Working Group to Lead Comprehensive Four Mile Run Valley Initiative

Published on April 19, 2016

UPDATE: On Tues., May 17, 2016, the County Board appointed the members to the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group.

  • Developing a vision for 95-acre area of south Arlington

  • Cohesive process to create an Area Plan, and a master plan for Jennie Dean Park and associated parks

  • Board to name working group members in May

The Arlington County Board today charged a broad community working group with providing advice, guidance and feedback to the Board and County staff on developing a comprehensive vision for Four Mile Run Valley. Home to several County parks, industrial and retail businesses, and residential neighborhoods, the 95-acre area lies in the southern end of Nauck, adjacent to Shirlington Village along the Four Mile Run stream.

The Working Group will work with staff to develop short- and long-term vision, policies, recommendations and implementation strategies that will lead to the eventual adoption of an Area Plan for the study area and a Jennie Dean Park Master Plan, which includes the area containing Jennie Dean Park, Shirlington Park and Shirlington Dog Park.

"It just makes sense to bring these projects into one cohesive process that will chart our course in this unique part of Arlington," said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. "As a nearby neighbor in Fairlington, I am especially pleased we are moving forward on this special project."

County Board member John Vihstadt, the board's liaison to the group, said "The Board is confident that the working group will steer an exciting vision for Four Mile Run Valley, one that will be sensitive to the diversity of uses there and to the needs of the community."

The Board voted 5 to 0 to adopt the charge, with membership to be announced in May. Members will include representatives from several nearby civic associations, advisory boards, commissions and other stakeholder groups including business and property owners. View the full charge on the County website.

Kick-off meeting

The Four Mile Run Valley (4MRV) Working Group members are expected to begin meeting shortly after they are named. A policy framework is planned to be presented to the County Board by spring 2017 and an Area Plan and Park Master Plan for adoption by the Board by spring 2018.

Key objectives for this process include:

  • Identifying an economically viable mix of existing and new uses that contribute to the sustainability of the neighborhood and the County as a whole, especially given the unique mix of current uses.

  • Developing an urban design framework that incorporates heights and densities along with attractive streetscapes (including sidewalks, street trees and lighting) that are compatible with surrounding neighborhoods and sensitive to historic resources.

  • Defining an open-space network and a variety of active and passive uses within Jennie Dean Park and other park spaces.

  • Incorporating energy efficiency, sustainability measures, best practices for stream restoration and preservation, and identifying effective multi-modal transportation facilities and networks while maximizing transition, bicycle and pedestrian connections.

About the process

The Working Group and an interdisciplinary County team will be augmented by a team of consultants with expertise in land use, urban design, multi-modal transportation, economics, arts and cultural resources, open space, parkland recreation, environmental planning, and floodplain and natural resource projection.

Community outreach and engagement strategies include:

  • Community meetings

  • Open houses and walking tours

  • Workshops

  • Four Mile Run Valley Initiative webpage

  • County Board work sessions

  • E-mail, online surveys and social media

  • On-site engagement and interviews

  • Media releases


County staff began the 4MRV pre-planning process in 2014. Recommendations developed throughout the process will be coordinated with the Nauck Town Square design process that is currently underway and that is not part of the charge to the newly established working group.

The Nauck Town Square final design process kicked off in December 2015 with a community meeting led by artist and landscape architect Walter Hood, who is designing the square. A second design draft meeting was held in March 2016, with the final design expected to be presented to the community for review in June 2016. The Nauck Town Square design process will continue through fall 2016. The project is being developed as the anchor for the Nauck Village Center. The square will take up an entire block between 24th Road South and South Shirlington Road and will serve as a community gathering place.

Learn more about the Four Mile Run Valley Project on the County website.