The Arlington County Board has approved spending nearly $1 million on park improvements in the Nauck and Aurora Highlands communities.
The board voted unanimously on Saturday to award a $287,000 contract to the Avon Corp. for a renovated restroom, playground equipment, bicycle racks, picnic tables and other amenities at the half-acre Nauck Park, 2600 19th St. S. The renovations should be completed this winter.
On Tuesday, the board unanimously approved the construction of a $682,000 sprayground at Virginia Highlands Park, 1600 S. Hayes St., despite some requests from the community to defer the matter.
The construction contract for those improvements went to Southern Playground Corp.
The sprayground — and related improvements such as a fence, sidewalk, picnic area and recycling area — comes at the end of a five-year process initiated by the Aurora Highlands Civic Association.
The water feature will be installed south of the park's volleyball court, and a white mulberry tree — considered to be an invasive species — will have to be removed. Thanks to the pleading of two children before the board, the county will make an effort to replant trees that have low branches and can be climbed easily.
"That would be awesome," Board Chairwoman Mary Hynes said.
Brent Spence, a past president of the Aurora Highlands Civic Association, asked the county to defer the matter so the community could review changes the project has undergone, including to the exact location of the sprayground.
"There's been no recent discussion, no information passed out, since changes were made," Spence said. "This is something that needs further work in our community before it gets approved. This is not really the forum to discuss the merits or problems with it. It needs to be done in the neighborhood first. Then we can let ya'll make a reasonable decision."
Despite canceling the first round of bids and revising the project, the sprayground and related improvements will cost the county an estimated $682,000, according to a county staff report. That's well beyond the original $550,000 cost estimate.
Most of the money for the sprayground will come from the county's neighborhood conservation fund. The remaining $150,000 will be paid for by the required contributions from an area developer.