- Reviewing 2013 Park Master Plan
- Seeking broad public input
- Presenting new recommendations to Board in January 2016
The Arlington County Board today asked the County Manager to seek broad public input in a review of Phase 2 of the 2013 Long Bridge Park Master Plan. Phase 2 includes the aquatics, health and fitness facility; with 10 acres of parkland; continuation of the esplanade; and more environmental remediation.
“A lot has changed in Arlington in the years since we began plans to develop Long Bridge Park,” said Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan. “Given budget realities and the changing needs of our community, it makes sense to broadly engage the community in a thoughtful look at options to determine the best path forward.”
In June 2014, Donnellan announced that the County had cancelled the bids for Phase 2, saying the gap between the construction budget and the lowest of the bids submitted in December, 2013, was too large to bridge.
Community process starts in April
A robust civic engagement process begins in April to see whether a re-designed project within budget could meet the community’s goals. Suggestions and comments will be gathered through a County-wide survey, open meetings and focus groups, and conversations with neighborhoods, County commissions and user groups. County staff, led by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Department of Environmental Services (DES), together with a reconstituted Long Bridge Park Advisory Committee, will review the suggestions and comments. The County Manager’s recommendations will be presented to the County Board in January 2016.
The Long Bridge Park Design Advisory Committee, renamed the Long Bridge Park Advisory Committee, will be reconstituted to collaborate with this effort. It will support civic engagement efforts and help staff evaluate the results and develop final recommendations. Its membership will be adjusted as needed.
Seeking partnerships, sponsors
The Board further instructed the Manager to continue to seek partnerships or sponsors for the Aquatics facility or entire Phase 2 building effort. Washington D.C.’s Olympic bid considered the planned Aquatics facility as a venue for the 2024 Summer Olympics, but in December, Boston was chosen as the American city for the U.S. Olympic bid. County staff will continue to explore other options.
Play areas construction begins this spring
Meanwhile, the County continues to improve Long Bridge Park. New play areas have been designed with help from the community’s children for the south end of the park adjacent to 6th Street South. DPR staff met with two different age groups of children from the County’s after school program at Lubber Run and asked them to draw what they liked in a playground. The final design includes tunnels, a unique climbing structure, mounds and bridges, as well as shade and seating areas. Construction will begin summer 2015 and should be completed by early 2016.
Long Bridge Park is an approximately 30-acre park in Crystal City, overlooking the Potomac River. The park, once a brownfield and industrial wasteland, has been transformed into a park that offers stunning views of the Capital monuments, together with three full-size, multi-sport, lighted, rectangular synthetic-turf fields; a network of walkways; an esplanade, a public art feature, Wave Arbor, free parking and a three-quarter-acre rain garden.
Opened in 2011, the park — a gateway to Crystal City — is also an important element in efforts to revitalize that key neighborhood of Arlington. It will provide recreational opportunities and open space for generations of Arlingtonians.
The County Board approved an updated Master Plan for Long Bridge Park in March 2013. The Board adopted the original Master Plan for what was then the North Tract in 2004. The total project budget for Phase 2, adopted in the Fiscal Year 2015-2024 Capital Improvement Program, is $79.2 million. About $15 million of that already has been spent on design/engineering services, permits, rebuilding Long Bridge Drive, and utilities and soil work. More than half of those costs will apply to the project moving forward.
To learn more about the Long Bridge Park project, visit the County website.