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Concert to Open Gazebo

July 10, 2002

The first in a series of six Sunday afternoon concerts on July 14 will bring people into the cool green expanse of McLean Central Park, where a roof was being added to finish a new gazebo this week.

“There is no minute like the last minute,” said Bari Levingston, president of the Friends of McLean Central Park.

“All that is left is the roofing. We are right on schedule. We can’t afford any delays, but we expect it to be done in the nick of time,” she said.

As a sign of her confidence that the event will come off as planned, there is no contingency for a rain delay, she said.

Children’s festivities will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday with a trackless train, a moon bounce, a face painter, free drinks and popcorn, Levingston said. “People are welcome to bring a picnic and spend the afternoon.”

The first concert in the gazebo will begin at 3 p.m., featuring Cathy Fink and Marcie Marxer, described as a folk duo that appeals to all ages.

“They just finished up a stint at Wolf Trap,” said Levingston. “They are sort of a modern folk duo — great ‘kid music’ with a real sense of humor. They have broad-based appeal for all ages,” she said.

Bob Ryan, meteorologist at WRC/Channel 4 and a McLean resident, will moderate a brief ceremony and ribbon cutting from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Bob Alden, the former McLean resident whose vision for a central park, community center and theater has now been realized, will tell how the project transitioned from a dream to reality.

“We will be presented with a check or two. We need to say our thank-yous,” said Levingston.

Families can bring blankets, picnic baskets, and lawn chairs to enjoy the concert.

WHEN THE CONCERT SERIES is completed, site preparation can begin for a tot lot that will replace the fountain in the park, she said.

Funds have been raised and the playscape ordered but “We can’t start building the playground yet, because it would disrupt the park” during the concert series, Levingston said.

There are five more concerts, with one every Sunday at 3 p.m. for the next five weeks.

When the concerts are over, the fountain area will be demolished, and walkways repositioned to create “a more rounded amphitheater effect for the gazebo, said Levingston.

The Friends’ goals and dreams for the park include more landscaping, lighting, and a sculpture garden.

“We are still raising funds, though. I want people to know that,” said Levingston.

The McLEAN CITIZENS FOUNDATION donated $35,000 for the gazebo, which will cost just under $100,000 to complete.

Another $15,000 grant has been pledged by the MCF for the playground towards the $50,000 total cost.

The Fairfax County Park Authority is donating some $12,000 in site preparation work, said Levingston.

The playground will have three train cars, a playhouse that will serve as a train “depot” and a four-station swing area with two buckets for toddlers and two stations with flat swings.

There will also be rocking horses and a climbing structure, all of it designed and scaled for children five and under.