On the lawn and in chairs, Vienna residents crowded upon the new pride of Vienna, Maple Avenue’s Town Green, in a May 12 ceremony dedicated to the park’s ribbon cutting.
Following the Presentation of Colors by the Vienna Police Department and the singing of the National Anthem by the Madison Madrigals, a string of local dignitaries offered welcome comments.
“This is a dream come true,” said Mayor M. Jane Seeman in her opening remarks. “It is an oasis in our busy lives, a place to refresh ourselves.” Calling the Town Green a legacy to leave for those who follow, Seeman credited its creation to the vision of current and former Town Council members, many of whom shared the platform with her.
U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11) referred to Vienna as “still a town,” and presented to the mayor a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol.
Alluding to the spirit of the Vienna community, state Sen. Jean Marie Devolites-Davis (R-34) pronounced the Town Green the “culmination of what this town is all about.” Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Gerry Connolly, characterized Vienna as maintaining a “sense of place,” and the Town Green its “cornerstone.”
Performances featured the James Madison High School Madrigals, Vienna Community Band, Vienna Choral Society and Encore Stage & Studio.
Guests took turns with the ceremonial shovels of dirt, marking the planting of the “town tree,” and close by, the Town Green Marker was unveiled. Jim McGlone of the Virginia Department of Forestry presented Vienna with a Tree City USA award, sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Situated alongside the W & OD bike trail and backing the historic Freeman House, the Town Green was designed to become a focal point of community spirit.
Summer on the Green, a concert series hosted by the Town of Vienna and the Friends of the Town Green, launches on Friday, June 1, and continues throughout the summer months. Sporting a rustic look reminiscent of Wolf Trap, the staging pavilion on the Green will host music, dance and puppetry performances. Especially for pre-schoolers, Patrick Henry Library will host “Tuesday Tales” on the Green, a story and song program, running from late June through late August. The Wildlife Center of Virginia presents two family shows on Sept. 15.
“I am looking forward most of all to our concert series,” said Town Council member Edythe Kelleher. “We worked hard to recruit corporate sponsors for the concerts and we are so appreciative of their partnership.
“Part of Vienna’s appeal is its community spirit, and in recognition of that, we are creating a new organization, Friends of the Vienna Town Green (VTG), that will attract volunteers who want to become involved with Town Green events.”
Friends of the VTG will raise money to expand the concert series, as well as volunteer to help the paid staff at events on the Green.
The land the Town Green sits on was purchased in the year 2000, and until the building housed there was demolished in 2006, the owners of the building paid rent to the Town of Vienna. Although a few town residents initially objected to the land’s removal from the tax base, Kelleher said she heard from many more people who felt this green space would be an oasis, a passive park, accessible and welcoming.
“This was carefully thought-out, in review for a couple of years,” said Cathy Salgado, construction manager. “We had a list of what people wanted in a town green and we planned with those interests in mind.”