Friends of Upton Hill
They took all the trees/ Put 'em in a tree museum/ And they charged the people/ A dollar and a half just to see 'em/ Don't it always seem to go/ That you don't know what you've got/ Till it's gone/ They paved paradise/ And put up a parking lot. - Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi, 1969
NEW - Sep 17, 2020 - NOVA Parks Takes on $3.5 million in Debt to Finish Upton Hill Park Project
NEW - Sep 13, 2020 - Destruction at Upton Hill Update
Dec 2019 - Tree Cutting Soon Update on Bids and Construction
August 2019 - Upton Hill Parking Lot and the July 8, 2019 Flooding
Jan 21, 2019 - Arlington County grants NOVA Parks Permit Application
Friends of Upton Hill believe parks are for parkland not for bigger parking lots. NOVA Parks' "improvement" plan for Upton Hill Regional Park added some 26,000 square feet of new asphalt for expanded parking, removed mature trees and reduced greenspace. The construction has caused severe water and sediment runoff right next to an ecologically sensitive RPA in the park. The cost ballooned from $3 million to almost $4 million.
This is not the kind of change the park needed. NOVA Parks already does not maintain the park adequately. Trash and invasive species are taking over the forest. The parking lot will continue to be underutilized sitting mostly or entirely empty three-quarters of the year when the pool is closed, but will generate stormwater runoff year round.
NOVA Parks should focus on restoring the forest, removing trash and invasives, and improving maintenance of the existing facilities -- the water-park, miniature golf, batting cage, playground and picnic pavilion -- to make for a more pleasant and attractive park experience.
Before the destruction: Father kicking ball with his young son on the green hill at Upton Hill Park.
"Urban and suburban storm water is the source of about 15 percent of the total nitrogen entering [Chesapeake] Bay, and is the only source that is still increasing.... It is one of the major reasons that the Bay remains on EPA's "dirty waters" list and is now subject to the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint." (Polluted Runoff -- The Gray Funnel of the Chesapeake).
Arlingtonians top priorities for their parks are, "Hiking trails, natural areas and wildlife habitats, and paved multi-use trails," according to a statistically valid survey of residents conducted for the County by ETC (County Residents Have Big Needs for Parks and Recreation, Arlington County, March 24, 2016).
NOVA Parks' plan went against Arlington County environmental policies for preservation of greenspace and promotion of alternate modes of transportation. Arlington County's Master Transportation Plan calls for reducing: "the impact of travel on community resources including air and water quality, and increase energy efficiency. A strategy for this is: "Minimize the creation of impervious surface area for streets and other transportation facilities, and manage the collection and release of runoff in an effective and environmentally sensitive manner." Arlington County also seeks to promote a car free diet.