Meet the Neighbors: Heart of Arlington Neighborhood Association Celebrates Completion of Park Row Drive Sidewalk
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on January 18, 2022, January 18, 2022

Butterflies, rainbows and hopscotch squares were just a few of the colorful chalk art designs that neighborhood children drew last week along the newly built stretch of sidewalk along west Park Row Drive.

The community art event was part of the Heart of Arlington Neighborhood Association’s celebration of the long-awaited neighborhood addition, which added ADA complaint sidewalk ramps and created a continuous pedestrian path on the north and south side of the street between Johnson Creek and Collins Street.

HANA residents joined Mayor Jim Ross, City Council District 5 Representative Rebecca Boxall and other city leaders on Friday, Jan. 14 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the neighborhood-initiated Park Row Drive sidewalk project.

The City of Arlington visited with the Heart of Arlington Neighborhood Association about the sidewalk project as part of the latest episode of Meet the Neighbors, a MyArlingtonTV video segment that spotlights neighborhoods large and small across The American Dream City.

“This is a celebration of something we thought would never happen. We worked so long for this,” said former HANA President Floreen Henry, who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Neighborhood efforts to get the sidewalk built began around 2007, but Henry said she and her husband, who has lived on Park Row Drive since 1980, has been wanting a sidewalk for much longer than that. A few years ago, Henry began photographing people having to walk, push strollers, or use their wheelchair on the busy street to get to nearby Blanton Elementary School, church, home or nearby shops. She then provided those photos to her then-City Council Representative Dr. Ignacio Nunez.

“The pictures are worth 1000 words. I could tell a story over and over but it’s not the same as when you see them. It was a need and we tried to do this to help our neighbors. This is part of the mission of the Heart of Arlington Neighborhood Association. We care,” Henry said.

Eventually, HANA was able to get all of the affected property owners to agree to the project and the City identified funding to build the sidewalk. Thomas 11 Development started construction last fall and completed the work this month.

“I appreciated the input of all those members of the local neighborhood who saw a need and patiently advocated over years to get this done. I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to help the project get funded,” Dr. Nunez said.

“We believe this is a signature project and this signifies our dedication to answering the call to enhance sidewalks, pedestrian safety and our overall infrastructure in Arlington to meet the needs of residents and businesses,” said Public Works and Transportation Director Keith Brooks.

While grateful that the Park Row Drive sidewalk is complete, HANA President Alicia Gray said there is more work to be done. The neighborhood recently partnered with Walkable Arlington to identify other areas around the community in need of safer pedestrian paths.

“The sidewalks connect us and promote walkability. For people who depend on that, the sidewalks give them safe passage,” Gray said.

Park Row Drive Sidewalk Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony, Jan. 14, 2022

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