Tysons, VA

The City of Falls Church is looking for volunteers to help with habitat restoration at Crossman Park.

The city needs people to help install native plants between 10 a.m.-noon next Saturday (Nov. 23). People are encouraged to enter the park adjacent to 501 Van Buren Street and follow the gravel path into the park.

“Tools, gloves, water and snacks will be provided,” according to the city. “No need to register unless your group is five or more people… This is appropriate for children, but direct parental supervision is required.”

Located at 535 N. Van Buren Street, the park is heavily wooded and has a stream running through it.

People interested in helping out can contact Green Space Manager Jeremy Edwards at [email protected] and can register for the event by calling 571-238-5178.

Image via Google Maps

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Families may have noticed that the playground at Tysons Pimmit Park isn’t open.

Located in Pimmit Hills just off of Leesburg Pike, the temporary closure at 7584 Leesburg Pike will allow for the replacement of the existing picnic shelter, according to Fairfax County.

“Work on the installation of a picnic shelter with new metal roofing is scheduled to begin Nov. 7 and continue through Feb. 28, 2020,” according to the county.

The project costs $120,000 and is being funded by the 2019 Park Bond, according to the county.

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Work has kicked off to replace a bridge connecting a McLean neighborhood to Lewinsville Park.

The former wooden bridge connected the Lewinsville Heights neighborhood to the park’s community garden.

Fairfax County Park Authority contractor Accubid Construction Services is replacing the old bridge with a new fiberglass one that will be longer by 30 feet and wider by 8 feet.

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust told Tysons Reporter that the new bridge will be a “dramatic improvement in terms of accessibility.”

Construction began last week and is expected to finish up within two weeks, according to Fairfax County.

Until the new bridge is finished, a sign at the construction site encourages park visitors to find an alternative route like Nathanial Lane and Chain Bridge Road.

“Please respect the closure,” the sign says. “The bridge may be up and look ready for use, but the concrete will need time to set.”

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

Monday (Sept. 30)

  • Mr. Brown’s Park Dedication — 6-7 p.m. at former Downtown Park (100 block of W. Broad Street) —  This event celebrates the transition from Downtown Park to Mr. Brown’s Park, which will now be named after the oldest business in the City of Falls Church. Local officials will be on-site commemorating the renaming.

Thursday (Oct. 3)

  • Tysons Reporter Happy Hour — 5-7 p.m. at the Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike) — Celebrate Tysons Reporter’s first anniversary. Community members will have the chance to grab a drink or a slice of cake with the journalists behind the site. The first 50 attendees will receive a free drink. Rumor has it that there will also be free swag.

Friday (Oct. 4)

  • Vienna Oktoberfest — 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Historic Church Street (131 Church Street NE—  This 12th annual event offers visitors a variety of vendors, live music acts, food, kids activities and alcoholic beverages. It is free.
  • WellieWishers™ Friendship Tea Party — 2-4 p.m. at American Girl Store (8090 Tysons Corner) — Kids 5 and up are welcome to gather for an afternoon of dining, crafts and a cupcake-decorating. Tickets are $13.50 per person.
  • Block Party — 3-7 p.m. at Capital One Center (1640 Capital One Drive) Capital One is hosting a block party with City Works Eatery and Pour House to celebrate the new mixed-use development space. There will be live music, games, food and drinks available. Admission is free and includes a free drink. There will be over 90 beers on tap.

Saturday (Oct. 5)

  • Ribbon Cutting for Synthetic Turf Field — 10 a.m. at Larry Graves Park (300 Hillwood Avenue— This event celebrates the grand opening of a field in Larry Graves Park that includes striping for several different sports. All are welcome to attend this free event.
  • Moon Festival – Tet Trung Thu — noon-5 p.m. at Eden Center (6761 Wilson Blvd) This Vietnamese festival invites the community to gather for an afternoon of colorful lantern displays, music, cultural performances and food. It is free and all ages are welcome to attend.

Sunday (Oct. 6)

  • MPAartfest –10 a.m.-5 p.m. at McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd) — This free event invites community members to check out pop-up art galleries, hands-on exhibits, food vendors and live music.
  • Tysons Singles Seated Speed Dating — 7-9 p.m. at Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike)  Singles in the area are invited for an evening of mingling at the Tysons Biergarten. Event organizers request that attendees arrive before 7 p.m. for check-in. Tickets start at $15.

Image via Facebook/Eden Center

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A park in the City of Falls Church will now honor the city’s oldest business and the family behind it.

Located in the 100 block of W. Broad Street, “the park has generally been known as a downtown plaza, but is now a popular gathering place in the heart of the City in need of a name to identify it for publicity and place-making,” according to city documents.

The Falls Church City Council unanimously voted to name the park “Mr. Brown’s Park” to honor Brown’s Hardware (100 W. Broad Street)and the three generations of Browns that go back to 1883.

A survey of locals showed “overwhelming community support to reference Brown’s Hardware,” according to city documents.

“This park was first created in the 1960s and was significantly renovated this year using funds provided by the Economic Development Authority (EDA),” according to city documents. “The park is currently being used for events such as live music, yoga lessons, and children’s entertainers.”

Jim Snyder, the city’s economic development director, told the council that the park, which was built in 1966, is well used and needs restoration.

Synder also said that the park might get a mural on the wall. “It’s been painted, so we have a blank canvas,” he said.

In response to Councilmember Dan Sze’s question about funding for signage and a gateway to the park, Snyder said that signage will cost about $10,000.

A grand reopening of the park to celebrate the new name will take place on Monday, Sept. 30.

“I think it’s a great name,” Sze said.

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Falls Church city officials have mixed reactions to a proposal that would allow for more downtown development in exchange for protection of certain properties.

City staffers have identified a lack of park and open space, financial pressures to redevelop historic structures and a need for flood prevention as some of the challenges the city faces it pursues its 2024 vision. To address those issues, staffers want the City Council to consider a new program.

The Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program would let development rights get shifted from one area to another in the city. It consists of three components:

  • sending zones: certain areas the community wants to protect
  • receiving zones: areas designated as places for additional development
  • bank: sells available development rights

City staffers have suggested that existing parks and open space, the floodplain and parcels with historic structures become sending zones, while multiple parcels along Broad and Washington streets become receiving zones.

According to the draft proposal:

A Transfer for Development Rights (TDR) program is one possible tool to preserve and increase green space, protect sensitive areas such as floodplains, and preserve historic structures. TDR can also help to diversify the City’s housing stock by creating a tool to facilitate the provision of missing middle housing which is critical to supporting a growing community.

As for the receiving zone, developers would be able to build townhomes or small condo buildings, based on a variety of factors, according to the proposal.

Currently, the city has a special exception process for mixed-use development. Staff said that they envision TDR complementing the special exception process, by allowing infill development on small sites.

The program received mixed reviews from councilmembers during a work session on Tuesday (Sept. 3).

Councilmember Ross Litkenhous noted that if owners of properties along the floodplain sell off the development rights, they would be selling off the value of the future property — possibly leading to home deterioration.

City staff said that the city would purchase — possibly granting a life estate to the current owners — floodplain properties and then tear down homes on those properties once the residents move out.

Councilmember Dan Snyder requested more information from staff about where similar programs have been implemented, downsides, possible public reaction and cost.

“I want to know what are we going to face if we go forward,” he said. “I’m not negative toward the concept, but I’m trying to get a fuller understanding.”

While Snyder said he wants to be supportive of the proposal, he said he doesn’t think the proposal should be on “a fast track right now.” “Are we simply transferring dense development from one place to another?” he questioned.

Meanwhile, Mayor David Tarter took the strongest stance against the proposal.

“I hate to say this, but I have some serious reservations about this plan and I think it has limited applicability,” Tarter said.

Tarter said that if the program is by-right — meaning it wouldn’t go through the special exception process — “unintended consequences” could result.

Tarter pointed to Arlington County, saying that TDRs have to go through the special exception process and that the county retains control of the receiving and sending sites.

“As it’s proposed tonight, as I understand it, there would be limited supervision of the transfer [by the city],” Tarter said, adding that he’s confused about how the transfers would work.

Tarter added that he does want to see the city find cost-efficient ways to buy up floodplain property.

The proposal heads to the work session for the city’s Economic Development Authority on Oct. 1.

Image via City of Falls Church 

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After extreme weather took a toll on Cherry Hill Park, the City of Falls Church has turned the remaining parts of the destroyed trees into art.

Recreation and Parks Director Daniel Schlitt commissioned a local artist to create statues from leftover stumps created by a violent storm last year that killed a few trees, Susan Finarelli, a city spokesperson, told Tysons Reporter.

Artist Andrew Mallon lives in Falls Church and specializes in chainsaw log-art. He began work on the installation in early August after Schlitt hired him for the job, Mallon told Tysons Reporter.

The installation includes four different statues, each scattered throughout the park.

The logs portray animals that would be found in neighboring forests, Mallon said. The art includes baby animals, because he thinks of parks as gathering places for families.

Mallon declined to say how much money the city paid him for the work, and Finarelli did not respond to a follow-up email.

The carvings were completed last Friday (Aug. 23) and are now on display for public viewing at 312 Park Avenue, Mallon said.

Photos via City of Falls Church

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Big Chimneys Park in the City of Falls Church will soon welcome new improvements.

Currently, the aging downtown park has a grill, a grass-covered area, picnic tables and a playground at 210 Gibson Street.

The park is named after two big chimneys, which are believed to have been apart of the first permanent structure built on the land in the city, according to the Falls Church Historical Commission.

The 1.7-acre park is slated to undergo an update, which includes:

  • replacing aging play equipment
  • adding ADA access from Gundry Drive
  • updating landscaping and signage
  • creating a new trail
  • improving stormwater management

City Manager Wyatt Shields told the City Council at Monday’s meeting that the project will “really enhance that park and make it more welcoming.”

The construction contract is being finalized with the contractors before work starts in October, Shields said.

Shields said that the council may need to revisit the $1.3 million funding for the park’s improvements in the future.

“We are struggling actually to keep that project within the budget,” Shields said. “I’m hoping it won’t be a problem.”

The project is slated to finish next spring.

Image 1 via Google Maps, image 2 via City of Falls Church 

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(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) A park in the City of Falls Church needs a name.

Located in the 100 block of W. Broad Street, the park is right by downtown shops and restaurants.

Now, city staff recommends that the park gets named “Mr. Brown’s Park” to honor Brown’s Hardware (100 W. Broad Street) — the city’s oldest business, spanning three generations of Browns back to 1883.

Staff teamed up with Council member Letty Hardi, EDA member Erik Pelton and Recreation and Parks Board member Bill Brew to survey locals, which yielded 130 submissions and “overwhelming community support to reference Brown’s Hardware,” according to city documents.

“This park was first created in the 1960s and was significantly renovated this year using funds provided by the Economic Development Authority (EDA),” according to city documents. “The park is currently being used for events such as live music, yoga lessons, and children’s entertainers.”

The city’s Planning Commission is set to review the proposed name — and any other suggestions — at its meeting next Monday (Aug. 5). The City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing and make a decision on Sept. 9.

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The Mile, a proposed mixed-use development in Tysons, received approval from the Fairfax County Planning Commission last night (Wednesday).

The massive development aims to transform 38 acres of office park east of Tysons Galleria into 10 mixed-use buildings with residential, retail, office, hotel and storage locations.

The development is unique with its multitude of parks — six in total spanning more than 10 acres. The largest one — Signature Park — would encompass an entire block in the development, the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s staff report said, adding:

The Signature Park includes 216,200 square feet (approximately 5 acres) and encompasses the entire land area of Block E. The Signature Park is intended as a regional facility intended by the Plan to serve the greater Tysons area and will include a large open lawn area, a performance stage, gaming areas, picnic areas, a children’s play area, walking/jogging trails, and a water feature. The proffers provide for the possible dedication of this Signature Park to the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA).

Before the vote, Phillip Niedzielski-Eichner, the commissioner for the Providence District, said that he worked with the applicant to resolve seven issues in the staff report.

“This is a complicated project of very high significance for the future of Tysons, so it’s taken some time to work itself through,” he said.

Of those issues, Niedzielski-Eichner commented on three — architectural diversity, payment to the county’s Housing Trust Fund and sidewalks.

He said that the developers will ensure variety with the 10 buildings, which will be constructed over 10-20 years.

“It feels important this level of commitment to diversity of architecture, particularly the skyline, so that the future Planning Commission has a clear narrative on how each building proposed will be different from other buildings on the property,” he said.

As for the fund, Niedzielski-Eichner said that the developers increased their contribution to $1.50 per square foot. Meanwhile, he said that he expects Signature Park and the retail to be a “magnet for future activity.”

Niedzielski-Eichner praised the project for how its urbanization of Tysons.

The development is scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors next Tuesday (July 16).

Images via Fairfax County Planning Commission

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