Board to Approve New Playground for Ft. Myer Heights Park

by ARLnow.com December 4, 2012 at 11:45 am 6,405 58 Comments


The Arlington County Board on Saturday is expected to approve a contract for improvements to Ft. Myer Heights Park (1400 Ft. Myer Drive).

The planned improvements to the 0.48 acre park include new nature-themed playground equipment, new fencing, an accessible path to the playground from Ft. Myer Drive, concrete retaining walls, enhanced plantings and improved site drainage. The construction contract, in the amount of $475,920.53 plus a $47,592.04 contingency, will be awarded to Avon Corporation.

The existing park consists of a small playground area, basketball court, picnic area and open grassy field. The park improvements were devised with the help of input from the community, including the Radnor / Fort Myer Heights Civic Association.

Images via Arlington County

  • Westover

    Half a million to landscape a half acher and add playground equipment? No way you can charge a home owner or a business such an amount, how does one sleep at night charging the taxpayers? And how does the board sleep at night spending such a sum?!?!?!

    • Douglas Parker

      100% agree. Right up there with the new 1/8th acre urban mess at Penrose, which if they didn’t announce it was a park, would never be referred to as such.

      Oh and let’s not get started on the never ending ultra over designed, over priced glorified bus stop in front of the Rite Aid at Walter Rd. and Columbia Pike.

      Arlington spends money like a belligerent teen.

      • G Clifford Prout

        Oh my that thing at Penrose is a hot mess. I’m guessing that the patio furniture will will have found new homes in six month’s time.

      • belligerent teen

        on death metal albums?

  • Quoth the Raven

    Where is the bocce court?

    • DCBuff

      Oh sure, you get your bocce court. What about my spray park thingy?

  • Buckingham Bandit

    I’m upset that they didn’t turn it into a dog park.

    • Westover

      Would have been a lot cheaper too!

      • CW

        Unlikely…do the cost/sqft on the Clarendon dog park and get back to us.

        • Westover

          4-5 Rolls of Chainlink fence, three dozen posts, two gates, a few dump loads of mulch, done.

          • CW

            Right – if I were building a dog park that is absolutely what I would do. I’m just saying that based on the past costs for county dog parks, namely the one in Clarendon, they might actually be more expensive than this playground when adjusted for size.

          • Westover

            Guess I should have written, “Could have been a lot cheaper too!” The C for the W, just for you.

  • CheckYES

    This is what happens when Arlington citizens do not think of the consequences for checking yes to all those bond and ballot questions… do I want more parks? YES I love parks!!! Should we upgrade our playgrounds?? The kids will LOVE new swing sets!!! Should we build an aquatics center? OF COURSE WE SHOULD! Meanwhile vital services like the fire department and other county agencies are forced to continue to make cut backs and skip raises… all in the name of dog parks… Hopefully those dog parks will provide you with some safety after the fire and police departments start cutting down staffing, units, and resources…. Give me a break.

    • JohnB

      Do you have evidence that ACPD and ACFD have reduced staffing levels while the budget for parks and recreation has increased?

      • Observer

        The number of officers did decline in FY 2011. If you go back 10 years, there are fewer sworn officers than in 2002. Of course, the population has not stopped growing, so we slip further below the recommended FBI ratio of officers to household population.

        There is a hiring freeze and more spending cuts for the police department.

        As for the Parks budget, I don’t know if that has gone up or down over the same period.

        • JohnB

          Where can I find these numbers?

    • and why not?

      It seems that you know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Why not improve our county and improve facilities for our citizens? (helping to create jobs at the same time)

      • Westover

        That is fine, I am all for the improvements, but not for spending money just to spend money. The military can no longer pay $400 for a hammer, the county board should not pay half a million to landscape a quarter acre. Freaking common sense bells and lights should have been going off on who ever the contracting officer was for this project. This should have had a budget of a tenth of this.

    • C

      There has also been a reduction in teachers countywide as the county/APS have increase class size to meet budgets. Teachers and other APS staff along with county employees have had little more than a 1.8% increase in pay over the past 4 years. So, I agree. We need to take a lesson from elementary school and put our resources where they are NEEDED before we contribute to the ones that are simply WANTED.

    • CW

      I’m not sure you understand how bonds work. It’s a separate pool of money set aside for a specific task. It has no bearing on police, fire, etc. staffing. If you want more money for those, lobby the powers that be to put out a bond on them, or to increase revenue / decrease expenditures elsewhere and reallocate the money from the current budget to those areas.

      • Patrick

        I’m not sure you understand how bonds work. There is a part of the budget that is called debt service that involves repaying these specific bonds. So as the debt service costs increase (due to an increase in bonds) it actually has a direct affect on the money available for police, fire, etc.

        • Westover

          This. Don’t try and use reality to convince CW, you need to use academic theoretical terms.

          • CW

            Yes, and you can use ad hominem attacks and the word “freakin” a lot. Woo.

        • CW

          This is fine – except that people are speaking in past terms when addressing the police/fire/etc. situation and then comparing it to the current bond. They are trying to draw a causal link between past decreases/stagnation of funding to these departments and the current parks bond. I am just saying that this is impossible because said bond has not yet been issued. I agree that of course eventually any debt incurred will come due.

        • Ed

          What was the % of the budget going to debt service I saw floating around the other day? It was quite a number of percentage points.

          • Ed

            Nevermind, found it on the county webpage. About 9 1/4%. We are spending nearly $100 million a year to pay off debt.

    • Courthouse Diva

      Agree — raise taxes and make sure we have a state of the art swim center. Meanwhile, cut back of traditional government services — police, fire, teachers.

      • Westover

        I am all for the swim center and other nice stuff, after we take care of the essential services the cops, fire department and teachers provide. This project shows that we just need to look closer at how we are spending the money on these projects.

        • Ed

          Agreed. And Arlington needs to look at eliminating some taxes to stay competitive with some of the other regional jurisdictions.

  • MrMeow

    I hope lots of the new homeless people attracted to the area will hang out there.

  • Feldman

    No kidding… That’s about the size of my yard and for $450 grand I could probably create a landscape design fantasy world. What are they making the playground out of – reclaimed old-growth river timbers?

    • JohnB

      You have a half acre of land in Arlington? Must be nice…

    • drax

      Then you open your little $450 fantasy world to the public, and it is turned to mud and splinters in a few days, and reality sets in.

  • ArLater

    I am impressed that only 6 comments in and we already connected this to the bocce court and aquatics center! Cmon you ArlNow folks, we can do better Tie this into the crappy roads, the streetcar, froyo and brown flip flops! Complain complain complain!

  • SteamboatWillie

    Commercial playground equipment is VERY expensive.

    • Westover

      Not a half million expensive. Unless the RFP is coming from Arlington county.

  • new nature-themed playground equipment

    I never was cheep…

  • MrMeow

    We could easily have gotten the world’s largest yarn ball for that kind of money.

  • South Awwlington

    A friend of mine who lives out of the area was in hysterics when I shared with her the cost of Clarendon dog park…this is on par with that. 400k could build a house or two.

    I would do this work at an 1/8th price.

    • Richard Cranium

      I would too! Of course, I would install the “death equipment” of my youth – shiny metal “insta-hot” slides, the spinny-thing / kid flinger, and butt-wrecking, uncushioned see saws, etc. But hey, you get what you pay for.

      • BBMS

        If I were to ever form a band, I would name it Kid Flinger.

      • Westover

        As opposed to the Ikea-esq playground equipment like the stradal slides that I have personally seen three kids split there heads when they feel off? This stuff is no safe than the old stuff, it just gets the kids in a different way.

    • Josh S

      Sure you would.

      • Sosh Jess


        • Josh S

          Unless the commonly accepted definition for an internet troll has changed, I don’t think so.
          And what’s with the “sosh jess?” What does that accomplish? You’re some sort of alternate personality version of me? Is it supposed to be some kind of insult? I don’t get it.

          • Herman

            What is that definition?

  • MrMeow

    will the playground be ADA compliant? can I put a wheelchair on the swings??

    • Quoth the Raven

      I certainly hope not, because the last thing we need is some handicapped person trying to accompany their kids to the park.

      • Hank

        Exactly. Ramps are just liberal pork.

        • Westover

          The ramps are fine, but if they are allowing the contractors to charge that much, they are not being very responcible with our money. Maybe some of us have been working in government too long to realize that prices can and should be negotiated when rediculous prices are asked.

          • malaka

            This is where someone steps in and accuses you of using some fancy European spelling of responsible and ridiculous.

          • Westover

            Or having mild dyslexia and using a browser without a speel check.

  • Westover

    Do they really need the “Farm Pump” the only other ones I know of in the County have been shut down due to clogs or contaminated water. Right there is probably a $50K cut that could be made from the project.

  • Arlington

    Instead of parks think how to eliminated begging poeple from our courners?

  • pcruse

    The Fire Dept. is being asked to cut 3% from their budget next year, as is the police dept. That means the possible elimination of a fire truck and/or a recruit school. Arlington is also offering early-outs to try to further reduce the workforce.


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