Two lively meetings occurred simultaneously at the Falls Church City Hall tonight. In one, the Planning Commission heard Assistant City Manager Cindy Mester lay out the parameters of an ambitious $182 million City Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) over the next five years, the school improvements portion that will require a public referendum and whose biggest component is $99.5 million for a new high school. In the other, at a City Council work session, members of the City’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) presented their plans for using their portion of the sale of their property at 301 W. Broad (the old Podolnick site) to Rushmark Properties for the new Harris Teeter project as a land banking resource.
The EDA plan would set up a land banking fund with the net $1.8 million that will come to them when the closing on the Rushmark deal comes later this month, and some on the City Council also expressed the hope that the City’s portion of proceeds from that deal would also be contributed to the fund. It was the EDA’s ability to act quickly on an offer back in 2000 that delivered the Podolnick site currently valued at $4 million and a key to the massive Rushmark project, for only $500,000.
In yet another development tonight, a large contingent of neighbors to the site of the Cherry Street Preschool building the City Schools is renovating to go into service showed up to complain mostly about the number of trees the renovation will require to taken down (to meet storm water requirements of the property) and to object to the idea of a school bus stopping on the street to drop off and pick up students there. Schools Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones said that work is still being done on the renovation plans to mitigate such impacts as much as possible.