Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

The pop-up park is coming! Construction begins this week to transform the site of the old Landmark Building, next door to Radley Acura on Columbia Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads, into an exciting interim park for active and passive recreation. A plaza space will incorporate hexagonal concrete paving, native plantings, outdoor seating, and shade sails, as well as a grassed open play area, and room for activities such as food trucks, a mobile farmer’s market, perhaps even a skate spot.

Signage will indicate that it is an interim park, and will incorporate language regarding standard rules, regulations, and hours of operation for the park, which will close at dusk. The pop-up park will reside in the Bailey’s Crossroads Commercial Revitalization District, and is expected to be in place for several years, while plans continue for redevelopment of the property in a public-private partnership. Fairfax County owns the nearly three acre property; adjacent property for redevelopment is privately owned, and the Board of Supervisors approved a rezoning and land transfer in the summer of 2017. The interim use concept was presented to the Bailey’s Crossroads/Seven Corners Revitalization Corporation at a public meeting last August. Bike racks and security lighting, suggested by community members, are being incorporated into the design. A ribbon cutting for the new pop-up park will be scheduled for this fall.

Another, smaller, pop-up park in downtown Annandale will open in late June. Located next to the Annandale Fire Station on Columbia Pike, the pop-up park will have limited program activities starting in late June and will provide passive recreation on a “vest pocket” site. Pop-up parks are a positive, popular, and less costly amenity for urban communities across the country. Now Mason District will have two!

The Fairfax County Police Department released its 2018 Annual Report last week, and the Mason District Police Station statistics validate once again that it is the busiest station in Fairfax County. In 2018, Mason officers were dispatched to 66,447 calls, made 380 DWI arrests, and issued 12,038 citations. That’s nearly 200 dispatched calls each and every day. Clearly, we can count on our police officers to keep Fairfax County one of the safest jurisdictions of its size in the nation.

The report also notes that the county’s 26 Animal Protection Police Officers (APPO) handled 13,757 assigned calls, and rescued or handled 3814 sick or injured animals. That includes an owl that divebombed headfirst into the ground (the bird was rescued and recovered), but the snake that escaped its enclosure at Hayfield High School was picked up by an APPO and returned to its home without incident. Never a dull day in Fairfax County!

The cannon has returned to Annandale! At Monday’s Memorial Day observance, hosted by American Legion Post 1976, the newly refurbished cannon was back on the median island at Columbia Pike and Backlick Road. The circa 1905 cannon saw action on the Mexican border prior to World War I, and has been a fixture in Annandale for decades, but was badly weather-damaged. Eagle Scouts helped remove the old flaking paint, sandblasted the metal surfaces, and repainted the carriage and cannon in Army green. The huge metal-rimmed wooden wheels were sent to Pennsylvania for new wooden spokes (the size and color of baseball bats) and overall repairs. Welcome home, Annandale Cannon!