Parks & Rec Department Spending Green to Get More Green

There’s something to be said for the old adage: “You have to spend money, to make money.” The idea is to invest money. Just as several successful hands at a casino can reward the winner many times their initial gamble, so should a successful business venture or in this case, a park.

Planting Seeds

The city of Arlington has a rich park infrastructure, and the payback from the department’s various recreation centers, science facilities, and activities produced maintenance funding and healthy Arlingtonians. Now, after passing an historic bond package with over $230 million in city improvements, Arlington and it’s citizens are eager to cash in.

Fertilizing an Idea

For almost all the $60 million within Proposition 2,the Parks and Recreation Department hopes to churn up some soil. A vast majority of the proposed projects either rebuild older facilities or delegated new construction on publicly-owned land. Only one proposal didn’t require construction within the coming years, because it looked further down the road. One million dollars of the 2014 Arlington Bond Package staked claim to properties with park potential.

The Fruits of Labor

These properties are chosen wisely, but they haven’t all been finalized. Arlington Parks and Recreation Department is constantly updating its “highest priority service gap areas”. Despite the official title, these areas simply designate neighborhoods that have minimal parks or facilities for residents. The parks acquisition money will cater almost exclusively to these regions, aiming to spread the outdoor experience throughout the city. Because any map will show areas with fewer city resources, it’s fairly easy to see what neighborhoods the Parks and Rec Department has their eye on, but the specific locations are harder to pin down. That calls into consideration land availability within the sometimes dense areas and asking prices for ideal properties.

The A1 dark blue square represents "Acquisition 1", or the first planned location to buy land.

Watch It Bloom

The city has specified where it would like to look, which is a great start. At this point, it is too early to know what sort of structure, if any, is going to occupy the acquired land. There seems to be no limit to the growth and creativity of Arlington, from the diverse array of programs available through their rec centers to the brand new dog parks. New land just south of I-20 or near downtown may not seem like an exciting purchase, and perhaps it’s not. The excitement comes from the possibilities. Right now, they truly are unbridled. That land can be whatever the Parks and Recreation Department wants it to be, and if you have any suggestions, it could be whatever you wanted, too. Either way, the city is growing and you could easily have a hand in its future. Maybe they’d even name a park after you.

The Arlington 2014 Bond Package set the groundwork for sidewalks, major park updates, and now future greenery. Our blog series reaches its final installment next week when we talk about Fire Station #1 looking the part. The first fire facility in Arlington has plans in store that will make you say “Holy Smokes!” Follow Downtown Arlington on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the stories.