Saturday, July 13, 2013

Update on 4MR Park Plan

4MR Park Plan Mobile Workshop
From May through June, the City of Alexandria Park Planning staff sought feedback on the draft Park Improvement Plans for Four Mile Run Park and other large City parks and held “mobile workshops” at Alexandria’s farmers markets and community businesses and institutions.

Throughout the rest of summer the Park staff will be finalizing the Four Mile Run Park Improvement Plan prior to going before the Park and Recreation Commission and City Council this Fall.

The first draft of the long range plan for Four Mile Run Park was released for public review and feedback in May. 

Here's a summary of some consistent themes from the feedback received on the 4MR Park plan:

Relocate and Fence Dog Area:
 “My Dog will be happy.” “’s a good way to get to know your neighbors.”

The majority of survey and workshop participants expressed excitement for a fenced dog park at Four Mile Run Park. Participants noted how the fenced dog park would be a great place for nearby dog owners to meet each other. The dog park’s year-round use would increase the sense of safety at Four Mile Run Park. There was also a general consensus that the dog park should be located close to parking but away from the playground. Participants stated that the proposed dog park could be made better with additional shade, suitable surfaces, and adequate amenities.

Add new hard and soft trails:
“Absolute Must…These connections are crucial to make the park attractive and more accessible.”
Feedback on 4MR Park Plan
Workshop participants noted that better accessibility within Four Mile Run Park was as a clear concern. The feedback on the draft plan showed that many park users liked the idea of a trail along the water’s edge giving visitors access to the water and wetland area. However, respondents also expressed a major concern for the preservation of the natural resources along the proposed trail. Any trail would be designed for very low intrusion so as not to degrade the parks’ precious wetlands.

Improve perimeter trees to create “green alleys”: 
“More trees are always good” “improves effect of green space”
There was a general consensus that planting “green alleys” along Four Mile Run Park’s western edge would create an aesthetically pleasing buffer between the residential neighborhood and park. Additional trees would also increase the quality of the entire park. Some respondents stated the importance of planting the trees in a manner that maintains the neighborhood’s and police visibility of the park.

Add Adult Fitness Equipment:
“People would definitely use it”
Although not included in the original draft plan, many participants from every feedback method felt that Four Mile Run Park would be a great place for adult fitness equipment. It was suggested that these fitness stations could be used by the active people taking the trail and could draw pedestrians to the park.

Establish new community garden: 
“Lots of advantages” “This needs to be approached very carefully”
While many citizens liked the idea of establishing a community garden, there were concerns about the garden’s design and management. Citizens were concerned that the garden would take up too much of the park’s limited passive space and would not be well-integrated with the rest of the park. The feedback showed the need for considering the proper management that would ensure the gardens are well kept and accessible to as many residents as possible.

Additional Feedback included:

  • Add lighting throughout the park
  • Add water fountains and restroom access
  • Separate playground and the dog park
  • Plant more trees
  • Consolidating the playground and courts is a good idea
  • Accommodate pick-up soccer near the consolidated play courts

About the draft 4MR Plan:

Alexandria's Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities began this multi-year process last year to develop a Citywide Large Park Improvement Plan, the goal of which was to review the existing conditions and future needs for Alexandria’s large, city-owned, multi-use parks. Along with Four Mile Run Park, the other parks studied include: Simpson Stadium ParkChinquapin ParkHenlsey ParkHolmes Run Park, and Ben Brenman/Boothe Parks (click on each to go straight to the draft plans).

Four Mile Run Park Draft Improvement Plan

The full Four Mile Run Park Draft Plan is available online, here.

Here's what the Parks department heard from the park users (click here to see a full Summary of Community Feedback on Four Mile Run Park):

Ranking of 4MR Park Priorities
  • Develop better pick-up game areas
  • Install covered dugouts and fix the backstops
  • Renovate the courts
  • Re-orient field #3 for better shade and enhance seating area
  • Install netting along Frank Mann field
  • Improve parking for athletic fields
Natural Resources
  • Preserve and enhance the Park’s natural areas, including the wetlands
  • Remove invasive species
  • Plant trees along the alleyways
  • Improve the connections between the trail, pathways and Park uses
  • Build a bridge over the channel to connect areas of the Park near Cora Kelly
  • Re-pave the asphalt trail through the Park and connect it to Cora Kelly Recreation Center and School 
  • Develop better pick-up game areas
  • Install covered dugouts and fix the backstops
  • Renovate the courts
  • Re-orient field #3 for better shade and enhance seating area
  • Install netting along Frank Mann field
  • Improve parking for athletic fields

Design and Fixtures 
  • Increase Park security through CPTED
  • Cluster activities at entrances
  • Formalize the overlook at the entrance to the wetlands
  • Install area for fitness equipment behind Cora Kelly Recreation Center
  • Add more park furniture
  • Remove unfenced dog area and provide a fenced dog area
  • Install a community garden
  • Install mile markers
  • Locate the playground in a more visible location
  • Provide natural play spaces such as boulders and climbing features 

4MR Park Existing Conditions

Through the Citywide Large Park Improvement Plan, the park staff intends to determine budgeting priorities and recommendations for both short and long term incremental improvements.

Contact or 703.746.5491 with questions or concerns.

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