For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Contact: Jeanne Mitchler 703-228-0785 (voice) 703-228-4611(TTY)
ARLINGTON, Va. – Walter Reed Community Center, offering a full range of recreation and leisure programs and services for all ages, will officially open on Neighborhood Day, May 13.
The 30,000-square-foot community center also offers a drop-in elementary after-school program and a huge game room, gym and café. Adults will find classes and space for community meetings, ceremonies, dances and other activities.
“Walter Reed is the culmination of the dream and the vision of a strong process with the surrounding community and numerous county departments to enrich and expand recreation experiences and opportunities for all ages and abilities in a modern state of the art facility,” said Dinesh Tiwari, Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources. A highlight of the facility is the services, programs and facilities it offers seniors. It includes a senior center that offers meals and an array of senior recreation programs and an Adult Day Health Care Center that will nearly double the number of Arlington County spaces available for seniors and adults with medical and cognitive disabilities.
It all takes place in a building that incorporates environmentally sensitive features -- from a green roof to bamboo flooring for the basketball/volleyball court and dance studio -- designed to achieve silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
The Adult Day Health Care Center will be licensed to serve 24 persons, offering an on-site nurse, structured therapeutic and fun activities, meals and transportation. The County’s only other Adult Day Health Care Center, at the Madison Community Center, cares for up to 36 adults a day.
“The opening of Walter Reed is very significant because we’ve been the only show in town for 30 years,” said Rachel Thompson, acting director of the Madison Center Adult Health Day Care Center. “We have a wait list to get into our program. With Walter Reed opening, we’ll be able to eliminate the current wait list and serve those in need.”
A private contractor will operate Walter Reed’s Adult Day Care Center, charging a daily fee for services based on a sliding scale.
“The importance of this program is that it allows families to maintain their loved ones in the community for as long as possible,” said Susanne Eisner, Acting Director of the Department of Human Services.
The Arlington County Board appointed an Elder Readiness Task Force in February to assess existing public and private sector resources and to identify gaps in services and resources. County Board Chairman Christopher Zimmerman has named “aging readiness” a priority for the County this year.
Area teens also will find facilities and programs geared to them at the new community center. They will have access to a furnished lounge and game room stocked with pool tables, foosball, air hockey and a video game station. A cafe´ leads out to a spacious deck with picnic tables and chairs.
The facility is the first Community Center to implement the Parks and Recreation Department’s new policy of promoting healthy snacks, stocking only healthy snacks in its canteen area vending machines.
“We designed the facility to meet the vast needs and interests of a diverse, multi-generational community,” Tiwari said.
Other highlights of the Community Center include a gym/basketball court with six nets and a volleyball court; a multipurpose room and quiet room; arts and crafts workshops; and a dance/exercise room with mirrors and dance bars, along with a fully operational kitchen.
After School Program
A five-day a week elementary school program will offer children a chance to learn new crafts, take trips and learn how to cook in a safe environment. County staff specialists and others will appear as guest speakers.
Opening Day Ceremonies
The Community Center will celebrate its official opening with a ribbon cutting and events from 9:30 a.m. until 12 noon. The Adult Day Health Care Center is expected to be operational this summer.
Saturday’s events begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Honor Guard and remarks by County Board officials and other County officials. There will be guided tours of the building and grounds, live music and intergenerational storytelling, wellness clinics, games, children’s activities and more.
The event will be held at 2909 16th Street S. All festivities are free and open to the public. A van shuttle will be available from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from Mount Zion church located at 3500 S. 19th Street, Arlington VA.
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.