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.
An armed and masked man robbed the miniature golf stand at Upton Hill Regional Park (6060 Wilson Blvd) over the weekend.
The incident happened around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. Police say the man approached the stand, brandished a handgun, and told the clerk to empty the register. The clerk complied and the man took an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing on foot and running through the parking lot of a nearby apartment complex.
A mini golf customer initially gave chase but was unable to keep up with the suspect, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Numerous police officers, assisted by the Fairfax County Police helicopter, attempted to located the suspect, to no avail. The suspect remains at large.
Numerous mini golfers witnessed the robbery, but luckily no one was hurt and their rounds of putt-putt were uninterrupted.
“There were many patrons who were enjoying a round of mini golf when this incident occurred, who witnessed the event,” Sternbeck said. “Despite the robbery, the miniature golf course remained open for the remainder of the night.”
The suspect is described as by police as a “black male, approximately 5’8″ and 170-180 lbs… wearing a black mask, white sweater, and black pants.”
The Upton Hill miniature golf course touts itself as “one of the best courses in Northern Virginia,” with “cascading waterfalls, aquatic gardens and one of the longest minigolf holes in the country.”
Fairfax County Police say they responded to the 2900 block of John Marshall Drive, in the Seven Corners area, around 6:15 a.m. for a report of a stabbing. There, they found a man dead and a woman injured inside an apartment.
Responding officers located the suspect nearby and took him into custody, according to a Fairfax County police spokesman. The suspect and the officer were hurt during the arrest. The officer, the suspect and the injured woman were all taken to a nearby hospital with what are only described as non-life-threatening injuries.
The incident is being investigated as a homicide.
The arrest of the suspect took place in or around Upton Hill Park in Arlington, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Update at 6:35 p.m. — Fairfax County Police have released the following press release about the crime.
Police are investigating an early morning homicide in the Falls Church area. Officers were dispatched to an apartment in the 2900 block of John Marshall Drive around 6:18 a.m. on Thursday, February 20, for a reported stabbing. They located an adult male deceased inside the apartment and an adult female with injuries. The suspect fled the apartment on foot prior to the officers’ arrival.
The police helicopter located the suspect hiding outside, near the apartment complex and led patrol officers to him. Both the suspect and one police officer were injured during the apprehension. The police officer, the suspect and the female victim were all transported to the hospital and treated for non life-threatening injuries.
The deceased has been identified as Alvaro Zepeda, 44, of 2903 John Marshall Drive, in Falls Church.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, e-mail at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.
Next week the water park at Upton Hill Regional Park will host one portion of what’s being called the “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.”
At 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 14, children will gather at Upton Hill (6060 Wilson Blvd) to take part in a swimming lesson that will be held at the same time as lessons at 500 other pools and aquatic facilities around the world. The event is part of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) “Pool Safely” campaign, a national public education effort.
Rep. Jim Moran (D), CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum and other local officials are expected to help kick off the world record attempt.
The event will attempt to break its own Guinness-certified record from last year. In 2011, more than 20,000 kids and adults on five different continents participated in the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. While the goal of the event is to set a new world record, the ultimate goal of the campaign is to reduce child drownings, near-drownings and entrapments in pools and spas.
From a press release:
This year the campaign’s focus is on populations most at risk of drowning: children younger than 5 years old (who represent nearly 75 percent of child drowning fatalities) and African-American and Hispanic children between the ages of 5 and 14, who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drown at higher rates than white children. CPSC reports that annually there are 390 pool or spa-related drownings for children younger than 15.
Photo via Ocean Dunes Waterpark