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New Playground Planned to Help Revitalize Fort Ward Park

As part of a plan to revitalize Fort Ward Park, the City of Alexandria is planning to build a new playground at the site in a more publicly accessible area.

Moving the playground to the southern portion of the site was initially proposed in 2015. An initial design for the new park was released today (Monday) with design expected to continue through the spring and summer. Construction of the new playground is scheduled for Spring 2021.

Some equipment from the existing playground is planned to be carried over to the new site, which is just east of St. Stephens and St. Agnes Middle School. Some of the exterior portions of the site will include play-walls that are an homage to the fort’s bastions.

“In addition to the existing and new playground equipment, we are asked with including ADA compliant seating, picnic tables, a drinking fountain, and accessible parking in this design,” staff said.

The site was also the location of several homes in a black community from the early 20th century before the homes were condemned by the City of Alexandria or purchased for next to nothing to convert the land into the current park, according to the Washington Post. Staff said the playground will mostly be built above-grade so the ground beneath is preserved for future archeological study, though some areas where equipment has to be deeply anchored will be excavated.

“Community members have expressed concern that family cemeteries may be located on the proposed site of the playground,” staff said. “In response, Alexandria Archeology conducted extensive research and found no evidence… that the lots were used to bury deceased family members.”

The public review is scheduled to run until Friday, June 26. Feedback on the project can be submitted via email to [email protected]

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