Playground Project

January 9th, we held a meeting to talk about our options for new playground equipment on the parkland in our neighborhood. We heard a presentation from the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) about the obstacles and options at each potential location. There was also a panel question and answer session where we had the opportunity to to ask questions of the experts.

The following are materials from the meeting.

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Notes

Map of the Playground Locations

Presentation from FCPA (Please review before filling out the comment form)

Joanne's Talking Points from Introduction

Comment Form (PDF Version)

Comment Form (Word Version)

Please fill out the comment form and mail it back to the pool (Brandywine Pool, 9537 Helenwood Dr, Fairfax, VA 22032) or email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The comment period ends February 9, 2014 so please return your comments before then. Both versions of the comment form are the same. Please choose the format that works best for you.

Molly Sharkey is also working on setting up mini-meetings to discuss the playground options for those that could not attend the meeting. Please contact her directly if you are interested at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can also contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have additional questions.

Thank you.

Over the years efforts have been made by various residents to improve our two neighborhood playgrounds, and now due to the age of equipment and related safety code issues, we believe that it is time we seriously address the playgrounds with the help of the Fairfax County Parks Authority(FCPA). The playgrounds in our neighborhood are built on park land and the FCPA is very willing to work with us. But we need to let them know what we want for our community. If we choose to do nothing, then they will make decisions on our behalf. With that in mind the Civic Association has engaged the FCPA to discuss playground upgrades.

After several initial meetings with FCPA Planning & Development and Park Operations Division representatives, and Supervisor Cook’s Office, we have become aware of the many constraints impacting the parks, primarily Resource Protection Areas (RPAs) established under the Chesapeake Bay Act which regulate what can be built next to streams that feed into the Chesapeake. Information on the Act can be found at: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/ChesapeakeBay/ChesapeakeBayPreservationAct.aspx

Further, there are a number of easements held by the County's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) for sewers that go right through our parks, and in some cases, right under existing playground equipment.   The complexity of the issues involved cannot be easily addressed in a newsletter article, and so there is a need for a community meeting to lay out the current situation, the constraints, and the options so that these issues can be discussed with community input, and a consensus can be developed to move forward.  

To that end, a community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 7:00pm at the Korean Presbyterian Church in our neighborhood.  We encourage you to come and make your voice heard. The meeting will be attended by members of the FCPA, our Braddock District Representative on the FCPA Board, and Supervisor Cook’s representatives so this is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn about the process from the experts. 

After this meeting, there will be a 30-day open period where each household can provide feedback so that we can gain consensus about which options reflect the desires of the community. Meeting notes will be posted here for those that are unable to attend the meeting.

With help from FCPA and Supervisor Cook’s office, we have come up with some preliminary working options for our playgrounds. There is flexibility in the options depending on the discussion and neighborhood consensus including phased multi-year approaches. Details will be discussed in depth at the community meeting. Note that Surrey Square 1 is the tot lot at the top of Twinbrook near Braddock Road. Surrey Square 2 is the playground with the basketball court about ¾ of the way down Twinbrook; it is often referred to as Cinderella Park. Olde Forge Park is the grassy area across Twinbrook from Surrey Square 2. George Mason Park is behind Jomar near the garden co-op off of Braddock Road; there are garden plots there now in part of the area. Following is a summary of options that will be discussed at the meeting. Our final plan may be a combination of these.

Options for Surrey 1:

  • Replace the equipment to fit in the existing footprint considering development and easement limitations
  • Remove the tree to allow for more options for equipment to fit in the existing footprint considering development and easement limitations

Options for Surrey II:

  • Remove the slide and replace it with new equipment to fit within the existing footprint of the slide. The spider will have to be removed in any scenario because a sewer line is directly beneath it.
  • Turn the space into a restoration site by planting native plant species, removing the existing playground equipment (the basketball court and swings would remain) and adding picnic benches

 Option for New Playground at Olde Forge Park:

  • Create new playground limited to 2,500 square feet. As this is a small space, an option could be to turn Surrey 1 into a playground built for 5 to 12 year olds and use this space as a tot lot.

 Option for New Playground at George Mason Park

  • Create large new playground that would allow for all age groups to play in one space. Access to this park will be part of the discussion at the meeting.

We hope you attend the meeting and encourage your neighbors to come as well. Refreshments will be provided.

Some of you may have noticed survey flags around the neighborhood or heard through the grapevine that something may be happening with our playground in Surrey Square #2 aka Cinderella Park. Before I go any further, I need to emphasize that no decisions related to the parks and playgrounds in our neighborhood will be made without neighborhood consensus. 

That being said, I'd like to introduce myself and explain my role in this project. My husband and I live on Jomar Drive with our one and half year old son. We moved into the neighborhood in June 2011. While we are not new to the area (I grew up in Mantua and my husband grew up in Fairfax Station), we are having a great time meeting our neighbors and getting involved in neighborhood activities.

We love this area and especially enjoy the outdoors. Upon our exploration of the neighborhood, I noticed that the current playgrounds are in bad shape. The equipment is in disrepair and do not meet current safety standards. After talking with some of the other moms with young children, I decided to contact the Fairfax Park Authority and our Civic Association to learn about the history of the parks and what could be done to improve the playgrounds. I'm now serving as the project manager.

Since then, with the support of the Civic Association, we have been meeting with the Fairfax Park Authority and Supervisor Cook's office to learn about the process of building a new playground. It turns out that not only is our current playground equipment not up to safety standards, but the surrounding land has issues of its own. We are working with the Park Authority to get an understanding of what will need to be addressed or explored including compliance with the American with Disabilities Act, Chesapeake Bay run-off issues, sewer easements, electrical lines, and more.  All of this information is being collected to determine the feasibility of building a playground.

As I mentioned above, no decisions related to the parks and playgrounds in our neighborhood will be made without neighborhood consensus. In fact, in this month's neighborhood newsletter there will be an article introducing this project. We will have a booth at the community Fall Festival as well to help spread the news. There will be a community meeting in the Fall where we will share all the information we have collected with the neighborhood and begin collecting your feedback, concerns, and suggestions.

Please let me know if you'd like to participate or have a role in the project. We can use all the help and support we can get.  I hope to see you at the Fall Festival and the community meeting.

Thanks,

Joanne Elder (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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