There’s a small, derelict lot in the center of Annandale, in between the fire station and the Annandale Christian Community for Action building on Columbia Pike, that would be a perfect spot for a skate plaza. There aren’t that many things for young kids to do around here, so a place for skateboarders would be a positive community benefit.
|The lot proposed for a skate plaza, with the ACCA building in the background.|
A group of local business owners has been discussing the idea informally, says David Starr, the owner of Beanetics coffee shop. So far, it’s been supported by the fire station, the local Knights of Columbus, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and the Annandale Boys and Girls Club.
The idea is to create a skateboard plaza on the site—which would have stairs and rails for skateboarding—rather than a skate park with bowls and ramps.
There’s an abandoned basketball court on the lot, and it had been a dumping ground for trash, but Starr and his partners cleaned it up. It is hidden behind some trees, so you can’t see it from Columbia Pike.
“It’s a great community asset,” Starr says. Improving it “would enhance central Annandale,” and it could become a gathering place for the community and could be used for events like “the Taste of Annandale.” Although it’s less than an acre, there’s plenty of room to incorporate benches and landscaping, as well as skate elements.
“If we want private developers to improve Annandale, the county needs to step up and do something,” he says. “It’s in the heart of the community, so why not put in something the community would enjoy?”
Frank Vajda, the Mason representative on the Fairax County Park Authority Board says he supports the plan but it’s unclear who owns the property—the Board of Supervisors or the Park Authority—and that has to be sorted out before anything can be done.
Mason Supervisor Penny Gross says there’s no money to develop a skate plaza, and the lot under consideration isn’t the best location because of noise and “potential conflicts” with the ACCA Child Development Center and the county-run adult day care center in that building. Gross couldn’t think of a better alternative location in Annandale, though.
As an interim solution, Gross is working on getting a portable skate plaza set up nearby, possibly on the fire station parking lot, on a temporary basis later this summer or in the fall to see how that would work, who would use it, and how noisy it would be.
Starr calls the idea for a portable skate apparatus “a great suggestion” and “very constructive.” He doesn’t see a problem with having a skate plaza next to the adult day center, though, noting that the seniors would enjoy watching the skaters.