JBG Smith has submitted a site plan amendment to make changes to the Crystal City Water Park, as we have posted previously. At our request, they are holding a virtual public community meeting December 2 from 6-7 pm to show their revised plans and get feedback from the community. JBG and Equity Realty own the park, but it is also one of the most well-known symbols of Crystal City. So we will want to be informed and let them know what we do and don’t like in their plan.
1. Election of Officers: Welcome to our new (and returning) officers. The following were elected by acclamation poll for a two-year term:
Vice President for Policy and Planning: Christopher Wimbush
Treasurer: Eric Cassel
Membership Liaison: Emily Norton
Communications Director: Idris Clay
2. Public Community Meeting on the Water Park: JBG Smith has submitted a site plan amendment to make changes to the Crystal City Water Park, as we have posted previously. At our request, they are holding a virtual public community meeting December 2 from 6-7 pm to show their revised plans and get feedback from the community. JBG and Equity Realty own the park, but it is also one of the most well-known symbols of Crystal City. So we will want to be informed and let them know what we do and don’t like in their plan. One of the key issues is the proposal to put 8 back-to-back kiosks at the edge of the park with 2 sidewalks on either side–1 between the kiosks and a tree-lined buffer to the street and a larger one open to the park. If the kiosks go in what do you think they should sell: e.g., only food and drink? That’s a JBG decision, but if you have strong feelings or good ideas, be prepared to suggest them. The link to register for the meeting is here: https://jbgsmith.zoom.us/…/WN_JonbM_GATXi-AJBvZw94IA
3. CCCA Plans for 2021: As it looks like we will be staying virtual until at least the summer of 2021, the Executive Committee is starting to plan for bimonthly meetings on a series of topics that could include, among others: updates on the airport Project Journey, the Aquatic Center, and other development issues; Virginia Tech Alexandria project; Arlington County CERT training; police and fire department issues; etc. Please send us your ideas about topics you would like to be covered: [email protected].
4. The VDOT Route 1 Multimodal Feasibility Study: The first Public Engagement Meeting will be held Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 P.M. See details in Newsletter.
Livability22202 is announcing the winners of its “Underground Challenge” November 11, 2020. The Underground Challenge was organized to spur creative thinking about the Crystal City Underground and its future with the change and new development now happening in Crystal City and National Landing. With over one-half mile of interconnected buildings, corridors, and plazas, the Crystal City Underground has long been a feature of the area and is much loved by local residents.
With a vision to revitalize and improve the Underground, challenge entrants were asked to submit ideas in three categories: creative writing, video, and a “business plan.” Entrants celebrated their fondness for the underground, pointed out its quirks and features, and proposed new ideas for its future.
These ideas ranged from suggestions of potential businesses, like a hardware store or library, to more creative suggestions, such as using the space for urban agriculture or STEM-related activities for youth. And participants especially emphasized the valuable role that the Underground serves in transportation and commuting, especially during inclement weather.
Patricia Heath’s “Underground Energy” won first place in the “Write Underground” category, and Ms. Heath wrote compellingly of all the benefits and uses the Underground provides to residents. Ms. Heath summed it up that “There are myriad issues to be addressed, and I don’t have all the answers (and likely don’t know all the challenges). What I do know is this: the Water Park may be the outdoor personification of our Crystal City urban village, but the Underground is its beating heart and circulatory system, literally and figuratively.”
Runners up in the creative writing category also included Neena Gupta’s enlightening “In Search of a Protagonist” and Matthew Mercado’s clever “Dr. Mercado’s Diagnosis.”
Winner of the video category “Tik Tok Underground” was Kari Klaus, who literally envisioned a transformation of the Underground inspired by Las Vegas, with its many interior spaces and fantastical settings. Emma Benson and Eric Cassel were runners up in this category, with creative videos offering both fond – and satirical – commentary on the existing Underground experience.
Entrants in a third category were invited to submit a “business plan” for how to support the Underground through commercial use of the space. Matt McKinstry offered a creative set of ideas for transforming little used Underground spaces, possibly rebranded as the “Under Grange,” to support urban agriculture and agritech startups, with indoor farming able to supply local restaurants. Indoor hydroponic farms could be created and harness efficient LED technology, circulating nutrient-laden water to grow vegetables, greens, and herbs. Mr. McKinstry also provided expertise on how aquaponics, floriculture, mycoculture, and even cheesemaking and beekeeping could be implemented in the Underground!
Runners up in the business plan category included Michael Hong, who made a compelling case for an entertainment district with larger vacant spaces converted into entertainment centers. Mr. Hong noted that Crystal City needs a live music hall, with the desire to hear music performances growing and unsatisfied. And Mr. Hong suggested that a groundbreaking use for the Underground might include The Museum of Science Fiction, which judges noted as a potentially very apt fit in the Underground complex! Another runner up for in the business plan category was John Chapin, who recognized advantages in the Underground’s “unique physical characteristics compared to other publicly-oriented metro-accessible spaces in the DC area,” and proffered use of the space for security related enterprises, with Secure Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIF) as a potential asset for multiple businesses.
Winners in each category were awarded gift cards to Ted’s Montana Grill, Sweetgreen, and Jaleo, and runners up also received gift certificates. The overall effort (and awards) have been supported by the National Landing Business Improvement District, with additional support from JBG Smith. Judging of the entries was provided by Arlington videographer Eric Courtney, Robert Siegel, former co-host of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, and noted authors and Arlington residents Rick Hodges and Kim O’Connell.
Judges noted the breadth of creative thinking across all categories and felt that a combination of many of these ideas might make for a compelling overall plan for the Underground that is robust across many business cycles.
Community leaders plan to continue sharing the ideas generated in the Underground Challenge entries, to foster further discussion about the overall future of the Crystal City Underground with interested parties.
Livability 22202 is the work of the 3 civic associations of 22202 – Arlington Ridge, Aurora Highlands, and Crystal City. The residents of 22202 have committed to tackling the challenges facing our area with holistic strategies based on shared livability themes to create a better, more livable city.
1. Annual Meeting November 11: Be sure to join us for this important Zoom meeting from 7-9 pm. Agenda: 1. Elections of 4 CCCA officers for 2 years (see bios in Newsletter) 2. Vote on approval of minor ByLaws Amendment (full text on CCCA website) 3. Updates on Development Projects in Crystal City (JBG’s Andy VanHorn will jointly present) 4. Updates on Livability 22202 Working Groups
2. Elections Nov. 3: If you plan to vote in person on Election Day, November 3, you will need to vote in your own precinct – either Crystal City 006 (251 S. 18th Street, the red Wells Fargo Bank building) or Crystal Plaza 050 (inside the Crystal Plaza apartment building. Polls are open 6 am to 7 pm. See details in Newsletteride.
3. SPRC Process for 101 S. 12th Street:Following the September 19 Site Plan Review Committee meeting on JBG’s site plan for 101 S 12th Street, the County Planning Commission will consider the final site plan November 4. It then goes to the County Board for approval Nov 14 or 17. You can view the full staff report for the meeting here. County staff reject community concerns about the extension of Ball Street from 12th to 10th Streets. If residents wish to object to a full street extension of Ball Street, you can find the information on submitting comments, viewing the meeting, and signing up to speak here.
4. AFAC Food Drive: We have teamed up again with FLARE and the National Landing BID, and the Arlington Ridge and Aurora Highlands Civic Associations for another food drive to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center! FLARE will be placing donation boxes at 13 locations throughout National Landing from October 31 – November 8. Donations of canned good will be collected and donated on November 9th.
Time for updates! As you know, there is lots going on in our area and we try to keep you informed by posting regularly on our CCCA Facebook page and as often as possible on our CCCA and Livability22202 websites. At our Annual Meeting, we will first have Elections for new CCCA Officers (see separate article). We will also vote on a proposed minor amendment to the CCCA ByLaws (see following article).
Next, we will go over Updates on a) Development (from 101 S 12th Street down to 2525 Crystal Drive) and b) Livability22202 activities and working groups (Route 1 feasibility study; Future of the Underground; Housing Affordability; Open Space; Schools; Performing Arts). Each coordinator will give a brief overview and answer your questions. Andy VanHorn of JBG has agreed to help with the development portion and share JBG’s vision for the future.
Nominations closed October 27 for the following four CCCA officer positions, with only one nomination per position. The terms for each position are two years. All members whose dues are paid are eligible to vote in the election which will be done by Zoom poll. A brief bio of each candidate follows; they will present themselves at the November 11 Annual Meeting.
Vice President for Policy and Planning (Christopher Wimbush)
Chris is currently a Member-at-Large on the CCCA’s Executive Committee, supporting the Association’s housing policy efforts and serves as our community partner liaison to Arlington County’s Missing Middle Study. He is a Millennial renter and a passionate advocate for affordable housing and social infrastructure within our community to ensure public policy decisions impacting Crystal City reflect the needs of both homeowners and renters. As Vice President, he would like to focus on three priorities: 1) Work with our Livability 22202 working group members and key stakeholders to develop and execute an engagement strategy to ensure their work continues to have a direct impact on the county’s planning policies; 2) Work with Executive Committee colleagues to establish a clear policy agenda for 2021 and ensure we align the Association’s time, focus, and resources to achieving our policy objectives; and 3) Work hard to implement an inclusive policymaking and advocacy process that includes more opportunities for members to be involved with the development of the Association’s policy positions and improve the way we document and advance our positions with critical stakeholders.
Treasurer (Eric Cassel)
A founding member of the Crystal City Civic Association in 2014, Eric has been the Treasurer for the past two years and an active representative to the Arlington County Civic Federation where he oversaw the presentation of the Livability22202 Framework to other civic associations. In June, he was elected chair of the Board of Directors of the Civic Federation. For over 20 years, he has worked on Long Bridge Park. He is President of the Friends of Long Bridge Park and anxiously awaits the opening of the next phase. Eric currently coordinates the Livabiity22202 Underground Working Group.
Communications Director (Idris Clay)
Idris Clay is a Senior Account Executive at DCG Communications in Washington, D.C. He has spent the last decade working in digital marketing for B2C and B2G clients, website development, and corporate communications. He moved from Tennessee to Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia in 2016 and is a Millennial renter. You can find him on the trails cycling by day or in the kitchen teaching his teenage son how to cook by night. When not in front of a backlit device (including his Kindle), he enjoys reading and spending time with family.
Having previously attended our CCCA and BID-sponsored Happy Hour for Renters in February, he responded to a CCCA request for volunteers and was appointed Acting Communications Director in September. Since then, he has been managing the CCCA and Livability22202 websites (recently reorganized), helping to run Zoom meetings, and preparing advertisements and flyers for meetings.
Membership Liaison (Emily Norton)
Emily was appointed Acting Membership Liaison in June and serves on the Livability22202 Housing working group. She is a Millennial renter and has actively promoted the CCCA to the renter community. Emily is currently a Senior Analyst at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General where she conducts performance audits of national surface transportation programs, including FTA’s safety oversight of WMATA, the effectiveness of USMMA’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program, and FRA’s oversight of California High-Speed Rail. Her first job in transportation was at a Regional Planning Commission in New Hampshire, where she developed a passion for transportation issues through assisting with corridor studies and implementing the Safe Routes to School Program in local communities. Emily completed the County’s Neighborhood College training program this summer.
Nominations – including self-nominations – are now open for the following four CCCA officer positions! The principal duties are summarized below. All members whose dues are paid are eligible to be candidates and to vote in the election at the CCCA Annual General Meeting on the evening of November 11, 2020.
Vice President for Policy and Planning: Lead officer representing and coordinating CCCA activity dealing with Arlington County and other outside entities on planning, development, and policies
Treasurer: Lead Custodian of financial assets and records
Communications Director: Lead officer on the communications program, which includes maintenance of the association’s website, producing a periodic newsletter, and other media on behalf of the CCCA
Membership Liaison: Lead officer in recruiting new members and facilitating the CCCA activities of current members, ensuring they receive needed information and support
The terms for each position are two years.
To nominate yourself, or someone else, for one of these offices, please submit general contact information for the nominee (name, address, phone number, email address, and a brief written statement supporting the candidacy) to the Election Committee ([email protected]), specifying which office the nomination is for. In addition, if you are nominating someone else, please provide your contact information.
Should there be more than one nomination for a position, eligible nominees who are willing to serve in those positions will have an opportunity to present an oral statement supporting their candidacy before the election at the Annual General Meeting.
All nominations must be received by October 27, when nominations will be closed.
More detail on the officer positions and operations of the CCCA is available from the Election Committee, whose members would be glad to provide additional information and answers to any questions of interested civic association members. ([email protected])
In addition, the CCCA’s Bylaws containing descriptions of the open positions are available at the Resources link on the Association’s website. (www.crystalcitycivic.org)
This is an opportunity for Crystal City residents to advance the interests of the Crystal City community. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration and response.
VDOT Feasibility Study for Route 1: VDOT has been tasked by the State to conduct a feasibility study for Route 1 multimodal connectivity in the vicinity of Crystal City and Pentagon City over the course of the next year, with a report due June 2021. The tasking stems from an MOU between the Commonwealth and Amazon in 2018 to improve safety, accessibility, and the pedestrian experience crossing Route 1. Two reasons for this study: 1) transportation demand will increase with Amazon and development growth; and 2) the areas to be studied are already heavily developed with limited space for expanding the footprint of the transportation network. The study on Route 1, from approximately 12th Street to 23rd Street South, will explore an at-grade urban boulevard, but also review and compare potential improvements to the current elevated condition, and the elevated urban boulevard described in the Crystal City Sector Plan. Ultimately, the study aims to provide sufficient information to make the best decision on a future project on Route 1 in Crystal City. The first virtual meeting of the project Task Force took place Monday, September 28, and 22202 residents were well represented. See the website and sign up for updates.
2. Livability Working Group Response: Obviously the VDOT study will have an impact on residents of 22202. The working group is concerned that the scope of the study is very narrowly limited to the feasibility of bringing Route 1 down to grade, including at 15th and 18th Streets, and is not considering other alternatives. The 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan envisioned “the transformation of the highway into an urban boulevard with wide landscaped usable sidewalks and real building frontages,” but without specifics. A Livability22202 working group has been studying the issue and conducted a survey of residents (with almost 300 responses) and two community meetings August 26 and September 30. The results of the survey as well as the presentations from both meetings, including a study done by the National Landing BID, are posted below. The live recordings of both meetings are posted to the CCCA Facebookpage and linked below. The major community concern is to preserve safety of the pedestrian/bike crossings at 15th and 18th Streets and avoid another bad situation like 23rd Street. We will be inviting VDOT to a future 22202 community meeting.
Meetings, Meetings, Meetings: We’re in a period of many virtual meetings that will affect our community. Plus we have 6 Livability 22202 working groups started which are actively working. This is why a) we aren’t holding CCCA meetings; and b) this newsletter is late. We try to post regularly on our CCCA Facebook page and as often as possible on our CCCA and Livability22202 websites. This Newsletter covers many of them—read this carefully. Stay tuned for updates. We really need volunteers for a number of issues—please consider getting involved.
1. Community Outreach and Feedback: With so much going on that can affect the lives of all residents in Crystal City, not to mention all of 22202, keeping you all informed and getting your input is increasingly critical. Its not enough to have a few people representing some 10,000 or more in the County’s SPRC development process. Or a larger group of volunteers participating in the (now) 6 working groups of Livability 2220. We really need to hear from residents who don’t have time to get actively involved. With so many Livability and community engagement meetings, we haven’t even tried to organize a CCCA virtual meeting. We may be going out with some surveys in the near future, but they need to be based on information we have provided, or will provide. We absolutely want your input to appropriately represent you.
2. Schedule of Upcoming Meetings (known so far): October 6: Clark Construction Conversation on MetPark Phases 6/7/8, 7 pm October 7: Crystal City Parks Final Community Engagement, 7 pm October 14: Livability22202 Workshop on the Future of the Underground, 7 pm October 19: LRPC #2 on Block M (Crystal Plaza block) November 3: General Elections November 10/11/12/16 (TBD): CCCA Annual Meeting (including elections of officers for 2020-2022) TBD: Planning Commission and Board meetings for 101 S. 12th Street site plan TBD: Community meeting on JBG site plan amendment proposals for the Water Park
On August 26, we held an initial joint civic association meeting to inform 22202 residents about planning for “improvements” to Route 1 through a VDOT feasibility study set to begin shortly and last for a year. These could include a business plan to lower Route 1 (Richmond Hwy) to ground level at 15th and 18th Streets. Whatever is decided by VDOT will likely have a significant impact on our 22202 community.
The September 30 virtual Zoom meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to weigh in on their concerns and needs about crossing Route 1 and to hear from the National Landing BID about their thoughts on “Reimagining Route 1.”
Register below to attend this follow up meeting to learn where matters currently stand and to weigh in with your questions and comments. Registration is limited to 100 participants, but the meeting will be live streamed on the CCCA Facebook page.
The agenda is:
Project Updates and Introductions
Results of the Livability22202 survey of residents on Route 1