Name the Park Contest

2024 Meeting Schedule

Normally meetings alternate between
Alice West Fleet Elementary Library
and the
Public Montessori School of Arlington Library.
Meetings start at 7:00 PM.

Please check the newsletter for details.

Tom Greenfield has launched a contest to name the park to be built in front of Eckerd Pharmacy at Columbia Pike and South Walter Reed Drive.

by Tom Greenfield

    Reach into that dusty closet of cognition and grab your thinking cap. We are seeking a "one word name" for the new park that will be built at the corner of S. Walter Reed Dr. and Columbia Pike. You might be that lucky person that comes up with the magical word that best names our new park.


    Eckerd Pharmacies, Inc. is redeveloping the America's Best Diner site at the Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Dr. intersection. The first question normally asked is "Do we need another drug store?" The answer is no. "Are we getting another drug store?" The answer is yes. Out of apparent defeat though, great things do come. We in the community of East Columbia Pike, have much to be proud of. The leaders of our community lobbied hard and extracted numerous concessions from the developer. The store building will be all brick, much more attractive than the first Eckerd store constructed in North Arlington. Eckerd has agreed to complete the streetscaping along S. Walter Reed to include pavered sidewalks, Victorian style street lamps, and trees. We expect Eckerd to be a nice addition to our community.

    Most importantly, Eckerd will be constructing a new park for the community. This park has the potential to be our little urban jewel and a significant landmark. The park will be located where the America's Best Diner building now sits. The new Eckerd building will be on the south end of the lot positioned against S. Edgewood St. The park will be approximately 10,500 square feet in size with walkways from the edges converging into a central circle. Landscaping in the park will consist of various trees and shrubs. We have secured agreement from the County to invest additional funds into the park to pay for construction of a bench wall surrounding three sides of the park and a large archway at the northwest corner. We're working with the County cultural affairs group to do a competition amongst local artists/architects to arrive at the best design for the archway. The resulting archway will face directly towards the intersection and prominently display the NAME of the park for all to see.


    We're looking for a "one word name" for our new park that is concise and is distinctive from a regional standpoint. The park in its entirety will be referred to by two words, the one word name followed by the word park i.e. BLANK PARK. The name should have some historic or geographic basis or can be named for an exceptional Arlington individual. The exact wording from the proposed policy for naming parks reads. "County facilities, including buildings and parks, shall generally be named according to the geographical, historical, or ecological relationships of the site in which the facility is located." Parks can also be named for individuals who have made exceptional contributions to Arlington, but the individual must have been deceased for five years before their name could be used.

    In the context of using geographic landmarks, combinations of the words that denote geographic features may also be used. Arlington has numerous examples of place names that were derived from combining pieces of related geographic words. SHIRLINGTON = SHIRley highway + arLINGTON. FAIRLINGTON = FAIRfax + arLINGTON. BALLSTON = BALLS crossing + arlingTON. Alcova Heights neighborhood, here in our community, was derived from ALCOVA = ALexandria + COunty + VA (postal abbreviation for Virginia). Note, Alcova Heights was named when our County was still referred to as Alexandria County. The name of the county was changed to Arlington in 1920, to clearly distinguish the county from the City of Alexandria.

    For our park, all names will be submitted to a committee of eleven community representatives, with two representatives each from the three neighborhood civic associations of Arlington Heights, Douglas Park, and Penrose. Two representatives will also be provided by each of the two respective condominium associations (The Commons of Arlington and Arlington Village). Jim Powell, president of the Columbia Heights neighborhood civic association will serve as the eleventh tie breaking member. The committee of eleven will select five names from the entire list of names submitted prior to the deadline. The five names will be sent out to the neighborhood and condominium associations. The associations will take a recorded vote tally on the five names. The votes will be collectively added up to determine the winning name (the name with the most collective votes). The name will then be submitted to the Park and Recreation Commission, Historic Affairs & Landmark Review Board (HALRB), the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Commission (NCAC) and then taken to the County Board for official adoption.


    Names should be submitted by email to Tom Greenfield at  Please include a short description of how the name was derived or why you feel this is the best name for our new park. Names and justification can also be mailed to Tom Greenfield at 802 S. Barton St., Arlington VA 22204. Names must be received by 5PM on 30 September, 1999, in order to be considered.


    CORBETT PARK. This name recognizes the Corbett family who owned land straddling Columbia Pike including the area where Filmore Gardens Apartments now resides. The first Corbett settled in Arlington in the 1840's and 1850's and several references to offices held by Corbett family members are cited in C.B. Rose's history book of Arlington.

    DINER PARK. This name captures the significance of America's Best DINER and the Bob's Big Boy DINER that preceded it. DINER PARK carries a sort of nostalgic feel for the hey day of the diner era in the 1950s and 1960s.

    COLUMBINE PARK. This name can be interpreted as a variation on COLUMBIa in from Columbia Pike. Columbine is also flowering plant found in Virginia. The submitter of this name also felt it could be interpreted as a timely recognition of the massacre at Columbine HS in Littleton, Colorado.

    PIKE PARK. This name simply extracts the word PIKE from columbia PIKE, which is the most prominent road in our community. People oftentimes refer to East Columbia Pike as "The Pike".

    WALBIA PARK. The name is derived as WALBIA = WALter reed drive + columBIA pike. The word represents the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike where the new park is located. WALBIA PARK conjures up an image as a fun, eclectic, unique place.

    COLTON PARK. This name is derived as COLTON = COLumbia pike + arlingTON. This naming approach is the method used to develop the Shirlington name, using the first syllable from the most prominent adjoining street. COLTON PARK has an English tone to it that would mesh with many of the colonial era names in the region.

    WALTON PARK. The name is derived similar to Colton Park only it uses S. Walter Reed Drive as the significant street. The name is derived as WALTON = WALter reed drive + arlingTON. WALTON PARK has the comfortable feeling of the old Walton's Mountain TV show.

    CAPADA PARK. This name is derived using the first letter from each of the six neighborhoods in east Columbia Pike as in CAPADA = Columbia heights + Arlington view + Penrose + Arlington heights + Douglass park + Alcova heights. CAPADA PARK projects a funky image and the name itself has a unifying effect as it encourages people to be familiar with all six neighborhood names, in order to understand its origin.