Jennie Dean - 4 Mile Run Valley Planning Process

UpdatedMonday November 28, 2016 byABR.

Arlington Babe Ruth (ABR) is actively involved in the current 4 Mile Run Valley (4MRV) planning process. Here is the project location on Arlington County’s website. ABR wants its families to be aware of the process and possible implications as the process unfolds. Also, there are certain times when ABR encourages its families to take part in the planning process and voice their interest in making sure recreational facilities are included as part of the plans. This is one of those times!

The future of the baseball parks at Jennie Dean are in serious jeopardy due to the intense objection of the Community Associations around the park. They are asking for the baseball parks to be removed and replaced with “Open Space”.  We need your support for both maintaining and improving these parks for not only our current but also for our future Youth Baseball Community!

The overall goal of the Four Mile Run Valley (4MRV) initiative is to develop a comprehensive future vision and policy framework and specific strategies for the area through the adoption of a Four Mile Run Area Plan, a Parks Master Plan, and a design for the Nauck Town Square. These plans will help guide public and private investment, including County operations for the long term, along with the preservation and enhancement of natural resource, open spaces, and future development, in a manner compatible with the surrounding area and consistent with the County’s overall policies.

The total 4MRV planning area encompasses about 95 acres. For Arlington, that’s a huge amount of space, and of course there are many, many ideas about what that space can or should be used for. The most immediate phase of the planning process looks at Jennie Dean Park and the immediately surrounding area (See attached map of the site) See the dotted green line in the site picture to see the park study area.

Current Situation:

Currently, Jennie Dean Park has two diamond (baseball / softball) fields, an open area with picnic areas, and two tennis courts, a basketball court and a playground. Additional space will be made available via the demolition of specific buildings already owned by Arlington County and the potential acquisition of other structures in the area.

As a sports-focused group, ABR works with other sports groups in the area to advocate for the preservation of and expansion of recreational facilities in Arlington. There are a couple of key points we need help with:

- - Short term, we want to make sure the facilities in place in Jennie Dean are kept and, if possible, improved. The diamond fields and open field space in particular are important assets. Could the current tennis and basketball courts get redone? Could these courts be reconfigured to allow for multiple sporting activities?  ABR is advocating “creative thinking” to come up with the most efficient, economical and effective use of this space.

- - Longer term, ABR advocates for the development of an indoor recreational facility (AKA fieldhouse), ideally with an artificial turf field located on top of the facility and/or in the basement of the proposed facility. An alternative would be to place the turf field on top of another structure to be developed, perhaps a parking structure.  Perhaps creating a mini Nats Academy at this location might make sense! 

How can you help?

1.)    Voice your support for keeping and improving Jennie Dean Park! If the baseball community does not advocate for including baseball facilities in the Jennie Dean Park plan, we may lose these fields. As this planning process evolves, we may be coming back to you with requests to sign petitions, submit letters, etc.

2.)    Please try to attend upcoming meetings. First up: the December 3 meeting from 9am-1pm at Drew Model School (see details below). If you can’t stay for the whole time, please attend for some of the meeting. Numbers matter, especially in the early stages of this plan!

Friday December 2, 7-9pm @ site TBD: Kick Off Meeting – Background information and process history is provided to attendees. Ideal for folks who have not been part of the workgroup to date.

Saturday December 3, 9am-1pm @ Drew Model School (3500 23rd Street S, Arlington, VA): Hands-On Design Workshop – This is the cool part, as participants work in groups to develop theoretical models showing what types of features should be included – and where – in the Jennie Dean Park area. Use your imagination and depict what kinds of facilities are desired, even going so far as to project possible siting of those facilities. This is where you’d want to express support for improving the existing recreational facilities and also adding at some point a fieldhouse and additional turf field.

3.)    Tell ABR what you think about the proposed long-term facilities plan to build a fieldhouse and renovate the diamond fields with artificial turf.

We welcome your ideas, feedback and continued support for ensuring that the baseball community’s needs are represented in the County’s overall planning process.

If you have any questions about the 4MRV process or ABR’s approach, please contact John Foti (johnfoti_98@yahoo.com), ABR Board Member.