Arlington, VA

On Saturday afternoon, the Arlington County Parks Department will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the recently-reopened Hillside Park in Rosslyn. The county is touting the park as a “sustainable public place” — but at least one critic is calling it “expensive” and “ugly.”

The county describes Hillside Park as an “urban forest.” It spent $500,000 renovating the 1.3 acre park from spring to fall of this year. The renovations included the placement of benches, picnic tables and walking paths, as well as artistic ironwork and other decorative flourishes.

Park planners utilized design techniques consistent with the county’s sustainable goals and practices. The park features permeable paving, elevated decks to protect tree roots, improved irrigation, recycled construction materials, and low water-use plants. The existing tree canopy was preserved and negative impacts from construction were minimized.

The funding for the renovations was provided by the developer of the adjacent Parc-Rosslyn apartment building.

Not everybody was impressed with the park’s design, however.

Douglas Galbi, who runs the Ode Street Tribune blog, called the renovations “ugly” and a “fiasco.”

“A half-million dollars was spent renovating Hillside Park,” he wrote. “The result isn’t worth a tenth of that.”

Galbi, who described the park’s decorative metal fences as “pointless,” now has a small photo of the park on every page of his blog along with the headline “WE CAN DO BETTER.”

Saturday’s ribbon-cutting will take place at 1:00 p.m. The park is located at 1601 North Pierce Street.

Photo via Arlington County Parks Dept.

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