Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Children at Play :: Supporting Arlington Parks

One of the excellent things that has impressed me about A-Town is the abundance of parks - the diversity of parks - and the tremendous utilization of parks.  There are people recreating in parks everywhere all the time. One impressive park has been the facilities at Washington & Lee.  The redone football field and track is a tremendous park used year round by school children, adults, soccer teams, lacrosse teams, people going for a jog - people building community.

Well success brings challenges.  The newly renovated Washington & Lee school continues to grow and succeed.  And with a strong student body population that wants to go out and play, the school needs improved fields.   The Washington & Lee PTA has recommended to the Arlco Board that the field on the corner of the school grounds at Quincy and Washington get renovated (currently its pretty much just a field - useful but under utilized).  The Washington & Lee PTA recommends that this field be renovated and lights installed.

We have already seen how successful the Washington & Lee football field has been.  These parks are valuable resources for children to go out and play.  Consistent with Arlco's Fit Arlington program, these parks are a good idea.

Arlington County Board
Mary Hynes
2100 Clarendon Boulevard
Arlington VA, 22201
March 19, 2012
Dear Chairman Hynes:
The Washington-Lee PTA unanimously supports and strongly endorses the development of the W-L sports field located at the corner of Quincy and Washington Boulevard.  The development of this field was approved as part of the original design of a renovated Washington-Lee High School and it is the PTA requests that this field be renovated, that lights be installed and that it be completed as soon as possible.
The completion of this field is necessary for several reasons: a need to improve the safety of our students, increased need for fields driven by increasing population, and the need to have an appropriate field for the girls softball team.  All three issues are critical and any one of them should drive this field renovation forward, but the PTA believes that the fact that all three issues do exist makes the renovation of the field critical and urgent.
As you know, Washington-Lee has nearly 2000 students and is facing a growing student population. Our current recreational fields are not sufficient to handle all the demands of the physical education classes and our after school sports programs.  This lack of adequate field space requires that every day significant numbers of W-L students have to cross Washington Boulevard to get to the fields at Quincy Park.  This is dangerous for both our students and the passing motorists.
Additionally, we have been concerned for years with the safety issues associated with offsite fields that cannot be adequately supervised by the school. These offsite fields are not well patrolled and offer a less than secure environment for our students.  We lock our school during the day to prevent unauthorized access to our students, but every day our students cross a busy road and go to a park where access to them is not controlled.  Further, should something happen, the distance from the school significantly increases the response time of school personnel, leaving immediate intervention to one or two staff and a group of scared kids.
We believe the development of the field will benefit both the Washington-Lee High School community and the greater Arlington community. In addition to the benefits mentioned above we also believe the field will provide:
  A safe practice field  -  the current field is uneven and in dismal condition
  Reduction in the number of practices that are held off campus, increasing the safety of our students
  A fenced-in field which eliminates unwanted guests, visits by dogs and dog waste
  Safe outdoor space for class work
  Expanded space for physical education classes
  Another lighted field available to the community
  Safer egress to the main stadium
  Elimination of a large dark area that can be unsafe and misused
The Washington-Lee PTA respectfully requests that the County Board approve the renovation and lighting of the Washington-Lee field. 
Thank you for your consideration.
Jennifer Dunlap
Washington-Lee PTA

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