The City of Alexandria has entered into an agreement to purchase the property at 1& 7 East Del Ray Avenue, the second parcel the City has acquired for its Pocket Park Program since it was approved by City Council in March 2005. The purchase, approved by Council in January, received final approval yesterday by the City’s Planning Commission, as required by the City Code.
The 16,021 square foot property, which is currently vacant, contains two parcels at the corner of East Del Ray and Commonwealth Avenues. While privately owned, the corner lot property had been valued by the nearby community as open space since the 1990s. The property is ideally suited for public open space and was listed as one of the highest priority sites for a potential pocket park.
Pocket parks are designed to meet the needs of residents or workers within about a tenth of a mile. They are less than 20,000 square feet, and may include such elements as small-scale play equipment, public gardens, seating areas, passive open space, landscaped areas, important natural features, or trees. Acquisition of this property will enhance the City’s ability to meet the goals of its Open Space Plan. Due to the size restrictions of pocket parks, this site will not meet the requirements for a dog park, but is ideally suited for passive neighborhood use that will be further defined through the park planning process.
The City financed the acquisition with funds derived from the City Council’s dedication of one percent of Alexandria’s real estate tax rate for open space acquisition. As part of the Pocket Park Program, Council approved a goal of using a minimum of 20 percent of the Open Space Fund for obtaining pocket park sites.
With the property's finalized acquisition, City staff will begin the park planning and design process. The public will be invited to participate in the design process with review from the Alexandria Park and Recreation Commission.
For more information on the Pocket Park Program, please call Laura Durham at 703.838.5095, ext. 350.