As an engaged parent with three girls in Arlington schools and as a planning commissioner, I want to make sure the County Board collaborates with the School Board to squeeze the most out of our limited land and dollars. We need a 20-yr comprehensive plan that lays out for the entire community a complete picture of how all of our school and community facilities like fire stations, parks, and senior centers will fit together. Instead of bouncing from one isolated and divisive decision to the next, all interests can see how a particular site fits into a total and equitable county-wide solution.
Where did you first really feel part of Arlington? Like this was your home - the place you wanted to put down roots? For my wife, Renee, and I it was our first holiday party at the Lyon Park Community Center. It's my guess most of you have a similar story - of a county-sponsored event or hanging out in a park or school playground, attending a community meeting in a gym or fire station or browsing at a branch library where you realized that you had chosen Arlington. All these great libraries, schools, rec centers and parks exist because the County did good long-range planning with an eye on bringing county facilities, schools and nature to neighborhoods in ways that could build "Community".
We are, once again, in an era where good planning is essential so we can have the facilities we will need for the next 4 decades. I am committed to ensuring that our needs for schools, parks and public facilities are ALL incorporated into our long-range land use and transportation planning, as well as our budgeting processes.
As a County Board member I will:
- Build on the work of the Community Facility Study, approaching all our land use and transportation planning processes with an understanding of the need for additional school sites, county facility expansions/upgrades and new parks in mind;
- Push for the County and School Boards to adopt a common siting process for new facilities that can be tailored as needed so that neighborhoods know how to participate and what to expect prior to a siting decision;
- Push for streamlining and aligning, to the greatest extent possible, the County and Schools facility planning processes, commonly known as the PRFC (County) and BLPC (APS);
- Approach the annual operating budget and the 2-year capital budget with park land as well as general acquisition as a priority;
- Demand that broad early conversations about priorities for new county/school buildings be held throughout the county and online; and,
- Provide sufficient funding for regular maintenance of all existing community facilities or, where they have reached the end of their useful life, ensure the community has ample opportunities to weigh in on new locations or new uses for existing locations.