Arlington County is committed to creating at least a one-acre park at the seven-acre site the County owns at Old Dominion Drive and 26th Street North, Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes said today.
Responding to concerns voiced during the Board’s July Meeting by residents who live near the site, Hynes said she spoke for the entire Board in promising “you’ll have a community park” at the site, near Donaldson Run, where the County now maintains a salt dome for winter road treatments and a mulch pile and where it is considering building a new Fire Station #8 to better serve North Arlington. “We don’t know the size yet, but it will at a minimum be an acre, and it will be designed with community input,” Hynes said. The park “will have both natural areas and active park space,” she said.
The County, Hynes said, must first decide whether to build a new Fire Station #8 to replace the existing Fire Station #8 on Lee Highway at the Old Dominion and 26th Street North site, and will then master plan the site with community input, Hynes said. “We are committed to master planning this seven-acre parcel,” she said. Acting County Manager noted that a third community meeting on planning for Fire Station #8 is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Langston-Brown community & Senior Center and Park at 2121 N. Culpeper St.
Honoring the History of Fire Station #8
Hynes also responded to residents’ concerns that if the County moves the existing Fire Station #8, its historical significance will be lost. The fire station started in a historically black neighborhood, with all volunteers. The County built the current Fire Station #8 on the site of the all-volunteer fire station in 1963.
“We have heard you,” Hynes told residents who testified to the historical importance of Fire Station #8. “It is critical that the long cultural history of this place not be lost, that the story continue to be told.” Speaking for the Board, Hynes said “we are committed to appropriately memorializing and honoring this site…we are not committing to not moving the fire station.”
Hynes and other Board Members noted that the decision on where, or whether, to move Fire Station #8 will be based on the need to improve fire and emergency service response times in North Arlington.