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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
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Park Planning, Design + Capital Projects

The Park Planning, Design + Capital Development Division is committed to relating the park and recreational needs of Alexandria's residents to long range planning and future projects. To contact us, click here and direct your e-mail to Judy Lo or Beth Carton for capital project information, Dana Wedeles or Laura Durham for planning questions, or Ron Kagawa, Division Chief of Park Planning, Design + Capital Projects. 

Current Construction Projects:

Completed Construction Projects:



Current Planning Initiatives:




Division Links:





Landscape Guidelines 

The purpose of the Landscape Guidelines is to incorporate, up-front ecologically based planning as a means of improving the quality of the environment within the City while reducing maintenance requirements and costs over-time. The intent of the Landscape Guidelines is to provide predictable review expectations and processes for preservation of existing vegetation and proposed vegetation accompanying site disturbance and development.

The Landscape Guidelines establish minimum standards for the protection and preservation of existing vegetation; crown area coverage; installation and maintenance of proposed plantings-including street trees, site plantings, plantings above structure and plantings in parking and bioretention areas. The standards include reference sources for plant specification; project conditions and installation; advise on invasive species; post construction procedures and maintenance. Information in the Landscape Guidelines is not intended to replace, but to supplement applicable codes, ordinances and development procedures. In any given application the City may require additional improvements and plantings beyond the established minimums.

The Landscape Guidelines are intended for use by property owners, developers, and applicants seeking Site Plan, Plot Plan, Development Special Use Permit, and/or Special Use Permit approval within the City of Alexandria, Virginia.



Park Facilities Standards Manual

The Park Facility Standards Manual (Standards) establishes the minimum design, construction and performance expectations and requirements for the City’s park features. The intent of the Standards is to inform and guide park and open space planning, capital improvements and capital maintenance and to sustain life-cycle resource investments in public space.  The Standards are a reference instrument for selection of materials, fixtures, and systems and integrate City criteria with industry standards and applicable Federal/State/City requirements into a primary single-source document.  Anticipated benchmarks for performance/function, safety, environmental impact, and anticipated maintenance/life- cycle resource needs are established by each Standard. 

Although established in Summer, 2012, the Park Facility Standards Manual is a living document that is updated and re-evaluated coincident with advancements in industry, changes in the City’s park and open space system, and recreational needs.

Information in the manual is not intended to replace or function as specifications, construction documents, or contract documents.






Master Plans





Open Space in Alexandria

Alexandria adopted an Open Space Master Plan in 2003. The plan seeks to enhance and grow the City’s open spaces through an established framework of fifteen open space goals. Since its inception, City staff continues to work with the public to achieve the goals set forth in the plan. A total of just over 68 acres of the 100 acre of open space goal has been acquired, dedicated or put into conservation and public access easements since 2003. Significant achievements include:

  • Acquisition of fourteen parcels, including key Waterfront and Four Mile Run properties, as well as two new pocket park sites;
  • Receipt of open space acreage through the development process that includes voluntary dedication of properties and public access/preservation easements on development sites; and
  • Recordation of six private property voluntary conservation easements in partnership with the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust.

In addition, the City actively pursues outreach opportunities to increase public awareness of open space preservation. Recent and upcoming activities include conservation easement workshops, ongoing participation in civic association meetings, and regular updates in RPCA media outlets.

Please contact Laura Durham, Open Space Coordinator, for more information at 703.746.5493.

More Information 


Pocket Parks

In 2005 the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities presented the Open Space Steering Committee’s proposed Pocket Park Program at the City Council public hearing. The presentation included a summary of the background, definitions, criteria, funding and process for new City pocket parks; as well as a request for a minimum goal of 20% set aside from the 1 cent real estate tax Open Space Fund to buy small tracts of land for pocket parks.

Pocket (block) parks are intended to meet the needs of residents or workers within about a tenth of a mile. Pocket parks are less than 20,000 square feet, with no minimum size. No parking is needed. Pocket parks may include such elements as small scale play equipment, public gardens, seating areas, passive open space, landscaped areas, important natural features, or trees. The City accepted through April 15, 2005. The Open Space Steering Committee reviewed the nominations based on criteria approved by City Council, and reported back to the City Manager and City Council on priority sites in May 2005.

For further information, please call the Department's Open Space Coordinator at 703.746.5493.




Four Mile Run Park ExpansionDuron Volunteers 

The old Duron Paint building at 4109 Mt. Vernon is opening as a community building! Click here for information on the opening. 

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped renovate and paint the building!

Click Here to see the Concept Plan 

The Arlandria Action Plan Advisory Group voted to accept the current plan for the expansion of Four Mile Run Park and recommend funding for Phase I of implentation. The site includes the four parcels (4109-4125 Mount Vernon Avenue) acquired by the City as open space. Park planning began in the fall of 2010 and staff hopes to bring the plan to the Park and Recreation Commission for review and approval in February or March of 2011. In conjunction with improvements to the site, the old Duron Paint building will undergo rehabilitation to create a community building with an expected opening in the spring/summer of 2011. Please send comments to Laura Durham at 



Past Meetings and Presentations




1108 Jefferson St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax: 703.838.6344

Office Hours
8 am - 5 pm

James B. Spengler