The Fairfax County Park Authority is working to resolve maintenance issues at Clemyjontri Park in McLean that have left some of the park’s equipment temporarily unusable.
Clemyjontri Park features a large playground that is designed to be accessible to children of all ability levels, including a wheelchair-accessible carousel and swing.
At the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, a park advocate expressed concerns about broken equipment and other unresolved maintenance issues at the park, showing a slideshow of broken equipment marked off with caution tape and orange cones.
“The park, from a maintenance standpoint, is in a pretty deplorable condition,” said Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville). Clemyjontri is located in his district.
However, he added, his office had already confirmed that the Park Authority was addressing the issue. Board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D-At large) asked county staff to follow up with the park system.
Park Authority spokeswoman Judy Pedersen said that staff have known about the maintenance needs for several months and have worked with the Fairfax County Park Foundation to pump about $200,000 into the popular park.
While they don’t have a mechanism for counting park visitors, Pedersen said that about 70,000 kids rode the carousel last year and the park attracts an estimated 150,000 visitors per year. The broken playground equipment is an outgrowth of the park’s popularity, she said.
The biggest ticket maintenance item is the rainbow-colored non-slip ground covering at the park, which will cost about $1 million to replace. It was installed in 2006 and the product typically has a 10-year lifespan so replacement was planned for a few years out, Pedersen said.
“We obviously don’t know that we can wait that long,” she said. The surface is wearing away in several high-traffic areas.
Todd Johnson, director of the Park Operations Division, said staff will work with the Park Authority Board to identify funding and schedule that repair.
The other repairs will be made much sooner, Johnson said.
A hole in the exterior brick wall of the restrooms should be repaired within a week or two, he said. The repair and replacement of playground equipment will likely take place during July, Johnson said.
Pedersen said that park staff took precautions to protect the safety of visitors by blocking off broken equipment with cones and caution tape and monitoring park users to ensure people weren’t using the equipment.
The authority has also corrected an anomaly that may have affected the maintenance at Clemyjontri. It was the only park at which the local park manager was responsible for maintenance, rather than the Park Authority’s central maintenance division.
“Maintenance is an issue throughout our system,” Pedersen said. “It’s always hard to keep up with, especially in times of scarce funding.”