Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

What’s Up with the T.C. Tennis Courts?

More than a year ago, Port City Notebook reported that there was a good chance, weather-permitting, that the new T.C. Williams High School tennis courts would be finished in time for the end of the spring 2014 season. But now it’s looking very doubtful that they will be ready for spring 2015. TCW_logo_small

Why the delay? No official explanations have been offered, and given that ground has still not been broken, it’s likely that more than one factor has been at play. But one nagging concern is whether the contract specifications make sense, and one line of thought has it that inappropriate specifications are holding back interest from the builder community. “Getting qualified bidders has been a challenge,” school board member Marc Williams told the T.C. PTSA at its meeting on Monday. In order to move forward, ACPS may have to revise the specifications to make them more attractive to bidders, but opening up another round of bidding will take even more time.

The ACPS Facilities Department has been stretched thin with multiple projects to increase capacity for rising enrollment. The recent focus on stadium lights at T.C. has also added to their workload. But the funds for these courts were approved several years ago and after numerous delays, it’s time that we make good on our promise to students. Without careful attention to detail and bids from qualified tennis court builders, we could end up with the tennis-court equivalent of the wrong-sized pool at Chinquapin.

T.C. Lights Online Survey

Speaking of stadium lights at T.C., city residents are encouraged to complete a survey on the ACPS website about whether the language of the city’s applicable special use permit concerning lights should be changed in order to explore the possibility of lighting Parker-Gray Memorial Stadium. You can include comments on the online form, and responses will be forwarded to City Council, Planning Commission and School Board members.

GRAPE + BEAN Rosemont Event in Support of Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics

And speaking of Chinquapin, GRAPE + BEAN Rosemont (2 East Walnut Street) is hosting an event on Tuesday, October 7, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to highlight the progress of Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics, a nonprofit organization that is working in partnership with the city to improve our aquatics facilities (including the addition of a 50-meter pool at Chinquapin). You can meet the organization’s leadership team—and perhaps enjoy a little wine, also—and GRAPE + BEAN will donate 10% of sales during the event to AAA.

Take a Book, Return a Book

photoSome friends in Arlington have added value to their corner-lot property by installing their very own library branch. With Little Free Library, anyone who walks, bikes or drives by can help themselves to a book and add a book to share. The organization’s original goal was to build 2,510 Little Free libraries—the same number of public libraries as Andrew Carnegie built around the turn of the century—but there are now more than 15,000 registered Little Free Libraries around the world.

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