For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
For information contact: Matt Latham, (703) 228-7928, firstname.lastname@example.org
ARLINGTON, Va. - Arlington will celebrate the completion of the Fort Ethan Allen Park Improvement Project with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 17th at 10 a.m.
County Board members and community leaders will be on hand for the event, which will take place at the park, located at 3829 N. Stafford Street. There will be presentations on historic artifacts uncovered during construction and the history of Fort Ethan Allen; and displays highlighting the park’s unique design features. This event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.
The ribbon-cutting completes the lengthy process of moving the Fort Ethan Allen Community Canine Area from its previous location along Old Glebe Road. The relocation restores public access to the fort’s historic earthworks and allows for the future interpretive use of the site.
The project includes the County’s newest and most innovative community canine area, playground improvements, streetscape improvements, site accessibility improvements, and landscaping.
Civil War era artifacts were uncovered during construction of the new park. These artifacts were found commingled with construction debris from the adjacent Madison Community Center, which was constructed about 40 years ago. Archaeologists carefully recovered the artifacts and are preparing them for future interpretation. Archaeologist Patrick O’Neill will give a presentation regarding the archaeological find as part of the event’s activities.
Innovative design features of the community canine area include:
• Bollard-style lighting to facilitate evening use
• Water fountains for people and dogs
• Decorative fencing and landscaping
• Solid fencing and landscaped buffers along adjacent properties
• Entrances that separate community canine area traffic from other park users
• A shaded deck that also protects the roots of existing mature trees
• Engineered wood fiber surfacing with a drain system to prevent mud and odor
• Storm water filtration system to protect water quality
Additional improvements include new walkways throughout the site, a new water fountain for the children’s play area, additional site furnishings, a new accessible ramp for the Madison Community Center, and an improved streetscape along North Stafford Street.
The Fort Ethan Allen Park Improvement Project is one in a series of projects which represent significant achievements for the County, called milestones. For a complete list of these projects, which focus on capital projects and other strategic initiatives that tie into the community’s vision, click here.
Fort Ethan Allen was part of the “ring of forts” that comprised the Union Army’s “Defenses of Washington” during the Civil War. The fort was a bastioned earthwork built by the Union Army in September 1861 to command the approach to Chain Bridge. The Fort had a perimeter of 736 yards, with emplacements for 39 guns. Several embankments still remain, including the south face, less the west bastion; an interior bombproof shelter; the magazine and guardhouse near the north face; and a part of the east face. Fort Ethan Allen has the most extensive remaining features of any of the Civil War forts left in Arlington, and is a designated Arlington County Historic District.
More than 15 years ago residents began using a portion of the historic district to exercise their dogs off-leash. In 1999 a citizen’s work group on dog exercise areas recommended upgrading the site with fences, drinking fountains, kiosks and other amenities. The County installed these as recommended and the number of people using the site increased dramatically.
In 2000, the County recognized that the location of this activity could interfere with the opportunity to experience the fort’s historic resources. The County then undertook a planning process to relocate the activity to provide easier access to the historic earthworks. Representatives from the local neighborhood, historical community, park users, commissions and others were asked to help find a new home for the activity. The site selected was a result of this five year process that included numerous community meetings, task force recommendations, and County Board action.
For more information about this event, please visit online at www.arlingtonva.us/prcr.
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.