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Curtain Goes Up on Potomac Yard Park

New 24-acre park opens on the eastern edge of the Potomac Yard development.

Families play in one of the playgrounds at the new Potomac Yard Park, Dec. 14, 2013. (Photo credit: Drew Hansen)
Families play in one of the playgrounds at the new Potomac Yard Park, Dec. 14, 2013. (Photo credit: Drew Hansen)

Alexandria officials marked the culmination of years of community effort Saturday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the first phase of Potomac Yard Park.

“This park is to connect people with the land and people with each other,” Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille said. “It’s a gift to future generations.”

The land and construction of the park were provided by Potomac Yard Development, LLC and donated to the city.

The fence came down at the park mid-week, but Saturday was the official unveiling.

The 24-acre park on the eastern edge of the Potomac Yard development includes a mix of passive and active open space, including an interactive fountain flanked by two playgrounds. One is directly to the north for children ages 2-5 and another directly to the south for children 5-12.

The park houses its many other amenities in several belvederes or urban plazas located where the development’s streets dead-end into the rail tracks to the east.

Other features include tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, a special events stage, historical elements and signs.

“Thousands and thousands of man hours are needed to make something like this happen,” said Lewis Birnbaum, Mid-Atlantic Division President of Pulte Homes.

Throughout the park, there are railroad accents referencing the busy rail yard that once occupied the site. The sidewalks and other features are laid out in a similar fashion to the tracks and equipment of the old rail yard.

The park also includes more than 2,000 hand-selected trees and a multitude of furnishings such as trash receptacles, benches, bike racks and water fountains.

Four exercise stations will be built south of the Monroe Avenue Bridge near where Bell Del Ray and the new Pulte townhomes and urban lofts are being constructed along Main Line Boulevard. Park builders have run into some issues with utilities along this stretch. A contract was just awarded to outfit the park’s northern storm-water pond.

Potomac Yard Development also installed two athletic fields and a new restroom and park maintenance facility at Simpson Stadium Park as part of the project. 

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