December 2019 Tree Cutting Update

Trees to be Cut Soon!

The moment of truth has arrived. NOVA Parks put out a new bid for work on the upper park and lower park in October 2019. It shows the trees we were hoping to save in the lower park will be cut down, particularly the three nice mature maples. NOVA Parks told the Boulevard Manor civic association in mid-November that it wanted to start construction “before the end of the year (in the next 2-4 weeks).”

Overall NOVA Parks said it wanted to have “the upper parking lot complete, and the ADA pathways and improvements in the lower park done,” before the spring 2020 season starts. They noted, “Installing the playground is an easy project that can be done during the summer. Installing the ropes course tower will likely be done in the fall of 2020, since we need the upper parking lot done first.”

Rather than their poor design choices, NOVA Parks blames the need to cut the maple trees in the lower park on the ADA, according to an November 8 e-mail we received from NOVA Parks via our Arlington County Board rep to NOVA Parks:

  • The maples are being removed due to grading necessary for the park improvements and to meet ADA accessibility requirements. This is not driven by the future playground buy needed so the path system does not exceed a 5% grade for accessibility. All effort has been made to minimize any tree loss. When we do significant improvements at any park, we work to bring it up to modern accessibility standards.

In an earlier November 5 e-mail, NOVA Parks informed us that the playground had not been contracted:

  • The new playground has not been contracted yet. The three maples noted for removal on the approved plan will be removed, and the site will be graded as part of this construction. The playground will be ordered and built under a separate contract.

Disappointingly, NOVA Parks is cutting down the trees now even though it does not have a design for the playground in hand!

Trust you enjoyed the three maples in the fall because the knoll they are on will never look like this again. It will be a clear flat space with a much larger playground area and pavilion. The nice shady and cozy feel will be gone forever (at least in our lifetimes for a portion of us). If you have visited in the past, you will be in for a shock.

NOVA Parks will do this extensive work right next to a very ecologically sensitive woodland springs area which is in the resource protection area (RPA) that abuts the playground area.

It seems NOVA Parks is ignoring the news. A recent headline was, “‘Bleak’ U.N. Report on a Planet in Peril Looms Over New Climate Talks.” The New York Times reported that:

With world leaders gathering in Madrid next week for their annual bargaining session over how to avert a climate catastrophe, the latest assessment issued by the United Nations said Tuesday that greenhouse gas emissions are still rising dangerously.

“The summary findings are bleak,” said the annual assessment, which is produced by the United Nations Environment Program and is formally known as the Emissions Gap Report. Countries have failed to halt the rise of greenhouse gas emissions despite repeated warnings from scientists, with China and the United States, the two biggest polluters, further increasing their emissions last year.

The result, the authors added, is that “deeper and faster cuts are now required. [emphasis added]

Instead, NOVA Parks persists with its anti-environmental plans. Based on outdated thinking that parks exist to be developed and paved over, NOVA Parks encourages people to drive all over Northern Virginia rather than walking or biking to nearby outdoor spaces. This only adds to the congestion on our roads, increases pollution and fuels global warming.

In 20 to 30 years, our warming climate may keep us from going out to enjoy our parks — in part due to the very anti-environmental practices pursued by agencies like NOVA Parks. These public entities should be protecting and preserving our green space and trees rather than shamefully trying to squeeze every last dollar out of the land to maximize revenue — just like commercial developers.

Upton Hill Regonal Park Site Plan (2019-10-9) Treecutting Plan for Playground Area.pdf

Plans call for expanding the playground area, leveling it and cutting the trees.

The hole in the greenery will be here.

Upton Hill Regonal Park Site Plan (2019-10-9) Plans for Playground Area.pdf

After cutting down shade trees, plans call for installing a shade structure on the south side!

A treeless, ugly flat space coming soon

NOVA Parks listed four bidders for the contract: Athena Construction, Avon Corporation, Corinthian Contractors, Meridian Construction Co. Some of these are new companies compared to last years failed bidding process. It is still to be determined if any of them meet the criteria outlined in Arlington's Urban Forestry Commission's letter as having experience with Arlington's tree preservation regulations.

Bid Tabulation Sheet - Upton Hill Regional Park Site and Parking Improvements.pdf