Neighborhood Relations Committee
Minutes for the July 11, 2011, Meeting
In attendance: Chris Domes, Alice Harrington, Bhavna Lee, Kathy Richardson, Ned Rhodes, Christine Smith, David Wahl, Anne Wilson
The meeting began with the introduction of Marymount’s new president, Dr. Matthew Shank. Dr. Shank thanked the committee for their work and efforts.
The minutes for the April meeting were reviewed. Anne Wilson questioned the placement of a trash can that she believed was promised to be positioned by June 30. Dr. Domes explained that the trash cans were only recently received by Marymount and should be in position shortly.
Bhavna Lee reported that there is a short punch list that is being worked through on the new buildings. Shower inserts in Ostapenko have been installed. The Fitness Center is now fully equipped and operational. The Donor Wall is displayed. Chemistry lab has been rearranged. The fountain, which will not be visible from the street, is not yet installed at the corner of 26th Street and Old Dominion. The benches and the wall have been repaired from a car accident. The newly planted trees that were downed in the recent July storm, have been repositioned by Boyer.
Regarding the Master Certificate of Occupancy, Dr. Kidder submitted the Parking Management Plan to the county. Marymount has not in turn received any follow-ups from the county. The county basically wanted a map of the 4 levels of the parking garage, including how many handicap spaces and how many spaces were designated for faculty and staff. They wanted to know the on-street parking availability. Matt will be asked to follow-up on the status.
Modifications to the pedestrian bridge will take place shortly. Due to the pooling of water in wet weather, it was necessary to patch the bridge. On July 15 a traffic coating will be applied.
Ned Rhodes was asked by Walter Tejada to write his comments concerning the Marymount Neighborhood Committee. Mr. Rhodes feels the project turned out better because the neighbors were involved. Mr. Rhodes did express disappointment that Marymount did not always consult the community first before going to the county and that the committee was not used correctly. Chris Domes agreed with Mr. Rhodes stating in particular that the aesthetics and functionality of the building is better because of neighborhood input. The scale of the buildings better fits the site than what was initially proposed. Dr. Domes feels the committee has been a positive addition to Marymount’s community. Dr. Domes also believes communication difficulties between Marymount and the committee were caused primarily because Marymount was unfamiliar with the county’s processes. Marymount sometimes operated with incorrect information. The administration learned as it went along. Dr. Domes feels the Neighborhood Relations Committee has many areas of agreement and has learned to work well together. It is a model to the community and county of working together.
Christine Smith commented that she believes Marymount bent over backward to accommodate the neighbors. The committee is an impressive example of groups coming together. The county could learn from this committee. It was suggested that Leadership Arlington might be a way to share what was learned on the committee.
Marymount’s Trustees have expressed the importance of the relationship between Marymount and the neighbors. Dr. Domes expressed his gratitude to all neighbors who have donated their time and energy to this project.
Plans for the renovation of Rowley Hall are moving forward. Marymount is in the early stages of planning. Rowley consists of 2 lower levels which provide faculty offices and classrooms. The main floor is used for administration. The upper 3 floors are residential space.
First step of the renovation is of course county permits. Because the footprint of Rowley will not be enlarged, it is expected that this will not be a public process. Interior plans are preliminary at this point and there are no concrete plans for the exterior. Improvements will be completed over a one year period, fall 2011 through fall 2012. During this time students will continue to live in the hall. Offices in Rowley will be moved to other areas vacated when Caruthers and Ostapenko opened. Noise should be isolated to the building but exterior work could cause noise.
At the next NRC meeting, a schedule for the renovations will be shared along with a better idea of the plan. The first phase of the master plan is to create an office for every faculty member located by the classrooms in which they teach. Caruthers Hall will be the model for the classrooms. The architects for Rowley are Ayers-Saint-Gross who work primarily with colleges doing planning and building. Ayers Saint Gross will be asked to share their plans with the Neighborhood Relations Committee. Turner is the general contractor.
Parking for the construction workers will be on campus. The interior work will require approximately 40-50 workers at a time on campus. They will be working normal day hours. Any overflow parking will be handled at Mount Olivet.
The Marymount sign to be placed along Old Dominion Dr. is not yet ready. Chris will inquire about the timeline for the placement of the sign.
The county amended the use permit and Marymount will not be required at this time to replace wall lights at the underpass on Yorktown Blvd. VDOT must give their okay before any future work can be done on the bridge. Marymount gave $4,500 for this purpose and these funds will be held for 3 years.
Adopt a Street is a new program being promoted by the County. Information can be obtained from the website. It was suggested that a student group from Marymount could adopt the one block area along Yorktown Blvd from 26th Street and clear litter as needed. The county will provide training. Chris Domes and Frank Rizzo have ideas of how best to present this to students.
Dr. Domes asked committee members if they were aware of a police presence in their neighborhoods. Neighbors felt the police presence had diminished over the years and Dr. Domes commented that he had noticed the same on campus. Dr. Domes wants to look into the possibility of inviting a Police Department representative to a NRC meeting.
Mr. Wahl said that he felt the county’s response to the recent bad storm was poor. He will be producing an action report. Mr. Wahl wants to know the direct line of response including who responds first and which department takes care of what.
There was a lot of damage done to Potomac Overlook Park as a result of the storm. On July 23 there will be a clean-up. Information concerning this endeavor can be found at www.nvrpa.org.
Kathy Richardson would like the tennis shoes hanging from the underside of Marymount’s pedestrian bridge removed and she would like any ugly trees at the embankment along Yorktown to be removed.
The next NRC meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 12, at 7 p.m. in the Reinsch board room. What is learned regarding permits will be shared at this meeting.
Submitted by Mary Kay Eldridge