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New Annandale Civic Space begins to replace parking lot, set to open later this year

The Annandale Civic Space, which is set to be completed later this year (courtesy Fairfax County Park Authority)

Work has begun on a new urban, three-quarter-acre park in downtown Annandale that’s expected to be completed later this year.

The long-planned Annandale Civic Space project is converting an underused parking lot at the former Annandale Elementary School into a “unique hybrid park.”

The site at 7200 Columbia Pike will include a civic plaza with seating, an educational garden, a playground, a lawn, and an open space that can be used as a flexible “pop-up” space for performances, community activities, and special events.

There will also be fully ADA-accessible paths that connect the park to Daniels Avenue and Columbia Pike.

“The project will transform an underutilized portion of the open space at the former Annandale Elementary School into a versatile, Americans with Disabilities Act accessible civic space for the Annandale community,” the Fairfax County Park Authority said in a press release last month. “The revitalized open space will serve as a community hub and will contribute toward the long-term vision for the Annandale Community Business Center (CBC). ”

Site preparation work began last week, FCPA spokesperson Ben Boxer told FFXnow, with the removal of invasive plants and several existing, “unhealthy” trees along Daniels Avenue to accommodate grading considerations. The plants will be replaced by native trees and plantings.

Most of the construction and work will occur throughout the late spring and into the summer. That will include paving, landscaping, and utility work.

The park is expected to be completed in the fall and open late this year, per Boxer.

The project is estimated to cost about $700,000 with funding coming from a mix of sources, including grants and county funds. Construction is being overseen by the park authority.

The nonprofit Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) Child Development Center located inside the old school building will remain open. The paved open space will be used as a parking lot during weekdays for the center.

The park plan was first introduced to the public five years ago, in June 2018, when a test concept at the nearby Annandale Volunteer Fire Department showed how parking lots can be transformed into public spaces. In July 2022, design plans were locked in for the county-owned site.

A number of current features are being replaced, including an old, deteriorating basketball court that’s being turned into the 1,800-square-foot lawn space.

The park will fill an important gap in the Mason District, since it’s coming to an “underserved area with very little space available to facilitate outdoor community gatherings, programs and activities,” Boxer said.