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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Eakin Park neighbors consider forming friends group

Park needs a refresh.
Residents of neighborhoods near Eakin Community Park would like to see improvements in the park, but with no money available from Fairfax County, they are considering forming a friends group to coordinate volunteer projects.

The park is in Fairfax, just outside Annandale, and encompasses a portion of Accotink Creek and the Cross County Trail.

Representatives of the Fairfax County Park Authority shared designs for improvements at a community meeting in December, including a picnic shelter near the Tobin Road entrance to the park, eight picnic tables, two trash receptacles, two parking spaces and grill that could be used by people with disabilities, and improvements at the Prosperity Avenue entrance. The cost for the improvements would cost nearly $105,000.

The improvements near the Prosperity Avenue park entrance will require an Adopt-A-Park agreement between the Park Authority and a community group, says Howard Albers, the parks representatives for the Pine Ridge Civic Association, and that means a new organization will need to be formed. 

The Pine Ridge Civic Association is hosting a meeting on Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mantua Elementary School cafeteria to explore the level of interest in forming a Friends of Eakin Park organization. Albers is hoping for a large turnout.

A friends group could recruit volunteers to  repaint trash cans and backstops, trim trees and shrubs, groom the trail, and maintain picnic tables at Eakin Mantua Park and Sally Ormsby Park, as well as Eakin Community Park.

“Each year the maintenance budget of the Park Authority is reduced and many worthwhile projects cannot be completed,” Albers says. “If the level of maintenance continues to erode, having a neighborhood park may become a liability, rather than an asset.”

He notes that other communities have formed friends groups to help maintain nearby parks, including the recently formed Friends of Long Branch Stream Valley.  

“In addition to agreeing to maintain the proposed landscaping, an active friends group could raise funds for specific improvements, develop an outdoor classroom, establish a natural playground in or near the stream, monitor water quality, and build trails in less developed portions of the park,” Albers says. “There is so much that could be accomplished if volunteers, generous donors, and the Park Authority could join forces.”

People interested in getting involved with this effort but can’t attend the Feb. 25 meeting are encouraged to contact Howard Albers,


  1. I'd be more inclined to help support the park if they didn't put "field closed" signs up on the softball fields whenever they're not in use by organized leagues.

  2. This is a beautiful park. I lived in prosperity heights for a while, and went jogging in the park all the time. I'd love to help!