County Board Approves Columbia Pike Banners, Longer Lease for Crystal

Published on June 16, 2018

The Arlington County Board today approved banners for Columbia Pike designed to enhance the sense of place along the corridor, and approved an 18-month lease extension that will allow The Connection, the County's pop-up library in  Crystal City, to stay open through December 2019.

Pike Banners


The Board voted unanimously to authorize the installation of non-commercial banners in the public right-of-way along the entire length of Columbia Pike, from Foxcroft Heights to the western County line. The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) will place the seasonal banners on street light poles on behalf of the County.

CPRO will fund the phased installation and maintenance of these banners. In the first phase, 48 banners will be installed at key major intersections along the Pike. Subsequent phases will be completed as funding becomes available. Total cost to install the initial 48 banners is $11,280. It will cost $2,000 to maintain the banners the first year (increasing 5 percent annually).

[caption id="attachment_17181" align="alignright" width="300"]rendering of Columbia Pike banners Proposed Columbia Pike banners.[/caption]

"The County and our partner, CPRO, continue to make steady progress toward realizing the community's vision of a Columbia Pike that feels more like a Main Street," Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said. "These colorful banners will enhance the vibrancy we already see along the Pike, where years of community planning and public and private engagement have created a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape and more welcoming public spaces."

To read the staff report for this item, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 20 on the agenda for the Saturday, June 16, 2018 Regular County Board Meeting.

Background


In 2017, the Board doubled annual funding for CPRO, bringing its total commitment to $400,000. The Board, at the time, said it wanted to see CPRO use some of those funds to develop new place-making activities — specifically a cleaning program and a banner program. The Washington Forrest Foundation has also contributed $10,000 to CPRO for the program for this purpose. This is the second time the Board has permitted CPRO to install decorative banners within the public right-of-way.

About CPRO


CPRO's mission is to create a safer, cleaner, more vibrant community from the Pentagon to the County line, a corridor which geographically makes up 17 percent of Arlington, and to champion and connect businesses and community along Columbia Pike. To read the staff report, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 20 on the Agenda for the Saturday, June 16, 2018 Regular County Board Meeting.

To learn more about the County's efforts to transform Columbia Pike into a more transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly Main Street with great public spaces and a mix of vibrant retail, restaurants, housing and offices, visit the County website.

Crystal City pop-up library to stay open through December 2019


The Connection, the County's popular Crystal City pop-up branch library, will stay open through December 2019 with the County Board's unanimous approval of amendments to the current lease with JBG Smith.

"We appreciate JBG Smith's generosity, which will allow the pop-up to continue without taxpayer support," Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said. "In addition to getting the space rent-free, the County will no longer have to pay a fee to cover real estate taxes, operating expenses and electrical power costs, and Crystal City patrons of the library will continue to have easy access to library services."

[caption id="attachment_17180" align="alignright" width="300"]patrons inside Tthe Connection The Connection pop-up library in Crystal City.[/caption]

The County has leased space for the library at 2117 Crystal Plaza Arcade, since 2017 from CESC Plaza Limited Partnership — JBG Smith. The pop-up has been a low-cost way to push library services into a neighborhood that has no branch library, and to introduce people of all ages to the wide scope of what the County's public library system has to offer. The pop-up also has helped enliven the Crystal City Shops.

Under the new lease, the County will no longer have to pay real estate taxes, operating expenses and electrical power costs during the extended term, which begins July 1, 2018. JBG Smith will continue to lease the space to the County rent-free.

The Board first approved the license for the temporary library in July 2016. The library opened in September 2016 and quickly became a popular feature of the Crystal City Shops. The board unanimously voted today to approve the lease extension. To read the staff report for this item, visit the County website. Scroll to Item No. 36 on the agenda for the Saturday, June 16, 2018 Regular County Board Meeting.

Learn more about the Arlington Public Library.

Library press contact: Henrik Sundqvist:, or: 703-228-0590.