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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Skate plaza proposed for empty lot in central Annandale

The lot proposed for a skate plaza, with the ACCA building in the background.
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.

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 ColumbusChamber 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.


  1. I dare Penny Gross to try to shut this down.

  2. I can not believe that Penny Gross is not strongly for the skate park to help enhance our community. I do not understand who the noise would bother... screaming kids in a playground or the adult day care center where they would probably truly enjoy seeing skateboarders. The article also stated there would be a place for events like "The Taste of Annandale" what could possible be wrong with this project. I agree with David Starr that this would only improve Annandale. We need more people to think out of the box for Annandale and work for the common good.

  3. Enrique Mesa5/7/12, 8:51 AM

    Why did that site fail in the past? Will history repeat itself?
    Will the county post a link to their .gov website so public can see the view from the cameras that Fairfax gang unit will post for our protection?
    Build a wall there for graffitti artists to demonstrate their wares, then post photos of them on a dedicated facebook account, or say, and then a different artist oversprays that work of art and gets posted on the website, and people vote for best works.
    Build a speaker system into the overhead lighting with an outlet at ground level so people can plug their music source into the speakers and play (blast) their personal music from the system while they roll.
    Location being near VFD is good for handling emergency medical situations that arise.

  4. I live on Daniels Ave., right in front of the lot in question. I have been living here for more than two decades. I agree that something should be done to make the lot an usable space, particularly for the families and children living in the neighborhood. Instead of simply using the lot for a single purpose (i.e. skateboarding) I think it would be a better idea to build a multi-purpose playground, where the children could play basketball, soccer, etc. In addition, it would be worthwhile to take into account the demographics of the immediate neighborhood. You'll find that you have asian, african-american and latino families living here, and many of these children are not skateboarders. Before any decision is made, I would urge those involved to get the community on-board. After all, we live here and pay taxes, and our opinion should count for something.

  5. I am a big fan of skateboarding.