Zitkala-Ša Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

On a cool and breezy Saturday morning, members of the County Board, the County Manager, County Parks staff, and Lyon Park neighbors gathered at Zitkala-Ša Park to celebrate its opening.

The October 23rd event was made all the more special with the attendance of three of Zitkala-Ša’s descendants who flew in to attend the ceremony. Holly Bonnin Ogle, great-granddaughter of Zitkala-Ša and two of Holly’s children, Elizabeth and Justin, attended the opening ceremony. Arlington’s poet laureate, Holly Karapetkova, wrote a poem entitled Vanishings for this event. A framed copy of the poem was presented to the family by Thora Colot on behalf of the County and our civic association.

After the celebration at the park, Gary and Kit Putnam, who live in Zitkala-Ša’s old house, provided the family with a tour of the home and hosted them for lunch. Special thanks to the neighboring Wu family for providing cupcakes at the ribbon cutting – it was a welcome and tasty surprise!

Neighbor Profile:  Doorways for Women and Families

Community members who were concerned that there was no safe space in Arlington for families in crisis founded Doorways in 1978. The organization aims to address the interconnectedness among the cycles of sexual assault, domestic violence, and homelessness, and help survivors avoid having to choose between staying with abusers or facing homelessness.

What began as a single shelter to support families in crisis has since grown into a wide range of programs and pathways for people of all ages and genders. Doorways envisions a community where all people live free from violence and have safe and stable housing. Every year, the organization provides shelter and housing for more than 200 people and helps them achieve safety and stability. Doorways also supports hundreds more adults, youth, and children through their 24-hour domestic and sexual violence hotline ([703] 237-0881), mobile advocacy services, court advocacy, hospital accompaniment, individual and group counseling, and prevention programming.

  • 94% of Doorways Safehouse households did not return to abusive living situations.
  • 74% of family home households obtained permanent housing post-shelter.
  • 99% of children with social-emotional issues received services and counseling.

Services like these have been essential throughout the COVID pandemic, with many families experiencing financial and emotional strain, loss of employment, and eviction. The Doorways Family Home team in our neighborhood has supported families throughout this period to ensure that members of our community receive shelter, housing, and comprehensive support.

Doorways is a non-profit organization supported by donations from neighbors (including United Way and Combined Campaigns), matching corporate gifts, gifts, and in-kind giving. To learn more about Doorways, including ways to volunteer and help, visit www.doorwaysva.org

Development Update

by Aaron Schuetz

Arlington County has changed rapidly over the past few decades, but with Amazon coming, change seems to have accelerated. Many of us who have been here for more than a decade find things have changed in both good ways, and bad. Gone are many of the modest neighborhood homes built for the federal workforce. Gone are many small commercial buildings with surface parking lots. As we continue to urbanize and up-build, we have gained a lot and have welcomed many more people into our community. But we’ve also lost a lot. We might be losing the sense of community that has been so important to many who choose to live in Lyon Park. Striking a balance and deciding when to ride the wave, and when to push back against it, can be challenging.

When I first became involved with the LPCA and Development issues, the 2201 Pershing project was just beginning. Concern about how development would change our community and ensuring it would be an asset was foremost. A decade later, what do you think? Do you like it? Do you pine for what used to be there? Do you wish there was even more? Well, more is coming. Just across Pershing Drive, the Days Inn site is being prepared for redevelopment. The County just approved changes to the General Land Use Plan, paving the way for a similarly large development. These two developments will define a “Gateway” into our neighborhood. While a decade ago, the 2201 building was deemed by many to be “too large” for being so far from the metro, Arlington staff now considers an even larger building to be OK. At the same time, even more effort is being put into how that building’s “massing” is arranged on the site—both in how it relates to the neighboring houses and apartments, and also in how it “feels” for pedestrians walking the street. We’ve invited the owner/developer to come to our January LPCA meeting to present their plan for this site. Our engagement can help them design something that is a neighborhood asset. We can’t ask them for a community swimming pool, but we can make suggestions and raise our concerns about traffic, retail, open space, and affordable housing. I hope you can make that meeting.

Just outside our neighborhood, there’s lots more happening. Most important for us, the Silver Diner/Joyce Motors block will be redeveloped with a hotel on the point closest to the metro, and two residential buildings that border 10th Street. While the block involves two separate developers, they are working together on certain aspects (like a single underground parking structure). The largest issue for our neighborhood is how it affects Ashton Heights. While the development is on the far side of 10th street from Ashton Heights, the County seems to be softening about some height tapering issues, meaning the building could “tower over” 10th street. That would be in stark contrast to Ashton Heights’s single-family dwellings (although some commercial sites border 10th with residential set back). I’ve been working with other Civic Associations to push back on the County’s decisions like these, because later, developers will use them as a precedent for developments that are in our neighborhood.

In addition, Arlington is considering updates to the Clarendon Sector Plan. This plan (now 15 years old) created the overall vision for Clarendon’s redevelopment. It has helped guide the area’s growth and success, even if many of us miss the old Clarendon and feel “too old” to hang there now. The Sector Plan includes the sites I mentioned, and nearby sites (St. Charles Church, the Fire Station, and the Wells Fargo bank site) that will soon be redeveloped. While some people believe parts of the plan need tweaking (like incorporating Arlington’s Vision Zero plan for making streets safe for everyone, not just cars and trucks), others are unhappy that County staff seem to be undermining parts of the plan. My biggest concern is that the fire station block, which was once designated as a future park space, will likely not become a park. In Rosslyn, the great new fire station is integrated into a new development, which freed up county land. The Arlington Fire Department seems not to be interested in pursuing a similar solution in Clarendon, preferring to rebuild the station on the current site.