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Improvements Coming to Nine County Parks

by ARLnow.com January 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm 3,087 48 Comments

(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) Arlington County will renovate High View Park and will make improvements to eight other parks following County Board approval of the projects over the weekend.

The work planned for High View Park (1945 N. Dinwiddie Street) includes renovating the worn-out playground and picnic areas and improving access to those with disabilities. The $628,082 project will add a large kid’s play structure with swings, a boulder and a climbing wall, as well as a sand play area with swings, a water spigot and a play structure for younger children.

Another $83,637 will be used for the following projects:

  • Landscaping at the I-395 ramp/Arlington Ridge Road intersection
  • Invasive plant removal at Zachary Taylor Park
  • Improvements to the entrance to the Shirlington Community Canine Area
  • Invasive plant removal at the Bluemont Park Trail entrance and a park information kiosk
  • New benches and picnic tables at the old Westover Library site
  • Discovery play area at Long Branch Nature Center, plus invasive plant removal
  • Bike rack, two benches, recycling can, two bat houses and educational signage at Prospect Hill Park
  • Spanish translation of Buckingham Village history sign at Henry Wright Park
  • Adding boulders near the Fort Scott Park parking lot

  • pedant

    “Recycling ban” – about time they put a stop to that nonsense!

    • pedant

      I see you corrected it now

  • Burger

    “invasive plant removal” pulling weeds out.

    • Sam

      Virginia creeper I would assume.

      • Clay

        Actually, Virginia Creeper is a native that is good for wildlife. English Ivy is the invasive.

  • JamesE

    “Spanish translation of Buckingham Village history sign at Henry Wright Park” Oh thank god, finally!!

  • Wilbur

    $11K to pull weeds.

    Leave the weeds – reduce the taxes.

    • drax

      No. I want parks that aren’t overgrown by weeds.

      (Most invasive plant removal in Arlington is done by volunteers, btw. This is just when the bring in the big equipment to tear out the really bad stuff.)

      • CW

        Overgrown Bush had better watch out!!!

  • Dog Walker

    Any updates on when construction to upgrade the Clarendon dog park (Herndon and 13th St) begins?

    • Clarenhood

      That site is slated for a new condo building.

      • CW

        You’re joking, right?

  • DL

    So why are they using a picture of Halls Hill Park for the story? To bring attention to the ridiculous use of arts funding on the HHHVP (not to be confused with HPV) sign? I’m baffled by this one. I’m all for public art, but a bunch of steel letters that take up most of the “park” is a huge waste of money.

  • George

    Am I the only person wondering what the other 8 parks are that will also be improved by this funding?

    • bd

      Yeah, you are the only person, probably because we actually read the whole article!?

      • Clarenhood

        Uh, ya. Most posters obviously read only the header.

      • Kim

        it doesn’t mention the 8 other parks, only other projects.

        • drax

          Zachary Taylor Park
          Shirlington Community Canine Area
          Bluemont Park
          the old Westover Library site
          Long Branch Nature Center
          Prospect Hill Park
          Henry Wright Park
          Fort Scott Park

  • Stokes

    It’s crazy how much they have been spending on parks. They just spent all summer working on one near my house and spent like $300k. It was better before they started. They took away the fence separating the play area from the road and left a big cement drop offs. It’s only a matter of time before a kid breaks a bone falling off or gets hit by a car. I agree with Wilbur… save the money and reduce taxes!

  • PearDPea

    Are there expenses that someone on here does not hate? Attractive well-maintained parks keep real estate value high. The total for these repairs is about $3 per resident of the county.

    • Ballston

      What? Rational thinking?! On ARLnow?! I’d happily trade half a beer for nice parks.

    • John Fontain

      “Attractive well-maintained parks keep real estate value high.”

      Exactly, which allows the county to continue to collect high levels of property tax. So by spending big on parks we end up paying even more in taxes. Hip hip hooray!!

      • Josh S

        You can reasonably note the connection. However, I think the alternative is not any better – letting parks deteriorate or not get built in order to keep property values down and property taxes low (supposedly).

        Besides, I think that any built or improved park near your home has only a marginal effect on your taxes…..and you can probably derive a value from that park that is equal to or greater than whatever marginal increase in your taxes. This, by the way, is one of the benefits of having publicly provided amenities – the marginal benefit is usually higher than the marginal cost to individual residents.

    • Wilbur

      “Attractive well-maintained parks keep real estate value high.”

      Pulling weeds in a forest does not make the park “attractive and well maintained.” It makes the park conform to some ditzes silly notion of aesthetics. What makes an undeveloped, wooded park look “attractive”? Leaving it along and letting nature take its course! Not having humans to the tun of $11K pull weeds because the dont like those weeds (only to remove the ground cover and create an erosion problem). Go to Zack Taylor park – some of the neighbors have cleared weeds – it looks stupid and now their hills are eroding (d’oh!)

      If we are talking about playgrounds and High View Park – yes, attractive parks that are social centers and great for kids – I agree.

      But if we are talking $11K to pull weeds, that is just stupid.

      • Clay

        Removing invasives is not pulling weeds. Invasive plants are non-native species that harm the ecosystem. Leaving them is not letting nature take it’s course, but precisely the opposite. These are plants that spread with no natural controlling mechanism in their new environment. A prime example is English ivy, which happens to provide a perfect habitat for the Norwegian Brown rat – another invasive species.

      • other side of the river

        It’s not pulling weeds like dandelions, it’s ripping out weeds like ailanthus, porcelainberry, English ivy, and wisteria — things that by damaging what little forest cover we still have damage wildlife, our life, and water quality.

  • Curb Guy

    I want to know who the person is that designed the “improvements” to Walter Reed Drive. They made the curb cuts extremely large and round at the cross streets and now you can’t turn right into the cross street if another car is waiting to pull on to WR because it is too narrow. We have almost been nailed twice waiting to try to turn on to 16th from WR. And the curbs jut out all over the place in the median so cars hit them repeatedly. Why no straight lines or 90 degree angles?

    ARLNOW can you look in to this?

    • zzzzz

      Have you tried to turn left onto Quincy from northbound (uphill) Walter Reed? The curb cut is past Quincy, so you have to make a partial u-turn to avoid crashing into the sidewalk. Add in the steepness of the hill at that point and it’s only a matter of time before a large truck topples over trying to make the turn.

      Whoever planned the medians has clearly never actually visited the street in person.

      • Melissa

        I live on a side road off of Walter Reed at the top of the huge hill. I haven’t tried to turn onto Quincy from Walter Reed, but turning left from Quincy onto WR definitely is more difficult. I fail to see how those medians are “calming” to traffic, which was the stated goal of the so-called improvements.

        Yes, cars do go too fast on WR, and that’s dangerous for the pedestrians who cross to go to and from the dog park and Fort Barnard Park. Enforcing the speed limit there or more clearly defining the crosswalk could be effective. However, that’s not where the “improvements” were installed. The sightlines on the main part of the hill are terrible now. If the county puts shrubs or trees in the medians, it’ll be worse (see parts of George Mason Drive north of Route 50 for an example).

  • MC 703

    I’m all for these improvements except for the Spanish translation. Why cater to people that choose not to learn the language of the country that is providing them the opportunity to earn a better life?

    Spanish translators in hospitals and on the police force serves a purpose. Seeing ‘Cabbaleros’ by the bathroom at Target is obscene.

    • CourthouseChris

      I’dd dodge the obscene xenophobia there and go with the easy answer: Because Historical markers are frequently read by tourists, not just citizens; tourists bring money to the county. Do you insist that visitors learn Englisht too?

      • v

        C’mon. You know it’s not for the random Bolivian from La Paz just visiting and dropping huge $$ at Ballston Mall. Get real.

      • novasteve

        Why don’t they put the signs up in French and German and especially Japanese/Chinese if you claim it’s about tourism? This simply liberal pandering to a darling group of theirs.

      • novasteve

        Probably because tourists don’t move here and don’t live here? Is it asking too much for people who have c hosen to live in this country to bother to learn the language?

        • MC 703

          I rarely agree with you, but well said sir

      • Josh S

        Tourists? That speak Spanish exclusively? What would that be – 1% of the total tourist population in Arlington? And if a tourist, from anywhere in the world, comes to Arlington, do you think they’ll be visiting Henry Wright Park?

        By and large, I am not in the “complaining about every cent spent” crowd. But I just can’t see why putting up a Spanish translation here is worth the money, even if we’re only talking about less than a thousand dollars.

    • CourthouseChris

      Also, at Target, consider the pure utlitarian argument: Would you want a wife, daughter, or possibly yourself given your sex-indeterminant name walked in on in the restroom by someone that couldn’t read the sign? Businesses serve the market… what else would you have them do?

      • Josh S

        Aren’t the little silluetttes enough?
        Also, isn’t the embarrassment factor enough to motivate people to figure out “MEN” and “WOMEN” pretty fast, even if they can’t speak the language? I certainly have managed when overseas in a place where I didn’t speak the language.

        If this was Texas or Arizona or something like that, I could see posting lots of things in Spanish and English. There is history, there is long-established culture that has nothing to do with the existence of borders that were created only 150 years ago. An immigrant to those areas can easily and reasonably assume that they will never have to learn English. But the same history does not apply in Virginia.

        • drax

          150 years isn’t enough for you, Josh?

          • MC 703

            German immigrants started coming in droves in the 1820s. All signs should also be in German.

    • MC 703

      You’re right. All of the tourists hanging out in front of the market at Pershing and Glebe are just in town to see the sights and read historical markers.

      So you think Arlco should install markers in every other language as well?

      I’m not against Hispanic immigrants. I’m against people who don’t embrace the culture and language of the country that they owe so much to.

      • bobco85

        The Buckingham area has a large Hispanic population, and the apartment complexes print everything in both English and Spanish. Having a historical marker in this neighborhood that is in both English and Spanish is not much of a stretch. Also, our country does not technically have an official language (I’m nitpicking here, but it is true).

        Saying, “Seeing ‘Cabbaleros’ by the bathroom at Target is obscene.” is very strong language that could make you seem intolerant of other cultures.

        Flipping this around, if you were to move to another country that spoke another language, would you drop your American culture and the English language and embrace that of your new country like you expect others to do here?

        • Josh S

          Your final question takes the discussion well beyond the question of whether public signs should be posted in Spanish. I don’t know that anyone expects immigrants to drop their culture and language. This happens somewhat naturally over time. But the first generation immigrants don’t usually drop their culture and language. I can understand that and sympathize. If I had to up and move to Bolivia, for example, of course I would seek out other English-speakers and still celebrate Thanksgiving, etc. But I wouldn’t expect to see public signs posted in English. I would expect that I would have to learn Spanish, in addition to of course continuring to speak English at home, with my relatives, etc. Even if my move wasn’t 100% voluntary, I would still expect to have to make these adjustments. They aren’t easy, to be sure.

          • drax

            What if you moved to Bolivia with several million of your English-speaking friends? You might not expect to see signs in English, but the Bolivians might decide it makes sense.

          • truth be told

            Why don’t we have signs all over the place in Italian then? German? Because they learned the language of the country they were immigrating to. Many latino and hispanic immigrants come, hang in their own community, use our handouts and/or earn money to send home, and throw their garbage out the window in disrespect to our country. They don’t want to learn the language.

          • MC 703

            No, they would expect people to learn their language. Everything is in English everywhere b/c internationally it is the lingua franca of commerce and trade and many regional economies depend on tourism $, not because some local government in Hamburg wants to make life easier on expats from the US or UK.

        • MC 703

          It is obscene that it the pandering has come this far.

    • Pepe



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