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Restoration of Jones Point Park under way

Sunday - 4/3/2011, 3:25pm  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - It's been used by people for thousands of years for recreation and commerce, but not lately. The massive construction of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge has made access to Jones Point in Alexandria a bit difficult.

Work is now under way on restoring the 65-acre national park on Jones Point, which had been a popular place in the community for decades.

Jonathan Jacobson, executive project manager for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, says the $12 million restoration is the last of the 22 contracts associated with the bridge construction.

"We are keeping access to parts of the park during construction for the neighborhood," says Jacobson.

That work will include stabilization of the old Virginia shipbuilding company finishing pier that was falling into the river and an upgrade to a lighthouse that dates back to 1841.

"The Mount Vernon Trail goes through the park eventually, but right now we have to detour it onto city streets," says Jacobson.

The park will also get new ball fields and playgrounds, and more parking and restrooms. Some wetlands will also be restored. The work is supposed to be completed by the end of 2012.

The site has been used continuously for residences, business, and maritime operations. During both the American Revolution and the Civil War, Jones Point included a small fort to protect Alexandria from attack. Archeological evidence recovered in the park indicates activity by humans there as far back as 7900 B.C.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)