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Friends of McLean Central Park Win Elly Doyle Award

Bari Levingston and the Friends of McLean Central Park (FMCP) were honored last week by the Fairfax County Park Authority for the work that realized the vision of a park that would be a place to play, listen to music, and daydream.

The FMCP won the Elly Doyle Award at the Green Tie Gala, a fund-raiser for the Fairfax County Park Foundation. Friends of Huntley Meadows Park also won an award.

Levingston attended with other members of the Friends, including vice president Jan Auerbach; treasurer Steve Friedman; and Simon Romano of West*Group, vice president of construction.

The Friends also invited FCPA staff members Mark Holsteen, the project manager, and Mark Rogers, to join them as guests at the gala.

Vance Zavela, a member of the FMCP board, and Bill Bersie, executive director of the McLean Community Center, also attended as an ex officio member of the board.

McLean Citizens Association president John Foust and Linda Lammersen, parks liaison for the Dranesville District supervisor, also attended.

Levingston’s parents, Donald and Elise Rosenfeld from Tuscaloosa, Ala., attended in support of their daughter.

“It was a really nice evening,” said Levingston. “People at that event have been so generous with their praise of the park,” she said.

“A woman I had never met before was sitting at the table next door,” said Levingston. “She pointed out two grownups and said, ‘These are my children. When they were children, I wish we had had [a playground].’”

An FCPA videographer had taped a mini-documentary using Levingston as a voice-over to describe his images of the gazebo being built, the playground readied, and the resulting summer concerts and playground dedication that resulted from FMCP’s work and fund-raising.

“It was very well done,” said FMCP vice president Jan Auerbach.

“The screens were large enough so everyone could see it, and [the video] moved quickly,” she said. Three tables at the event were filled with FMCP supporters, she said.

There was also a silent auction, with the proceeds benefiting the Park Foundation.

At the end of the evening, Levingston said, acting FCPA director Mike Kane asked her what her next project would be. “He asked me if I would help with Clemyjontri Park,” she said. They don’t have a community group as of yet.

“I don’t think they will have one that resembles Friends of McLean Central Park, but they will need input from the community,” she said. “I will be honored and excited to help.”

The McLean Citizens Foundation contributed matching grants totaling $50,000 as seed money for the playground.