck@mac.com

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Upcoming Yorktown Civic Association Meeting

Scheduled for Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The next meeting of the Yorktown Civic Association has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 6, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Yorktown High School, Patriot Room (enter from door 8 near the athletic field parking lot). Here’s the agenda:

The guest speaker for our next YCA general membership meeting will be Captain David Giroux. Captain Giroux was recently selected to be First District Police Captain.

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Chestnut Hills Park Expansion

Chestnut Hills Park on North Harrison Street is about to undergo a major expansion and improvement, thanks to the just-completed demolition of two adjacent homes acquired by the County during the past 15 months. The parkland expansion will soon be complemented by a frontage improvement project that was sponsored by the Yorktown Civic Association and funded through the County’s Neighborhood Conservation program to install new entrances, fencing and pathways.

The park expansion has been made possible through the use of funds from the County’s Park Land Acquisition program. The County acquired the first property in September 2015 for $728,000, and the second in March 2016 for $820,000. The County Board approved an additional $50,000 per property for deconstruction and site restoration. The addresses for the homes where 2827 and 2833 N. Harrison Street, respectively. The first of the homes was owned by long-time Civic Association Treasurer Bob Littell and his family. The combined size of the two lots is about one-half acre, but the removal of the homes opens up access to land behind those properties which was already owned by the County. Due to the recent loss of other open space in the County, the current intention is to simply maintain the additional property as open space parkland. For example, this expansion helps to offset the significant loss of green space on the Williamsburg school site with the construction of the new Discovery Elementary School.

The frontage improvement project was actually funded back in December 2012, but implementation has been delayed twice – which has actually been a good thing! First, those improvements were postponed due to the 2014 playground renovations. Then, those improvements were delayed again when the first of the two homes was acquired in 2015. Those improvements have finally gone out to bid, and assuming that process goes well, a contract will go to the County Board for approval at its February 2017 meeting. The park improvements will include a new solid steel fence recessed 1’ behind the existing sidewalk; four recessed gates to provide stroller passing zones; a new enclosure and location for the portable restroom; pervious circulation pathways; and new benches and trash cans flanking the new walkways. The delay in this project ensures that the planned fencing and entrances will now include the recently acquired adjacent properties. The improvements are expected to take up to four months, and work is expected to begin fairly quickly after contract approval by the Board. It is expected that the Park will stay open during the work, although disruptions in access could be expected.

The County has a dedicated web page for the improvement project at: https://projects.arlingtonva.us/projects/chestnut-hills-frontage/.