Annandale Arbors: Solution to Improving Annandale Streetscape?
A proposal to build 40 structures along streets in Annandale's Central Business District was presented as an option to beautify certain streets.
Annandale’s Central Business District is years away from being the fully realized mixed-used, pedestrian-friendly area that’s outlined in the Fairfax County revitalization vision or the Annandale Comprehensive Plan Amendment.
But planner and architect Jeffrey Levine has proposed an idea to help improve the current landscape around Annandale’s most visible and busy areas.
Levine gave a presentation to the Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee (ACBDPC) last Tuesday on Annandale Arbors, a group of about 40 structures that he thinks could help improve the overall appearance of the streetscape along Little River Turnpike, Annandale Road and Backlick Road.
The arbors would cost an estimated $100,000, be spaced 40 feet apart along the streets, and could accommodate the Annandale flag, advertising, lighting or more, to be more visually appealing. Levine said there’s currently some good design in parts of Annandale such as on John Marr Drive and the colorful buildings on Little River Turnpike, areas where there's planting, brick sidewalks, and Acorn lighting fixtures. However, he believes there’s room for improvement.
To create the arbors, Levine suggested hosting a community “Arbor Day” where residents would come together to build the arbors.
“This could be one step toward doing some beautification to improve that streetscape, “ said Levine, who was part of the Annandale Chamber of Commerce’s demonstration project task force unveiled last year.
Some committee members agreed that an immediate solution to improving the streetscape in Annandale is a good idea, but finding volunteers and money to fund such a project were among their chief concerns.
Carol Zach-Reuss, manager of the Annandale Shopping Center, worried about maintenance for the arbors or the potential damage they could cause if Annandale experienced winds similar to the June 29 derecho storm and the arbors blew into neighboring properties or the street. The arbors could also block the view of the businesses along streets like Little River Turnpike.
“I can’t see anything positive about it,” Zach-Reuss said.
Levine agreed that maintenance is a concern, as is the potential for depreciation and graffiti which was pointed out by Zach-Reus and Annandale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vicki Burman, but he remained optimistic that the arbors could be a good immediate solution to improving the streetscape in the Central Business District.
Eileen Garnett, vice chair of the ACBPDC, wondered if the community would support an event like Arbor Day to build the arbors.
“We can’t ask people to be officers on a board or attend a meeting in any of the areas around this community. People just don’t want to volunteer and give time anymore,” said Garnett.
As an alternative, Garnett suggested property owners in Annandale try to do more to beautify their areas to help out. Another proposed solution was to plant more flowers or other greenery around the community.
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