About a half dozen of us (Sue and Jeff Vincent, Terri Prell, Margie Kirshbaum, Perdita Welch, and Anne Friedman) got together on Saturday morning 11/30/2013 to look around, discuss, and clean West Gateway Park. Lyndell Core, manager of operations of Arlington County urban parks, joined us. He indicated that Arlington County would support modest initiatives to increase park usage.
Here are some of our observations and suggestions:
1. We saw very little trash. That is surprising given that Arlington Street People Assistance Network (A-SPAN) sets up in the northwest corner of the park to distribute free meals to homeless people in the evenings. Quite a testament to good effort by both County park maintenance and A-SPAN.
2. West Gateway Park receives far less maintenance attention than it did shortly after it was built. Varied plantings have now been reduced. The emphasis nowadays is on low maintenance planting. The park also contained an operating water fountain feature. That’s been turned off because it needed frequent expensive cleaning. Much of the park seating is oriented around the fountain. Lyndell thought that repurposing the fountain as a planter is entirely do-able.
3. The park is often used in the early morning as a dog walk. We did see one example of dog waste (shame shame). We’ll likely want to talk about two suggestions:
- added signage reminding people to clean up after their dogs.
- adding a waste plastic bag dispenser.
Lyndell could not support committing a portion of the park to dog walk. That purposing would require a very high level of community support.
4. A lot of the seating is misaligned and tired looking. The seating along Lee and facing south across Lee should be reoriented or removed. Lyndell thought that the space perhaps could be used for an art display. That sounded good to all of us! Lyndell also thought that the park bench wooden slats could/should be renovated.
5. Lyndell suggested that a few picnic tables could be added to the central grassy area. We liked the idea of picnic tables but thought it would be worthwhile to discuss siting a bit more. Certainly it would be nice if tables were shaded some of the time. Also, a couple of us thought that the addition of some modest attractions for children might attract some family use.
6. A couple of us stuck around awhile and cleaned up.
The group plans to continue its efforts, probably starting with a clean-up and discussion in Spring (date will be posted); we hope that other NRCA members get involved.
Mark Antell will not be able to participate in this afternoon's clean up of West Gateway.
The Gateway Park clean-up is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, 5/3), not today. Thanks,
|NRCA First Vice-President|
Hey there attendees of the May 3 West Gateway Park cleanup! I am compiling a follow up email to Mr. Core, and plan to include the list of actions we discussed at the meeting earlier this month. I remember there being ~7 different actions we identified, but can only remember some of them. Can you help fill in the blanks? Please correct my existing list as needed.
1) Fill in the fountain as a planter (using county dirt/plants and volunteer labor)
2) Spruce up benches
3) Improve landscaping at the North side of West Gateway Park
4) Remove/find out if it is possible to remove extraneous bicycle parking racks
5) Repair existing lighting
7) Explore adding a feature that would attract young kids such as climable art
Also - I see that Mark notes above that we previously considered more picnic tables. I do not believe this was one of the items we identified in May; however, my contact at A-SPAN did think WGP needs more picnic tables, so maybe we add this to the list.
Katie, thanks for compiling the list and following up with the county. For me, the most important items are 1, 3 and 5. The only other thing I can think of is that it would be nice if they weeded regularly.
Friends of West Gateway Park,
I'm reposting my earlier post onto the "Friends of West Gateway Park" even though many of the original members of this group have moved. I'd like to get some traction to this issue by resubmitting and supporting the earlier work done in years past for the West Gateway Park initiative.
I understand by word of mouth and not on the County's website, that in Jan 2017 the County approved JBG's application for a 3-yr extension to their 2012 Phase 1 SP#419 for the Rosslyn Gateway Project. There are Community Benefits in that agreement that affect our neighborhood that are being delayed for way too long. Anyway, it will take SP#419 well into mid-2021 before JBG can file another site plan extension for County approval. I believe Gateway Park Community Benefits approved by the County in 2012 will be forthcoming around the time I'm involuntarily moved into a nursing center (... a little dramatic but given current progress ...).
Is there any chance of getting some attention paid to the Gateway Park now rather than whenever ... As referenced by the Rosslyn Sector Plan (p36) and after more than 10 years of County talk, the existing open space network at Gateway Park is still, "dominated by passive spaces and severely lacking in active recreation amenities." It appears that the many hours and consultation events the residents spent sharing Realize Rosslyn Gateway Park dreams was a waste of time.
Why don't we have a place in our park with shelters and grills? Arlington County does not allow multi-family residences to grill and we have nowhere to grill a steak or to have a family picnic/cookout. Also, where are playgrounds within walking distance of our children? The events sponsored by the Rosslyn BID are geared to the commuters during working hours and there is little opportunity provided for outdoor family activities in our north Rosslyn sector unless you want to spend a Summer Friday night watching an outdoor movie.
I must admit that I'm a bit jealous when I see the newly renovated recreational facilities at other Arlington Parks that are too far for us to walk. Is it possible to get at least a couple of cookout grills, a space for shelter, and a children's gym set in Gateway Park soon? Despite the unsanitary nature of an open outdoor sandbox, the sandbox in the former fountain is well used but it does not promote active exercise for our young and middle age children.
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