Email signup

Local moms achieve goal of funding McLean Central Park playground renovation

(Updated at 12:45 a.m. on 12/22/2023) No holiday miracle was necessary for the McLean Central Playground Team to reach its goal of raising $400,000 to update the play equipment at their local park.

The group of moms announced on Tuesday (Dec. 19) that they have reached their fundraising target with days to spare before a year-end deadline set by the Fairfax County Park Authority, which is responsible for the planned renovation of the playground and tot lot at McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd).

“We are amazed and humbled by the incredible generosity of our community and all of the partners who’ve supported us in achieving this milestone,” said Jessica Wu, one of seven mothers who collaborated on the fundraising campaign.

The park authority proposed a new playground for the 28-acre park as part of a development concept updated in 2022, but it only had enough funding — about $175,939 — to replace the school-aged equipment, leaving the slightly newer tot lot untouched.

When the park authority started soliciting public input on its concept in 2021, however, a group of moms led by McLean resident Cara Schantz began advocating for a more ambitious design. They wanted both facilities to be renovated, relocated the same place in the park and enhanced with accessible features.

The FCPA ultimately incorporated their design into its McLean Central Park development concept but tasked the moms with raising the additional funds needed to implement it.

Launched in early March, the fundraising campaign required “countless volunteer hours” spent on outreach to the community, meetings and organizing events that often involved partnerships with local businesses, according to a press release.

After hitting a lull around October, the effort got a boost from the McLean Community Center, which contributed $50,000, and the park authority, whose board approved a $20,000 grant. Organizers say the many smaller donations made by community members “helped significantly.”

“Every contribution, big and small, helped get us across the finish line,” Sarah Farzayee said, adding that she hopes the new playground “will stand as a symbol of community spirit and civic duty in Fairfax County.”

Expected to begin in spring 2024, the renovation will include updated equipment, more seating, poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing, fencing around the tot lot, sensory play options, an inclusive merry-go-round and more swings, including an adaptive tandem swing designed so that children and caregivers can stand face-to-face.

“Every playground should be accessible to children of all abilities,” mom Angie Golder said. “We hope that the new McLean Central Playground underscores the importance of inclusion in all public spaces.”

The playground team, which also includes Jenny Gregory, Lacey Obry and Rebecca Antzoulatos, says the Fairfax County Park Foundation, the park authority’s nonprofit supporter, can continue accepting donations until the second week of January at the latest. Any additional contributions “will be used to enhance the playground further.”

“We can’t wait to see the joy and excitement on the faces of children of all abilities and family and community members as they enjoy the renovated playground,” Gregory said.

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Fairfax County. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier…

Friday night’s performance by comedian Nate Bargatze is expected to draw the largest crowd ever to EagleBank Arena on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University, according to Monumental Sports…

Reston Association has adopted a new strategic plan that aims to continue the vision of Reston’s founder Bob Simon over the next three years.

A 93-year-old woman died earlier this week from injuries she sustained in a car crash on Leesburg Pike (Route 7) in Bailey’s Crossroads, police say. Gladys Bilbao, a Falls Church…

Great Clips at South Lakes Village Center (Reston, Virginia) is seeking hair donors to participate in the Wigs for Kids program this Valentines Week. If you meet the minimum requirements and would like to donate your hair for children fighting cancer, we would love to host you in our salon this Valentine’s Week for a free haircut.

Minimum Requirements

  • Hair donations must be a minimum of 12 inches

  • Hair donations must be clean and stored/packaged completely dry.

  • Hair donations cannot be permed, color-treated, or highlighted.

  • Temporary coloring or highlights that wash out are acceptable but must be completely washed out before cutting. Gray hair is accepted.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Peace in Gaza: Prayer Liturgy and Community Discussion for Peace in Arlington VA, Sunday, Feb. 11, 10:15 AM

Prayer, liturgy, and community discussion for peace in Gaza, an immediate cease fire and resumption of humanitarian aid will be hosted by Nova Catholic Community. The focus will be Pope Francis’ call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, resumption of humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, and peace talks for a lasting and just peace for all people in the region.

Discussion will follow at Noon on US military role in the conflict and appropriate steps the US should take to foster peace and rebuilding. Light lunch served.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Active Bystander: Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) Training

The Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) Active Bystander Certification course, also known as Active Bystander, is the premier training program to prepare civilians for how to respond during an intentional violent event and to address life-threatening emergencies.

Similar to FEMA’s

Festival Ballet Virginia Presents Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Festival Ballet Virginia, Reston’s premier ballet company, is performing a fun, family friendly production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Richard J. Ernst Cultural Center Theatre on Friday & Saturday, March 1 & 2. Take an adventure with Alice


Subscribe to our mailing list