Arlington County has spent more than $150,000 on acoustic fencing to help manage the noise coming from pickleball courts.
In recent weeks and months, acoustic fencing has gone up around multi-use courts at five different parks around the county. That includes Glebe Road Park, Marcey Road Park, Hayes Park, Virginia Highlands Park, and Walter Reed Community Center, which were installed just last week — and two years ahead of schedule.
Fort Scott Park will also have fences installed “in the coming weeks,” Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) spokesperson Jerusalem Solomon told ARLnow via email.
Solomon noted that Glebe Road Park’s fencing went up in mid-April, and “neighbors and players have shared that it has been working well to dampen noise from pickleball play.”
In all, $153,913.25 has been spent on the fencing so far. The Walter Reed Community Center installation alone cost $41,235.70, Solomon said.
“In determining a way to balance the demand for pickleball while also being sensitive to the surrounding community, the County decided to make this investment as a way to help alleviate some of the impacts that noise from pickleball play has on neighbors,” Solomon wrote. “This is why fencing that faces homes that are less than 300 feet away were prioritized in the planning for installation.”
Along with putting up fencing, DPR crews are also restriping tennis courts for pickleball at four of those parks — Fort Scott Park, Marcey Road Park, Hayes Park and Virginia Highlands Park — in accordance with the Arlington Outdoor Courts Assessment Project. That study determined those parks were the best places to re-strip tennis courts for pickleball. It was a recommendation that was first made back in April.
At least one civic association disagreed with how the process played out, though. Earlier this summer, the Donaldson Run Civic Association sent a letter to DPR arguing that there wasn’t “any real opportunity for input from our neighborhood” before restriping courts at Marcey Road Park.
This came on the heels of the Old Glebe Civic Association also suggesting some sort of legal action against the county for much the same reason. Additionally, a group of neighbors near Walter Reed Community Center contemplated a lawsuit because of the plan to bring more courts to the facility.
Arlington’s pickleball problem has received recent national attention, from a New York Times story to a discussion on NPR’s nationally syndicated show 1A to fodder for jokes on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. However, it appears some of the emotions have since cooled.
Old Glebe Civic Association president Howard Solodky told ARLnow in an email that the recently installed fencing and the closing of a few courts have helped quiet the noise.
“The combination of closure of the standalone pickleball court that was closest to the homes on N. Tazewell, the placement of sound insulating material around two sides of the tennis/pickleball courts and reduced hours at Glebe Park has proven satisfactory to the affected homeowners, while not perfect,” Solodky wrote.
At Marcey Road Park, fencing has also recently gone up. Donaldson Run Civic Association president Bill Richardson told ARLnow that while it’s too early to tell how much impact the fencing will have on mitigating the noise, he does appreciate the county considering their concerns. He hopes the thousands of dollars the county has spent on acoustic fencing is worth it.
“There is a debate about whether [the fencing] is or isn’t effective. The county says they have studies that have shown that acoustic fencing is effective,” Richardson said. “I don’t know who’s right on that, but that’s one of the things that we will be watching.”
This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.
On this week’s edition of the Neighborhood Spotlight, join Keri Shull, founder of the Keri Shull Team, as she gives you a tour of 5 more of our favorite family-friendly playgrounds in Arlington.
Between amazing food, drinks and entertainment, there are plenty of great things to do in Arlington — but not all of it is family friendly. Luckily, when it comes to finding fun for the whole family, we are here to help! So take a look below to learn about 5 more of our favorite recreational parks!
Lyon Village Park
Sitting just south of Lee Highway, Lyon Village Park is a cute, 2-acre space that offers tons of fun activities. Families can enjoy their snacks at the picnic pavilion — and with so much fun to be had, you and yours are sure to work up an appetite!
This gorgeous park is great for toddlers and big kids alike, with enjoyable activities for all ages. In addition to spaces to place tennis and basketball, the park’s sprayground is a perfect way to escape the summer heat.
Rocky Run Park
Rocky Run Park is a great option for school-aged children and toddlers alike, with plenty of fun to be had across its 2 acres. Although there are distinct spaces for each age group, they are close enough together that parents or guardians can keep an eye on all their kids at once.
Little athletes are sure to fall in love with Rocky Run Park — in addition to a full-sized basketball court, the recreational area also features a turf field that is perfect for playing soccer or football. Rocky Run Park also has some convenient luxuries, such as public bathrooms and off-street parking options, that are much appreciated.
At the time of publication, Rocky Run Park is closed for ongoing repairs — so make sure you check the Arlington Parks and Recreation website regularly to see when you can come enjoy this great space!
Located off of I-66 near the Virginia Square neighborhood is Hayes Park, another one of the best parks in Arlington. Hayes Park is the perfect place to enjoy a steamy summer day, with a great sprayground, fun play structures and courts for playing tennis or basketball.
Hayes Park is also fenced in for ultimate peace of mind, and the spot has an off-street parking lot and public bathrooms. This makes Hayes a great place to spend an afternoon — and you can pack a lunch or snack to enjoy at one of the picnic tables!
At Hayes Park, the front gates were secured, keeping visitors away from the three-acre park north of Virginia Square.
— Ben D'Avanzo (@BenDAvanzo) May 23, 2020
Arlington County Parks & Recreation said on Twitter that the park remained closed because the playground on the site could not be secured. Playgrounds across the region remain closed, with leaders in neighboring Alexandria suggesting they could remain closed until September.
Hayes Park was still locked up last night (Wednesday) but Susan Kalish, spokeswoman for the parks department, said the padlock has been removed and the park reopened this morning (Thursday).
“In our efforts to reopen park spaces for May 23, we had some bumps,” said Kalish. “The park spaces at Hayes Park are open for people to enjoy if they social distance. The playground and tennis courts, like all in Arlington, are off-limits.”
With parks back open for passive recreation and Arlington about to enter “Phase 1” of a regional reopening, county officials are hoping that locals abide by the remaining restrictions.
“Our park spaces are open and people should be able to access them now,” Kalish added. “We should have caution tape around the playgrounds and specific signage that the playground, shelter, field, court and other amenities are closed. If people are confused, they can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook or at [email protected] or 703-228-4747.”
Committee Debates Aquatics Center — Arlington’s Committee of 100 debated the merits of the planned $79 million Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center last night. A park bond that would help fund the center is on the Nov. 6 ballot. [Sun Gazette]
Marymount University and Diversity — WUSA 9’s Peggy Fox profiles Marymount University, which she says is one of the “most diverse regional universities” despite a “race blind” admissions process. Instead of considering race during the admissions process, the university instead actively encourages minority students to apply. The U.S. Supreme Court will soon consider a case that challenges the legality of affirmative action, which allows race and ethnicity to be considered in school admissions processes. [WUSA 9]
Construction at Hayes Park — Due to construction behind the tennis courts at Hayes Park (1516 N. Lincoln Street), the park’s parking lot will be closed from 7:00 a.m. today to about 2:00 p.m. [Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association]
The incident happened just before 5:45 p.m., when police received a call for a truck that had crashed into a fence and a utility pole on the 1500 block of N. Lincon Street. The crash happened in front of Hayes Park and across from Arlington Science Focus school, in the Virginia Square neighborhood. The driver of the truck ran off after the accident, police were told.
After a short investigation officers determined that the truck’s owner had parked it with the keys still inside, and had just noticed that it was missing, according to police radio traffic. Police dogs were called in to try to track the suspect, but as of this morning there was no report of an arrest in the case.
A tipster tells us that houses, cars, a fence and a park were all vandalized in a neighborhood in the northern part of Virginia Square.
The vandal used blue paint to deface property in the area late Tuesday night.
We spotted what remained of the blue paint on a white picket fence at the corner of North Lincoln Street and 14th Street. Also, blue writing was scrawled on a building in Hayes Park, two blocks away.