The Springfield Civic Association (SCA) welcomes you as we enter a new era, a Springfield Renaissance, if you will. The General Services Administration (GSA) has announced that the new headquarters for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be built in Springfield (https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2017/08/24/gsa-picks-a-new-headquarters-site-for-the-tsa.html). The TSA will only spur further interest in Springfield and expedite development of Phase II of the Springfield Town Center, et al. New hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, residences and office space should be on the rise bringing new activity and a welcome breeze of renewal. The SCA has helped to make this happen by partnering with the Fairfax County government, local businesses, adjoining civic associations, and homeowner associations. SCA’s tradition of community activism and grass roots engagement is alive, well, and looking to the future. Come be a part of it! There is something for everyone and your contributions will only make us a more vibrant community.
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This edition contains 20 pages of local news.
Lake Accotink Community Meeting – 13 February 2018 at Lake Braddock Senior HS
On 13 Feb 2018, Supervisor John Cook (Braddock District) and Jeff McKay (Lee District) co-hosted a community forum to discuss options for Lake Accotink which is filling with sediment from runoff water upstream and will disappear as a lake in 2025 if no action is taken. The future of Lake Accotink is part of a broader Fairfax County Park Authority Master Plan Review of Lake Accotink Park. In 2014, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors allocated funds to the Park Authority to study and evaluate how best to deal with the perpetual problem of sediment from upstream flowing into Lake Accotink. Over 100 people attended this nearly two-hour meeting. Representatives from Save the Lake and Friends of Lake Accotink Creek and Friends of Lake Accotink Park were in attendance. Six community meetings have been held on this issue since May 2016.
Supervisor’s Cook and McKay held the community meeting to engage the public about the Park Authority’s proposed lake management options and to solicit feedback from impacted communities. No decisions were made at this meeting. Options under consideration are posted on the Lake Accotink Park Master Plan Revision project webpage at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/planning-development/lakeaccotink. A survey for public comment about the future of the lake has been extended to 28 May 2018 to allow more residents to consider the options and share their thoughts before any decisions are made.
Supervisor McKay believes the future of Lake Accotink Park starts with what to do with the Lake. He admitted he is emotionally attached to the lake as he visited it often as a child. Both Supervisors noted that the county does not have funds to dredge the lake and options to save the lake either in its current form or as a smaller lake will likely become a capital expenditure in the form of a bond. Supervisors Cook and McKay noted it will take the political weight of the entire Board of Fairfax County Supervisors to save the lake which touches several magisterial districts. Both Supervisors are interested in gathering public feedback to guide future decisions regarding the lake that will have county wide implications.
Supervisor Cook walked attendees through the six options under consideration by the Park Authority. He characterized two of the options as temporary making them less viable. The link listed above details the pros/cons and financial implications each option and also includes a side-by-side cost comparison. In brief, the six options are:
- Do Nothing: the lake fills with silt and disappears in 7 years (2025). Cost is $13K annually to maintain the dam. The lake becomes a swamp.
- Status Quo: dredge the lake as needed on roughly 15-year intervals. Requires 35K truck trips to move 350,000 cubic yards of silt. This is a temporary fix as period between future dredges will shorten over time. Cost is $29M for dredge and $13K annually to maintain dam.
- Annual Dredging with Forebay: involves building a forebay to capture sediment. Requires 150,000 cubic yard dredge for forebay and 350,000 cubic yard dredge to deepen the lake. Requires 50K truck trips to move the silt. Preserves lake in current form for ~35 years. Total cost is $45M in additional to $750K to dredge forebay every 1-2 years. By comparison cost to renovate an elementary school is $30-35M. Retains recreational value of lake.
- Install Upstream “Beaver Dams”: install a series of sheet pile walls (beaver dams) to capture sediment before it gets into the lake. Dams are likely to fill up in 5 years. This is a temporary fix and has been eliminated as a viable option.
- Single Channel with Reclaimed Land: takes down dam and restores stream. Will result in a stream and forest where current lake exists. Eliminates the recreational value of the lake, but increases opportunities for trails and nature observes. Cost is $11M to eliminate dam and $26K annually to maintain vegetation.
- Single Channel with Smaller Lake: revises dam structure to sculpt sediment and establish a stream channel. Results in smaller 20-acre lake (~half size of current lake). Cost is $13M and ongoing maintenance. Some recreational value of lake is retained.
Supervisor Cook opened the floor for comments. Residents from the Crestwood, Ravensworth, Danbury Forest, Kings Park, Charlestown, and Orange Hunt neighborhoods asked questions and raised concerns. The voiced concerns fell into several categories:
- Transport of Silt. Concerns were voiced about the impact of the thousands of trucks on neighborhood roads required to remove silt and resulting safety/noise implications. There were calls for police to conduct random inspections to enforce safety/weight restrictions and ensure trucks were washed. Crestwood residents expressed concern their neighborhood would feel brunt of truck traffic compared to other surrounding neighborhoods that benefit from the lake. Supervisor McKay indicated he was looking at transport paths out of the park and admitted the impact on Highland Ave would be significant. He indicated if options C or F are pursued, many meetings would be held to discuss best methods for transport with goal of weighing impacts against benefits. He noted VDOT plans to pave every road in the Crestwood neighborhood this year. There were also questions asked about whether existing railroad track at Lake Accotink Park could be used to transport dredged silt. Supervisor Cook indicated that use of railroads is hard due to rules and fact that the tracks are privately owned and the county can’t force companies to allow use of tracks to transport silt. The railroads are not interested in transporting silt at the expense of passenger trains.
- Cause of Silt. Many attendees asked why sediment is increasing and expressed concern why the root of the problem is not being fully addressed. The Supervisors responded that development over time has taken away available land for water to permeate into the ground increasing runoff and sediment build-up. A representative from Friends of Lake Accotink Creek noted human impact is a huge contributor to sediment and encouraged attendees to learn what they can do as individuals to protect the watershed.
- Dredge Mechanics. There were questions about how the dredge would be conducted, how silt could be transported from the park, and where the silt could be dumped. There were questions about whether permanent infrastructure could be put in place at bottom of the lake to make future dredges easier. Supervisor Cook indicated that such permanent infrastructure would be cost prohibitive.
- Environmental Impacts. There were concerns voiced about impact of dredging on 4 eagle’s nests at the lake. There were also concerns about elimination of species and changes to habitats if the lake transitions to swamp, forest or green land. There were also concerns about the impact to the Chesapeake Bay if nothing is done as the silt will continue to move down stream and will potentially impact the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. The President of the Friends of Lake Accotink Creek voiced concern that fresh water muscles native to Lake Accotink be considered in any solution.
- Project Funding. There were questions about whether federal or state funding was available for dredging the lake or whether Lake Accotink could be considered a storm water management project. The Supervisors responded that no federal/state funding was available and that Fairfax County would be forced fund any solution decided upon. The project does not qualify for storm water management funds. The leader of Save the Lake indicated the group is advocating for Option C as it is the only Option that goes forward with a bond referendum and the only way to get a fair vote is to put the measure on a bond referendum.
- Impact to Property Values. Supervisors Cook and McKay both described Lake Accotink as a gem and that was unique to Fairfax County. Several attendees voiced concern that elimination of the lake could result in decrease surrounding property values and noted their opinion that this impact is not captured in the overall assessment.
- Impact on Recreational Facilities/Events at Lake. Many voiced concerns about the importance of the trails surrounding the lake for personal enjoyment and as used by local schools for athletic training. Some attendees asked for a comparison of recreational activities supported by the existing lake and a proposed smaller lake (Option F).
- Potential for Lake Redevelopment. There were concerns the Lake Accotink Park property would be sold and redeveloped into condos. The Supervisors reassured attendees the property will be retained by Fairfax County Park Authority and not redeveloped.
- Timing of Decision. There were concerns regarding the time horizon to make a decision on the final disposition of the lake. Supervisor Cook stated a decision should be made this calendar year. If the community wants to save the lake, he believes it is necessary to put a bond for funding on the 2019 ballot. There is already a park bond planned for 2020 and he does not want to wait to include Lake Accotink on this bond due to potential confusion of the two issues. Supervisor McKay stated more silt is accumulating every day. He wants to look at the decision from every angle but believes it will be necessary to work together with fellow Board of Supervisor members to devise a funding strategy. For these reasons, Supervisor McKay believes a decision is needed this year.
- Community Awareness. Concerns were voiced that the Park Authority’s proposed lake management options has received insufficient publicity. One attendee noted there are no signs at the Lake to indicate discussions about the lake’s future are ongoing. There was also a request to post notices about the lake’s future in multiple languages to provide greater transparency for those who live in adjacent neighborhoods. A representative from the Park Authority agreed to put up signs at the park. The Save the Lake group is looking for volunteers to translate flyers into Spanish and other languages.
- Coordination Between VDOT and Park Authority. There was concern that VDOT and the Park Authority coordinate with each other to ensure they are not working at cross purposes.
The meeting concluded with closing remarks from Supervisors Cook and McKay. They encouraged attendees to tell their neighbors about the ongoing Lake Accotink Park Master Plan Revision project. They encouraged attendees take the online survey described above and noted additional feedback could be provided to firstname.lastname@example.org. Supervisor Cook indicated he looks forward to hearing from the public as many good ideas for potential solutions have originated from feedback provided to date. Both supervisors noted that they are hoping for a community driven solution and it is important to get as man inputs now as it will be impossible to bring the lake back in 25 years. The Friends of Lake Accotink Park announced they plan to hold a community meeting at Richard Byrd Library on 22 March at 7:30pm.
Lake Accotink Public Comment Deadline Extended
From FCPA: The Park Authority is extending the public comment period for the Lake Accotink Park Master Plan Revision. We are very pleased to see robust discussion and interest regarding options for Lake Accotink! Throughout the master planning process, our goal has been to maximize community engagement and to hear from as many people as possible. After first presenting the lake management options to the community in May 2016, we received only a smattering of comments from residents.
Subsequent to the January 22, 2018 community meeting, attended by more than 100 citizens, we have received more than 400 responses to our online survey and nearly 50 individual emails from citizens sharing their preference and perspective. Each person’s input is valuable in determining the management of the lake which, in turn, will influence the character of Lake Accotink Park in the future. We recognize that this is a very complex issue, and so, with that in mind, we have decided to keep taking public comment about the future of the lake through Monday, May 28, 2018. This extended comment period will allow more residents to consider the options and share their thoughts before any decisions are made.
If you have not shared your opinion regarding the lake management options, please go to the Lake Accotink Park Master Plan Revision project webpage at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/planning-development/lakeaccotink to review the options under consideration. We ask for your response to a quick online survey that will indicate your preference for the future of the lake. You can also share additional comments through the survey page or send your comments separately to Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov.
Help us spread the word! Lake Accotink Park is a countywide resource, providing recreational opportunities and the chance to connect with nature to all county residents. All of us can help shape the future vision for this well-loved park, so please share this email or a link to the project page.
Safety experts agree the single most important step toward ensuring your personal safety is making the conscious decision to Refuse To Be A Victim®. You stand a much better chance of preventing a criminal attack if you develop a safety plan before you need it. The seminar teaches easy to understand methods you can use to increase awareness and prevent criminal confrontation. In just two-and-a-half hours, you will get the tools you need to develop your own personal safety strategy, including information about:
o The Psychology of the Criminal Mind
o Home & Phone Security
o Automobile & Travel Security
o Personal & Technological Security
o Self Defense Devices and Training Options
o And more!
Date: Monday, March 5, 2018 Time: 6:30pm-9:00pm (registration begins at 6 pm) Pre-registration is encouraged. Location: Public Safety Headquarters 12099 Government Center Parkway Fairfax. Va. 22035 Parking: Herrity Building garage, adjacent to Public Safety HQ
Cost: FREE SEMINAR
For more information or to pre-register please contact: Gerry Kirwin at Gerald.Kirwin@fairfaxcounty.gov, phone:703 246-3824
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At our next membership meeting, we’ll be discussing volunteer opportunities within the Springfield community. Representatives from organizations needing volunteers will detail their programs and show how you can “give back” to our community.
Also on the program will be an update on the progress of the St. James Athletic Club which, when completed, will house a sports, fitness, and wellness facility in addition to offices for sports medicine providers.
The evening begins at 7:00 with social time and snacks. The meeting begins at 7:30 sharp. See you there! Bring a friend!
Are you interested in hearing about the future plans for the Springfield Town Center? Would you like to hear more about the construction of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Headquarters? And what about the progress of the St. James Sports Complex?Come to the SCA meeting Tuesday, November 21. The topic of the meeting will be Springfield Revitalization and our speakers include Nancy-jo Manney from the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and Doug Loescher from the Fairfax County Office of Community Revitalization. Take a break from your Thanksgiving preparations and get all the Springfield updates. See you there!
Come help us kick off SCA’s 2017-2018 year beginning at 7:00pm on Tuesday, September 19, 2917. Detectives Hulse and Corbean from the Franconia Police Station will be a the meeting to share their insights into gang and drug activity in Fairfax County. It should be a very interesting and informative meeting.
Social time with light refreshments begins at 7pm and the meeting starts promptly at 7:30pm. Do you know someone who doesn’t know about the SCA? Bring them with you! We love newcomers!!
Dues for this year are $15.00, payable by cash, check or PayPal (use the link to the right). Paying dues in September helps us fund projects all year long.
Join us for our annual Springfield Community Bridgewalk! There will be entertainment, refreshments and several prizes donated by our sponsors.
Family dogs are welcomed! (Leashed please)
WHEN: Tuesday, August 29,2017 at 7 pm
WHERE: Intersection of Bland Street and Amherst Avenue (FedEx Parking Lot)
For more information, please contact Supervisor McKay’s office: 703-971-6262
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
Sponsored by: Springfield Days, Olde Towne Pet Resort, Hilltop Golf Club,
Homewood Suites, VFW Auxiliary, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce,
Kings Park Concert Band, Wegman, TAGS of Greater Springfield, Royal Pawn