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County To Host Meeting on Changes to Bluemont Park and Four Mile Run Trail

Arlington County is looking for more feedback on altering a section of Four Mile Run Trail and replacing the tennis courts at Bluemont Park, among other proposed changes.

“The goal of this Parks Maintenance Capital project is to replace the tennis court complex, lighting, restroom/storage, shelter, parking lot, site circulation, section of Four Mile Run Trail, site furnishing, drainage and landscaping in the Upper Bluemont area,” noted the county on its webpage for the project.

People are invited to attend a public meeting to share their thoughts and hear about the county’s goals on Tuesday, October 29 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Ashlawn Elementary School (601 N. Manchester Street.)

In addition to overhauling the tennis courts, shelter area, and the trail, Arlington is also aiming to make the new designs compliant with newer disability accessibility standards.

County staff began soliciting feedback online for the project back in June. The results from survey indicate that almost 40% of respondents frequently visit the park and that the tennis courts (which 45% of survey respondents reported using) and the trails (used by 75% of respondents) are among the most popular amenities.

The survey drew around 350 responses when it asked for suggestions on what should be changed in the park. The majority of responses asked the county to:

  • Preserve and plant more trees
  • Resurface the tennis courts to fix cracks and improve drainage
  • Improve lighting, and add more light poles near the baseball diamond
  • Install more benches at the tennis courts and elsewhere
  • Better maintain the restrooms and water fountains by the picnic shelter.

“Drainage has been a major problem this past year, with all the rain,” one resident wrote in a survey response. “The open space has had times when it was an impassable marsh.”

Several respondents asked the county to address stormwater runoff concerns with trees, more pervious surfaces, and underground drainage features.

Part of the park and the area around it lie within the floodplain around Four Mile Run. It was one of the areas hit by this summer’s flash flood, prompting the county to close the park’s picnic shelter at the time.

Other suggestions from residents included adding a pickleball court and a Capital Bikeshare station, plus replacing grassy areas with native pollinator plants and adding bee hives to the park — à la the county’s growing urban agriculture moment.

Other respondents opposed the proposed changes, however, with one resident asking the county to make no changes.

“The area in question is perfectly serviceable and Arlington can spend the money better in other areas,” the person said.

The renovation discussion comes two years after the county finished a contested retrofit of the park’s baseball field with new sod, equipment, and fencing, with several residents saying they had concerns about the fencing part of the project and the lack of public input as a whole in the process.

Funding for the new renovations is slated to be included in an upcoming Capital Improvement Plan budget.

Draft designs are expected to be presented at two additional public meetings scheduled this fall before renovations move forward next year, per the county’s website.

Images 1, 4 via Arlington County 

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