Tysons, VA

Tysons’ 1st Stage Theatre is one of seven arts organizations receiving a grant from ARTSFAIRFAX.

ARTSFAIRFAX awarded grants totaling $105,296 to local arts groups in Fairfax County for fiscal year 2020, according to a press release. The grants range in amounts from $1,000 to $30,000.

The grant for 1st Stage will allow the theater to work with the Maryland-based Olney Theatre on a co-production of “The Royale” —  a story about the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion in the U.S. The show played at Olney from Sept. 25 to Oct. 27 and comes to Tysons in January.

“What we are witnessing is how these grants are helping propel the artistic growth of these grantees as their work reaches new audiences within and beyond the county,” Linda Sullivan, the president and CEO of ARTSFAIRFAX, said in a press release.

“Project awardees presented innovative and creative means to engage the community and bring people together to experience arts in fresh and unusual ways,” according to the press release.

Other recipients include the Greater Reston Arts Center, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

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A Tysons tech company wants to boost fundraising, sales and marketing efficiency for both non-profits and businesses by using artificial intelligence.

BoodleAI (1751 Pinnacle Drive), which eventually branched out to also create guidonAI, began as a small startup roughly three years ago and managed to expand its client base to include around 30 non-profit groups and businesses once product development was complete.

BoodleAI works with non-profits to expand their donor bases, while guidonAI exclusively works with businesses to boost marketing strategies and sales, France Hoang, the chief strategy officer and co-founder, told Tysons Reporter.

Both companies offer predictive analytics to help organizations by taking the clients’ pre-existing data and cross-referencing it with more than 500 other data points on each person, using only names and email. All of the data sets are then analyzed by AI to come up with a predictive model that will be tested for power and reliability, according to the company’s website.

Hoang began the company because he felt that non-profits are an “underserved market.”

“I know the pain non-profits go through trying to raise funds for their mission,” Hoang said.

The company names were inspired by Hoang’s time at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated before serving time as Special Forces in Afghanistan, moved onto law school at Georgetown University and eventually become an entrepreneur.

Everything had its place at the academy, he said, adding that all of the cadets were expected to keep things extremely organized.

“The one exception to that is that you are allowed one exception of cookies, candy and things sent to you by your friends and family back home,” he said, adding that things come in a box and the contents are referred to as “boodle.”

GuidonAI was inspired by the flag that represents a unit. “If you want to know where to go, you look towards the guideon,” Hoang said.

The company offers decreased pricing options for non-profits but the cost will ultimately depend on variables including the size of the organization, the amount of help they need and the size of the problem, Hoang said.

“We would like to be the prime, dominant builder of people-focused, predictive applications,” Hoang said after being asked where he wants to see the company in five years.

Unlike competitors, boodleAI focuses on the fit of a person’s needs rather than on their online behavior, Hoang said, adding that their algorithms can pick out the target market four out of five times.

Hoang said that he loves connecting the world with issues they care about through outreach and the company’s work with non-profits.

“I’m passionate about solving problems in new ways. It’s in my blood.”

Photo via BoodleAI

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The Town of Vienna is moving forward with its plan to add public parking with Patrick Henry Library’s upcoming renovation.

The town is partnering with Fairfax County so that the town can have public parking spots when the county rebuilds the library (101 E. Maple Avenue).

The town is looking to incorporate public parking into a three-story parking garage, according to the Capital Improvement Plan.

Director of Finance Marion Serfass told the Town Council that the town would have 188 spaces, while the library would have 125 — a total of 313 parking spaces.

The parking garage is expected to cost $6.3 million, and the town is seeking a grant from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

The Vienna Town Council approved the 2020-2036 Capital Improvement Plan at their meeting on Monday (Oct. 21).

Image via Town of Vienna

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People in McLean and Tysons have the chance to help others through a series of upcoming donation drives.

With the holiday season approaching, Toys for Tots has set up a drop-off area for toy donations in Tysons, while Soles4Souls will collect gently used shoes in McLean.

Toys for Tots is organized through the United States Marine Corps to help struggling families afford Christmas gifts for their children. Around 97% of proceeds go to families in need, according to the website. The remaining 3% covers administrative costs.

Anyone wishing to donate toys can bring them to Meineke Car Care Center (1524 Spring Hill Road). The last day for donations to Toys for Tots is Dec. 12.

Soles4Souls is a non-profit based in Nashville that fights poverty, according to its website.

Shoes will be accepted at the Joy Deevy Relator Office (6849 Old Dominion Drive, Suite 400) until Dec. 1.

Photo via Toys4Tots/Facebook

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(Updated 10/26/19) MarginEdge, a Merrifield-based restaurant software startup, has raised millions of dollars in a recent funding round.

The company recently raised $5 million in Series A funding — bringing their total funding to $10.4 million, according to a press release.

“Osage Venture Partners led the round, with participation from In Good Company… and other restaurant owner investors,” the press release said.

Headquartered at 8315 Lee Hwy, MarginEdge processes invoices for restaurants. Restaurant employees send pictures of receipts and invoices to the company, which then processes them and connects the restaurant to point of sales partners.

“We’re excited to see this approach resonating, with a dozen of our clients investing in the company and a 12-month customer retention rate of 94%,” the company’s CEO Bo Davis said.

The company said in the press release that it plans to use the money to expand geographically and add new partnerships.

MarginEdge also recently signed its 1,000th restaurant, according to the press release.

Some of the restaurants the company works with include District Taco, Chef Geoff’s, South Block and Hank’s Oyster Bar.

“MarginEdge allowed our team to go from being an accounting department to being more of a finance department,” Javier Retamar, the chief financial officer of Maple Street Biscuits, said. “Now, it’s not just about inputting things after the fact; we have the time and tools to analyze.”

Photo via MarginEdge/Facebook

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The Town of Vienna has now received the funding it needs for a $2 million stream restoration project.

The Board of Supervisors approved giving a little more than $1 million for the project to the town at its meeting yesterday (Tuesday).

“The project will restore approximately 1,900 linear feet of [the] stream on Bear Branch Tributary, providing nutrient reduction and improved water quality in the Accotink Creek watershed,” according to county documents.

Earlier this year, the Town of Vienna received a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality that will cover roughly half of the design and construction costs.

About half of the Bear Branch Tributary, which is apart of the Accotink Creek watershed, is located in the Town of Vienna.

The Accotink Creek Watershed Management Plan rates the Bear Branch Tributary’s condition as “very poor” and calls for a series of restoration projects, starting with retrofitting the stream channel on the upstream side of I-66 at Southside Park.

“The channel is over-widened with moderate to severe erosion along the stream banks,” according to the plan. “Restoration would include reducing the channel dimensions, raising the bed elevation and installing grade controls.”

After work is done on that portion, the plan calls for work on the stream from Hunter Road to Route 50 to stabilize the stormwater outfall structures and regrading eroded stream banks.

“Partnering with the town on this project will save the county the time and administrative costs that would be incurred if the county were to implement the project under its stormwater program,” according to county documents.

Image via Google Maps

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Damage from flash flooding that hit Fairfax County earlier this month will require millions of dollars for necessary repairs.

Seamus Mooney, the director of the Office of Emergency Management, gave the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today (Tuesday) an update on the damage assessment nearly a month after the region experienced about one month’s worth of rain during a couple of hours on the morning of July 8.

Fairfax County retroactively declared a local emergency about a week later to seek federal disaster aid. (The board voted to terminate the local emergency today.)

After giving an overview of the “catastrophic rain event,” Mooney broke down the estimates for how much repairing the damage will cost.

Kirby Road Facing $4 Million Repairs 

Mooney said that some people were landlocked when severe weather damage closed the 1300 block of Kirby Road. Another McLean road — Swinks Mill Road — suffered extreme damage.

The Virginia Department of Transportation told Tysons Reporter that both roads are facing months of repair work.

Mooney said that the Virginia Department of Transportation recorded about $4 million of the $6 million recorded road damage was just at Kirby Road. Because the roads are funded through state highway funds, Mooney said that they are not eligible for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust called for proactive measures to ensure that the road improvements speed up.

“As a county, we need to put pressure on VDOT,” Foust said. “They’re telling us it’s going to be months [for Kirby Road]. That’s not acceptable.”

Storm’s Impact on Residents and Businesses 

As for residents and businesses, Mooney said that the 277 entries in the county’s Disaster Damage Database as of yesterday (Monday) total about $6.8 million for a “significant amount of damage.”

Money said that state and federal programs can provide individual assistance — Fairfax County is currently waiting to hear back about

Mooney said Fairfax County has been working with surrounding jurisdictions including Arlington on damage assessments to determine eligibility for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which gives loans to disaster victims.

Since Arlington exceeded the 25 damaged properties requirement, Mooney said that Fairfax County should expect to hear from SBA by this week or next week. “[It’s] contiguous — if one gets it, we all get it,” Mooney said.

Fairfax County has chosen the Tysons Pimmit Regional Library as the location for a Disaster Loan Outreach Center and has the space reserved starting next week.

“As soon as we get the notice we can work with OPA and get it open for residents,” Mooney said, adding that residents will have up to six months to fill out the applications if they want a loan.

“Could Have Done More”

While the Board of Supervisors praised the quick response by emergency personnel, several board members — especially Foust — voiced frustration about preventing future damage of this magnitude.

Foust said that the county “could have done more” to prepare, including:

  • investing in infrastructure that protects people’s homes
  • pressuring VDOT to prioritize local road improvements
  • having packages prepared in advance for residents with information on emergency and disaster next steps
  • strengthening “grossly inadequate” stormwater management requirements
  • focusing on tree preservation

“It’s been difficult on a lot of people, and we have to step up,” Foust said.

The board also voted today to designate September of Emergency Preparedness Awareness Month.

“It doesn’t take much for someone to have a very bad day,” Mooney said, adding that the designation might “make sure people become more resilient to these types of events.”

Additionally, Mooney said that the county is utilizing social media, Fairfax Alerts and other avenues to share information with residents, adding that the county also added people who entered their information into the Disaster Damage Database to Fairfax Alerts.

“Of note, between July 8-12, we sent out 1o2 storm-related tweets and Facebook posts,” he said. “We’ve been using that to make sure anyone who has submitted information, that we’ve been sending them updates as it’s available as well,” he said.

First photo via @SteveML9022/Twitter

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With just a few hours left in polling, Tysons-area polls have shown a slow but steady increase in voting throughout the day, particularly in Hunter Mill.

Competitive primaries are underway for the Democratic endorsement for the Providence District, Hunter Mill District, and chairman seats on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

The voter turnout so far in the Providence District is 6.29 percent. The Hunter Mill District, which includes Vienna, is 7.3 percent and is the highest of any district in Fairfax. The Fairfax County average turnout is 5.36 percent.

This year’s primary, particularly the race for the chariman’s seat, has been particularly divisive. One candidate faced an ethics complaint filed by a rival while the Washington Post endorsement raised concerns about sexism.

It’s also been an expensive primary. Every candidate for the Democratic nomination to the chair position has raised over $100,000, with developer Tim Chapman raising $952,109 — mostly through funds Chapman gave to his own campaign. In Hunter Mill, candidate Maggie Parker sits at $258,225 fundraised, in large part with support from Comstock Companies. Two Providence candidates — Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner and Dalia Palchik — neared the $100,000 fundraising mark

The Democratic candidates for the Board of Supervisors are:

Board of Supervisors chair:

Providence District:

Hunter Mill District:

Tysons-area voters will also determine the Democratic nominees for two Virginia Senate seats and the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Any registered voter can participate in the primaries. Polls are open until 7 p.m.

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Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors greenlighted funding for new streets and highway improvement projects in the Tysons area.

In total, the county’s board approved $55 million for transportation projects in Tysons and Reston today (June 4), with more than $51 million for Tysons-area roads. 

The greenlighted funding includes:

  • $17.5 million: I-66 widening at Route 29
  • $16.6 million: State Street land acquisition
  • $7 million: land acquisition for Leesburg Pike widening
  • $759,000: pedestrian improvements along Lee Highway

The board also approved funding for preliminary engineering and feasibility studies:

  • $7 million: Lincoln Street extension
  • $1.5 million: Broad Street
  • $1 million: Greensboro ramp to Dulles Toll Road
  • $500,000: Tysons West Park Transit Center ramp to Dulles Toll Road

I-66 median widening at Route 29

Fairfax County originally approved endorsement of the I-66 median widening in March 2017. The cost estimate for the project, however, increased by $17,500,000 “due to [the] complexity of construction (e.g. shutting down lanes to install the center pier, number of detours, which creates a larger project footprint),” according to the county staff report.

Lee Highway pedestrian improvements

The street improvements would span Nutley Street to Vaden Drive by the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station, completing missing portions of bike and pedestrian areas. “This project will allow more commuters to make trips by biking, walking, and transit instead of driving, which will improve mobility not only on I-66, but also on the parallel facilities of Lee Highway and Route 50,” the staff report says.

Land acquisition for Leesburg Pike widening 

Fairfax County staff want the $7 million for a partial land acquisition between I-495 and I-66 once the design work is done. After deciding to replace an existing gas line along Leesburg Pike, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation has been studying right-of-way and road alignment needs for this section of the highway that runs along the southern edge of Pimmit Hills.

Land acquisition for State Street

Envisioned in the future Tysons Grid of Streets, State Street would connect Greensboro Drive to Route 7 between Spring Hill Road and Westpark Drive.

Currently, the desired, vacant property is for sale, according to the staff report. “If the property is sold to another party and the existing building encumbered with a long-term lease, the cost of acquiring the property will increase significantly, and may become prohibitive,” the report says.

Preliminary engineering and feasibility studies

The Greensboro and Tysons West Park Transit Center ramps to the Dulles Toll Road are two of the three planned ramps that will provide a connection between downtown Tysons to the highway.

Meanwhile, Lincoln Street would connect Old Meadow Road to Magarity Road in Pimmit Hills. The new, two-lane road is meant to provide more access for residents.

Another new road — Broad Street — would run parallel to Route 7, providing access between Spring Hill and Tyco roads and offering an alternative to using Route 7.

The board also approved $3 million for construction to widen Telegraph Road at Hayfield Road in Alexandria and $500,000 for preliminary engineering and feasibility studies on improving the intersection of Reston Parkway and Baron Cameron Avenue. 

The funding adjustments from the Tysons and Reston Transportation Service Districts and the Tysons Grid of Streets Road Fund will be made as part of the carryover review for fiscal year 2019, according to a staff report.

Maps [1, 2, 3] via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Local Startup Raises $30 Million — “Fairfax-based real estate data and analytics company Remine,” which has offices in Tysons and Dunn Loring, “has closed a $30 million Series A funding round, bringing its total amount raised to $48 million.” [Washington Business Journal]

Officials Hold Meeting on E-Bikes — “The recent popularity [of] e-bikes and the fact they are not allowed on trails in Fairfax County and NOVA Parks prompted NOVA Parks and Fairfax County Park Authority to take steps to understand the issues and then share facts with the public and listen to their comments.” [McLean Connection]

Fairfax Home Market Flat to Start Year — “A modest increase in sales was offset by slightly lower average sales price in the January home-sales report for Fairfax County. And as a result, the total sales volume for the month stood relatively unchanged as the local market began to segue from winter to spring.” [InsideNova]

Falls Church Seeking BZA Member — The Falls Church Board of Zoning Appeals is looking to fill a vacancy for the position of Alternate Member. [City of Falls Church]

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