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Arlington County Officials May Scale-Back a Vanity Project

The Arlington County Taxpayers Association (ACTA) has had the $80 million Long Branch Bridge Park aquatics center in its sights for some time now. Most recently, we mentioned it when we growled about Arlington County profligacy on December 31, 2014.

Consequently, we were surprised to read the online Arlington Sun Gazette story on Wednesday that said "Arlington officials to take another, scaled-back shot at aquatics center." According to Scott McCaffrey:

"With $64 million in cash to work with, Arlington officials on March 17 restarted planning efforts for the next phase of Long Bridge Park following a 15-month time-out.

“It would be irresponsible not to give it one more shot,” said County Manager Barbara Donnellan, who asked for and received County Board approval to move forward on a project that she put on hold in January 2014, when cost estimates for the proposed aquatics/fitness facility proved to be a budget-buster.

"Arlington officials then cast their lot with those hoping to land the D.C. region as site of the 2024 Summer Olympics, hoping to leverage that possibility to build the pool facility. But the local area didn’t even make the cut as the U.S. finalist, a role that was won by Boston.

"As a result, county officials now plan to reconstitute the park’s existing design committee into a broader task force, expand its membership and have it work with staff to come back with a viable plan by next January.

"The March 17 action breathes new life into the multi-stage development of the park, located at the north end of Crystal City. Sports fields, parking and other amenities already are in place.

McCaffrey provides additional details, which you can read here. For example, amount of remaining bond funds, a cap on the cost of the aquatics center, and a question by Board member John Vihstadt who asked whether the Parks and Recreation Department would be able to manage the project.

Growls readers concerned about the profligacy of the Arlington County Board should communicate those concerns to the Arlington County Board. Just click-on the link below:

  • Call the County Board office at (703) 228-3130.

And tell them ACTA sent you.

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