The Future is Bleak For Marymount’s Mulch Pile

Olivia Pang, Staff Reporter

On November 29, a public meeting was held in Marymount University’s Reinsch Auditorium to discuss a possible plan for the 18.4 acres of land on 26th Street and Old Dominion. This space is currently occupied by a mulch pile and salt dome, but the university has other plans in mind. 

Marymount’s plan is to construct a multipurpose sports field with bathrooms, storage rooms, locker rooms and spectator seating. They would also like to include a three lane running track, create a playground adjacent to the child development center and work with Missionhurst to create a nature preserve with walking paths. This outdoor space would be an addition to the community while also providing a canopy of shade for the field.

This plan would provide bathrooms, lockers and parking for county staff who work at the salt dome. The only way to proceed with the construction of this plan is to talk with the public neighbor communities of Marymount.

Three years ago, Noah Simon was the task force chair for the original Old Dominion and 26th Street project. He stated that the transportation committee, civic associations, Saint Mary’s church, parks and recreation and joint facilities committee came together to form a task force of 14 members. 

Members of the team worked with Marymount, where they held ten public meetings over a six month period. Arlington County also sent engineers, public planners and $200,000 to support this project. These engineers and planners dedicated hours to acquire information that would affect the future of this plan. 

Even after all of this, the plan got rejected, but Marymount didn’t back down. Now they are reproposing this project with information about resource-protected areas where they are unable to build on. Marymount is also sharing a new layout for the field. With the acquisition of the former Troiano property and the collaboration with Missionhurst, Marymount would be able to rearrange the field so that they are not building on these protected areas.

If this plan gets approved, Marymount’s field and the far side of Long Bridge field would be available for community use. Long Bridge is currently being used by Marymount for their home stadium. The main reason for creating this field is due to the fact that Long Bridge is a far distance from Marymount, causing the travel time to be inefficient for the players. 

Executive Director of the Arlington Soccer Association (ASA), Frank Demarco, stated that the growing population comes with an increase in kids and adults that play sports. There aren’t enough resources for all the players and the addition of the Marymount field is getting the ASA a step closer to their final goal.

With the Marymount field, they are proposing the use of fadable paint so that new lines could be added for the different sports that occur year-round. This would limit the amount of overlapping lines that are on the field at one given time. Marymount has also decided to not include lights but stated that there is a possibility in the future if the community wanted them.

The university was willing to take over the construction of all aspects of the plan, causing it to not affect taxpayers but instead benefit them. The funds would come from fundraisers so that the county would not be putting too much money into it. Marymount highly encourages community involvement and hopes to make this possibility a reality.