It turns out that the work on Mount Jefferson Park isn’t finished after all.
The 4.6-acre park has been closed since January 2022 and is part of an agreement by developer Stonebridge to build the Oakville Triangle project. The project, which includes removing invasive species and reshaping trails, was initially scheduled to wrap last September but encountered delays with weather, supply chain issues and design revisions.
Last week, the city said that city inspections were standing in the way of it opening.
“Park work has not been completed,” Alexandria Park Planner Judy Lo told ALXnow. “There is remaining work to be done, including the East Raymond Ave. crossing and storm sewer, park signs, and general site restoration.”
Additionally, Lo said that the city is “aware of drainage issues in the dog exercise area.”
The project’s website says that City inspections are scheduled between now and May.
“Our Staff and Stonebridge understand the need to reopen the park as quickly as possible, which could be prior to our slated May date, but that is dependent on the public’s cooperation with not entering the park area,” Lo said. “These entries cause delays in park work and park inspections, can damage new plants and turf grass, and exacerbate the issue of ponding water and soil compaction. We are asking the public to follow all posted signs and to not enter the park area for any reason so that our teams are able to complete work as quickly as possible.”
Alexandria has been planning to renovate the park since 2015.
After more than six months of delay, the renovation of Mount Jefferson Park is complete.
City inspections now stand between the park reopening to the public, according to the city. That process could take another two months.
Developer Stonebridge agreed with the city to renovate the 4.6-acre park as part of its deal to construct the massive Oakville Triangle project. The park has been shut down since construction began between the 300 Block of E. Raymond Avenue and Richmond Highway (Route 1) in January 2022. The project, which includes removing invasive species and reshaping trails, was initially scheduled to wrap last September.
“They’ve (Stonebridge) encountered supply chain issues, weather delays, as well as some design revisions that occurred last fall that they’re trying to work through,” Alexandria Park Planner Judy Lo told ALXnow.
She said the city has not done any inspections on the improvements since the park was closed down last January.
“We definitely want to make sure all the improvements are constructed according to the approved plans and that the park is safe for the public to use,” she said.
Alexandria has had plans to renovate the park on the books since 2015.
Today, Friday, Del Ray resident Ron F. was walking his dog near the park when he shared with ALXnow his desire to see the park open soon.
“How long does it take to inspect a park?” asked Ron, who only gave the initial of his last name. “It looks ready to open. It looks safe.”
City inspections are scheduled between March and May, and the park could be opened sooner than May if inspections are completed, Lo said.
“If inspections go well, the park will open,” Lo said. “If there’s a section that can open, we can definitely look at opening it in sections.”
Ron contends the process should not take that long, saying “it’s trails and trees.”
According to the city:
The City, in conjunction with the Oakville Triangle/Route 1 Corridor planning process, developed a plan in 2015 for the Mount Jefferson Park & Greenway between East Raymond Ave. and Route 1.
The approved plan draws inspiration from the site’s former use as a railroad, and seeks to balance the natural characteristics of the park through enhanced landscape plantings and the preservation of the nature trails south of Fannon Street.
Improvements to the 4.6-acre park area include site drainage and stormwater infrastructure, an ADA multi-use permeable trail and trail connectors, an expanded off-leash dog exercise area, native plantings, invasive species removal, a new speed table at Raymond Avenue to slow vehicular traffic, a new water meter, new park wayfinding signage, and new historical interpretative features.
Plans for the grand opening include a cycling event for children hosted by the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, to include lessons about key bicycle skills like turning and hand signals.
The event is being held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Mount Jefferson Park, located between the 300 blocks of Hume and Raymond avenues in Del Ray.
Local bicycle shops have also signed up to offer bicycle and helmet safety checks.
Adults are welcome, but the event is aimed at children ages 4-11.
Photo via City of Alexandria/Twitter