National organization picks Four Mile Run Park
for its innovative practices in community engagement and volunteer coordination
In recognition of its innovative and effective approach to community engagement and volunteer coordination, Four Mile Run Park has been named a “Frontline Park,” a nationwide competition sponsored each year by City Parks Alliance.
“It is incredibly gratifying to see this recognition after years of hard work, dedication and real collaboration between citizens, Alexandria City staff, and neighboring jurisdictions and agencies,” says Alexandria Vice Mayor Justin Wilson. “Having watched citizens become engaged in the Four Mile Run Park and stream restoration over my time in public service, I can attest that these massive improvements to the park and its neighborhood’s quality of life would not have been possible without these partnerships.”
In the early 70s, flooding caused incredible damage to Four Mile Run Park and surrounding residential area. The Army Corps of Engineers' flood control project managed to mitigate future flooding threats, but promised improvements to the park never occurred. As a result, the park was in severe need of restoration and maintenance, some of which was addressed through volunteer efforts in the early 2000s, but public investment in the park was reduced as the region dealt with the fallout of the financial crisis.
In recent years, dedicated community leaders and volunteers in Arlandria have worked tirelessly to maintain, restore, and program Four Mile Run Park to prevent it from falling into disrepair. A group of architects came together to create a work plan for the site, highlighting priority areas and making recommendations on where funds should be allocated in the absence of city attention to the space. While a task force made up of citizens from both Alexandria and neighboring Arlington County galvanized and shepherded public investment for stream and wetland restoration resulting in award-winning habitat creation in the park, the community has stepped in to make it cleaner and safer for visitors who come from all over the region to fish, bike the trails, walk dogs, and participate in other recreational activities.
In 2016, the nonprofit Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation was incorporated to increase capacity for fundraising and community engagement. The step toward formalizing the ad hoc approach to implementing a vision for the park represents the culmination of years of volunteer work from the community, which has been remarkable on its own.
Each month City Parks Alliance names one “Frontline Park” as a standout example of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship from across the country. The program identifies urban parks and programs that find innovative ways to meet the unique challenges facing cities today. The site was selected from a field of more than 30 entries across the country. As a Frontline Park, Four Mile Run Park will be featured on the City Parks Alliance website and in articles and blog posts by the organization.
The Frontline Parks program is made possible with generous support from DuMor, Inc. (www.dumor.com)
About City Parks Alliance
City Parks Alliance is the only independent, nationwide membership organization solely dedicated to urban parks. It leads and serves a community of diverse organizations, championing high quality urban parks throughout the nation. CPA’s vision is that everyone in urban America will have access to parks and green spaces that are clean, safe and vibrant. www.cityparksalliance.org