Nelly Custis Park Neighborhood Conservation Project
701 24th Street S
Start Date for Design: 2nd Quarter 2017
End Date for Design: 3rd Quarter 2018
Start Date for Construction: 4th Quarter 2018
End Date for Construction: 2nd Quarter 2019
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About the Project
- The project scope of this Neighborhood Conservation project included new school-age play equipment, playground surfacing draining to porous paving around the playground to assist with mitigating stormwater issues, new site furnishings, invasive species removal and lots of additional plantings for shade and beautification.
- In addition to the new play area, a central grassy open area will be open to the public just as soon as the grass takes hold (which we are estimating will happen early to mid-fall). Two vegetated swales will help to address stormwater issues are planted with native pollinators There is also a contemplative gathering area on the west side of the park that has been created as part of the project.
Invasive Plant Removal
A County contractor is in the process of removing invasive plant species at Nelly Custis Park. Bamboo in the northwest portion of the park is being treated as follows:
- Cut and Treatment of Arrow Bamboo – Contractor will use power equipment to cut the bamboo stalks and apply a glyphosate-based herbicide to the stumps. (completed)
- Remove Bamboo Corpses – Contractor will immediately remove bamboo stalks from the site. (completed)
- Foliar Spray of Regrowth- Over time, depending on the regrowth, contractor will spray herbicide to the bamboo leaves that regrow. This may require several years of follow-up treatments. (ongoing)
The Neighborhood Conservation Program approved these improvements to Nelly Custis Park: storm water management to mitigate existing drainage problems; removal of invasive species; improved circulation for accessibility and park use; school-age play equipment; new site furnishings; and additional plantings for shade and beautification.
See the Nelly Custis Park Concept Plan, Image Board and revised Project Scope here
Nelly Custis Park is located at the corner of 701 S. 24th Street and S. Grant Street. View an existing site conditions analysis visual here and existing park conditions in the image gallery.
At one time this park served as the playground to the former Nelly Custis School, which now serves as a Sheltered Occupational Center. According to the NC Plan for Aurora Highlands Civic Association (AHCA), the playground at Nelly Custis Park is used throughout the workweek by the Aurora Hills Play Group, children attending Calvary Children’s School, Keshet Child Development Center, the Potomac Crescent Waldorf School, and summer camp in conjunction with the AH Cooperative Play Group. The park is also heavily used by neighborhood children and dog walkers.
Community members’ concerns have included lack of shade in the playground portion of the park; lack of drinking fountains or bathrooms; and a need for additional trash receptacles. View an inventory of nearby Parks Here
About the Process
Fall 2018: County Board awards construction contract.
November 8, 2017: The Aurora Highlands Civic Association (AHCA) voted to approved the proposed redesign of Nelly Custis Park at their November 8 AHCA meeting. The AHCA Neighborhood Conservation Representative and County staff made a presentation for the proposed redesign of the park which includes a play area on the east side of the park, a central grassy open area and a contemplative gathering area on the west side of the park. The presentation is available for viewing below, along with supporting documents. The project then enters the construction document development phase.
April-October 2017: A Design Working Group consisting of eight neighborhood volunteers was formed to work with staff and develop a proposed redesign of Nelly Custis Park for AHCA review and approval.
January 11, 2017: At the January AHCA meeting DPR and CPHD/NC staff introduced the project manager for the design development phase and shared next steps in the Nelly Custis Park Project. See the staff presentation here
December 1, 2016: Department of Environmental Services completes topographic survey of the Nelly Custis Park site. The survey was revised on Feb 1, 2017. See the revised survey here
November 21, 2016: Contractor will be applying foliar herbicide spray to bamboo regrowth as part of the ongoing invasive removal process. This is the fall treatment, finishing up the first year of treatment.
February 23, 2016: County Board unanimously approves funding for Nelly Custis Park Improvements. See press release for details.
December 10, 2015: Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee votes to recommend funding for Nelly Custis Park improvements.
October 14, 2015: Aurora Highlands Civic Association (AHCA) votes in favor of moving forward with the revised project scope. Read the Nelly Custis Park AHCA Vote Meeting Agenda and Summary for more information on materials presented.
June/July 2015: An Open Arlington Forum gathered community input that was part of the ongoing development of goals and deliverable for the Nelly Custis Park project. Public feedback and comments can be viewed by visiting the Open Arlington link here. The comments revealed a lot of interest to increase the amount of shade, build a dog park, ban dogs from the park, add additional play equipment and preserve green space. While dogs on leash will continue to be welcome at Nelly Custis Park, staff have concluded that a dog park is not viable given the size of the park. Tree preservation is of paramount importance.
April 8, 2015: Second meeting held at the Aurora Hills Community Center.
March 2, 2015: First meeting held at the Aurora Hills Community Center.