The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities is scheduled to hold a community meeting about Fort Ward Park on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. in near St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes Middle School (4401 W. Braddock Road).
The meeting will discuss provide an opportunity to learn about capital projects coming in 2020 related to park improvements, according to the city website.
Fort Ward, built to defend Washington D.C. during the Civil War and later home to an African American community, is slated to receive a series of upgrades to make the site a more accessible and attractive tourist destination in Alexandria.
The plan is to update the existing museum at the site with a new film and exhibits that show the fort’s history and its evolution from military structure to a community hub.
Plaques across the site will include information from trenchworks and artillery placement to a recognition of the Fort Ward community that still lives in the surrounding area (some of whom are struggling with Alexandria City Public Schools over a plan to add lights to the T.C. Williams football field).
Upgrades for the park at 4301 W. Braddock Road include:
- Museum enhancements: An updated site-wide film and overview exhibit
- Orientation station: A map that will include a scale, tactile model of the site
- Orientation station duplicate: Similar to the one above, located at the opposite side of the site
- Historic home footprint: A metal frame outline of the footprint of an original home built at the site
- Community gateway: A marker signifying the start of a trail with information about the African American community that lived at Fort Ward
- Commemorative space: A small space with seating and some informational panels that encourage visitors to reflect on the site’s history
- Interpretive wayside panels: Updated panels to include more information about the site’s history
- Site markers: Low-profile markers that indicate historic features that are no longer visible at the site
“Every square foot of Fort Ward Park is used and in demand — for historic interpretation and preservation, for recreation and as native woodland and open space,” the city said in its Fort Ward plan.
Elements of the plan include healing areas of erosion and compacted soil in the park, which have contributed to stormwater problems. The open space aims for the project also include adding more greenery to the open space.
Photo 1 via Visit Alexandria