Improvements have been proposed for Potomac Overlook Regional Park, and one of the suggestions is to add the park’s first actual “overlook.”
The park land is managed by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA), which held a meeting last night (Monday) to present the proposed improvement plans.
One of the ideas is to construct an overlook in the tree canopy where visitors could rent equipment and participate in educational programs. The site could also potentially be rented out for events.
Some of the other proposed improvements are:
- Create bus drop off plaza/welcome area with information kiosk and covered area for up to 75 persons.
- Relocate and/or improve park signage.
- Move gate further down entrance road and add parking — can add approximately 20 head-in spaces in clearings on each side of road with minimal tree loss.
- Add new asphalt cap to park roadway.
- Expand area of amphitheater to hold larger events by trimming back the vegetation on the upper side of the bowl.
- Add rock climbing, zip lines or large swings or similar features to attract groups, and help rent shelters.
- Replace existing stage with a shelter that could be rented, or used as a stage when needed. This new shelter would use the existing solar panels on its roof. Improve the interpretation of the solar shelter.
- Implement a small 2-acre urban farm or community garden, and develop interpretation of Donaldson farm and the historic foundations located near center of park, just off the paved path.
- Renovate and expand the aging birds of prey facility — an extremely popular destination for school groups visiting the park.
- Remove outdated and dilapidated elements such as “simple pleasures trellis,” solar fan bench and toddler terrace.
- Add scout camping area in cleared area behind the Indian Garden.
- Consider reestablishing a healthy orchard area to do a “pick your own” program.
- Request long-term lease or gift of Marcey Park from Arlington County.
In addition to upgrading the existing facilities, the plan suggests revamping programs offered at the park. The ideas include the following:
- Expand the number of weeks summer camps are offered.
- Drop camps for older kids that do not fill.
- Expand camps for younger kids that are in demand.
- Offer half day camps.
- Institute on-line registration process.
- Use more summer seasonal staff, and reduce distance of field trips.
- Offer merit badge programs with scout camping for a value-added experience.
- Do fewer concerts with bigger names to improve returns.
- “Yappy Hour” events using tennis courts on scheduled evenings.
- Explore after school nature programs for area elementary schools.
- Partner with external organization to operate the Urban Agriculture area.
Funding for the project would come from the NVRPA, with the possibility of some assistance from the Northern Virginia Regional Park Foundation.
So far no start date has been set for the beginning the work because the plans are preliminary. NVRPA is currently focusing on soliciting comments and suggestions from the community, which can be emailed to Potomac@NVRPA.Org. NVRPA will hold at least one more meeting with community members regarding finalized plans before renovations begin.