This past summer I was fortunate to be able to provide a tour of Yorktown Civic Association to Harriet Edlesom, a Washington Post reporter. The goal of Harriet’s article was to learn about the different types of architecture that can be found within our association’s boundaries, see the mix of new homes and old, and to ascertain what characteristics draw families to our neighborhood?
Don Purka, who along with his wife Christine, and two sons, moved here this past summer tells me that one of the reasons they choose to live within the boundaries of Yorktown Association was the feeling of a strong family and community feeling- almost like a throwback to the times when kids were able to run/bike to their friends’ homes without any parental worry. Don goes on to tell me that they could have chosen a large home, in a different Arlington neighborhood, but they put a priority on a neighborhood that they felt would be welcoming to their two boys- and after meeting with neighbors during their home buying process and confiding with other friends- felt Yorktown fit their needs perfectly. In addition, Don is able to walk to local bus stops to take public transportation to his job in the District.
In addition to bus stops, conveniently located throughout our neighborhood, which bring passengers to Ballston and/or Rosslyn Metro’s, most of Yorktown’s more trafficked streets have bike lanes, providing its residents a safe option to driving to work or taking public transportation. Arlington County has over 100 miles of trails, onstreet bike lanes and designated bike routes. Unlike parts of Fairfax County, our residents don’t have to worry about “slugging” to work! During my time with Harriet, it became apparent that she was also intrigued by the prevalence of “raze-rebuilds” going on throughout North Arlington and how this growing trend may be affecting the Yorktown area. More to the point, is the increased prevalence of construction having an adverse effect on the aforementioned “community feeling?”
New construction can bring with it a myriad of problems to the neighborhood, most notably, road damage, parking issues, environmental concerns and added stress to our overcrowded schools. But these new homes also bring newer/higher quality homes and increase existing property values. The pros and cons of the razerebuild trend will continue to be debated in our neighborhood, but I feel the trend is, overall, a net positive. Finally, Don Purka’s sentiment resounds perfectly with me when he said that they chose Yorktown because they felt it was a community that was welcoming- a testament to each of you, its residents!
By Craig Mastrangelo
for Civic Pride Newsletter