Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Spring for Four Mile Run Park

On Friday, May 3rd as part of the Spring for Alexandria 6th Annual Community Service Day, a few staff members from the City's Department of Planning & Zoning and Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities volunteered a few hours to help beautify the plaza at the Four Mile Run Park Expansion. Reusing old troughs that had been reclaimed from a previous projects, the volunteers filled the repurposed planters with new plants, herbs and flowers.

Spring for Alexandria is an event sponsored by Volunteer Alexandria, whose mission to build a better community by inspiring people to volunteer, matching volunteers to opportunities.

Conceptual view of 4MR Expand 
from Four Mile Run Restoration Plan

The volunteer effort is a continuation of a series of private initiatives to revive, restore and expand this public space. Recently, trees were planted as part of the Four Mile Run Park Expansion (4MR Expand), a project that has been a decade in the works. Originally conceived as part of the 2003 Arlandria Plan, 4MR Expand was incorporated into the Four Mile Run Restoration Plan adopted in 2005. Four parcels were acquired in 2007 with Alexandria City Open Space funds but sat idle for a number of years due to lack of money for planning and implementation. A group of architects, known as Architects Anonymous, banded together to create a workable plan for the site that could rolled out over time making the best use of contributions from grants and the community. The non-profit Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market adopted the site as the site for a farmers' market and provide maintenance and financial contributions to further the project. Architects Anonymous contributed additional plans to re-purpose the former paint store at 4MR Expand and to prevent its demolition. 

The Arlandria Plan Implementation Group supported the project by requesting that the City direct some funds that would have otherwise be lost to help complete the community's vision. Since then, 4MRMarket has solicited private contributions to enhance the site and the City's Parks department has coupled those funds with grants that they've solicited to create a venue to showcase the arts and environmental best practice. To date these include: a performance stage, permeable pavers and rain gardens to collect stormwater run-off. Rain gardens to collect additional stormwater run-off and arts grants are still pending.


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