Tysons, VA

Fairfax County has requested approval to change the Tysons Corner Metro Station’s name, dropping the word “corner” so it becomes “Tysons Station.” 

According to a press release from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the name would be changed on all system maps, digital signs, the WMATA website, SmarTrip app, in-system directional signage, and more. 

Prince George’s County is also looking to change Prince George’s Plaza Station to “Hyattsville Crossing.” 

Under Metro’s policy, requests to rename a station are considered by the Metro Board of Directors, who will approve or deny the request. 

The board of directors has released an online survey to gauge what riders think of changing the station  names as part of the process, welcoming feedback. 

According to the release, the jurisdiction making the name change request must commit to funding the full cost of the change, including reprinting maps, making new signs, and reprogramming systems that provide customers information. 

Additionally, according to the release, the policy has three major guidelines for any new station name:

  • Names should identify the station locations by geographic features such as landmarks or centers of activity.
  • Names should be distinctive and evoke imagery in the mind of the patron.
  • Names should be no longer than 19 characters, except for transfer station names, which should be non longer than 13 characters. 

Survey responses will be accepted through Nov. 2 at 5 p.m.

Photo via Tysons Reporter

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Young readers now have virtual access to the Fairfax County Public Library through a new program created in partnership with Fairfax County Public Schools

LEAP, or Library Equity Access Pass, started on Oct. 1. The program was initially piloted in 2019 and was created to ensure student access to library materials, even without a library card or an account with the library, according to the program website. 

Now, the program has been adapted to a virtual platform, making access even easier in the midst of the pandemic. 

Through LEAP, students grades PreK-12 only need their name to check out materials. Additionally, the program will never charge fines or fees. Each account will allow students to check out up to three items at a time for six weeks each.

The program has been running for about three weeks and has already served students at each of the county’s branches. While the program hasn’t run long enough to collect specific usage data, LEAP customers and staff have reported questions about the program from across the community.

“Word is spreading, our marketing efforts are reaching people, and the community seems enthusiastic about LEAP,” said Ted Kavich, the administrative services division director of the FCPL. 

In particular, on Oct. 20, the staff at Reston Regional Library worked with staff from Dogwood Elementary School to check out books to local families using the LEAP accounts, according to Kavich. According to the school, more than 15 families were provided with books.  

For more information, students and parents can ask a teacher or librarian at their school, or call any FCPL location. 

Photo via Dogwood Elementary School/Twitter

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The synthetic turf field at the Graham Road Community Building in Falls Church is going to be replaced.

As part of its consent agenda, the Fairfax County School Board voted on Oct. 22 to award a $93,000 contract for the project to GTR Turf, Inc., a Fredericksburg-based contractor that specializes in artificial turf and grass.

Though the school board is responsible for awarding the contract, the funding will come from the Fairfax County Park Authority as part of a partnership between the county and Fairfax County Public Schools.

“The synthetic turf field at the Graham Road Community Building is one of the few playing fields available for community use in the area,” Providence District School Board representative Karl Frisch said in a statement. “I am grateful for our continued partnership with the Fairfax County Park Authority, which makes the funding for important projects like this possible.”

GTR Turf was one of five companies that FCPS deemed qualified to compete for a contract to construct the Graham Road turf field during the bidding period, which closed on Sept. 30. The four other contractors all submitted bids proposing construction costs that exceeded $100,000, ranging from $129,397 from Astro Turf LLC to $169,880 from Hellas Construction, Inc.

Located at 3033 Graham Road, the Graham Road Community Building housed Graham Road Elementary School until the school was relocated to its current site along Route 29 in 2012.

Governed by a shared-use agreement between the county and FCPS, the building now provides education, recreation, and other public services, according to Frisch. It serves as a School Age Child Care program center and a Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services drop-in site for students in grades seven through 12.

Construction to replace the Graham Road Community Building’s existing turf field was allowed to start on Oct. 22 after the contract was awarded. The project is expected to be fully completed on Feb. 5, 2021, according to FCPS’s invitation to bid.

Image via Google Maps

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (Oct. 27)

Thursday (Oct. 29)

  • Falls Church Amateur Writers Group (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — A group for aspiring writers, the website said. Discussing and offering constructive criticism for each other’s work, the group will meet via Zoom. Email Pete Sullivan, [email protected], to request the Zoom link.

Friday (Oct. 30)

Saturday (Oct. 31)

  • Halloween Wave Parade — 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at all Town of Vienna quadrants — In order not to gather the usual ghoulish crowd for this beloved event, the Town is taking 10-15 floats in the way of a Halloween Wave Parade through Vienna neighborhoods, the website said.
  • Halloween Craft Popups — 10 a.m.-3:15 p.m. —  Enjoy pumpkin painting, birdhouse painting, or scarecrow-making at three different City of Falls Church parks, the website said.
  1. Pumpkin Painting Popup — 10 a.m.-3:15 p.m. at Cherry Hill Park (312 Park Ave.) — The cost is $6. To register, use this link.
  2. Birdhouse Painting — 10 a.m.-3:15 p.m. at Berman Park Picnic Shelter (236 Irving St.) — The cost is $4. To register, use this link.
  3. Scarecrow Making — 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Frady Park Gazebo (311 E. Broad St.) — The cost is $10 per family. To register, use this link.

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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Monday Morning Notes

Falls Church Middle Eastern Restaurant Officers Discount for Guests Who Voted — “Sheesh Grill [in] Falls Church (8190 Strawberry Lane Ste 4) will offer diners who present their ‘I Voted’ sticker a discount off their meal from Oct. 26-Nov. 3.” [Sheesh]

Locals Help Science Teacher Clear Daniels Run Elementary Courtyard — “On #VolunteerFest weekend, students from Fairfax and Lake Braddock high schools help a science teacher clean up a courtyard at her school, Daniels Run Elementary.” [Twitter]

Tysons Chamber of Commerce Urges Greater Business Collaboration — “The chamber now is focusing on “business verticals” that encourage companies in complementary industries to purchase services from each other, said Andrew Clark, the chamber’s new board chairman.” [Inside Nova]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Friday Morning Notes

Maryland Rejects Beltway Widening — The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission unanimously voted against widening the Capital Beltway, which Northern Virginia leaders have been hoping will help ease congestion around McLean [Maryland Matters]

Vienna-based Parcel Carrier LaserShip Launches Hunger Relief Program — “LaserShip launched the [Time of Need] program with a $10,000 charitable donation to Food for Others, a hunger relief organization in northern Virginia. As part of the commitment, LaserShip is providing delivery services to help Food for Others transport food from its warehouse to a distribution center in Annandale, Virginia. Food for Others feeds over 2,600 local families each week.” [LaserShip]

Vienna Students Participate in Virtual Army 10-Miler — “Teachers, staff members, parents and a student from the Madison High Pyramid completed the virtual Army 10 Miler this weekend, and put an FCPS twist on their walk.” [Patch]

Photo courtesy Craig Fingar

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For the first time in its 48-year history, Second Story is going online for its most important fundraiser.

Scheduled for Oct. 27, the 2020 Beacon of Hope Fundraiser will give supporters a look at how the Tysons-based nonprofit has adapted to the uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, whose impact has been felt most acutely by poor and marginalized communities like the youths and families that Second Story serves.

Taking the form of a video streamed live on YouTube from 12:30-1:00 p.m., the fundraiser will feature updates from Second Story CEO Judith Dittman on the organization’s current status and its plans for the future. Three youths will also talk about their involvement in the nonprofit’s programs, which provide housing, counseling, and other kinds of assistance to young people and families in need.

The planned virtual fundraiser will be a major change from Second Story’s traditional Beacon of Hope benefit, which is held in October every year and typically serves as the nonprofit’s largest fundraising event.

“This is such a new territory for us, but everyone’s been really working hard in making sure that people will understand what the needs are of the under-served population that we work with,” Second Story vice president of development Jade Leedham said.

The annual Beacon of Hope fundraiser is especially critical for Second Story this year, as the nonprofit attempts to fill more gaps in essential needs for its clients during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

While Second Story also serves Washington, D.C., and Maryland, it is primarily based in Northern Virginia with programs to support teenagers in crisis, and young adults and mothers experiencing homelessness. The nonprofit also has drop-in centers in the Culmore area of Falls Church, Annandale, and Springfield that provide after-school support to students.

Leedham says Second Story has seen a “huge” increase in the need for food. Distribution events held twice a week in Culmore have consistently drawn about 300 people per day, while a site in Springfield regularly gets 100 people coming each day.

Second Story has also been dropping off food for clients who are unable to attend the distribution events.

Other pressing issues include access to technology, as students risked being left out of schools’ shift to virtual learning, and rent support after about 70 percent of the youths in Second Story’s rapid re-housing program lost hours at their jobs or got laid off in the past year.

At the same time, Second Story has seen the number of people using its residential programs dip.

“[It’s] the nature of COVID,” Leedham said. “People are reluctant to leave or to go anywhere that’s not familiar to them or that they don’t know is safe or not.” Read More

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If quarantine has hurt your Instagram game, a new mural coming to a Vienna dance studio might help spice that up.

Velocity Dance (319 Mill Street NE) went to the Board of Architectural Review last week for permission to add a new “angel wings” mural in front of the building. A memo said the new mural was part of a campaign to paint more of them across town to encourage people to explore the town.

“The applicant is proposing a mural on the existing painted cement block wall at the Velocity Dance location on Mill Street,” staff said in a memo. “The applicant is working with the Vienna Public Arts Commission to participate in a campaign to paint angel wings on buildings throughout town.”

The painted boom boxes will have what members of the Board of Architectural Review referred to as “historic artifacts” like an LP, a 45, and a cassette tape.

The mural was unanimously approved, with a note that the mural will be available to the public for photos after hours.

Image via Town of Vienna

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One of the many problems highlighted by the pandemic is the lack of affordable housing, with even short-term job loss leaving many residents unable to pay their rent. As local governments grapple with how to support more housing, one of the options proposed in Falls Church has been a meals tax increase.

The obvious response, presented even by the consultants in Falls Church proposing the increase, is that local restaurants are already in dire straits and many are struggling to make ends meet. The Falls Church City Council quickly dismissed the idea of implementing a meals tax during the pandemic and favored other options presented, like trying to tap into an Amazon-related affordable housing fund.

While the restaurant industry is slowly recovering, stability could be a year away. But the affordable housing crisis is unlikely to be solved before then, and the question of the meals tax could resurface.

Meals taxes can be controversial even under non-pandemic circumstances. In 2016, Fairfax County voters rejected a referendum to implement a meals tax which would have predominately gone to support schools. In 2018, the City of Alexandria increased the meals tax by 1% to support affordable housing.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Gov. Ralph Northam Shows Up to Fairfax County Early Voting — “I was glad to see voters and election workers in Fairfax today staying safe, wearing masks, and practicing social distancing” [Twitter]

Reminder: Barbie Truck Coming to Tysons Corner Center This Week — “A Barbie truck is crossing the country on a tour that will stop at Tysons Corner Center late next month to sell limited edition retro Barbie material. The truck is scheduled to stop at Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road) on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.” [Tysons Reporter]

Vienna Launches ‘Stop and Stroll’ Initiative — “Starting on Oct. 24, a different shopping center will be featured on select Saturdays. The shopping centers will host socially-distant seasonal activities and in-store promotions.” [Patch]

Cut Cable in Vienna Cancels Arlington Classes — “Our ISP notified us of a major fiber cut in Vienna causing a service disruption for APS. The vendor is working to restore service, but there is no estimate for restoration.” [Twitter]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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