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On this week’s edition of the Neighborhood Spotlight, join Keri Shull as she gives you a tour of 5 of our favorite family-friendly playgrounds in Arlington.
Between amazing food, drinks and entertainment, there are plenty of great things to do in Arlington — and as the region begins to re-open after the COVID-19 restrictions, some people are getting ready to get out of the home and enjoy the warm weather.
Luckily, when it comes to finding fun for the whole family, we are here to help! So take a look below to learn more about 5 of our favorite parks in Arlington.
Sitting just a few steps away from the Virginia Square Metro stop, Quincy Park is one of our favorite recreational parks in all of Arlington. The beautiful park has a completely fenced-in playground and fun activities for people of all ages to enjoy.
The climbing ropes and swings are a great way for kids to let out some excess energy while having a great time. In addition to the play structure, there are also spots for organized sports in this 4-acre park, with a basketball court, 6 tennis courts, diamonds for baseball and softball, and even a sand court for volleyball!
Once you and yours have worn yourselves out from hours of fun, take some time to enjoy a picnic at one of several open-air tables or in the reservable, covered picnic pavilion.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly park that will bring you closer to nature, then look no further than Bluemont Park! This 70-acre space is as much of a nature reserve as it is a standard park, with tons of amazing options for fun activities. In addition to areas for sporting events and fitness activities, Bluemont features a fenced-in playground space that is designed for school-aged children.
Unlike many other recreational spaces, Bluemont Park has an enormous parking area and public bathroom facilities, which is a big plus when trying to decide where to take friends and family for a day of fun.
Thanks to the gorgeous, nature reserve-esque atmosphere and wide open spaces, Bluemont Park is a great place for people of all ages to get some exercise and fresh air.
Chestnut Hills Park
Who ever said that kids can’t learn and play at the same time? At Chestnut Hills, a 4.5-acre park in North Arlington, education and recreation are blended into a single, fun experience!
This is one of our favorite spots to play in Arlington, because it has areas for both younger and older kids and is completely fenced-in for maximum peace-of-mind. Keep in mind, however, that there is no off-street parking at this spot, and there are no public restrooms available.
As the days get hotter, there’s no better way to spend a sunny day than in the shade of Chestnut Hills Park — make sure to check it out!
A small patch of trees and shrubs have been cut down on a traffic island near Washington-Lee High School but replacement plantings are planned.
The spot alongside the intersection at Washington Boulevard and N. Quincy Street previously had several trees, including an older tree and several shrubs.
Susan Kalish, an Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation spokesperson, told ARLnow that the greenery there was primarily non-native species, and “about 75 percent were diseased or dying.”
“Slowly but surely, as projects arise we look to enhance areas with native plants that will support our native species,” Kalish wrote.
County landscapers “looked at the space and decided to turn it into a forested grassy knoll,” and are in the process of replanting 15 flowering native trees and grass.
The tree removal and reinstatement at the plot directly across from Quincy Park comes weeks after Arlington officials cited stats that Arlington’s level of tree canopy coverage had slightly increased, although at least one local environmental activist has disputed that finding.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the park’s playground and volleyball court, located at 1021 N. Quincy Street near Arlington Central Library and Washington-Lee High School, is scheduled to take place Saturday from 1-2 p.m.
The revamped park features a “universal design” playground — Arlington’s first — with a play environment that’s accessible for users of all ages and physical abilities. Among the amenities are swings, picnic tables, a slide, a “climbing tree” and other play equipment.
The sand volleyball court, located adjacent to the playground, was created with adult after-work sports leagues in mind.
Though the ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for this weekend, the playground and the volleyball court are currently open to the public. Despite some earlier rain, at least a dozen kids and caretakers were taking advantage of the playground and its picnic shelter when ARLnow.com visited Wednesday afternoon.
An apparent dust devil disrupted a youth baseball game in Arlington Saturday afternoon.
The tornado-like weather phenomenon happened around 4 p.m. at Quincy Field, near Arlington Central Library, during an Arlington Babe Ruth baseball game, we’re told.
A witness said the whirlwind sent spectators and players scurrying for cover.
“Three twisters made their way down the third baseball line during a 13-year old Senior Babe Ruth baseball game,” said Harold Andersen. “At first it appeared to be a strong gust of wind but as lawn chairs and full bat bags were carried up into the sky… players, coaches and umpires went running to the dugouts.”
The dust devils eventually dissipated over the library, said Andersen. But seriously, we asked — did one really lift bat bags into the air?
“I actually had a lawn chair lifted out of my hands as I was protecting my face from the flying sand,” Andersen said. “I would swear at least two bat bags loaded with catcher’s gear flew into and over the backstop.”
He added: “One parent yelled out ‘we are not in Kansas any more.'”
A reported attempted stabbing in Quincy Park, near Arlington Central Library, didn’t actually happen, according to Arlington County Police.
The 19-year-old man who reported the crime has admitted that he made it up and has been charged with filing a false police report, said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
Police conducted a “significant investigation” into the crime because the purported victim claimed the suspect who tried to stab him said it was part of a gang initiation.
“Because it had gang affiliation, it was turned over to the Gang Unit,” Savage said. While re-interviewing the man and canvassing the area, detectives noted inconsistencies in the story.
“Things just started to not line up, they weren’t consistent with the original story,” said Savage. “He eventually admitted that the story was not true and he was looking for attention from his dad.”
According to Savage, the false police report charge was noted in today’s daily crime report to let the public know that the gang attack did not happen.
“We don’t encourage people to walk through parks at night, but we also want people to feel safe in their community,” she said.
FILING A FALSE POLICE REPORT, 160211049, 1000 block of N. Quincy Street. At approximately 8:40 p.m. on February 11, officers responded to an attempted malicious wounding in the 1000 block of N. Quincy Street. After significant investigation by patrol officers and members of the Gang Unit, it was determined that the incident did not occur. Julian Leiter, 19, of Arlington VA was charged with filing a false police report.
Update on 2/17/16 — Police say the attack did not happen and was made up by the purported victim. The man, 19, has been charged with filing a false police report.
Police are investigating a possible gang-related attempted stabbing in Quincy Park last night.
Police say a male victim in his late teens was cutting through the park — near Arlington Central Library and Washington-Lee High School — just after 8:30 p.m., when he was approached by an unknown male suspect, also in his teens.
The suspect had a knife and told the victim that he was about to stab him as part of a gang initiation, according to Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage. The victim, however, used self defense to foil the suspect’s apparent gang rite of passage.
The victim grabbed the suspect’s wrist as he tried to stab the victim, Savage said. The victim then struck the suspect in the side of the face, possibly injuring him. At that point, three men in hoodies started running toward the victim, who ran across the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Quincy Street, at which point the suspects fled, according to Savage.
Police are encouraging anyone with information about the crime, or any potential gang-related activity in Arlington, to call ACPD’s gang unit at 703-228-GANG (4264). Gang activity may be reported anonymously.
The crime report item on the attempted stabbing, including the suspect descriptions, is below.
ATTEMPTED MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 160211049, 1000 block of N. Quincy Street. At approximately 8:40 p.m. on February 11, an unknown male subject approached a male victim and attempted to stab him. The victim was able to use self-defense in fighting off the suspect and then fled. The suspect was accompanied by three additional male subjects. The first suspect that brandished a knife is described as a white male in his teens, approximately 5’10” tall with a slim build. The three accompanying suspects are described as males wearing grey-hoodie style jackets.
The Arlington County Board on Thursday approved major renovations to a playground and volleyball court at Quincy Park.
The new playground will incorporate “universal design” to make it fun and accessible for users of all ages and physical abilities. Features include swings, picnic tables, a slide and a “climbing tree.”
The revamped sand volleyball court will be located adjacent to the playground and is being created with adult after-work sports leagues in mind.
The total cost expected design and construction of the project is $1.275 million. Construction is expected to start this spring and wrap up this fall.
Quincy Park is located between Arlington Central Library and Washington-Lee High School, near the Virginia Square Metros station.
From an Arlington County press release:
The Arlington County Board today approved a contract for $1,085,727 to overhaul the heavily used playground and sand volleyball court at Quincy Park.
The playground will be the first in Arlington to incorporate state-of-the-art Universal Design elements to make it accessible for people of all ages and physical abilities. All Arlington County parks are accessible and meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards, but this playground was specially designed to accommodate and engage the entire community.
“This is a truly innovative project that will make Quincy Park a very special place, accessible, welcoming and fun for people of all ages and abilities,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey.
Universal Design seeks to appeal aesthetically and functionally to everyone, regardless of age or physical ability.
The new playground will have a wheelchair ramp to reach the top of the slide area, instead of stairs. Its swings will hold heavier bodies, so that parents and caregivers can swing alongside children.
The Universal Design elements mean people of varying ages and abilities can climb, swing, play and enjoy this space together. Softer surfaces will make the play space safer. The design includes quieter areas for those with sensory sensitivities. Fencing and gates are all integrated into the landscaping to provide green space and a calming environment. A pavilion area will shade picnic tables, and there will be other benches and tables for seating throughout. There are also water fountains with bottle fillers. The park’s features will be explained in signs throughout the park.
Beginning in July 2014, County staff conducted extensive public outreach for this project, including four public meetings and two on-line surveys. County residents participating in the public meetings included neighbors of the park, parents of children and adults with disabilities and members of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association. Staff solicited feedback from organizations such as the Special Education PTA, the Community Services Board for Developmental Disabilities and the Arc of Northern Virginia. County staff also consulted with a designer who specializes in universal playground design. To facilitate the design for the sand volleyball court, County staff consulted with local players, teams and groups such as Orange Line Sports and United Social Sports.
A final concept was presented at a May 2015 public hearing that had the consensus approval of all involved groups.
The Board voted unanimously as part of the consent agenda to award the contract to Bennett Group, the lowest responsive and responsible bidder in the competitive bidding process. The overall project funding for this Parks Maintenance Capital project of $1,275,000.00 includes design, soft costs and construction. Funding is provided by FY 2012 closeout funds ($100,000) and FY 2013 park bond funds ($1,175,000).
Construction is set to begin early spring of 2016 and be completed by the fall.
You’ve probably watched everything Netflix offers, surfed the far corners of the internet, and will be ready to get off the couch. Well, you’re in luck because several snowball fights around Arlington could be the perfect way to release some pent up energy tomorrow.
The most hotly anticipated we’ve found, based on the nearly 630 people who have already responded on Facebook, will be near the Clarendon Metro station at noon on Jan. 24.
There will be another snowball fight less than a mile away in Virginia Square. That one begins at 1:00 p.m. in Quincy Park (1021 N. Quincy Street), and the organizer’s Facebook post claims the fun will keep going “until people have tired themselves out.” A similar Quincy Park snowball fight nearly two years ago attracted more than a hundred participants.
Not to be outdone, residents along Columbia Pike have posted a Facebook invite for a “neighborly” snowball fight at Penrose Square (2501 Columbia Pike). The snow flinging is set to start at noon tomorrow.
Metro will remain closed throughout the weekend and travel conditions are expected to be terrible, so it’s recommended that snowball fight attendees plan on safely walking to the events.
Hanukkah this year begins at sunset on Sunday evening and ends the following Monday, Dec. 14.
Events throughout Arlington are happening during the eight-day holiday — also known as the Festival of Lights — for the county’s Jewish community. Here are a few of them.
Temple Rodef Shalom is hosting a community singalong and dinner on the first day of the holiday. The event will feature the teen, youth and children’s choirs in a festive singalong in Quincy Park at 1201 N. Quincy Street. Dinner will be served from local food trucks. Preregistration is strongly encouraged for guests who plan on eating.
The singalong begins at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available online and are $20 for adults, $12 for NOVA Tribe members, $12 for children ages 6-14 and $5 for children ages 5 and under. There is no admission charge for temple youth choir members. The event is open to temple members and non-members alike.
Dec. 8: Chanukah On Ice
Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington is inviting the community to skate and participate in a menorah lighting ceremony next Tuesday at the Pentagon Row outdoor ice skating plaza at 1201 S. Joyce Street. There will be skating from 6-8:30 p.m. with a lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Dinner of hot latkes, kosher hot dogs and refreshments will also be available.
Admission for all guests is $10 in advance and $13 at the door. These prices include skate rentals, but food will be sold separately. Tickets are available online.
Community members will gather next Wednesday to light a six-foot-tall menorah in Clarendon central park at 3140 Wilson Blvd, near the Clarendon Metro Station entrance. This celebration is also hosted by Chabad Lubavitch of Alexandria-Arlington and will have food, including hot potato latkes, gelt — or chocolate coins — and dreidels for all guests. The lighting ceremony is free and open to the public.
Know of any other Hanukkah events happening in the next few weeks? Please let us know in the comments.
Police say the 23-year-old woman was walking down the 1200 block of N. Quincy Street around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday when she was grabbed from behind by an unknown man. The man tried to pull her into some nearby bushes but quickly fled the scene.
“The victim screamed out for help causing the suspect to flee,” according to Arlington County Police. “The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his 20-30’s, approximately 5’6″-5’8″ and weighed 130-160 lbs. He was wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants, loafer shoes, and a backpack at the time of the incident.”
Though the suspect description is similar to that of a man suspected in up to a half dozen similar attacks on women in August, police say they don’t think it’s the same person.
“It doesn’t appear that this is the same guy, but we’re not going to rule that out,” said ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Sternbeck said there’s additional information or evidence that suggests it’s a different suspect, but so far that information is not being publicly released while investigators continue to work the case.
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.