Arlington Announces New Name for the Neighborhood Conservation Program

Published on June 03, 2022

The Neighborhood Conservation Program has a new name: Arlington Neighborhoods Program.

The Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development (CPHD), the Department of Environmental Services (DES), and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announced the new name for the interdepartmental program after almost a yearlong renaming process.

In May 2019, the County initiated a review of the Neighborhood Conservation Program—the first program review in its 58-year history—and a final report was issued in February 2021. The Neighborhood Conservation Program Review (NCPR) Final Report recommended changing the program name because the word “conservation” often evokes a negative connotation and suggests exclusivity.

In June 2021, the CPHD Neighborhood Services Division created an implementation framework to guide changes to the program using NCPR recommendations and the County’s equity objectives.

“The name change is an important first step in the program’s implementation framework,” Community Planning, Housing, and Development Director Claude Williamson said. “Arlington Neighborhoods Program is broad and inclusive—reflecting both those it serves, and the types of projects the program offers.”

The Arlington Neighborhoods Program offers a unique grassroots approach to improving and enhancing neighborhoods. When the program was created in 1964, the goal was to empower residents by having them come together to discuss and share ideas for improving their neighborhoods. Arlington is committed to community development and resident engagement, and this program remains a vital part of Arlington’s civic landscape.

Today, the program provides funding for a variety of capital improvement projects, including sidewalks, curbs and gutters, streetlights, signs, park improvements, neighborhood art, and beautification. The Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC), which is also considering a new name, leads the development of neighborhood plans and recommends neighborhood-initiated capital improvements for funding by the County Board.

 “I am an enthusiastic supporter of the Arlington Neighborhoods Program,” NCAC Chair Kathy Reeder said. “It provides a unique community-engagement process for prioritizing improvements in neighborhoods across the County. I look forward to working with County staff to make the program an even more effective contributor to our dynamic, diverse community.”

The name change is only one component of a larger rebrand recommended in the NCPR Final Report, and the rebranding is one of six focus areas in the broader implementation framework. The framework includes an in-depth analysis and potential changes to the core components of the program, including neighborhood plans, projects, the NCAC, funding, and County policy. Other elements of the rebranding—including an updated mission statement, new program guides, and updates to webpages—will be completed in the future.  

The community will receive additional updates as the implementation framework moves forward.

About the Neighborhood Conservation Program Review

Arlington County undertook a review of the Arlington Neighborhoods Program (then known as the Neighborhood Conservation Program), per direction from the County Board when it adopted the FY2019-28 Capital Improvement Plan. The program review involved:

  • evaluating how well the program is meeting its core mission
  • exploring opportunities for process and implementation improvements
  • considering the potential role of innovation, and
  • investigating ways to better leverage the program’s civic engagement components

The program review working group completed its work in early 2021. The Program Review Final Report was presented to the County Manager in February 2021.

About the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee

The NCAC leads the development of neighborhood plans and recommends neighborhood-initiated capital improvements for funding by the County Board. Improvements include sidewalks, street beautification, pedestrian safety projects, streetlights, and parks.

NCAC members are comprised of representatives from 48 of Arlington County’s 57 civic associations. Each community that participates in the Arlington Neighborhoods Program has a representative that works with County staff in the development of a neighborhood plan, although the plan ultimately reflects the desires of the community.

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