Along with the multitude of new homes, retail shops, offices and roadways that will appear at Potomac Yard over the next several years, development planners have made space for a park unlike any in Alexandria.
On Tuesday night at the Pulte Homes sales office on Main Line Boulevard, Zac Lette of Land Planning and Design Associates unveiled the specifications for a multi-million dollar, 21-acre park featuring a stage, fountain, canal, playgrounds and athletic courts, among many other amenities.
“This will be a center of activity for the city of Alexandria,” said Lette, who is the project liaison.
The park will skirt the eastern border of the development along the Metro and railroad tracks and eventually stretch 1.5 miles from the store to a pedestrian gateway reaching the Braddock Road Metro station.
Connected by a lighted multi-use trail, the park will house its amenities in several “belvederes” or urban plazas located where the development’s streets dead-end into the rail tracks. Each belvedere will contain a different amenity, from a grass volleyball court to a playground.
As an ode to the old rail yard that used to sit on the development, Lette said the park will have a “post-industrial theme.” For example, a playground designed for children ages 3 to 5 will contain a maze of interpretive panels designed to look like boxcars. There will also be historical markers detailing the history of Alexandria and the rail hub.
One of the bigger attractions will be a fountain shooting streams of water that children can play in. Lette compared it to the fountains at Epcot Center near Orlando, Fla., or Landsdowne Resort in Leesburg.
The park will be filled with indigenous trees and other native species of plants to promote seasonal growth and to make caring for the plants easier.
In his presentation, Lette described a state-of-the-art, satellite-controlled irrigation system designed to keep the park lush and green. The multi-use trail will be lit with LED lights and the park will contain other green elements, including large floating islands in the south pond near the Monroe Avenue bridge for wetland remediation.
“When we’re done with [the south pond] it will be a lot prettier than it is today,” Lette said.
Lette said he hopes the majority of the park will be completed in late fall of 2012. Construction is to begin this month, with an opening ceremony to occur in late June or early July.
Potomac Yard Development, a joint venture between Pulte and Centex homebuilders, is spending $13.5 million on the improvements at the park at Potomac Yard, the dog park expansion and other upgrades at .
To take a look at the park design, click here.