Three Arlington County parks — Thomas Jefferson Park, Towers Park and Marcey Road Park — could see substantial upgrades over the next year.
Contracts to improve the amenities at these three facilities are teed up for County Board approval this Saturday. The projects were all approved in the summer of 2018 as part of the 2019-2028 Capital Improvement Plan.
As part of the $1.1 million project, the field will get spectator seating, signage, site furnishings and new landscaping, as well as athletic equipment and a long jump area. There will be accessibility and stormwater management improvements. The field’s existing lighting will remain.
“The conversion should not impact the County Fair if it remains at TJ,” Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish said. “The County is looking into investing in a turf cover to protect the field at TJ and possibly at other synthetic turf fields.”
During community outreach about the turf project, conducted in the winter of 2019-20, residents indicated “a strong desire to keep the County Fair at Thomas Jefferson Park,” according to a staff report. The county is once more accepting feedback on the potential move.
In the report, the parks department responded to safety concerns about synthetic turf and pointed to Arlington County Public Health’s Synthetic Turf FAQ.
“At this time, all independent studies report that ‘the preponderance of evidence shows no negative health effects associated with crumb rubber in synthetic turf,'” the report said.
Construction would take about six months.
Over at Towers Park, at 801 S. Scott Street near Columbia Pike, the existing playground for 2 to 5-year-olds, last replaced in 2000, would be razed. A new playground for 2 to 5-year-olds and another for 5 to 12-year-olds will be installed elsewhere, as the current structure falls in a resource protection area that will be reforested.
If approved, that project could start in the fourth quarter of 2021 and finish in the second quarter of 2022. There will be stormwater management work and new walkways, fencing, signage, site furnishings and landscaping.
The project was delayed by the pandemic and over-budget bids, per a board report. After a first round of bids came back too high, the report said DPR “value-engineered the play equipment selection” and rebid the project this June. All the bids were still over-budget, but the county negotiated the lowest bid to $825,000.
Finally, at Marcey Road Park, located 2722 N. Marcey Road near Military Road, the basketball court, the three tennis courts, the parking lot and picnic shelter will be replaced. The park will get new LED court lighting and furnishings, as well as drainage, stormwater management and landscaping work.
“The outdoor amenities for this park are past their life expectancy and are in need of replacement,” a county report said. “Community feedback indicated the desire for more seating opportunities and trash receptacles, a larger basketball court, a larger picnic area with shade, improved tennis court practice wall, improved accessibility and preservation of as many trees as possible.”
Every bid was over-budget, and the lowest was a non-negotiable $1.3 million, the report said. That project is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2021 and finish in the third quarter of 2022.
(Updated at 12:22 a.m.) Arlington County is set to celebrate the opening of a new section of the Washington Blvd Bike Trail today (Nov. 30).
The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. along the new bike trail on the east side of Towers Park (801 S. Scott Street). Capital Bikeshare bikes will be available for attendees to try out the trail after remarks from the speakers.
The new 10-foot-wide trail runs between Towers Park and 2nd Street S. in Penrose, to provide more seamless access for cyclists and pedestrians to a previously constructed trail between Arlington Blvd and Walter Reed Drive.
This story has been updated
Work is speeding ahead on a new bike trail running alongside Washington Blvd as it meets I-395, with construction set to wrap up this fall.
The county has spent close to a year constructing a new 10-foot-wide trail as the road runs between Towers Park (801 S. Scott Street) and 2nd Street S. in Penrose, in a bid to provide more seamless access for cyclists and pedestrians to a previously constructed trail between Arlington Blvd and Walter Reed Drive.
Over the course of the last month, the county says workers have finished “two sections of retaining wall” and the “installation of the abutments for the bridge over the Doctor’s Run stream,” as well as the construction of some storm drains.
Now, work will shift onto property owned by the U.S. Navy at 701 S. Courthouse Road, just near Towers Park, as workers install the trail’s stone and asphalt base.
The county hopes to have work wrapped up by sometime in the “late fall.” In the meantime, some construction will continue along Washington Blvd. More details from the county’s website:
- Work hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 3 pm.
- Night work is expected throughout the project and will take place between 10 pm and 5 am (these hours will occasionally be extended).
- Partial lane closures will be in place at night, reducing traffic on Washington Boulevard to one lane in the southbound direction. There will be no impacts to northbound traffic.
Arlington County is set to add a new section of bicycle and pedestrian trail along Washington Blvd.
The Arlington County Board is scheduled this weekend to consider a plan for the second phase of the trail, running north along Washington Blvd from Towers Park — near Columbia Pike — to 2nd Street S. It will then link with the first phase of the trail along Washington Blvd, between Arlington Blvd and S. Walter Reed Drive.
The project proposes to construct a 10-foot wide paved trail on the western side of Washington Blvd. The trail will be mostly located in the road’s existing right-of-way, but also runs through the U.S. Navy Supply Facility (701 S. Courthouse Road) and Towers Park.
County staff moved the northern section of the trail onto the shoulder of Washington Blvd to reduce the need to build retaining walls and reduce the number of trees to be cut down. Under the current plan, about 84 trees would be removed and as many as 160 replanted after the project is complete.
“The project will serve as a valuable link in the overall trail network as it provides a north-south trail between the Columbia Pike (Towers Park) area and the Arlington Blvd Trail,” county staff wrote in a report endorsing the plan. “Recent improvements to the trails along Arlington Blvd will now be more accessible via this new Washington Blvd trail.”
In a letter to the County Board on September 6, Penrose Neighborhood Association president Maria “Pete” Durgan said members “wholeheartedly support” the project.
The county budgeted just over $2.1 million for the project, with just over $420,000 as contingent in case of change orders. Construction is expected to begin this winter and wrap up late next year.
Code Orange Air Quality — Hot and unhealthy air is in the forecast today. Code Orange air quality is expected today through Friday, meaning that pollution levels could be harmful to children, the elderly, or people with health problems. On this hazy and humid day, the heat index could reach as high as 107 degrees. [WJLA]
Arlington Girls’ Fire Camp Profiled — CBS News correspondent Chip Reid took a look at Arlington’s girls fire camp on the network’s morning show. The camp is an effort to help spark interest in the department among potential future female recruits. Percentage-wise, Arlington has more than double the national average of female firefighters. The county also hired the first paid female firefighter in the nation. [CBS News]
Board Approves Improvements to Parks — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday approved nearly $2 million in contracts to repair and upgrade Towers Park and Ft. Barnard Park. Towers Park will get new tennis courts and a basketball court, among other things. Ft. Barnard Park will have its playground and picnic shelter replaced. [Arlington County]
Yorktown Running Back Commits to UNC — Star Yorktown running back M.J. Stewart will play Division I football at the University of North Carolina. Stewart, a rising senior, will still play at Yorktown this fall. [Sun Gazette]
New Pilates Studio Opens — A new pilates studio recently opened in Courthouse. It’s the second Arlington location for the company, My Thrive Pilates. The studios are located at 1401 N. Adams Street and 2800 S. Randolph Street. [PRWeb]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
Towers Park, at 801 S. Scott Street near Columbia Pike, is in line for a $1.3 million facelift, complete with a new basketball court, new tennis courts and practice courts and a state-of-the-art lighting upgrade.
The County Board is expected to approve the construction contract for the project at its meeting this coming Saturday, when the item is on Board’s consent agenda, which is intended for non-controversial items. Once the contract is signed, county staff estimates the construction will take seven months.
The lighted facility, which features four tennis courts, two practice courts, a basketball court and a sizable dog park, has severe heaving and deep cracking throughout the court surfaces and it is served by obsolete lighting fixtures,” the staff report states when justifying the need for the improvements.
In addition to the court surface improvements, new “dark sky” lighting — intended to reduce light pollution — will be installed at the courts. Also planned are stormwater drainage improvements, new accessible paths, parking space stripings, an improved picnic shelter and other site furnishings.
The design originally called for the two practice tennis courts to be relocated and four trees to be removed, but, after the county’s parks staff met with the Penrose Civic Association and the Arlington Tennis Association, the practice courts were moved back to their current location in the plan.
The courts — both basketball and tennis — are popular spots for league play and drop-in games, so while construction is going on, athletes looking for a game will have to go elsewhere before the opening of the new facility, likely in the spring of 2014.
Site plan image via Arlington County