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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 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 , worried about maintenance for the arbors or the potential damage they could cause if Annandale experienced winds similar to the 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 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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Michelle Herrera July 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I think the money should be used to put nice shelters with benches by every bus stop. Now that would be improving Annandale!
JB July 17, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I don't like this idea for one reason: It will obstruct the view of drivers exiting the parking lots. There are already enough businesses with overgrown bushes blocking our site as we pull out into busy roads.
Kate July 17, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Arbors are not going to fix what's wrong with Annandale.... it would be like spraying a dung heap with febreeze. Useless and a waste of money.
TT July 17, 2012 at 04:01 PM
This is AWFUL! I think the proposal is poorly done with some hack PhotoShop images. I agree with the benches and shelters more than these Arbor things. I think the biggest eyesore right now in Annandale is the 3 months of 'growth' around the Fuddruckers. If Walgreens OWNS that land now, why aren't they maintaining it? I realize that they're going to be ripping it all apart, but that's not until September. Clearly they don't really care about how our town looks, or they would at least keep those weeds trimmed until they get around to doing whatever it is they're planning on doing. Unacceptable.
SLS July 17, 2012 at 04:49 PM
The biggest problem with trying to improve the appearance of Annandale's Business District is "up keep". Look at John Marr Drive. it looks worse than before. The planting and brick sidewalks have never been taken care of. Don't waste the money!!! Penny Gross needs to go!
Vincent Careatti July 17, 2012 at 04:57 PM
More advertizing? Means moe clutter . After they're installed who will maintain them ? At what costs. Flower baskets?who will water? No Walgreens doesn't own the old fuss rickets propert and unless the lease agreement spells otherwise it's the property owner. Did anyone approach Fudderuckers with the idea I'd filling the empty Blooms?
Vincent Careatti July 17, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Pardon my spelling
CD July 17, 2012 at 05:05 PM
@Vincent - Fuddruckers did look at the Bloom but because of the parking issue they can not go there. You need one parking space for each employee, one for every four top and one for every two bar stools. I know they have looked at the old Room Store but I do not know after that.
TT July 17, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I'm not sure where, but I thought I had read that Walgreens had bought the property. If that's NOT the case, then our wonderful Maryland Politician Rona Kramer still owns it, and should be maintaining it. But again, I doubt she cares too much about our town, seeing as they let our Fuddruckers go in exchange for yet another Pharmacy. Power of the $$ I guess.
T Payne July 17, 2012 at 05:37 PM
The way the town is being allowed to develop, I would urge that a "Little Korea" theme be adopted throughout the town, perhaps similar to the arches present over at Eden Center, in order to remind everyone whom the town business district belongs to now. We only need to add a bunch of noisy motorscooters and the ambience is almost there.
charles mcsorley July 17, 2012 at 05:40 PM
First off, I am glad someone is trying to come up with creative ways to make Annandale's streets more beautiful, but I think there is a better way. The scale of these structures would not do enough for the streetscape and also the way it is presented gives no plan for ongoing maintenance that the structures would require. In an area where VDOT maintains the roads, the burden falls largely to the community. I feel like Penny Gross and others in leadership in the county and our community need to come up with a sustainable plan for getting businesses in our community and partnering with them to develop Annandale into a better place for all.
Jeffrey DoranZ July 17, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Downtown Annandale is by far the UGLIEST exit on the Virginia side of the Beltway!; perhaps even Maryland too. It literally looks like you are driving through a third-world country -- just add stray hens roaming the streets. Band-aid surgery is NOT the answer -- the poll clearly reflects this sentiment. I avoid driving thru the Little River Turnpike "business section" at all costs -- not only because it is an unsightly mismosh of gas stations and convenience stores, but because I don't want to run the risk of hitting bunches of jaywalkers and loiterers who ample back and forth without regard to traffic in order to resume their choice spots of vagrancy along the road and blocking entry to legit businesses. I know the Fairfax police would like to do something about the loitering, drinking and gambling -- but are forbidden to do so by local politicians. Having said this, please understand I fully support legal immigration, community diversity, and the spirit of individual enterprise. It's just like the Arbor approach to Annandale "beautification", there has got to be a better way -- this just doesn't cut it!
Kate July 17, 2012 at 09:20 PM
For those of you who want to complain about the condition of our third-world town, please visit this site and complain to them: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/code/ They are required to DO something about it, so stop talking and start calling. If you want to call about all the loitering going on, call the non-emergency police line. If we don't start taking our town back, you can bet Penny and Co. will only allow this situation to get worse. You can also network with like-minded citizens of Mason Ditrict by visiting www.masondistrict.org
Jeffrey DoranZ July 17, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Kate - thanks. I will!
Common Sense July 18, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Step 1 to improve the streetscape... clear out the day laborers!
Bob July 18, 2012 at 11:15 PM
The arbors are ugly. I see the tea party is rampant in Annandale.
Common Sense July 19, 2012 at 01:55 AM
"I see the tea party is rampant in Annandale" Hey Bob, please elaborate. Tea Party people want responsible government & fiscal responsibility. What does this have to do with fixing Annandale's streetscape? If your comment is based on assuming I am a white racist because of my 'day laborers' comment, well I am a 'minority' and I state the obvious FACT that to improve the annandale streetscape, we need to fix the loitering and day laborers hanging around... its not about a racial thing, its about a practical common sense way to start fixing up the town.
JW July 20, 2012 at 02:55 PM
well, I certainly appreciate the comments that P. Gross has to go -- something I have wished for/campaigned for many years -- and yet she is still here! Why can't we get together and get her out of here? I did notice that she received the lowest number of votes from our area... hum, no surprise there. She has made Annandale the local dumping ground for people and commerce that the better areas in Fairfax county do not want -- and I believe she does it in coorperation with the other supervisors -- as in, "you don't want that in your district? here, I'll do you a favor and you can put it in Annandale." let's do something, people.

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