Simpson Park Renovation Projects

Page updated on Jun 4, 2021 at 6:07 PM

Simpson Dog Park Renovation Project

Location426 East Monroe Avenue

Community Updates

  • June 2021
    The construction Invitation To Bid solicitation is in review by City staff and is anticipated to be submitted to the City’s Purchasing Division in June following final edits. The bid is anticipated to be complete this fall and construction is anticipated in late 2021/early 2022.
  • April 2021
    The dog park renovation 100% construction plans and specifications were completed in March. The construction Invitation To Bid solicitation is in progress and is anticipated to be submitted to the City’s Purchasing Division in May. The bid is anticipated to be complete this summer and construction is anticipated in late 2021.
  • February 2021
    The final design was posted on the website for community feedback from December 18, 2020 through January 8, 2021. The revised final plan was posted on e-News, the department website and posted in the dog park. Minor changes to the tree species were requested. The plans will now be used to create 100% construction documents including plans and specification. The documents are anticipated to be complete this spring.

  • December 2020 
    The project’s design has been an iterative process with community meetings over the past two years. After some delays due to the pandemic, revisions were made to the plans based on community feedback received early in 2020. Major changes from the earlier plan set include: 
    • Two light poles are relocated to improve circulation 

    • The number of site boulders has been reduced to reduce obstructions 

    • Portions of the concrete edge treatment for the synthetic turf has been converted to concrete seat wall 

    • Shrubs and ground covers removed from the previous plan to minimize clean up issues 

    • Gravel swale removed from the previous plan to reduce maintenance concerns 

    • Proposed tree locations have been revised to reduce obstructions 

  • March 2020 
    The 60% design plans were reviewed by various City departments in March for the first Grading Plan submission.  Comments were compiled and transmitted to the design team on March 26.  The team is reviewing the comments and identifying solutions for issues raised in the comments.  In compliance with the Governor’s Stay-At-Home Order, staff will postpone the March/April community meeting and investigate options for receiving digital feedback on the plan revisions.

  • February 2020
    RPCA and Department of Project Implementation (DPI) staff met with members of the Simpson Park Dog Owners Group (SPDOG) on February 3.  The final concept from spring 2019, the schedule, and communication updates, including emails and periodic conference calls were discussed. Staff will send a monthly email to SPDOG highlighting progress, project changes and schedule changes. A community meeting will be scheduled for March or April to discuss the project’s progress. The City has completed 60% plans for the project and will submit for the regulatory review process February 28, 2020. The project will be submitted as a Grading Plan, which requires review by various City Departments. 
  • December 2019
    The City has prepared engineered plans for the regulatory review process. The project’s stormwater components are currently under discussion with the City’s Right of Way Division. Staff anticipates resolution on the stormwater components in January following additional survey research. Once the issues are resolved, the plans will be submitted for review. No changes from the final concept are planned at this time. A revised schedule will be created once the stormwater issues are addressed.
  • November 2019
    The City has developed refined design documents based on the community engagement held in early 2019. The City will submit plans for regulatory review in mid-November. The regulatory review will include approvals of the stormwater management measures, the new grading and landscape improvements, and the staging and access plan for construction. Additionally, the project funds have been consolidated and are available for the construction solicitation. The construction solicitation will be issued following the regulatory approvals. 
  • September 2019
    There has not been a substantial change to the overall schedule to implement the dog park renovations. The City continues to refine the plans based on the final concept for the Simpson Dog Park improvements to ensure alignment with the $576,000 budget, which includes City and SPDOG funding. The City will facilitate community engagement to complete the design and engineering in early 2020. Community engagement is anticipated to occur for three to six months. Procurement for construction services will begin in the summer of 2020 continuing for an anticipated six to nine months. Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2021 with project completion anticipated by late fall 2021. The Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities (RPCA) will provide monthly updates to the Park & Recreation Commission in the Park Planning Division Report, on the Park Planning Current Projects web page, and through email to the SPDOG stakeholder group by the RPCA Project Manager, Bethany Znidersic, Principal Planner.

Community Feedback: The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities is seeking public input on the Simpson Dog Park Improvements Project. This project addresses recommendations in the 2014 Citywide Parks Improvement Plan for Eugene Simpson Stadium Park. The project will address erosion and drainage issues in the dog park to improve park use. 

Design Documents

Click here to view the revised site plan.

Click here to view the project demolition, site, and planting plans.

Click here to view design options for the upcoming renovation.

Revised design options (April 2, 2019)

Simpson Park Playground and Passive Lawn Renovation

Location: 426 East Monroe Avenue

Project: In 2014, the City completed a Citywide Parks Improvement Plan, including a plan for Simpson Park. The plan called for renovation of the Simpson Playground and its adjacent open space, as shown in the area marked in the red dashed line below. After receiving a Land and Water Conservation Grant, the City is able to implement this recommendation. 

The City hired the Alexandria-based landscape architecture firm Lardner/Klein to lead the design process and May + Watkins to incorporate public art within the site. The project implements recommendations from the 2014 Citywide Parks Improvement Plan, which called to (1) improve the open space to accommodate multiple passive uses and activities in Simpson and (2) renovate Simpson playground, including a new configuration, shade, surfacing, and equipment suitable for ages 2-12. The design also aims to connect passive use areas, making it family friendly for multiple age groups.
Simpson Site Boundary

Funding: Capital Improvement Program, Playground Renovation Program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Status: Complete


  • Construction: June 15 - December 15, 2018
  • Procurement: Fall 2017
  • Construction Documents: Approved Summer 2017
  • Concept Design: May 2016 through October 2016
    Public workshop #1: May 25, 2016
    Public workshop #2: September 8, 2016 at 7pm Mt. Vernon Recreation Center

    Public workshop #3: October 17, 2016, 7pm Mt. Vernon Community School
  • Construction Design Development: October 2016 through Spring 2017
  • Completed February 2019

Contact: To email the Project Manager, click here.

Design Concept:

Lardner/Klein have developed a final concept plan, shown below.   They provided three design alternatives in Spring 2016, and based on the feedback received from previously submitted designs, they developed one draft concept plan.   The draft concept plan was further refined to incorporate comments received throughout the September and October 2016 public comment period. Thank you for your input.

Simpson Playground Plan

Project Materials:

October 17, 2016 Community Meeting

September 8, 2016 Community Meeting

May 25, 2016 Community WorkshopSimpson Meeting Photo

Construction Updates:  This project was completed in February 2019

Project News: 

  • The construction contract was awarded on May 17, 2018 to DeBorn Construction. The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities will hold a Community Pre-Construction meeting on June 14, 2018, 7:00 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Avenue.  City staff and the Contractor will provide information about the project scope, construction activities, and are available to answer any questions. Construction will occur from June 15 -December 15, 2018.
  • The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities held a public meeting on Monday, October 17, 2016, about the playground equipment, playground fencing, and playground surfacing proposed in the Final Concept Plan.  The meeting was held at the Mount Vernon Community School, Multi-Purpose Room, 2601 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia, 22301.
  • The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activites (RPCA) held a workshop to obtain feedback on the Final Concept Plan on Thursday, September 8, 2016.
  • RPCA held a workshop to obtain community input on the Simpson Park playground and adjacent lawn renovation on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.  

  • March 2016: RPCA hired the Alexandria-based landscape architecture firm Lardner/Klein to lead the design process and May + Watkins to incorporate public art within the site.   
  • November 2014:  On November 10, 2014 Staff received a confirmation letter from the Department of Conservation and Recreation to approve a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant in the amount of $200,000 for renovation of the Simpson Park Playground and Open Lawn. The City will match this grant through funds in the Capital Improvement Plan playground account.