What and Where are the 25 Pocket Parks in Alexandria, and What’s the City Doing with Them??

Lots to do, still getting estimates for total budget needed.

Alexandria’s 25 pocket parks are identified above. (Image: City of Alexandria)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Have you seen a little park with a bench and not much more in your neighborhood and wondered what it is? Chances are you have bumped into one of Alexandria’s 25 pocket parks.

Pocket parks are identified as municipally-owned parks measuring less than half an acre that have been acquired over time for various reasons.

Pocket Parks Everywhere
One example of a pocket park is the Armory Tot Lot (0.18 acres) at 206 South Payne Street. During the 1940’s the National Guard Armory Building was built on this site and a portion of the building was used to operate recreational leagues. The building was destroyed by fire soon thereafter and never re-built. The City developed the site into a children’s playground in the early 1950s and has been maintaining it as such up to the present time.

Some of the parks were abandoned lots like 48 South Early Street, which is in the Society Hill neighborhood between Duke Street and Wheeler Avenue. The City acquired the park through the open space program in 2009. Prior to being a park, the parcel was a lot with an abandoned home in disrepair on it. The land and home were purchased by the City and the home was demolished creating the park.

The Society Hill Homeowners’ Association has adopted the park, whch is 0.42 acres and is located entirely within the resource protection area (RPA) along Strawberry Run. The park features a walking path, large shade trees, an open lawn, a bridge over
Strawberry Run to a wooded area, and benches.

Alexandria’s 25 pocket parks are below and Zebra has linked each directly to a Google Map if you are trying to find it:

48 South Early Street Park
1301 Powhatan Park
2304 East Randolph Avenue Park
Armory Tot Lot
Braddock & Commonwealth Dog Area
Charles Hill Park
Chetworth Place Park
Elbert Triangle Park
Gentry Park
Hillside Park
Hunter Miller Park
Interior Park
Lake Cook Pocket Park
Le Bosquet at Sunnyside
Lynhaven Gateway
Lynhaven Park
Mason Avenue Mini Park
Pendleton Park
Portner Park
Potomac Triangle Park
Ruby Tucker Park
St. Asaph Park
Sunset Mini Park
Washington Way
Woodbine Tot Lot

The City’s report says, “The pocket parks provide greenery, a place to sit outdoors, and in some cases, a playground.”

Resident Wishes Are Shaping Parks’ Futures

In 2018 and 2019, City staff conducted outreach, including site observations, surveys, and workshops, to gather an understanding about park users’ preferences, including areas that should be enhanced, transformed and preserved. A cost estimator is currently reviewing the plans to develop the budget.

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Ideas to make some of the parks more user-friendly include things like adding educational and welcoming signs, providing seating, walkways, sidewalks, pruning trees, adding public art, repairing fences, and adding designated stroller parking

Some of the Parks Just Need a Name and a Sign to Start
This park identified only as 1301 Powhatan is a prime example of one of Alexandria’s pocket parks. (Photo: Google Maps)

The park at 1301 Powhaten could use a name for example. It is in the Northeast neighborhood of Old Town, and is only 0.15 acres but it features large shade trees and open turf for active play. The City has big plans for this little park including a name to give it an identity, adding pedestrian and bike crossings, widening sidewalks to six feet to meet current standards, adding a welcome sign, benches and tables, a walking path, pruning the trees and maybe displaying some public art.

This recommendation graphic is one of the 25 detailed plans prepared by City staff for Parks and Recreation endorsement. (Image: City of Alexandria)

Similar changes are projected for every site, but the Plan calls for uniform signage in all the parks, as well as ADA compliance for any new construction.

The Pocket Parks Improvement Plan was presented to the Alexandria’s Park and Recreation Commission on January 16. The public is invited to review and provide comments on the Plan.

TO SEE WHOLE PLAN: Pocket Parks Improvement Plan – FINAL DOCUMENT_Reduced 

Send comments for the Park and Recreation Commission to Ana Vicinanzo, Urban Planner, at ana.vicinanzo@alexandriava.gov by February 19. 

There is a public hearing about the Plan on February 20, at 7 pm at Mount Vernon Recreation Center (2701 Commonwealth Avenue).