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Lorton Park Delights Some and Frustrates Others

Lorton Park on Richmond Highway offers a place for children, adults and pets to walk, swing or play sports.

Many moons ago, I was 15 and out of school for the summer.  I had no driver’s license and time to kill. I remember I spent most of that summer hanging out with friends, riding bikes and visiting playgrounds.  Although we were teenagers, we found the playgrounds ideal spots to meet with friends, play games and relive our memories of childhood.

Many people visit playgrounds.  Children can swing towards the sky or slide on down the slides at the jungle gym.  Parents appreciate a place to take the children to play, especially when their are benches where they can rest and chat with friends and neighbors.  Athletes of all ages attend parks to play ball with friend, and regardless if you are a runner, walker or biker, all people and pets alike enjoy a walking path.

This summer the Lorton Patch will review neighborhood parks and playgrounds.

Lorton Park

9518 Richmond Highway, Lorton

Lorton Park is a small park located just behind the Lorton Library on Richmond Highway.  The library offers parking and the park is near two neighborhoods:  Williamsburg Square and Hagel Circle.

The park features a jungle gym ideal for small children, complete with six slides, a bridge and various means of climbing.  If swinging is more your speed, there are two swings sized for children or adults, and adults should find the benches and picnic tables  ideally placed for watching children on the playground. 

To discourage littering there are several garbage cans located near the picnic tables. Bathroom facilities and water fountains can be found inside the nearby library.  This should be sufficient, since the park closes at dark. 

Towards the center of the 4.53-acre park is an empty field. It is an  ideal spot for playing soccer, football, kickball, lacrosse, or any sport played on grass.  It has no goals, nets or marking, nor is it used by official teams; but on June 28 it was owned by the neighborhood men, who partook in a friendly game of soccer.

Trees circle the  perimeter of the park, adding a natural, wooded feel to the area as well as providing shade.

All around the grass field is a path that loops around the park.  A popular feature of the park,  at around 7 p.m. on June 28 there were many locals strolling along scenic path.

“I come here all the time,” said Fatima Saeed of Lorton.  “It’s very close by.  It’s huge and it gives me the opportunity to walk with my mom.  I can bring my niece and nephew here to play too.  We play football and Frisbee.”

Jay Shaib also enjoys the Lorton Park.  “We are very near,” he said, so he brings his two children to ride bicycles and play on swings. 

Al Brown and his daughter Allison were out on Tuesday evening walking their Yorkipoo, Lily on a leash. 

“Whenever we’re feeling really good, we’re out exercising,” Brown said.  “We used to play on the playground,” Brown explains, but now that Allison is older, “We walk the trail and walk Lily.”

However not everyone is happy with the state of Lorton Park.  One resident from a nearby community said the park was insufficient for all the neighbors who want to use it, calling it a “ghetto park.”

One of the problems, according to the resident is that there are no swings for babies, the kind that tuck them in securely. Another problem she cites is there are only two swings, so children often have to wait to use the swing set. 

The woman also wanted more picnic tables and less of a dip between the grass area and the playground, which she said could be dangerous, saying, “When they step down, they can sprain their ankles.”

Her friend from Dale City agreed that the park should be able to accommodate more families.

However for families busy with baseball games and reading groups, Lorton Park offers a choice location. Right across Richmond Highway from Lorton Park is Lower Potomac Park , which includes four baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts.  There is a light and crosswalk in front of the Lorton library for safe crossing. 

Having the park located near the library also adds to the security, since it is not isolated from people and telephones. 

Park rules include include curbing dogs and no alcoholic beverages. 

Patch invites readers to visit Lorton Park for themselves and post their impressions.  Readers with concerns or questions can call the Fairfax County Parks Authority 703-324-8785 or visit www. fairfaxcounty. gov/ parks/.

Sally Spangler July 03, 2011 at 08:03 PM
A thought: COST to put in all the facilities your and others would like. What are they? Do you know? Who pays for YOUR play area? You don't. Real Estate TAXES paid by most of Fairfax County residence. These taxes go up yearly and do not begin to pay for all the nice to haves you would like to see. Sorry, that is how the world works, especially in Fairfax County. Are you willing to put out a monthly fee just to pay for your fun? Pass this around. It is a thought, not an answer. My children, now well grown and working had NO playgrounds, at all. They are working and paying adults.
Susan Francis July 04, 2011 at 01:18 PM
In the afternoons on the southwest side of the park you will see a group of men smoking pot and drinking. Residents of the adjoining neighborhoods report that men sometimes sit in the underbrush and watch the play area with binoculars. Library staff often pick up trash in the park because the litter gets so bad.

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