Parks and Open Spaces
The quality of our parks is a hallmark of Arlington and a shared source of joy for generations. From those who walk and bike along our trails, to the variety of sports fields and open spaces that so many of us enjoy, we have many assets that need to be protected and improved through investment. As a community, we must prioritize parks and open spaces in our budgets and planning processes. The County Board must also prioritize the preservation of existing assets, while considering responsible investments in new public spaces.
Balance All of Our Park and Open Space Needs
Space is costly in Arlington, so we will have to invest wisely to keep our parks high-quality and preserve open space. The Public Spaces Master Plan (PSMP) currently under consideration has already identified new needs and ideas, and will help to clarify many of the competing needs in Arlington-including lighted sports fields and additional free open space. The PSMP will also identify innovative solutions that will ensure that Arlington parks remain a focal point of our community for years to come.
In order to invest in parks and open spaces, we will need to manage our budget well. Over the past few years, the County Board has made several good, hard decisions on the budget, such as deciding to sell the Reeves Farmhouse, while keeping the surrounding land as park space and for historic uses. Another example of good budget policy was the decision to sell the Artisphere, which opened up funding for Signature Theater and left created budget savings on the whole. We will need to make similar hard decisions in the years to come so that we have the resources to invest in the parks and open spaces we cherish.
The Aquatics Center at Long Bridge Park
The County Board made the right decision in November 2017 to fund a more cost-effective proposal for a swimming facility and improvements at Long Bridge Park. Demand for a swimming facility has been widespread for a long time and Arlington voters had already approved funding for construction via bond measures. We should fund operations for this facility that will benefit County residents for years to come.
I will value our parks and open space as the treasured community assets that they are, and believe that they are part of expanding opportunity for everyone in Arlington. I’ve considered parks in my capacity on the Joint Facilities Advisory Commission and sought the views of thought leaders with Parks and Recreation, as well as those who have served on the Parks Master Plan Committee. I value our parks and open space as the treasured community assets that they are and believe that they are part of expanding opportunity for everyone in Arlington. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on critical parks and open space issues currently being discussed, such as:
– Protecting Tree Canopy countywide;
– Lighting of fields, such as at Williamsburg Middle School;