Park Operations

The preservation, stewardship, and sustainability of City's parks, open spaces, and natural resources are central to RPCA’s mission and important goals of its operations and environmental management practices.

Page updated on Jan 11, 2019 at 9:19 AM

Park Operations

City Arborist & Tree Maintenance

The Urban Forestry Section of the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities is responsible for the management of the urban forest on public lands within the City of Alexandria, as well as working with other landowners to plant trees and increase tree canopy cover on private property.  

Community Gardens

Community Gardening is one way that the City is helping to increase Alexandria residents’ access to locally grown, environmentally sustainable foods as part of the  Healthy Food Alexandria initiative

Environmental & Sustainable Management System

As part of the “Eco-City Alexandria” initiative, and consistent with its mission, RPCA developed an “Environmental Sustainability Management System (ESMS).”

Facility Maintenance & Mowing

  • Mowing Operations
  • Winterization
    The City of Alexandria, to minimize the risk of freeze damage to park infrastructure, shuts down irrigation systems, water fountains and certain restoom facilities annually. Winterization begins in the last week of October and continues through November. Systems are returned to operating conditions beginning in late march through April. The following systems are winterized annually:
    • All park and facility irrigation systems
    • All park and facility outdoor water fountains
    • Potomac Yard Interactive Fountain
    • Restrooms located at A. L. Boothe Park; Minnie Howard Athletic Fields; and the Fort Ward Park (rear facility)
      • Restrooms Open Year-Round: Eugene Simpson; Joseph Hensley; Ben Brenman; Witter ; and Limerick Parks/Athletic Facilities

Natural Resource Management

Safety Inspections

City staff ensure park facilities are hazard free and meet safety standards through regular inspections. Impact testing (commonly referred to as g-max testing) measures the shock-attenuation performance of sports and playground surfaces. Measuring impact-attenuation is a fundamental tool of athletic field (synthetic & natural) and playground surfacing (synthetic and natural) safety testing.

FY 2017 G-Max Testing Summary Results

Trash & Recycling Management Program in Parks 

Effective June 2017

To improve aesthetics, safety, and efficiency, many trash and recycling cans have been relocated to park entrances and parking areas. This change echoes the National Park Service’s philosophy that park visitors should “leave no trace; pack it in, then pack it out.”  Here are some frequently asked questions concerning this change:

Why move the trash cans to entrances and parking lots when park-users and their trash are located near playgrounds and ballfields?

  • The City’s trash collection vehicles pose a danger to park-users when these vehicles are driven on pedestrian sidewalks and trails. 
  • Collection vehicles damage lawns and turf when driven “off-road”.
  • Remote trash cans located away from entrances and parking areas must often be serviced “on foot” and are hard to see from a distance which extends collection time even when many trash cans are empty.

Will recycling containers be located near playgrounds and ballfields?

  • In many locations, a recycling collection container will be paired with a trash can at park entrances and ballfields.  

Will the City be expanding recycling in parks?

  • Over the next 6 months, staff will be monitoring to determine additional opportunities to expand the recycling program throughout the City.

Especially on weekends, I have seen trash cans over-flowing; won’t moving these cans just make things worse?

  • By moving trash cans to a location that is more accessible to collection vehicles, the City plans to increase the frequency of collection.

What if people just throw their trash on the ground?

  • Research shows that few people litter and that most people are willing to take a few extra steps to keep our City clean and beautiful.  City staff will continue to pick up litter in the parks.

What if this change doesn’t work?

City staff will be monitoring this change and will review the situation after six-months.  If changes are needed, they will be made at that time.  Your feedback is always welcome by calling Call.Click.Connect. at 703.746.4357 or online at