Arlington County's Friends of Thomas Jefferson Park applauded a statement issued Friday by the Arlington County Board, indicating that a portion of the park has already been excluded from consideration as a site for the new elementary school proposed by Arlington Public Schools.
The statement to which the group is referring was by Board Chair Jay Fisette, who wrote: "Please note the 2 clarifications to my Update sent earlier today:
Robust Community Process to Assess Thomas Jefferson as Site for New Elementary School
The County has already removed the wooded eastern end of “TJ Park” from consideration, as I stated at the June 17, 2014 recessed board meeting."
“We are pleased with this early decision by the County Board protecting the ‘wooded eastern end’ of the park," said the group’s president, Jim Presswood, in a news release. "However, this action does not go nearly far enough."
“Friends of Thomas Jefferson Park will continue its campaign to Save TJ Park! until all of the park is protected from being paved over or otherwise harmed by the proposed new school,” said Presswood.
For Friends of Thomas Jefferson Park, this means not only the wooded area along South Irving Street but all green and recreation space (measured half-mile path, playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, playing fields, and outdoor gym), including the organic vegetable garden.
Food from the garden goes to the Arlington Food Assistance Center, the group points out. The group is also concerned about the wooded area in the northern section of the park, which includes several large mature trees.
The map above contains what should be considered the area of the park, which is highlighted in red, the group said.
Momentum for the group continues, they pointed out Monday. According to the website SaveTJPark.org, its petition drive now has over 1,200 signatures.