I grew up in Chicago and my husband, Max, grew up in Valdese, North Carolina. We wanted a compromise of a small town and a large city and I had always liked the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area. We had already lived in Maryland and D.C. and were interested in Arlington for its proximity to D.C.
Although folks advised us that we could get a much bigger house farther out in Northern Virginia we preferred to stay near the cultural offerings of D.C. and the close-in suburbs. We wanted to be a part of the progressive vibe of Arlington. We felt so lucky to buy our house on Liberty Street in Dominion Hills in 1976 with one mid-level civil service salary.
Our children walked to Ashlawn and Swanson schools, swam on the swim team at Dominion Hills Area Recreation Association, and rode bikes on the bike path at the bottom of our hill. We are surrounded by parks and tennis courts: Bluemont, Bon Air, and Upton Hill. We were regular library patrons. Max was able to get a bus on Wilson Blvd to the Metro and his job downtown. I taught at several Arlington Public Schools, which were all a short commute.
Having lived abroad we appreciated the changes brought by an influx of immigrants to Arlington and their restaurant and cultural offerings.
We regret the loss of middle- and low-income housing, especially for those who serve this community as educators, police officers, fire fighters, and other public employees. Arlington had been largely middle-class when we bought here. We are advocates for increased housing for households below 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI) and for those earning between 80-120 percent AMI.
We want Arlington to be the diverse, inclusive, supportive community it strives to be.
Written by Kathryn Scruggs, a retired teacher and long-time advocate for housing affordability in Arlington.