Arlington officials, surprised by neighborhood outrage over an earlier proposal in the same area, will consider several South Arlington locations for a jail release center, including sites in the Four Mile Run Valley.
Hundreds of people appeared at a public hearing where the selection of the original site near Barcroft Park for a 130-bed jail release center, homeless shelter and drug treatment facility was angrily denounced.
The county withdrew the proposal after the state agreed to move some of its prisoners from the county jail, relieving overcrowding.
While officials will not comment on the selection of a new site, County Manager Anton S. Gardner has said they are considering locations rejected the first time around.
They have told community leaders those sites include:
A location near Jennie Dean Park and the WETA-TV complex, at 3700 S. Four Mile Run Drive.
An area near the Arlington County Trade Center on Arlington Mill Drive, about two blocks from the Village at Shirlington, a recently developed office and retail center.
A tract near Arlington's sewage treatment plant, on 3401 S. Glebe Road.
Several sites in the industrial area along South Four Mile Run Drive, including a warehouse formerly leased by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Some community leaders predicted yesterday that those sites are likely to run into the same opposition.
"Many areas along Four Mile Run Drive are going to create some of the same questions that the Barcroft plan did," said Edward Hilz, a member of the Fairlington Citizens Association.
"These are really close to residential areas, and the critical thing will be how much input surrounding neighborhoods have in the process. Last time, everything went so fast that people felt they weren't being heard."
Randy Swart, president of the Barcroft School and Civic League, said any site along Four Mile Run is likely to stir opposition from residents fearful that such a facility would make nearby parks and bicycle trails more dangerous.
"I hope they don't move it two blocks down and propose the same thing," said Swart.
He noted that most of the other sites under consideration are closer to drug-plagued Green Valley than the Barcroft site was.
"If the county is going to want to put a drug treatment center a short walk from where everybody in the county knows you can buy drugs, that's going to be a concern," he said.
Consideration of a site closer to new shopping areas at Shirlington could draw business owners there into the debate.
"We've been pretty quiet about all this, but to be honest, I'm not too crazy about having something like that down here," said a Shirlington business owner, who asked not to be identified.
While neighborhood groups denounce the county's apparent intention to put the facility in their area, Gardner and other officials say land is too expensive elsewhere in Arlington.
Gardner said yesterday his staff will form a residents' advisory panel to suggest possible sites for the $4.7 million facility.
"We'll consider any site the citizens panel comes up with," Gardner said. "But some sites, such as those in urban areas and in Crystal City," are too expensive.
Several neighborhood leaders said they will try to persuade the county not to locate the jail release center, homeless shelter and drug treatment center together in one facility.
Gardner has said he will reconsider most aspects of his original proposal, but says he still favors a three-in-one facility.