A New McLean Central Park PLAYGROUND ENVISIONED
By Katie Culligan
Meet the McLean Central Playground Team (MCPT). The team consists of five local parent volunteers actively supporting the planning and fundraising for the playground renovations at McLean Central Park. They have been working closely in partnership with
Fairfax County Park Authority and Fairfax County Park Foundation since Fall of 2022.
Their mission is to raise $400,000 by December 1st, 2023 for the McLean Central Park Playground. If they do not raise this money, the Tot Lot playground will not be renovated and many amenities will be removed from the playground design for the 5-12 year old playground footprint. This new playground is important in bringing multigenerational fun for a wide range of ages and abilities, which in turn will help build community in this area. These five passionate women came together as a grass-roots group of local parent volunteers in 2021 with a common goal of seeing growth in the McLean community after discovering a need for outdoor play spaces for their children to gather. They have successfully been
able to secure a little over $100,000 since starting fundraising efforts in mid-March!
As a little bit of history, in 2013, after an extensive planning and public engagement process, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a revision to the McLean Central Park.
Master Plan. Park Master Plans are long-range documents that provide a conceptual vision for a park and how it serves the community. Now that funding is available, the Park Authority plans to develop new facilities at the park in conformance with the 2013 Master Plan Revision, starting construction in 2024.
McLean Central Park has been given a government bond for some much-needed updates that include: a small amphitheater, an outdoor adult fitness area, newly paved trails, renovated courts, restroom improvements and playground improvements. However, the small percentage of the bond amount that’s allocated to the playground, specifically $279,000, would have only allowed for very minor updates and would solely include updates to the 5-12 aged playground. The team explains, “This may seem like a significant amount of money, but many parks in
surrounding counties spend at least $1M on their playgrounds.
To build the playground that our children deserve would take an additional $400,000 that a group of volunteers, us, have agreed to raise.” After a lot of
communication, hard work, and collaboration, the Fairfax County Park Authority & the Fairfax County Park Foundation have agreed on a public-private
partnership to help fund the playground renovations that would include:
- Poured-in-place (PIP) rubberized flooring that will allow children and caretakers of all abilities to participate in the fun.
- An expanded and combined fenced-in Tot-Lot and an ages 5-12 playground footprint.
- Updated equipment including beautiful sensory play scattered throughout the playground.
- New swings, plus an additional swing half bay that will
include a universal adaptive swing for children with trunk
- Additional seating throughout the play area consisting of a low concrete seating wall, four new benches and five new
picnic tables (including three with wheelchair accessibility)
- Donor recognition for amounts over $5,000, such as various-sized native Virginia tree leaves on a natural stone slab, and opportunities to put a family name or business of your choice on the playground benches or tables. Visit the website for the complete list of donor recognition opportunities.