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Plans Crystallize for New Park Near Amazon HQ2

(Updated 12:45 p.m. on 6/16/21) The Arlington County Board adopted a master plan and design guidelines for a new park and open space in Crystal City on Tuesday.

This document will guide the construction of a new, 0.9-acre park, which is scheduled to kick off next year. The open space, also known as the “Teardrop Parcel,” borders Pentagon City and is located at the intersection of S. Eads Street and Army Navy Drive.

The park “will serve as a contemplative green oasis in a densely developed urban context,” according to the master plan document.

The green space is located by the Verizon telecommunications facility (400 11th Street S.) and the construction site for a new, 19-story residential building. It’s adjacent to the recently-built Altaire apartments and across the street from the second phase of Amazon’s permanent HQ2. The park project, with a $3 million budget, is funded by developer contributions.

According to a county report, the plans have support from the community, which had multiple virtual public engagement opportunities — from September 2020 to March 2021.

The plan said “people value the park space as a natural green refuge [and] want a space where they can come and feel connected with nature, to take a break, and to relax by themselves or with others.”

In particular, community members indicated they were keen to preserve a 40-year-old cottonwood tree on the north parcel.

One engagement opportunity this year asked community members to indicate their preference for one of three design concepts. Respondents and committees settled on one called “The Meander,” which features a central promenade bordered by planted berms.

“Berms with pollinator meadows and a rain garden bring visual, tactile and temporal experiences of nature into the urban environment,” the planning document said.

Other berms will be planted densely with trees to provide a “green buffer” between the park and Army Navy Drive.

In addition to the promenade, users can traverse via a boardwalk. There will be an outdoor fitness area with exercise stations, built-in benches, a “dog spot” and two lawns for gatherings.

Amenities to be included in the new park along S. Eads Street in Crystal City (via Arlington County)

The master plan with design guidelines has the support of the Park and Recreation and the Forestry and Natural Resources commissions.

“The park appears to provide the promise of a casual use oasis in this part of Crystal City that is supportive and respectful of the need for more natural plantings,” said PRC Chair William Ross in a letter to the county.

Forestry commission chair Chair Phil Klingelhofer said that members believe the community “will be well served by walking along the non-linear, curvy path shaded by trees.”

Klingelhofer noted in his letter to the county that the community was excited to see the cottonwood tree preserved and the proposed level of planting.

“This shows, once again, the demand for enhanced natural resources, and a level of satisfaction that community needs are being met,” he said.

Construction is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2022 and end one year later, in the third quarter of 2023, according to the county webpage on the new park.

The Board approved the item at its Tuesday meeting, after a request to remove it from Saturday’s consent agenda, which is used to approve items deemed non-controversial with one vote.

(An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the date in which the County Board approved the plan.)

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