Sprayground Planned for Virginia Highlands Park

by ARLnow.com December 9, 2010 at 8:15 am 4,946 55 Comments

Update on 3/23/12 — This project has been delayed, according to Arlington County.

Virginia Highlands Park is in line to get the county’s most elaborate sprayground park yet.

The spiral-shaped park takes elements of Arlington’s existing sprayground parks, as well as elements from other water parks around the country. It will be located in a corner of the park, near the volleyball and basketball courts.

As planned right now, the park will feature water cannons, buckets that fill and dump water on anyone below them, mini waterfalls, small pools of water for play, bubblers, interactive locks and dams, jumping water jets and a boulder wall dividing the active and passive play areas in the park. The boulder wall will also provide a place to sit during the off-season.

The sprayground will be partially bordered by a rain garden, which will benefit from the park’s runoff. Other excess water would be directed to a large underground tank, which could then be used for irrigation or for the park’s toilets.

Funding for the park is still in question. An official who gave a presentation to the Aurora Highlands Civic Association last night suggested that the construction could be paid for with Neighborhood Conservation funds while the county tries to secure other funding.

If all goes according to plan, the park will be open in time for Memorial Day 2012. (Sprayground parks are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Recently park hours were reduced, but it sounds like the county is confident that normal hours will be restored by 2012.)

At last night’s meeting, a few residents expressed concern about the potential for outsiders from the District or Maryland being attracted to the park due to the new sprayground. Some also questioned whether more parking will be necessary.

The county official acknowledged that the park will likely bring in non-residents, but said that there’s no way to avoid that. Most, it was suggested, would arrive via Metro.

In response to another resident’s question, it was revealed that the park would cost at least $6,000 per year to operate, with operating funds paying for water, power, staff time and cleaning.

  • Joe

    That’s so true about the people from DC or similar types coming to use the sprayground. We had to deal with that in Lyon Village, and our solution was to demand that no bathrooms were constructed at the facility. I STRONGLY suggest you do the same. You can claim some sort of environmental impact in that the sprayground water won’t be clean enough to purify the toilets, or something like that.

    Having no bathrooms at our sprayground in Lyon Village does wonders to maintain the sanctity of our facility. This is a real detriment to people from Southeast DC or South Arlington who would want to camp out all day at our sprayground, thus intimidating the neighborhood children.

    What happens is that those most likely to come to our sprayground are the ones who can deal with no bathrooms on site. Obviously, those who live closest to the sprayground, i.e. Lyon Village residents, can most easily deal with this. We have to live with some of the Lyon Village Apartments and other Lee Highway people coming by, but until we can find a buyer to raze that complex and build luxury housing, this is the best we can do.

    • V Dizzle

      So how do we keep the Lyon Village people from coming? Only fair I think.

    • Lou

      With no bathrooms, do you find a lot of kids just stand in front of the water cannon with a funny smile on their face for about 15 seconds?

      • Crabhands


      • Gabe

        Wait. I have a good idea. Let’s build 2 sets of bathrooms…one labeled “Rich” and one labeled “Poor”. The latter could just be old port o’ johns that only get cleaned once a month.

      • BrownClown

        That’s why it’s called a “sprayground”.

    • anon

      “We have to live with some of the Lyon Village Apartments and other Lee Highway people coming by, but until we can find a buyer to raze that complex and build luxury housing, this is the best we can do.”

      Seriously? I understand not wanting non-residents camping out all day. But I think your park and your kids will be okay if you share with people who can’t afford homes priced well over 1/2 a million dollars or luxury condos. Lyon Village Apts have plenty of young professionals and I have considered living there because its one of the few older buildings with character in the area.

    • SOARL

      Wow. I didn’t realize my three-year-old was intimidating the other children.

    • mehoo

      Ah, so you’re the a-holes responsible for having no bathrooms.

      • Andrew

        Just use the bushes.

    • mehoo

      You forgot to tell us whether you’re a racist jerk or just a plain everyday elitist jerk, Joe. We need to know these things.

    • CJR

      People, this “guy” is just a troll, trying to start class warfare with some kind of ax to grind – don’t take him seriously.

    • SoArlRes

      Sometimes I wonder if any North Arlington posters have set foot below Rt. 50 in their lives. This kind of rhetoric suggests that they are clueless to who actually lives in South Arlington. I’ll give you a hint: we’re not all out to loiter in your precious neighborhood and be your unsightly entertainment – we’re too busy working in the office next to yours doing the same job. Only real difference is that your real-estate value has topped out and ours has barely gotten started. Enjoy that jumbo mortgage.

    • tuesdayschild

      This guy is making fake comments to incite blog war posts. He does it all the time.

    • BoredHouseWife


      You would have gotten a perfect score if you didn’t mention South Arlington.

    • Dan

      My hunch is that this is meant to be ironic…..bet the irony gets lost and people begin to respond to it.

    • southapride

      Wow, Joe, you sound like a real ignoramus. People in DC and “South” (gasp) arlington get hot too. In fact, the Arlington taxes that are most likely funding the project are not separated between north and south, did you know that?

    • SoCo Resident

      JOE’s ugly, nauseating, racist comments reflect Lyon Village very well, the reason I’m glad I don’t live there anymore. Remember their fight against Human Resources! He even looks down on his fellow Lyon Village residents who live in apartments and has hopes that luxury condos will replace them soon. A Spraygarden without toilets is truly a “Spray” garden. Future Lyon Village projects should be closely scrutinized for their built-in racist features, like no-toilets. Get ready for next summer when the word will be spread – with directions – about the Joe’s Lyon Village Spraygarden.

  • cryscityrez

    A few corrections, the project is funded thru the NCAC program, what’s in question is the $150K contribution from a developer set aside since that project has been put on hold.

    Also that $6k operating figure was an estimate and it was only for the budget that runs thru July, so I’d say you’re looking at more like $12K for the full operating expenses.

    • Arlington Taxpayer

      We’re very lucky that Arlington County’s budget for 2012 is flush and has an extra $150,000 kicking around to make up for the stalled developer contribution. Guess we won’t be hearing about any cuts to important services this budget cycle – or will we???

  • Gabe

    Joe: As a South Arlington resident I find your comments horribly elitist and offensive. All Arlington parks are for ALL Arlington residents. Additionally, are you telling me that you have never used a park in DC, Fairfax, or some other county? If you have, then you have absolutely no right to make these statements. You are no better then anybody else just because you live in Lyon Park. If there are people that are legitimately causing a problem at a park, then call the police. If there are people that are simply using the park and they don’t happen to look like you and your rich neighbors, then just deal with it. That’s life. If you can’t, move to a gated community with private parks.

    • V Dizzle

      plus one yo

    • Andrew

      + 1

      And if you don’t want to share a public park with people who you deem intimidating, join a country club.

    • Frenchy B

      One small point, Gabe – it’s not Lyon Park (Pershing & N. Filmore), it’s Lyon Village (N. 19th & Highland). Otherwise, I’m with you.

    • Jim

      Dude — Joe is writing some poor excuse for satire… relax.

  • Crabhands

    via Joe: “We have to live with some of the Lyon Village Apartments and other Lee Highway people coming by, but until we can find a buyer to raze that complex and build luxury housing, this is the best we can do.”

    Wow. Come on buddy. Read that again. You are talking about fellow tax paying county residents. Turn down the faux elitism.

    I’d wager that many of the folks you are referring to have been Arlington County residents longer than you.

    ~ Arlington County Resident for 20+ years

  • Real_Arlingtonian

    Thanks so much for your comments. They were very insightful. How would you suggest keeping the lower income neighborhood children out the the Virginia Highlands Park, so that the children that deserve to be there do not get intimidated?

    • anon

      Isn’t the whole point of joining a country club to keep the lower income families out? I think Joe needs to find one with a spray park stat.

  • V Dizzle

    If I could do it over again, I’d become a spray-ground bully. I wouldn’t tell people my parents were middle class so they’d fear me. I’d also say no to the ‘bowl’ haircut my parents were so fond of.

    • Gabe

      I like the way you think.

  • Sandra

    I’m going to give Joe the benefit of the doubt and figure that he’s just being very, very sarcastic. Because it scares me that Joe might be my neighbor. Really.

    • mehoo

      It’s easy to find Joe – just take your child to a spray park with a T-shirt that says “I’m from the Lee Highway ‘Hood” and see which dad grabs his kid and runs in fear.

  • wow.

    I’m not sure who “Joe” is, but he’s nothing if not consistent.

    • mehoo

      Thanks. From that post, it looks like Joe is a very clever sarcastic fellow. God, I hope so.

      • V Dizzle

        Or one of the people that like to rile up message boards…ever look at the comments posted on ANY Yahoo News story?

    • Greg

      That post is hilarious. The one above is too rational, though, if he’s trying to be funny.

  • AMJ

    Joe: as a middle class South Arlington resident, I am so very glad you are not my neighbor.

    • el fat kid

      i’m not a detective but i’m pretty sure ‘Joe’ doesn’t live in lyon village.

  • The Pope of South Arlington

    Oh nice, a million dollar bird-bath for guttersnipe!

    • mehoo

      Why don’t you and Joe go duke it out somewhere. You’re perfect for each other.

      • The Pope of South Arlington

        Why dont you finish your sprout shake and pedal yourself to work ya silly little freak.

        • mehoo

          I’m too busy checking Facebook at Starbucks, remember?

          • The Pope of South Arlington

            Be nice and I’ll get ya cup holder and a purple crazy straw for your bicycle. 😉

          • mehoo

            Not worth it. I want one of those $44 insulated tumblers I saw at Whole Foods while perusing the tofu aisle before yoga class.

        • V Dizzle

          Does a sprout shake have ice cream in it, or is it just sprouts with some sort of soy base?

          • mehoo

            We need three bathrooms at this park. One for North Arlingtonians to yammer about the uncouth rabble they let in these places while they sip their soy shakes before going home to their 5 1/2 bath McMansions, one for South Arlingtonians to vent their resentment and blabber on about soy shakes and McMansions, and one for people from outside the county to laugh at the first two.

  • Jim

    Okay – so clearly “Joe” is trying for satire… but Virginia Highlands Park already attracts a lot of non-residents because of it’s metro accessibility. for better or for worse — this will increase it.

  • mehoo

    Nice to see they’re going to capture the water for reuse, unlike the other spray parks, where it literally goes down the drain.

  • Jean

    Joe in North Arl. doesn’t realized how lucky his is to be able to live in Arlington. One certainly wishes him luck in the future and hope that he continues to live the insular, idealized life he is has created for himself.

  • Burger

    Gee, so that’s where that 5 million dollar “parks and recs.” bond will be going toward. Seems like a great investment.

    • cryscityrez

      Actually no, this is from the 2008 Neighborhood Conservation bond.

  • Andrew

    As an 11-year resident of Lyon Village Apartments, and a 38-year resident of Arlington County, I’m getting a kick out of these replies. 😉

  • Thirsty

    Joe, very Jonathan Swift of you. Does no one in Arlington understand satire?

    • mehoo

      Satire has to be done right to work.

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