Arlington, VA

Construction is getting underway on a new public plaza along Columbia Pike.

Fences have gone up around the construction site — a small grass field in front of the Penrose Square apartment complex, on the 2400 block of Columbia Pike. The first construction phase of the $2 million Penrose Square public plaza is expected to be completed this fall.

“Penrose Square is the first of three squares that will eventually be located along the Pike Corridor and will be an active pedestrian center and community gathering spot within the corridor’s Town Center,” said Arlington County parks department spokeswoman Susan Kalish.

Among the plaza’s planned features:

The first phase of development calls for a tree-covered, upper terrace with movable tables and chairs; an inner plaza with a water feature; a unique two-piece sculpture called “Echo”; an inscription of the historic significance of the site, and a grass mound area shaded with trees for informal seating.

Continuing Arlington’s goal of a sustainable environment, the tree terrace area will have Silva Cells installed beneath the surface to facilitate stormwater runoff filtration into the soil while providing maximum soil volume for root growth. The Silva Cells prevent compaction of the soil so that tree roots are protected and also help to retain water to sustain the trees during dry periods.

What’s more, a portion of the square will have a water feature designed to shoot thin jets of water 5 – 12 feet into the air from the pavers. The water feature will enhance the square by providing the movement and sounds of water and make an enjoyable place for people to visit. The water from the fountain will be collected, treated and then reused in the fountain again to conserve water.

And finally, the square will also have a new Super Stop Station located along the front sidewalk that will support the current Pike Ride system as well as future generations of transit that are planned for Columbia Pike.

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