Friday, October 09, 2009

Arlington Park Replaces Industrial Site

Arlington County will break ground in the new year on lighted athletic fields, more than a mile of walking trails, a public river overlook, and new rain garden among other amenities planned for the first phase of work on the 46-acre Long Bridge Park. The Park borders the Potomac River, Crystal City, I-395, the Pentagon, Roaches Run Wildfowl Sanctuary and Reagan National Airport. One of the few new public parks to come to Arlington in several years, Long Bridge Park will fill an increasing demand for open space and recreational facilities on land once utilized for commercial and industrial activities. The County is currently seeking contractors for site work, with construction slated to begin as soon as January.

In a June 2002 Arlington Parks and Recreation Resident Survey, trails and indoor swimming pools were the number 1 and 2 items respectively Arlingtonians felt were needed most in the County. The overall plan calls for trails for pedestrians and bikers, full-size grass fields with lighting, and esplanade with public event area, and a building housing a 50-meter pool for lap swimming, classes and competitions, therapy pool, exercise rooms with weights, cardio equipment and classes.

The first phase of development will include three full size, lighted athletic fields, trails, Esplanade (a broad, half-mile long, raised walkway), overlook, picnic areas, restrooms, and on-site parking for 180 vehicles. Additionally the county will begin improvements to Old Jefferson Davis Highway, which will change from being a simple two-lane road to include up to 100 spaces of on-street parking, two lanes, painted bike lanes and of course, fewer potholes. Environmental remediation efforts for the site center on removing lead from the county property the had formerly seen industrial use.

In 2004, Arlington voters approved $50 million for construction of the first phase of the park through bond issuance which will go toward the outdoor features with some funds reserved for the aquatic and fitness center. Plans for all indoor facilities on the site will be designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating. Currently, the county is exploring options to fund the remaining expenses of the indoor facility and will not begin construction until a solution is found.

According to Erik Beach, a Planner at the Arlington Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, the county will award the construction contract in December and hopes to have construction start shortly thereafter. Beach anticipated that the park would be open to the public approximately 18 months after construction begins. Beach said officials are "looking forward to having one of the first new large parks in the county, serving multiple ages...with the ability to meet a large need."

Arlington is initially seeking upwards of $20m worth of general contracting for development of three soccer / lacrosse fields with synthetic turf and dark sky lighting, parking, support buildings, bio-retention gardens, landscaping, a raised mechanically-stabilized earthen esplanade, remediation of contaminated soils, utility relocation, and reconstruction of an existing road. The entire project is expected to cost $90 million depending on phasing and funding sources. The pre-bid conference will be held on October 27, 2009 at 10 A.M. and bids are due by November 17, 2009 at 2 P.M.

Images Designed by Hughes Group Architects.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Very impressive...

Eric on Oct 9, 2009, 4:32:00 PM said...

This is going to be awesome!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Arlington County for having the vision, creativy and persistence to make this happen! I hear they're looking for a private partner with deep pockets for the aquatics center. Swimming, anyone?

Anonymous said...

How much is enough? This is a boondoggle that the County can't afford.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a very Arlingtonian development -- nice, well planned, functional and relatively fiscally responsible, but no design pizzazz or even originality. I.e. the park version of Ballston, the new Washington-Lee High School, and pretty much every other development in the County.

Such is the result of Arlington's endless, earnest planning process. Seems especially sad for a such a spectacular site. Isn't there a way to combine the best of Arlington with something visually exciting?

I'm sure I'll enjoy swimming there, but in the meantime, DC's new Wilson Pool will suffice. The naysayers believe that Wilson isn't fiscally responsible, and they may be correct, but at least it's a thrilling piece of public facility architecture.


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