Jennie Dean Park
3630 27th Street S, Arlington, VA 22206 View Map
Update: Jennie Dean Park is open!
Start Date (Design): 4th Quarter 2018
End Date (Design): 4th Quarter 2019
Start Date (Light Construction): 1st Quarter 2020
Start Date (Major Construction): 4th Quarter 2020
End Date (Construction): 2nd Quarter 2022
About the Project
Arlington Celebrates Opening of Renovated Jennie Dean Park
Arlington County Parks and Recreation is excited to celebrate the reopening of newly renovated Jennie Dean Park, an integral part of the Green Valley community for more than 75 years. Building upon its history and the community’s love of sports and arts, the park has been transformed into an exciting place designed to celebrate the area’s past and cultural heritage, while increasing access to recreation and nature.
“Jennie Dean Park has reflected Arlington County since its inception,” said Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol. “When the County was segregated, this was the park for Black Arlingtonians. And it reflected their love of community, sports, and arts. These new renovations build upon that history and have honored and enhanced it.”
Jennie Dean Park has been expanded by 2.25 acres, which allowed for a larger and more modern playground. The picnic shelter was renovated so it’s fully accessible along Four Mile Run, and the restrooms were updated to be all-gender. The diamond fields and athletic courts were relocated to increase playability, with more-efficient LED lights. There is also a new history walk with a timeline of significant dates and events that happened at Jennie Dean Park.
As part of the new park, artist Mark Reigelman developed a site-specific public art, Wheelhouse, inspired by the mill that stood in this location in the early 1700s and the park’s rich recreational history.
The History of Jennie Dean Park
During the planning process, Arlington worked closely with the Green Valley Civic Association and its history working group to incorporate several features to honor and celebrate the park’s past. Starting in the 1930s, the park became a major hub for Black baseball clubs in the region, where game days were lively, social epicenters for the community. Over the next few decades, more teams were formed, both semi-pro and recreational, run by members of the Green Valley community.
Along the fence of the diamond fields are several pennants of the historic semi-pro and recreational teams from Green Valley – team names included Green Valley Quicksteps, Green Machine, Ghetto Blacks, and Over the Hill Gang – designed by local graphic artist Ted Irvine in collaboration with the Green Valley Civic Association. The two fields have been named after Ernest E. Johnson and Robert Winkler to recognize their deep contributions to the Green Valley Community.
Johnson became the director of Arlington County’s “Negro Recreation Section,” a separate division of the County’s segregated Department of Recreation in 1950. Under Mr. Johnson’s leadership, the “Negro Recreation Section” expanded to include a variety of sports, dance, theater, musical and community events for all the Black American communities in Arlington. He was a vital figure in the County’s African American community and ultimately oversaw the desegregation of Arlington recreation in the early 1960s. He went on to serve the County for two more decades.
MORE: Cub Scout Pack 589 and Ernest Johnson
Robert Winkler was raised in Green Valley and worked for Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation for more than 40 years. Mr. Winkler coached sports for Green Valley youth, as well as the Drew women’s softball team, and was a community activist who protected and preserved local fields for community sports.
Wheelhouse explores the industrial history of the Jennie Dean Park site through the lens of baseball. Inspired by the mill that stood in the location in the early 1700s, and the park’s recreational history, the installation’s 24 slices extending up from the ground reminds of a dugout, as well as the spokes of a churning wheel. “Wheelhouse” is a common term in baseball to describe the area where a batter likes a pitch in the strike zone.
Watch a time-lapse video of Wheelhouse being installed
The County began master planning the park as part of the Four Mile Run Valley community effort and adopted the Four Mile Run Valley Park Master Plan and Design Guidelines in September 2018. The Park Master Plan illustrated the major elements of the park and their general location and provided guidelines for the look and feel of the park.
The County worked closely with the community throughout the process to refine some of the details and finalize the design of the park. On Nov. 16, 2019, the County Board approved the construction contract for the project.
More About the Project
Jennie Dean has been integral to the Green Valley community in southern Arlington for more than 75 years. As the nearby community has grown, demand has spiked for public space and recreational options in the area. The County began master planning the park as part of the Four Mile Run Valley community planning effort and adopted the Four Mile Run Valley Park Master Plan and Design Guidelines in September 2018.
Phase one reconstruction will offer two lighted diamond fields; a lighted tennis court; a lighted basketball court; a playground for pre-school and school-aged children; two picnic shelters; a restroom building with three all-gender restrooms; a stream overlook; green, casual-use space; and of course new landscaping, site circulation, furnishings, storm water management, parking, public art and historic interpretation elements and signage. Limited utility undergrounding will happen on 27th Street South.
The Park Master Plan determined the major elements that would be included in Jennie Dean Park (diamond fields, courts, playgrounds, shelters, restrooms, public art, casual use space etc.), their general location, and provided guidelines for the look and feel of the park. The County has been working with the community to refine some of the details for these elements as we develop our final design for the park. In April 2019, we shared some draft concepts for the playgrounds, frontage along Four Mile Run Drive, restrooms, materials and site organization. Based on the input we received, we revised the plans to incorporate as much of that great feedback as possible and presented to the community the revised design in July 2019. Based on feedback we received in July, we tweaked the plans again, and shared the final design in November 2019. On November 16, the County Board approved the construction contract for the project as well as a number of land use actions necessary for us to build the park. More information about the contract and land use items can be found here.
About the Process
11/19 – On November 16 the County Board approved the construction contract for the project as well as a number of land use actions necessary for us to build the park. More information about the contract and land use items can be found here.
Learn more about the project timeline.
April 6 & 11, 2019: We shared some options for various elements of the new Jennie Dean Park such as the playgrounds, frontage, restrooms and more. We also shared these options with an online feedback tool.
July 13 & 16, 2019: Based on the input we received in April, we revised the plans to incorporate as much of that great feedback as possible and presented the community the revised design at two open houses and an online feedback tool. The revised design also provided some new information about the shelters, historic interpretation and information about the public artist that had been selected to work on the project.
Sept. 3 & 4, 2019: Artist Mark Reigelman visited town to hold an artist talk and office hours where he met with the community to gain inspiration for his work.
Nov. 21 & 23, 2019: We shared the final design for the Jennie Dean Park renovation project and listened as people shared their final thoughts on the project.
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