Photos: January 24, 2018
Chestnut Hills Park on Harrison has been going through a major expansion and improvement, which should be completed by October. The expansion involved the acquisition and demolition of two homes just to the north of the park. And now the expansion is being complemented by a frontage improvement project that was sponsored by the Yorktown Civic Association and funded through the County’s Neighborhood Conservation program to install new entrances, fencing and pathways. The frontage improvements, which started in mid-June, were actually funded in 2012. Construction was delayed twice, first in 2014, to allow for playground renovations, and then again in 2015, when the County had the opportunity to purchase the first of the adjacent homes. The park frontage improvements will include a new solid steel fence recessed 1’ behind the existing sidewalk; four recessed gates to provide stroller passing zones; a new enclosure and location for the portable restroom; pervious circulation pathways; and new benches and trash cans flanking the new walkways. The planned fencing and entrances will now include those recently acquired adjacent properties. It is expected that the Park will continue to stay open during the work. The County has a web page, including drawings, for the project at: https://projects.arlingtonva.us/projects/chestnut-hills-frontageimprovements/.
By David Haring
President, Yorktown Civic Association
Chestnut Hills Park on North Harrison Street is about to undergo a major expansion and improvement, thanks to the just-completed demolition of two adjacent homes acquired by the County during the past 15 months. The parkland expansion will soon be complemented by a frontage improvement project that was sponsored by the Yorktown Civic Association and funded through the County’s Neighborhood Conservation program to install new entrances, fencing and pathways.
The park expansion has been made possible through the use of funds from the County’s Park Land Acquisition program. The County acquired the first property in September 2015 for $728,000, and the second in March 2016 for $820,000. The County Board approved an additional $50,000 per property for deconstruction and site restoration. The addresses for the homes where 2827 and 2833 N. Harrison Street, respectively. The first of the homes was owned by long-time Civic Association Treasurer Bob Littell and his family. The combined size of the two lots is about one-half acre, but the removal of the homes opens up access to land behind those properties which was already owned by the County. Due to the recent loss of other open space in the County, the current intention is to simply maintain the additional property as open space parkland. For example, this expansion helps to offset the significant loss of green space on the Williamsburg school site with the construction of the new Discovery Elementary School.
The frontage improvement project was actually funded back in December 2012, but implementation has been delayed twice – which has actually been a good thing! First, those improvements were postponed due to the 2014 playground renovations. Then, those improvements were delayed again when the first of the two homes was acquired in 2015. Those improvements have finally gone out to bid, and assuming that process goes well, a contract will go to the County Board for approval at its February 2017 meeting. The park improvements will include a new solid steel fence recessed 1’ behind the existing sidewalk; four recessed gates to provide stroller passing zones; a new enclosure and location for the portable restroom; pervious circulation pathways; and new benches and trash cans flanking the new walkways. The delay in this project ensures that the planned fencing and entrances will now include the recently acquired adjacent properties. The improvements are expected to take up to four months, and work is expected to begin fairly quickly after contract approval by the Board. It is expected that the Park will stay open during the work, although disruptions in access could be expected.
The County has a dedicated web page for the improvement project at: https://projects.arlingtonva.us/projects/chestnut-hills-frontage/.
Join the YCA on Saturday, October 22 from 10AM to 2PM for a Neighborhood Day event at Chestnut Hills Park on Harrison Street.
The event will feature food trucks, musical entertainment (for both children and adults), a bounce house, arts and crafts, and a meet-and greet with great Arlington community organizations! More details, will be posted to the Yorktown Civic Association Facebook page.
Contact Amelia ([email protected]) if you have any questions or would like to volunteer.
In December 2012, funding was approved for frontage, safety and beautification improvements to Chestnut Hills Park through the County’s Neighborhood Conservation program. That funding was in addition to maintenance funding that resulted in the rebuilding of the park’s “tot lot” playground area. That work was completed in late 2014. The Parks department determined it was best to complete that work prior to performing the improvements funded through the Neighborhood Conservation program.
Information on the now-completed tot lot playground improvements can be found at: Chestnut Hills Park Preschool (2-5) Playground Redesign
As approved by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee, the scope for the additional improvements is as follows:
Implement frontage and beautification improvements along the existing Chestnut Hills Park to promote pedestrian safety, increase curb appeal and unify the entire park. Improvements to the frontage of the site include: a new, set-back fence encompassing the lots on either end of the park with gated entrances as well as improved ADA accessibility to the site.
Pedestrian improvements could potentially include crosswalks with nubs for traffic calming, 3-5 Carlyle lights between the fence and the sidewalk and pervious paving along the edge of the sidewalk in certain areas to provide a wider surface.
Interior improvements include: new bences, an accessible pathway for the portable toilet, a new enclosure for the portable toilet and walkways connecting the lots on either end of the park with the central playgrounds.