Arlington Celebrates Opening of Renovated Jennie Dean Park – Official Government Site of Arlington County Virginia
Posted May 20, 2022
Arlington County Parks and Recreation is thrilled to celebrate the reopening of the newly renovated Jennie Dean Park, which has been an integral part of the Green Valley community for over 75 years.
Building on its history and the community’s love for sports and the arts, the park has been transformed into an exciting place designed to celebrate the region’s past and cultural heritage, while improving access to recreation. and to nature.
“Jennie Dean Park is deeply connected to the history of Arlington,” said Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol. community, sports and arts. In partnership with community leaders, these new renovations aim to both honor and build on this history. »
Celebrate the reopening of newly renovated Jennie Dean Park! Join us on Saturday, May 21, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., with a mini parade, live music from JoGo Project, a ceremony with former baseball league members who played at the park, and more! Details. Media interested in attending should respond to Ryan Hudson.
Jennie Dean Park was expanded by 2.25 acres allowing for a larger and more modern play area. The picnic shelter has been renovated so that it is fully accessible along Four Mile Run, and the restrooms have been updated to be all-gender. Diamond courts and sports courts have been relocated to increase playability, with more efficient LED lights. There’s also a new history walk with a timeline of important dates and events that happened in Jennie Dean Park.
As part of the new park, the artist Marc Reigelman developed a public art in situ, Wheelhouseinspired by the mill that stood here in the early 1700s and the rich recreational history of the park.
The story of Jennie Dean Park
During the planning process, Arlington worked closely with the Green Valley Civic Association and its History Task Force to incorporate several elements to honor and celebrate the park’s past.
Beginning in the 1930s, the park became a major hub for black baseball clubs in the area, where game days were lively, social epicenters for the community. Over the following decades, other teams were formed, both semi-professional and recreational, led by members of the Green Valley community.
Along the Diamond Fields fence are several pennants of Green Valley’s historic semi-pro and recreational teams — designed by local graphic designer Ted Irvine in conjunction with the Green Valley Civic Association.
Both fields were named after Ernest E. Johnson and Robert Winkler to recognize their profound contributions to the Green Valley community.
Johnson became the director of Arlington County’s Negro Recreation Section, a separate division of the county’s separate Department of Recreation in 1950. Under Mr. Johnson’s leadership, the Negro Recreation Section expanded to include a variety of sports, dance, theater, music and community events for all Black American communities in Arlington. It was one key figure in the county’s African-American community and eventually oversaw the desegregation of Arlington’s recreation in the early 1960s. He continued to serve the county for another two decades.
AFTER: Pack of Cubs 589 and Ernest Johnson
Robert Winkler grew up in Green Valley and worked for the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department for over 40 years. Mr. Winkler served as a sports coach for Green Valley youth, as well as Drew’s women’s softball team, and was a community activist who protected and preserved local grounds for community sports.
Wheelhouse explores the industrial history of the Jennie Dean Park site through the lens of baseball. Inspired by the mill that stood here in the early 1700s and the park’s recreational history, the 24 slices of the facility extending from the ground are reminiscent of a canoe, as well as the spokes of a churning wheel. “Wheelhouse” is a common term in baseball to describe the area where a batter likes a pitch into the strike zone.
Watch a time-lapse video of the wheelhouse being installed
The county began planning for the park as part of the Four Mile Run Valley community effort and adopted the Four Mile Run Valley Park Master Plan and Design Guidelines in September 2018. The park master plan illustrated the main features of the park and their general location and provided guidelines for the park’s appearance.
The county worked closely with the community throughout the process to fine-tune details and finalize the park design. On November 16, 2019, the county council approved the construction contract for the project.