4MR Park Tree Plantings through Community Crowd-sourcing and Crowd-funding


Over the last few years, a group of community volunteers has formed to perform various improvement projects in and around Four Mile Run Park, including: the Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market, design work for the Four Mile Run Park Expansion, renovations of the newly acquired former electrical substation that is now Commonwealth Park (3550 Commonwealth Avenue) and a large tree planting to complement the work of the Four Mile Run Restoration Plan and the new Four Mile Run Park Plan. All of these activities have been documented in our community generated blog: The Arlandrian (www.arlandria.org).

With an eye toward formalizing this group into a permanent non-profit "Friends of Four Mile Run Park" (formal name to be determined), we propose utilizing this grant as seed money to solicit more funds from and throughout the residential and business community around Four Mile Run park for a series of tree planting in and around the park. The Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisan Market has already committed $1000 to use as funds raised from market operation to match with additional donations. This grant would provide more funds to match those donated dollars. The need and desire for an additional trees in Four Mile Run Park has already been identified in the planning for the Four Mile Run Park Master Plan and Four Mile Run Restoration Project

We intend to solicit funds through gofundme.com or through the City of Alexandria's Living Landscape Fund which we have previously worked with to solicit community funds dedicated to specific purposes in Four Mile Run Park (the 4MR Stage at 4109 Mt Vernon Avenue was built using an anonymous donation of $10,000 that was then used as matching funds for an arts grant). We think that giving the community a chance to match donations to an established fund for a specific purpose is the best way to make a real impact on reforesting part of the park and growing our urban tree canopy. As with past efforts, school kids will be encouraged to take an active part in fund-raising, planting and care of the trees (some have already anxiously volunteered). 

The idea for this project is largely scalable. The amount of planting that is eventually done can be adjusted accourding to how much money is raised. 

Each tree requires approximately:

An estimated $100 for the tree itself (at 1.5-inch caliper);
$25-30 for watering bag and proper staking;
as much as $12.50 per watering 20 times per year (typical for watering truck contract) for two years

This cost can be reduced depending on the logistics of specific locations and the ability for volunteers to water and care for the trees. For the trees planted last year by the community in Four Mile Run Park, all the watering was done by volunteers. At other locations, it might be possible for volunteers to water the trees using fire hydrants (utilizing a meter available fromthe the water company), from existing park irrigation, or by compensating owners of neighboring households. If none of these options is possible, the watering services included in the above estimate could be utilized. 

Although the exact location for additional trees will need to be determined in consultation with staff from Alexandria Parks department, locations could include:

  • The edge of Four Mile Run Park near Field #3 at the boundary behind Mark Drive
  • The recently acquired land along the Four Mile Run Trail near Route 1 adjacent to Jack Taylor Toyota
  • The field behind the Birchmere and the Mount Vernon Village Center
  • The Commonwealth Avenue median north of E/W Glebe Road (there are currently no trees in that stretch of the median as there are to the South). 
  • In Commonwealth Park (3550 Commonwealth Avenue at the intersection with E/W Reed Avenue) the site of the former electrical substation that was built originally by volunteers with cast-off plant donations and that later with the support of Dominion Power and students from Cora Kelly School.

An article about last year's successful tree planting:

Two Dozen New Trees Grow in Arlandria

Following a couple recent successful stream clean-ups and park renovations, a cadre of volunteers were back at it again this upcoming weekend planting about 2 dozen trees in Four Mile Run Park. Spearheaded by resident Kurt Moser, the project is being funded entirely by a grant from Casey Trees, who provide the plant material and tools. The planting marks the first year that Casey Trees has expanded its program outside of the District of Columbia. Casey Trees is a D.C.-based urban forestry non-profit dedicated to restoring, enhancing and protecting the tree canopy of the nation's capital.

The work was performed Sunday morning during the opening day of the Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market. Local businesses supported the effort by providing meals to the workers. MOM's Organic Market provided breakfast.

Sketch of the tree planting plan

Conceptual view of 4MR Expand from Four Mile Run Restoration Plan
The Casey Trees support of the Tree Stewards efforts is a continuation of a series of private initiatives to revive, restore and expand this public space. The trees were planted as part of the Four Mile Run Park Expansion (4MR Expand), a project that has been a decade in the works. Originally conceived as part of the 2003 Arlandria Plan, 4MR Expand was incorporated into the Four Mile Run Restoration Plan adopted in 2005. Four parcels were acquired in 2007 with Alexandria City Open Space funds but sat idle for a number of years due to lack of money for planning and implementation. A group of architects, known as Architects Anonymous, banded together to create a workable plan for the site that could rolled out over time making the best use of contributions from grants and the community. The non-profit Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market adopted the site as the site for a farmers' market and provide maintenance and financial contributions to further the project. Architects Anonymous contributed additional plans to re-purpose the former paint store at 4MR Expand and to prevent its demolition. 

The Arlandria Plan Implementation Group supported the project by requesting that the City direct some funds that would have otherwise be lost to help complete the community's vision. Since then, 4MRMarket has solicited private contributions to enhance the site and the City's Parks department has coupled those funds with grants that they've solicited to create a venue to showcase the arts and environmental best practice. To date these include: a performance stage, permeable pavers and rain gardens to collect stormwater run-off. Planters to collect additional stormwater run-off and arts grants are still pending.

Realization of 4MR Expand in progress

BEFORE the new trees.


The current City Manager proposed budget does not anticipate any tax money being directed to the plan.


Previous related posts from The Arlandrian:


  • Volunteers plan massive tree planting in 4MR Park this weekend
  • Four Mile Run DOWNSTREAM Clean-up April 6th
  • Tales of an Arlandria Twitcher
  • Four Mile Run Park is for the birds!
  • Tales of an Arlandria Twitcher: The Ides of March Edition
  • Community Comments on 4MR Park
  • New Views on 4MR Expand
  • Architects Anonymous win for Four Mile Run Park Designs
  • Why plan a park?
  • Discuss Path Forward for 4 Mile Run Park Expansion Sites
  • "Architects Anonymous" Donates Time, Vision To Four Mile Run Park
  • How Alexandria City Bureaucracy Didn’t Steal Christmas
  • How does our garden grow?

  • The $200 Park goes LARGE

  • New Park Uncovered At Spring for Alexandria


LPAS neighbors love trees


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