A plan to redesign McLean Central Park has won support from the McLean Community Center (MCC), but the organization recommends that Fairfax County make some changes to help alleviate safety concerns raised by some residents.
MCC is a county-run, taxpayer-funded program that offers activities, classes, shows and more for adults and children in McLean.
In a letter to the Fairfax County Park Authority, the 11-member MCC board of directors highlighted three parts of the plan that will help improve the park’s programming: an amphitheater, an accessible drop-off point and the public art.
In its letter, the MCC says it currently uses the park for several activities, including a summer Sunday concert series that brings music and performances to the park’s kiosk, but the gazebo is too small to fit. ” adapt to the type of programming he wishes to provide.
“Although MCC regularly offers programs in the park’s current lookout, this facility is small and does not provide scalable space for current and future programming,” said MCC. “The MCC Board of Directors supports the development of a sustainable amphitheater space with technical equipment, public seats and sanitary facilities that are accessible and respectful of the environment. “
The MCC reports that there are an average of 150 to 275 attendees at the free Sunday concert sessions, although at times this has been as high as 450 people. The council asks that the amphitheater be designed with this capability in mind.
The existing gazebo also does not have inadequate technical and electrical infrastructure, according to MCC, forcing the organization to incur a labor cost of $ 2,000 per event. The MCC also has a modular PA system valued at $ 87,000 that needs to be replaced every five to seven years.
MCC says the county’s proposed overhaul would help the park better serve as a community gathering place.
“The lack of open air performances and accessible cultural spaces in the McLean area limits the nature of cultural exchange and dialogue,” MCC said. “The county’s strategic plan prioritizes cultural and recreational opportunities. Improvements to [McLean Central Park], including the Amphitheater, support these goals and the ability to bring together all generations.
The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) had raised previous concerns that turning the park into an attraction could create problems for neighboring residential neighborhoods. The MCA also expressed skepticism about the need for a large amphitheater.
In a June letter to the park authority, MCA President Rob Jackson raised possible pedestrian safety issues, suggesting the county should study the impact of traffic and alternatives to it. mitigation and have a professional conduct a parking study.
In its letter, the MCC Board of Directors recommends the “fast-track” construction of a pedestrian bridge over Dolly Madison Boulevard “to provide safe and sustainable pedestrian access and reduce traffic and congestion.”
“A bridge would serve as a physical connector and embody the vision for McLean’s central business district expressed by the version of the McLean Community Business Center plan approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on June 22, 2021,” said the MCC.
The public comment period on the McLean Central Park plan has been extended to July 30.