Excellent recommendation from the Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board (HALRB)
Two years ago the NRCA membership voted to request that Arlington County designate the Wilson School as an historic district. Shortly after that vote, NRCA, joined by RAFOM, submitted a request for historic designation to the HALRB, a citizen volunteer board which receives and reviews such requests prior to county decision. At their recent (12/17) meeting, the HALRB recommended that Arlington designate the entire Wilson School property (the area west of the walkway) as an historic district.
There was some drama. The staff report recommended that only the physical school be designated as an historic district. Board member Nancy Iacomini recommended addition of the entire site in recognition of its historic connection to the School and in recognition of its historic utility as a community playspace. Her recommendation carried the day unanimously.
It’s been a long journey to receive this recommendation. It remains a long journey to get a functional school and playspace back at Wilson. But it’s nice to see that good spirited citizens tend to see the same thing we see: Wilson School is the green heart of our neighborhood.
This HALRB recommendation now passes to the County Board for action. The County Board likely will provide the public an opportunity to speak. I will post date/time information as soon as possible. I think it critical that we citizens appear in substantial number at the upcoming County Board hearing on historic designation of the Wilson property.
Paul Mulligan and I represented NRCA and RAFOM at this HALRB meeting and spoke in favor of historic designation. I have a couple of copies of the staff report which includes an excellent history of Wilson School and the surrounding neighborhood.
HALRB staff tells me that the HALRB historic designation recommendation will go to the School Board rather than to the County Board, because the recommendation is limited to APS property. We Rosslyn citizens will need to speak before the School Board soon. Expect notice from NRCA on this.
At some later(?) time we'll also need to meet with the County Board concerning plans for the County portion of the Wilson tract. Citizen turnout for that meeting will also be critical because it's clear (though nowhere published) that some in the County structure continue to plan intense development for the Wilson tract.