Repairs are moving ahead at McLean’s Clemyjontri Park, home to a popular playground that is accessible to people of all ability levels.
In June, members of the Friends of Clemyjontri raised concerns about maintenance issues at the park during a Board of Supervisors meeting.
The Fairfax County Park Authority has been working on repairing and replacing broken play equipment this summer and, late last month, the Park Authority Board approved funding to replace the rainbow-colored ground covering throughout the playground, one of the repairs that ensures its continued accessibility for children with disabilities.
“If they didn’t recoup the funds to do the resurfacing, we might have had to close the park because it was in such bad shape,” said Kathleen Helein, president of Friends of Clemyjontri. “They have been amazing in answering our needs.”
The surface was supposed to have a lifespan of 10 years, so the Park Authority had not planned to replace it for another couple of years, spokeswoman Judy Pedersen said in June. Clemyjontri Park is only about eight years old.
It will cost around $1 million to replace the surface. The work will be done in stages, so visitors can continue to use other areas of the park.
The Park Authority and the Friends group put up temporary banners at the park letting people know about the coming construction, which is expected to start next month, and informing visitors that they can help support ongoing maintenance needs by donating to the Friends of Clemyjontri.
“It’s so popular, it’s being loved to death,” Helein said. Her message to those who frequent the park is, “You can help keep the park as amazing as it is.”
The Park Authority doesn’t have a mechanism for counting park visitors, but officials estimate that about 150,000 people visited Clemyjontri last year.
Helein said the supporters in the Friends group are “thrilled that the Park Authority has taken a proactive stance.”
“But the care, enhancement and growth of Clemyjontri does not stop there,” she said. “Additional repairs will be needed in the future and added features will keep the park updated and a viable point of interest.”
The Friends have raised money for several park features in the past, including the wheelchair-accessible Liberty Swing and a drum circle.