Board Approves Long-Term Vision for Benjamin Banneker Park, Fairlingt

Published on December 16, 2017

  • Banneker Park's existing amenities to be replaced, trails improved

  • More protection for Four Mile Run stream

  • Contract approved for Fairlington Park

The Arlington County Board today adopted a long-term vision for Benjamin Banneker Park, a 12.5-acre park at 1680 N. Sycamore Street on the western edge of the County, that the County has expanded over the past two decades through strategic purchases. Staff and consultants, using feedback from the public, developed the Benjamin Banneker Park Framework Plan and Design Guidelines.

Replacement of existing park amenities and trail improvements are funded with $2.45 million from Fiscal Year 2015 Parks Maintenance Capital and $750,000 from the Fiscal Year 2015 Trail Modernization Program. Additional planned improvements will require future budget consideration.

"This plan will make Benjamin Banneker Park more accessible, provide more protection for Four Mile Run stream, which runs through the park, improve the park's trails, and replace its playground equipment," Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette said. "We appreciate the great work that staff and the community did in crafting this well thought out plan."

The Board voted unanimously to adopt the framework plan.

About Benjamin Banneker Park

[caption id="attachment_14436" align="alignright" width="300"]Panorama photo of Benjamin Banneker Park Benjamin Banneker Park[/caption]

Benjamin Banneker Park features the Four Mile Run trailhead; a section of the NOVA Parks Washington & Old Dominion Trail; a dog park; playground; picnic facilities; rectangular athletic field; and parking.

A major feature of the park is Four Mile Run stream, which together with its riparian and environmentally sensitive areas encompass about 75 percent of the park. Natural springs and a managed meadow in the park make it attractive to a variety of wildlife and plants.

The park also hosts a historic boundary stone, designated a National Historic Landmark that commemorates the contributions of Benjamin Banneker, a son of freed slaves and self-taught mathematician, who played a key role in the survey of the original boundary of the District of Columbia.

Plan highlights

  • Widening trails — Trails will be widened, to 10-to 12 feet, following guidelines from the adopted Arlington Master Transportation Plan — Bicycle Element.

  • Improving accessibility — A sidewalk connection from 16th Street N. to the parking lot will be added as well as a sidewalk around the parking lot perimeter, which will link internal sidewalks and trails with park amenities.

  • Relocating playground — The playground will be shifted further from the stream along 18th Street N. The new location will be separated from trails and visible from the street. It will include new play equipment, more seating and tables.

  • Parking lot improvements — The parking lot will be reconfigured and restriped to better accommodate up to 25 cars. The footprint of the lot will be reduced and made more efficient.

  • Renovating Dog Park — The dog parks surface will be replenished and there will be new furnishings and play features.

To read the staff report on this item, scroll down to Item No. 46 on the agenda for the Saturday, Dec. 16 Regular County Board Meeting.

Public engagement

For information on public engagement for this project, visit the project webpage, where you can also subscribe to a mailing list to stay informed on next steps.

Improving Fairlington Park

In a separate action, the Board approved a $1.9 million contract with the Bennett Group, Inc. for the final phase of renovations for Fairlington Park. The project will include a playground for both 2-5 and 5-12-year-olds, outdoor fitness equipment, a picnic area, site circulation with ADA accessibility, site furnishings, landscaping, and drainage, and stormwater management improvements.

The Board voted unanimously to approve the contract.

The existing amphitheater, which is not often used, will be removed to make more room for the playground. The athletic field will be closed during construction.

Public engagement

The County conducted an online survey to solicit general feedback from the community on possible improvements. After the survey, the County developed conceptual designs and presented them at two community meetings. Another meeting was held at the playground to focus specifically on the playground equipment choices, at the request of residents unable to attend the first two meetings.

To read the staff report, scroll to Item No. 21 on the agenda for the Saturday, Dec. 16 Regular County Board Meeting.