Despite the cries of many residents for more open, green space in the county, not all park goers are happy with the parks that currently exist in Arlington.
Among otherwise glowing reviews, there are a number of one, two or three star Yelp reviews of parks in Arlington, detailing the numerous problems some visitors experience.
Complaints ranged from the park’s design, lack of proper cleanup by park employees or that the park just didn’t have enough to offer.
Parks in Arlington aren’t alone in receiving negative comments. In honor of the National Park Service’s 99th birthday, the publication Mother Jones this week shared some not-so-nice reviews of national parks across the country, in a post entitled “I Can’t Stop Reading One-Star Yelp Reviews of National Parks.”
James Hunter Park
James Hunter Park (1299 N. Herndon Street) — the Clarendon dog park — is dog-friendly, and has an open lawn, water feature and a “plaza terrace,” according to the park’s website. However, one reviewer claims the park was not designed with dogs in mind.
Iwo Jima Anniversary — Today marks the 70th anniversary of the famous photo of Marines raising the flag during on Iwo Jima during World War II. Veterans of the battle gathered at the Marine Corps War Memorial near Rosslyn, which depicts the flag raising, to mark its anniversary last week. [Stars and Stripes]
Impromptu Marriage at Fire Station — A Marine and his fiance got married at Arlington’s Fire Station 5 Saturday night. Firefighters got the call at 6:00 p.m. that the Marine, who was deploying the next day, was in desperate need of a hall after their venue was closed due to broken pipes. Firefighters were able to hastily mop the floor and set up chairs in one of the station’s bays before the bride and groom arrived for the short ceremony. [Facebook]
Man Falls on Tracks at Ballston Metro — Around 8:15 this morning, a man somehow fell onto the outbound tracks at the Ballston Metro station. Bystanders were able to hoist the man back onto the platform. According to scanner traffic, he suffered a head injury.
SUV Rollover Near Columbia Pike — An SUV crashed and rolled onto its side at Walter Reed Drive and 13 Street S., near Columbia Pike, on Friday night. The vehicle’s occupants were unhurt and were able to get out on their own, according to a fire department spokesman. Also Friday night, a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on N. Glebe Road near Pershing Drive. The victim was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. [Twitter]
Benjamin Banneker Park to Expand — At its Saturday meeting, the Arlington County Board approved the purchase of a 8,375 square foot lot and home adjacent to Benjamin Banneker Park in East Fall Church. The $688,710 purchase will allow the park to expand, following the deconstruction of the house. [Arlington County]
James Hunter Park Cost Infographic — What caused the James Hunter dog park in Clarendon to cost so much? Washingtonian has created an interactive graphic that details some of the park’s features and their price tag. [Washingtonian]
Condo Parking Space Kerfuffle — At Saturday’s County Board meeting, the last item of the day, before the Board adjourned early due to the snowstorm, was a site plan amendment for the Virginia Square Condominiums building. The site plan amendment was proposed by the condo association to try to ameliorate a dispute over the size of two parking spaces. ARLnow.com live tweeted the absurdist theater that followed. [Storify]
Flickr pool photo by J. Peterson
James Hunter Park, which reopened in 2013 following a $1.6 million renovation, has been recognized as the “Best New Facility” in the parks category by the Virginia Recreation and Park Society.
The Clarendon park, which has facilities for both dogs and humans, was called “a model for today’s urban parks” by the society.
“From using rainwater for irrigation to solar power to native plantings to increasing the urban tree canopy, this park is at the forefront of environmental sustainability,” the group said, according to a county press release.
“It’s wonderful that James Hunter Park was recognized,” Arlington County Parks and Recreation Director Jane Rudolph said, in a statement. “Its development was very important to the County. We were able to turn an empty lot in a very urban corridor into something that the community really values and enjoys. This recognition by VRPS makes it even more special.”
The honor was bestowed by a jury of statewide park and recreation professionals, who based their decision on criteria like “innovative nature of the facility design, funding, construction,” “effectiveness in addressing the goals as defined in terms of community needs” and “efficiency in use of resources.”
Detractors of the park have said it was too expensive and doesn’t have enough shade.
The county’s description of the park, located at the corner of N. Herndon and 13th Streets, after the jump.
Maintenance issues continue to irk some patrons of James Hunter Park, the $1.6 million dog park at the corner of N. Herndon and 13th Streets in Clarendon.
Most recently, the gate at the front of the park on N. Herndon Street was vandalized and had to be removed, according to Arlington Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Roberta Korzen. Parks staff hopes to have a new door in place by early next week.
In addition, the artificial turf in front of the park’s water feature is currently roped off because it had to be replaced. Korzen said the sand base underneath the turf “hadn’t been compacted to the degree it should have been.” The manufacturer is replacing the turf under warranty, which she said also should be done by the end of the week.
Many residents have complained that the large stone water feature hasn’t been working for months; Korzen said it simply hasn’t been turned on yet, and, like many other water facilities in Arlington parks, it will be turned on for the summer this weekend. The water fountains to fill up dog bowls work, but the ones intended for human water consumption were both not functioning early Wednesday afternoon.
These issues add to complaints of some residents when the park opened in October. Among those complaints were the dust raised by the “crushed stone” surface that comprises a majority of the surface area in the canine community area.
One park visitor ARLnow.com spoke to today said the lack of shade is her biggest issue. Her dog was huddled under a table, the only place for shade in the dog area. Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish told ARLnow.com when the park opened that “shade was quite a challenge for our design team.” Parks staff installed trees around the park with the hope that, “in time,” they will grow to provide shade.
After numerous construction delays, James Hunter Park will finally open tonight in Clarendon.
The $1.6 million park has both dog- and people-friendly features like a community canine area, pathways, a picnic area, demonstration garden, public art, lighting, and solar panels that power the irrigation system. Crews have been putting the finishing touches on the park this month, according to Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Roberta Korzen.
“Over the past few weeks remaining amenities have been installed and all final inspections were approved,” Korzen said in an email. “Accordingly, County staff conducted a walk-through inspection late this week and declared the park safe for use.”
“As typical with construction, there will be some outstanding items to be completed after the park opens,” she added. “Therefore you may see construction workers in the area from time to time and areas of the park may be temporarily closed to users.”
The new park replaces what was previously a fenced-in grass field used exclusively as a dog park. A ribbon cutting ceremony is being planned and will take place later this fall.
File photo from July 26, 2013
Construction issues will delay the anticipated “late spring” reopening of Clarendon’s James Hunter Park until summer.
According to Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish, a number of unforeseen conditions turned up during construction at the dog park site on the corner of N. Herndon Street and N. 13th Street. Some of the problems include difficult soils, grading issues and the discovery of “buried structures.” Kalish said although such issues are not unheard of, they will push the expected park completion date into July.
“This is not unusual at an urban site and we were able to make adjustments to ensure the park will be a great place for the community to gather,” she said.
Workers will spend the next several weeks installing site furnishings and landscaping.
“This space should look more and more like a park by the middle of June,” said Kalish.
Despite the delay, the $1.6 million renovation project remains on budget.
Although at one time the project was slated to be finished last month, the Clarendon dog park renovations are still ongoing. Now we’re hearing that the revamp of James Hunter Park could take another couple of months.
According to Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish, the new goal is for a late spring reopening. The current delay is on top of setbacks during the planning process, which prevented the renovations from being finished last summer as originally planned.
Last May, the County Board approved a contract worth more than $1.6 million to renovate the park, which sits at the corner of N. Herndon Street and N. 13th Street.
The revamp plan emphasizes several sustainable and “green” features, such the use of recycled materials and an automated water management system that will capture and reuse rain water. The water will be stored in an underground unit and will be used for onsite landscaping irrigation. The park will also have a system to collect and use solar energy. The irrigation pumps, for example, will be run by solar power.
The final design for the park shows a plaza terrace with an open lawn area, gardens, a canine area, pedestrian areas, picnic areas and public art.
In less than a week, James Hunter Park in Clarendon is closing for its planned renovations. A sign has been posted announcing the park will close on Monday, July 16, and will remain closed until next spring.
In May, the County Board awarded a contract for renovating the park, which is located at the corner of N. Herndon Street and 13th Street. The contract is worth more than $1.6 million.
The Department of Parks and Recreation’s website lists some of the sustainable features of the park’s design, such as using recycled materials during construction. Workers will also install a solar power system that will power the park’s signs, lighting and irrigation system.
There will be a system to collect, purify and store rainwater on the site to irrigate the park. The underground storage will maintain a constant supply of water to surface plants, which will cut down on excessive watering.
In addition to an area for dogs, the park will have pedestrian areas, an open lawn, gardens and public art.
Delays with the plan caused the revamp not to be ready by this summer as originally planned. Currently, the project website lists the park’s re-opening date as late February 2013.
Hat tip to Jeff Sonderman
At its meeting on Saturday, May 19, the County Board is expected to award a contract for construction of the dog park, at N. Herndon and 13th Street, to Avon Corporation. The contract will be worth more than $1.6 million.
The plan to revamp the park has been in the works since 2007. The county has been collaborating with nearby neighborhood associations to devise the final plan.
The final design is for a park containing a plaza terrace with an open lawn area, gardens, a canine area, pedestrian areas and public art.
If the board approves the contract on Saturday, construction is supposed to begin early in the summer, and should finish by late spring next year. Officials had originally hoped to have the revamped dog park ready by this summer.
County staff will work with Clarendon Dogs to post signs about other dog friendly venues that visitors can use while James Hunter Park is closed for construction.
(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) What is now a muddy, run-down dog park in Clarendon will soon be transformed into an attractive, modern park serving both people and pets.
James Hunter Park (the new name for the previously unnamed “Community Canine Area” at N. Herndon and 13th Street) will feature picnic and seating areas, a demonstration garden, water feature, comfort station, kiosk, decomposed granite dog play area, grass lawn, public art and permeable paved walkways. Trees will line the park, which is located about two blocks northwest of the Clarendon Metro station.
Today, the park features a picnic bench and a couple of old plastic lawn chairs amid an open grass-and-dirt field.
Construction on the park is expected to begin in late fall/early winter and wrap up during the summer of 2012, according to project manager Scott McPartlin. That’s a couple of months behind a preliminary schedule announced last fall.
The project’s $1.85 million cost will be paid primarily with funds from a park bond approved by voters last year.