<< Click the photos at left to see our video coverage (left) and slideshow (below left) of the day's event.
The county celebrated the opening Saturday of Long Bridge Park, the newest, largest park in the county at 18 acres. The site had been a “brown field,” contaminated with PCBs and other toxins.
“Today is a milestone for Arlington’s commitment to environmental stewardship. This project represents conversion of a brown field into a green park with so [much] eco-friendly design,” said Dinesh Tiwari, head of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources. He acted as the emcee of the opening ceremonies for the park on Saturday Nov. 5.
The fields and esplanade are part of the first phase of the project, which cost about $40 million.
This first phase includes three rectangular ball fields that will be used for soccer, lacrosse and other sports. A pedestrian-friendly esplanade rises to the east of the fields and provides scenes of monuments, the Potomac River and trains. Also included in this phase is a nature trail into Roaches Run Overlook and a run-off rain garden.
“We have turned what has been, as I said, a functional gateway [to the county] into a spectacular gateway, that is appropriate to this county and that represents in every way the things we stand for,” said County Board Chair Chris Zimmerman.
The second phase, in planning, is for a state-of-the-art aquatics center. It will expand the park to 30 acres.
Total expenditure from the county over six years on the second phase is expected to be about $50 million. That money will come from a future bond issue and from about $14 million leftover from the bonds that were issued for the first phase of the park, according to county documents. Plans call for another $20 million from developers.
For much more, see our video and slideshow, above.