Ashton Heights Civic Association 05/16/2018
Scott Sklar, AHCA President, called the meeting to order at approximately 7:30 PM.
This evening would be the last meeting that Ann Felker and Rita O’Brien will be providing food for our meeting attendees. Ann has been providing this service for 45 years (!) and Rita for 13 years. We are thankful for all the wonderful food they have provided us over all these years and will miss their creative and tasty efforts! Scott will solicit members to take over this effort.
Carrie Johnson, a mentor and force in Arlington for change, died last week. Her memorial service will be June 2, 2018. Her loss has been felt my many. There is talk of having some sort of memorial erected to remember her by. AHCA President Scott Sklar sent a letter to the County suggesting a bench in Clay Park suggested by the Tanners.. Brooke Alexander mentioned that Carrie was very supportive of the Friends of Arlington Boulevard, who had a lot to do with getting trees replaced along Arlington Boulevard that were removed due to renovations to the road. Brooke suggested planting trees in her name and another neighbor suggested planting a grove of trees instead. Brooke will pull together a proposal for AHCA to review.
AHCA Nominatiuons Committee Chairman Ann Felker presented a Roster of Officers for the Ashton Heights Community Association. All current officers are willing to extend their service for another year, but do welcome anyone else who would like to serve in any of these roles. No one offered any other nominations. The only new name on the roster is Cole Deines replacing one of our Members-at-Large spots being vacated by Jim Richardson, who provioded years of service to AHCA’s Development Committee.. The roster presented was:
President – Scott Sklar
VP Programs – Julia Tanner
VP Membership – Jim O’Brien
Treasurer – Doug Williams
Secretary – Jodie Flakowicz
Members-at-Large – Cole Deines, Jim Feaster, Patrick Lueb and Ken Matzkin
A vote was taken and the Roster of Officers was approved unanimously for the 2018-2019 year.
AHCA President said, this begins his seventh year as President, and is very open to have some involved in AHCA move into the position, and please contact him if they are interested.
Scott Sklar announced that Jim Feaster, who has been serving for a number of years as our Neighborhood Conservation Rep, has been able to find Brent Burris to take his place. Lutz Prager has agreed to take over for Ken Matzkin, who will serve as Brent’s alternate.
Scott also thanked Carmen Kosik for handling our advertisement needs for our newsletter. The newsletter is now in the black due to her efforts. He also thanked Daniel Berkland for his efforts as Editor of our AH Newsletter. Scott mentioned that in this month’s newsletter there was a list published of all the members of our community who deliver all of the newsletters to our community. A big “thank you” to all who deliver 1,200 newsletters each month.
Rita O’Brien announced that Culpeper Garden is having their Springtime Party on June 2, 2018. If you would like a ticket to attend, contact Linda Kelleher and mention that you are coming from the Ashton Heights neighborhood.
Brooke Alexander reminded us that Friday, May 25 is the deadline to get your application in for a free county tree. Please submit your request through her and when you do, please indicate your first and second choice tree requests.
Tannia Talento of the Arlington County School Board gave a presentation about where they are in the development of the latest Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for our schools. This should be finalized in June. They want community involvement in the process and encourage people to share their concerns on-line or while attending meetings open to the public. She mentioned the latest improvements for our elementary school systems with the slated opening of the Alice West Fleet and Reed Schools in the Fall of 2019 and the relocation of the Montessori school to the Henry site the same year. There was a lot of discussion around concerns with the new high school being proposed for the Career Center location. Ashton Heights neighbors want this school to have everything that the three other high schools already have. At this proposed location the space for a football field, various other ball fields, swimming pool and black box theater is questionable.
The Arlington School Board is now located at the Syphax Education Center at 2100 Washington Blvd.
Concerns expressed about language requirements for the county schools being cut back, when the world is getting more global and the private sector wants employees with better foreign language capabilities. For now Japanese and German classes are not being cut back.
Erik Gutshall from our County Board introduced himself. For a number of years he served at President of the Lyon Park Community Association, before he got elected to the County Board. He feels that the schools in the county are the bedrock of the community and people move to Arlington because of the schools. Both the county School Board and the County Board are working on their Capital Improvement Plans now. The County CIP is due in July. They also want community involvement in the process and encourage people to share their concerns on-line or while attending meetings open to the public.
The tax base for our county budget had been 50% commercial properties and 50% residential properties. Because we have a number of vacant commercial properties in the county, this is creating budget shortfalls for the county. Recently a number of positions supporting the county had to be eliminated. (Earlier in our meeting, it was mentioned that our police force currently is under a hiring freeze while working with staff shortages of about 50 people. Because of this, some non-critical police services cannot be provided.)
He feels that the proposed location for the fourth new high school for the county, at the Career Center location, does not provide enough space for a high school to be built equitable to the three other high schools. The three high schools we already have, include at each location, a swimming pool, fields for most sports, a stadium and a black box theater. Because of budget shortfalls we may have to face tradeoffs with the building of this new school.
Caroline Rogus and Greg Morse, CoChairs of our Ashton Heights Schools Committee began a discussion about the letter they would like AHCA to send the County Board about their concerns with the proposed high school being built at the Career Center location. The letter has already been approved and sent by the members of the Lyon Park Citizens Association. We took a vote, which supported the sending of this letter by the Ashton Heights Civic Association. 5 people abstained.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:05 pm, and AHCA members mingled, finished up the food and put away chairs.
Respectfully submitted by, Jodie Flakowicz, May 19, 2018.