Friends of Arlington Parks

2421 South Dinwiddie Street

Arlington, VA 22206

Libby Garvey

Chair, Arlington School Board

Arlington Education Center

1426 N. Quincy Street

Arlington, VA 22207


Dear Ms. Garvey:                                                                                 April 7, 2007


Friends of Arlington Parks is concerned about the future of the Wilson School site. The Multi-Site Study Committee (MSSC) has recommended high-density development of the Wilson School property and adjoining County property. This recommendation apparently ranks potential revenue from the property ahead of open space and facilities for active recreation there.


At the public hearings organized by the MSSC, residents of nearby neighborhoods emphasized the need for green space, pointing out that the Wilson School site provides the only play space for children and adults that is readily accessible to their neighborhoods. They also noted that Rosslyn Highlands Park, which adjoins the Wilson School property, has been the only athletic field serving more than 15,000 residents in the three adjoining neighborhoods.


We note that The Rosslyn to Courthouse Urban Design Study, adopted by the County Board on March 15, 2003, called for keeping open space around the Wilson School site and did not provide for high-density development there. The MSSC recommendation does not appear to be consistent with that study.


Friends of Arlington Parks has long been concerned about the critical shortage of green space along the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor. The Public Spaces Master Plan, which was adopted by the County Board last year, also emphasized the need for open space in the R-B Corridor. Surviving green spaces, whether on County or APS properties, should be preserved to meet the needs of the growing population along the Corridor.


Accordingly, Friends of Arlington Parks strongly recommends restoring the athletic fields at Wilson School and maintaining the green space and active recreation areas in Rosslyn Highlands Park. We are confident that APS can meet its funding needs without sacrificing irreplaceable green space in this critical location.


Green space is for children as well as adults, and we urge the School Board to make the preservation of green space on school properties across the County a top priority. As Arlington becomes increasingly urbanized, acquisition of green space becomes more and more difficult. And when green space is developed, it is lost forever.



Suzanne Bolton

Suzanne Bolton

President, Friends of Arlington Parks