Richard Black recently stepped down after 20 years as director of the Vienna Parks and Recreation Department. But even though the man is gone, his name will live on as part of the town’s infrastructure.
Last Saturday morning, Mayor Jane Seeman dedicated a bridge and short trail, connecting Northside Park with the Washington and Old Dominion bike trail, in Black’s honor.
"This was highly unexpected," said Black, at the dedication ceremony. "I’m flattered and honored."
Black arranged for construction of the trail and bridge, as one of his last projects with the town. He said he had always enjoyed working on trails because of their importance in connecting communities. The new bridge is located along the bike trail two-tenths of a mile north of Maple Avenue, near the Vienna Town line. The bridge will let Vienna residents cross Piney Branch Creek to the undeveloped Northside Park.
Around 30 residents showed up at the dedication, some riding bikes or wearing running outfits. Don Chumley said Northside Park is one of his favorite areas in Vienna. He enjoys the solitude of the park.
"Some day if you’re stressed out, or just bored, walk through some of these paths," Chumley said, motioning toward the park. "It’s a very nice area right here in the middle of a terribly busy place."
Chumley said the Northside has also become Vienna’s "unofficial dog park."
"A lot of people walk their dogs through here," he said.
DAVE SIENICKI, WHO LIVES near the park along Center Street, said his two children, who are six and seven years old, regularly visit the park.
"Because our house doesn’t have a whole lot of land," Sienicki said, "Being attached to the park gives us a lot of space for our children to play."
And now, he said, the children will be able to play without wetting their feet every time they cross Piney Branch Creek. Sienicki, an avid bike rider, said the bridge will also help as a connection to the other side of Vienna. The 35-acre park is located on the same parcel of land as the Northside Property Yard. The park is situated between Center Street and Glyndon Street.
Although the bridge has been built, the trail from the Washington and Old Dominion Trail is not finished. Construction should be completed this summer.
From the bike trail, it is a 200-foot walk to Northside Park. The bridge will be 120 feet long. Construction of the bridge and path cost $185,000. The cost was supplemented by a $103,000 state grant. This means the Town of Vienna paid around $82,000 for the project.