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City to consider naming park in Old Town after local open space advocate Judy Guse-Noritake

The Alexandria City Council on Tuesday will consider naming a one-acre park in Old Town after a local champion of parks, Judy Guse-Noritake.

The open space, a few blocks from the Braddock Road Metro station at 600 N. Henry Street, is currently named Braddock Interim Park. After the city acquired the land in 2010, it developed the property as part of the Braddock Metro Neighborhood Plan with gathering areas, a ping pong table, a bocce ball court, horseshoe pits and seating.

For a permanent name, the city is turning to Guse-Noritake, who died last year. She was deeply involved in the Braddock area and parks planning, as well as the longtime chair of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

In May, the city solicited feedback on a proposal to rename the interim park, which not far from the Braddock Road Metro station, and received many letters of support.

“Judy was a mentor, a colleague, and a friend, and had an indelible impact on our community over the years as a community leader and resident of Alexandria,” Planning Commission Chair Nathan Macek wrote. “The park is a manifestation of her, and the coalition’s, vision for a vibrant park in the heart of a growing community.”

Guse-Noritake founded the Braddock Metro Citizens’ Coalition and hosted a number of events at the park over the years. She is credited as a driving force behind the city’s Open Space Master Plan, Dog Park Master Plan, Athletic Field Master Plan, Recreational Needs Assessment and the Open Space Fund. Guse-Noritake also served eight years on the Virginia State Board of Forestry, as well as multiple terms on the board of the Potomac National Heritage Scenic Trail.

Luca Gattoni-Celli, CEO and founder of YIMBYs of Northern Virginia, wrote Guse-Noritake was one of the most engaged civic activists he knew in Alexandria.

“This is very obviously the correct decision and naming the park after anyone else would be almost insulting to Alexandria and to the memory of Ms. Guse-Noritake,” Gattoni-Celli wrote.

The unit owners association for The Henry condominium complex, which is located across the street, also endorsed naming the park after Guse-Noritake.

“Today, all around our City, Judy leaves a rich legacy of what is possible when you work to bring people together around good ideas,” the association wrote. “That legacy of parks, good design, diverse neighborhoods and sustainable communities is one that will benefit generations.”

Images via Google Maps

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