Roller-disco rink opens in Mosaic - Little League lobbies against Howrey Park as Accotink dredging site - VDOT seeks input on potential improvements to Little River Turnpike

TJ releases admissions data for incoming freshmen class - Police issue statement about stolen vehicles - Intersection improvements complete at Little River and Guinea

Welcome to Braddock Buzz, where we hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. Keep reading for a photo of the celebration in our neighborhood, Chapel Square. 

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Jennifer Mack is giving away $5 gift cards to Foundation Coffee to the first three readers who email her an idea or question she could address in a future edition of her sponsored real estate column. Jennifer wants her column to be as helpful as possible—and is interested to know what’s on your mind when it comes to real estate. Send column ideas and get your caffeine hookup at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com

Thank you to WorkAway Solutions for sponsoring this newsletter. WorkAway offers long-term and short-term coworking space in Ravensworth, along with meeting rooms, business mail service, and more. Book a tour today!

Little League lobbies against Howrey Park as Accotink dredging site: A local youth baseball league is urging parents to speak out against Howrey Field Park being chosen as the dewatering site for the Lake Accotink dredging project ahead of a public meeting scheduled for July 29.

“If Howrey Park is selected as the ‘Spoils’ holding location, we will lose the use of the park fields for as many as five years and it could be more if the ‘Spoils’ contain hazardous waste,” Don Pedersen, president of the Annandale-North Springfield Little League, said in an email to the ANSLL community. He asked parents to submit public comments opposing the selection of Howrey and provided a sample comment emphasizing that Howrey is a historic site with a memorial to the six soldiers who died there in a tragic accident in 1967 (more on the accident in our June 21 edition).

The Lake Accotink dredging project is set to begin in 2023 and will remove 350,000 cubic yards of sediment to prevent the lake from becoming a wetland unusable for boating and fishing. The plan was to pump the sediment to a dewatering site in Wakefield Park, but this has drawn opposition from environmentalists because it would require trees to be cut down and a pipeline to be installed.

In response, the county is looking into several alternative dewatering sites in addition to Howrey, including:

  • the Dominion power line easement at Wakefield Park

  • a forested area next to the Park Authority maintenance shop in Wakefield Park along Braddock Road

  • a former settling basin in Lake Accotink Park near the Danbury Forest community

  • the island in Lake Accotink

The county’s project manager, Charles Smith, said Howrey is “not preferred” because of the impacts to the community and other “technical aspects.”

In the latest edition of his newsletter, Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw said the July 29 meeting would be used to solicit public input to “help us identify the option that minimizes environmental impacts and is least disruptive.”

“The purpose of the meeting is to transparently share the full analysis and present every option that is technically and legally feasible,” Walkinshaw explained. “Each feasible location will cause some disruption to surrounding communities and park users during the dredging process. … While this will be a challenging process that is sure to cause some frustration, I’m looking forward to the opportunity for us to come together as a community and identify the best way to save Lake Accotink!”


Featured Photo

Braddock District Supervisor Walkinshaw celebrated the Fourth of July with the kids of Chapel Square in the Wakefield area of Annandale. The youngsters rode their bikes on a loop through the neighborhood, with their parents struggling to keep up, and then enjoyed cupcakes and music.


Schools

Penny Gros named assistant superintendent for Region 4: Penny Gros has been named assistant superintendent for Region 4, which includes five school pyramids, including two in the Braddock District—Lake Braddock and Robinson. Gros succeeds Jay Pearson, who retired. Gros was previously executive principal for school improvement in Region 2. She began her FCPS career at Ravensworth Elementary as an immersion teacher.


Transportation

Intersection improvements complete at Little River and Guinea: The Virginia Department of Transportation has completed a $366,000 intersection improvement project at Little River Turnpike and Guinea Road. A free-flow right turn lane has been added, along with a pedestrian island. Truro residents hope the project will reduce cut-through traffic in their neighborhood.

Here’s a before-and-after photo, courtesy of VDOT:

VDOT seeks input on potential improvements to Little River: VDOT is seeking public input as it considers recommending improvements to Little River Turnpike between Annandale and Alexandria. This roughly four-mile stretch “has significant backups and congestion during weekday peak commute times and a high number of crashes,” VDOT said, noting that the project would be designed to improve traffic flow and safety.

You can take a survey and provide feedback here.


Entertainment

Roller-disco rink opens in Mosaic: An outdoor roller skating rink will be open in Mosaic through September 12. “Mosaic Skateland invites you to get up, boogie, and celebrate a summer of love,” says the rink’s website, where you can purchase tickets. “Mosaic Skateland welcomes four-wheeled enthusiasts and beginners alike for a spin around the rink for the ultimate disco revival.”

We zipped over there on Sunday and snapped this photo of skaters rocking out to some ’80s jams:


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Public Safety

Black residents subjected to more severe uses of force: The Fairfax County Police Department issued a study that sought to determine whether its officers use disproportionate force against certain racial groups. The study, conducted by the University of Texas at San Antonio, examined use-of-force incidents against different racial and ethnic groups relative to each group’s rate of arrests. This is a controversial methodology, since advocates for police reform say disproportionate arrest rates are driven, at least in part, by racism.

The Washington Post summarizes the report’s findings:

Fairfax County police officers use force against Blacks and Whites at levels higher than expected by researchers, and African Americans are subjected to more severe forms of force than other racial or ethnic groups, a first-of-its-kind study has found.

The analysis in the D.C. area’s most populous jurisdiction also found that officers used force against Hispanics at lower than expected rates, while Asians were subjected to force at levels researchers generally expected.

The higher levels of force against Blacks were driven by a handful of stations in areas of the county with larger minority populations such as Mount Vernon, Franconia and West Springfield, the report concluded.

Police issue statement about stolen vehicles: Fairfax County police issued a statement seeking to raise awareness about “a series of stolen vehicle reports” across the county since the beginning of June. “These vehicles have primarily been stolen overnight, and it appears the suspects mainly entered unlocked vehicles with keys inside,” the department said, adding: “Detectives believe the suspects may be armed.”

The statement continues:

Detectives have also determined these suspects have used garage door openers or forced entry to gain access to at least three homes. In these incidents, the suspects entered the homes and stole personal belongings as well as vehicle keys. The suspects then proceeded to steal one or more vehicles...

The suspects in these cases typically travel in groups of two or three. In several instances, the suspects have been described as black men, ranging from their teens to 30 years old. 

Here’s a list of each police district and the number of stolen vehicle reports since early June, with the vast majority in McLean:

  • McLean: 15 

  • Franconia: 4 

  • Mount Vernon: 3 

  • Reston: 2 

  • West Springfield: 2 

  • Fair Oaks: 1 

  •  Total: 27 


Events

“Braddock Nights” concert series returns this week: The “Braddock Nights” live summer concert series is set to return this week after going virtual last year because of the pandemic. The event series will include an “Arts in the Park” children’s program. Here’s a list of the events on tap this week:

  • Wednesday, July 7, 7:30 p.m.: Karl Stoll and The Danger Zone will kick off the series with some blues at Rutherford Park

  • Friday, July 9, 7:30 p.m.: Paul Reisler & Three Good Reasons take the stage at Royal Lake Park

  • Saturday, July 10, 10 a.m.: The Blue Sky Puppet Theater will kick off the Children's Arts in the Park series at Wakefield Park

Learn more at the Braddock Nights website.

Canterbury Woods Triathlon set for Aug. 22: The 13th annual Canterbury Woods Triathlon will be held Aug. 22 at the Canterbury Woods Pool, organizer Beth Byron said in an email. There will be separate events for 6-12-year-olds and those 13 and older. There will also be team and individual events. You can register here, or contact Byron for more information at beth.byron@yahoo.com

Last year’s triathlon, held during the pandemic, drew more than 50 individual participants and 18 relay teams. “We really needed some sense of normalcy and something to celebrate in 2020,” Byron told us at the time.


News in Brief

  • The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology has released its admissions data for the incoming freshman class—the first class admitted through the revised application process that no longer includes a standardized test. Representation increased among Black, White, and Hispanic students but decreased among Asian Americans, the Associated Press reports.

  • After a Loudoun County School Board meeting on transgender rights descended into chaos last month, Tysons Reporter notes that FCPS adopted policies last October that grant transgender students access to restrooms and activities consistent with their gender identity.

  • FCPS recently published an article highlighting a Truro teen, Ian Wallace, who organized a workshop at Annandale High School where he taught students how to build their own computers from scrap parts. The students, recent immigrants enrolled in an English as a Second Language program, got to keep the computers they assembled.

  • The Board of Supervisors has appointed a 20-member redistricting committee to recommend new electoral boundaries within Fairfax County based on the latest data from the 10-year national census. The proposed districts are set to be presented to the board Oct. 19, with new districts adopted on Dec. 7.

  • The Board of Supervisors is considering an ordinance to allow collective bargaining by county employees after the state last year lifted a longstanding ban on the practice, Reston Now reports.

  • The plan to move the FBI’s headquarters from downtown D.C. to the Virginia or Maryland suburbs is back on track after being put on hold during the Trump administration, Virginia Business reports. Three sites are being considered—one in Springfield and two in Prince George’s County, Md.


Real Estate

Sponsored Content

Jennifer Mack column: Will those who relocated during the pandemic return?

Every day I get asked how long I expect the housing market to remain so strong. My answer is always somewhat lengthy because there are so many factors—but one of the most interesting is whether those who moved due to the pandemic will stay put.

During the pandemic, we saw many people dumping their apartments or condos for larger spaces or detached homes. We also saw some people who shifted to working from home move to different locations to be closer to family or to get away from big cities.

I have one colleague who relocated to an island off Puerto Rico with his wife and three kids to be close to family and enjoy a less stressful lifestyle during the pandemic. I haven't asked yet if they plan to return—but I see they’re loving island life from the looks of their sunny Facebook posts. 

I have been to many listing appointments where I am told the reason for the move is that there is no need to go to the office anymore and commuting is not a factor. As I see more headlines about offices reopening and companies expecting employees to report back to the office, will they see a need to return to a location closer to D.C.?

I predict many people will refuse to come back and find a new remote position or threaten to quit if they are forced back in. Surely, some people will decide they miss their friends and old way of life and want to return to it, perhaps regretting selling their homes as they return to a tight housing market. I also predict some people will regret buying that beach house or mountain retreat as life gets back to normal and weekends aren't free anymore.

I recently saw a survey from a nationwide real estate company revealing that 80% of people who moved due to the pandemic are happy with their decision, while 13% reported having "some regrets" and only 1% reported being unhappy with the decision. But how long will it last? Only time will tell, but the effect of the pandemic on real estate can not be overstated. We have simply never encountered anything like this before.

Jennifer Mack has more than 16 years of experience in the real estate industry, with her team servicing Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Contact her at jennifer@jennifermackproperties.com or by calling 703-672-0038.

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