Thursday, February 20, 2014

Four Mile Run Park Plan Public Hearing TONIGHT!

Draft Four Mile Run Park Plan
In the summer of 2012, the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) began a multi-year process with the public to develop a Citywide Parks Improvement Plan. The goal of this initiative was to study and understand the existing conditions and future needs for Alexandria’s parks that are over 15-acres, municipally owned, and have multiple uses. Along with Four Mile Run Park, these parks include: Ben Brenman and Armistead L. Boothe Parks, Chinquapin Park, Joseph Hensley Park, the Holmes Run Park System, and Simpson Stadium Park.

The culmination of that work over the past 18 months was realesed last month as the Draft Plan and being presented for public comment tonight.

From the draft plan:
Four Mile Run Park (51.56 acres) has all the major components of an urban oasis: ballfields, soccer fields, multi-purpose courts, public plaza, and, its swamp forest and self-sustaining freshwater tidal marsh. The Park is located in a very diverse and active community in Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood. Local residents play lively soccer matches on the multi-purpose courts while bird watchers quietly observe the diverse habitat. The heavily used bike trail connects to regional destinations and, therefore, cyclists and other visitors travel through the Park. Yet, the Park does not have the facilities or landscape to support and sustain its desired uses and upkeep.

Park Staff met with community stake-holders and sought input a number of different ways including community open houses and on-line and written surveys. This is what they heard:
Park Users almost equally walk (30.8%) as much as drive (29.7%), while 39.6% bike. When looking at this information in combination with the question “What do you do in the Park,” it is apparent that survey participants are using the Park’s trails (30% use the park for biking and 14% for walking), implying that the trail through the Park is one of the major Park resources. Other activities of significance include the visits to the Farmer’s Market and general relaxation.
When asked, “What do you like about the Park,” participants overwhelmingly identified the trail, reinforcing the Parks importance as a route for walkers and cyclists. Other replies, including “nature,” “location,” “openness and green space,” recognize the Park’s natural setting along the Four Mile Run Stream, a scarce resource in an urban setting.
The details can be found in the plan (starting on page 51); here's a list of main elements:

To move forward with finalizing the Citywide Parks Improvement Plan, the Alexandria Park and Recreation Commission will hold a Public Hearing on Thursday, February 20 at 7 pm in the Council Workroom, City Hall, 301 King St. at 7 pm. The draft plans are available for viewing at the Citywide Park Planning website.

Individuals who are unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments on the proposed plan to the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, Attention: William Chesley, Deputy Director, 1108 Jefferson St., Alexandria, VA 22314;; or fax to 703.684.6826 by 5 p.m. Friday, February 28, 2014.

For additional information on the Park Planning Process, contact Dana Wedeles, Park Planner, at 703.746.5491

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Taco Place is no more.

The ambitious plan that got a green light 4 years ago for a restaurant at 3401 Mt Vernon Avenue are permanently being shelved according to an update to City Council by the City's Department of Planning & Zoning.

As presented by Concept.0 Eco-Designs, LLC architect Mabel Tweddle in 2009, the original focus was on a mix of sustainability and quality design.

So on another rather snowy week four years ago when The Arlandrian brought you this news in February 2010:
Chicken Rotisserie Restaurant Get Green Light
City Council enthusiastically (and unanimously) endorsed the proposed Chicken Rotisserie Restaurant slated for 3401 Mt Vernon Avenue. Says one Council member, "This is a step up from green."
Those plans were altered slightly a few years later when The Arlandrian brought you this update last January:
New Restaurant Approved (Again) 
The original plans that were approved almost 3 years ago just didn't work out. But the Cabero's are back for another shot at a restaurant in the now vacant, shuttered building at 3401 Mt Vernon Avenue.
In 2010, there were a lot of discussions about a totally new green building on the lot. The costs turned out to be just too high. A slightly altered menu is also planned for the scaled down renovation. Not just chicken anymore.
But now there's word that these plans too have been abandoned. As part of the 2013 Status of Implementation Report that was presented to City Council on January 14th, City Staff mentioned this:
The Taco Place, 3401 Mt Vernon Avenue The Special Use Permit was approved in December 2012 by Planning Commission to renovatethe existing building and operate a taco shop. The project was slated to begin construction in spring 2014 but the applicant no longer plans to proceed.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

MOMs is here to stay

 "The only way I could see us  'selling out' is if we hit a ceiling in capital and talent and our growth becomes stunted, but so far MOM’s is doing great without outside help- and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, if ever."

That's the word from MOM's Organic Market founder, Scott Nash, answering the perennial question about that future of his chain of stores. It shouldn't be a surprise that all sorts of major market players have come calling as Scott recounted recently on his personal blog, Scott's Compost Pile.
"I see headlines like this all the time, carrying news that another independently owned and operated organic company has either sold to a private equity (PE) investment group (think Bain Capital) or to a large corporation like Campbell Soup (in this case, Plum Organics has done both- private equity in 2010 and Campbell Soup in 2013)."
We're all seeing it every day too: stores opening and closing, new chains entering the market and old stand-by's going by the wayside. But MOM's continues to be an up-and-comer and mom-and-pop that is growing but still close to its roots.

So we can rest assured that MOM's is here for the long haul. The news is out that the Mount Vernon Village Center redevelopment is going forward (Arlandria Redevelopment Project Could Get Rolling in 2014) and, at an update for the Lynhaven Civic Association meeting on Monday night, attorney Duncan Blair told the audience, "MOM's is getting bigger"...more space in the new building next to their current location.

It's the classic American success story here in own backyard!!!

Scott Nash started MOM's at the age of 22
with an initial investment of $100
as a home delivery business out of his mom's garage.