Ruckstuhl Park Master Plan Approval Scheduled
The Final Draft Master Plan for Ruckstuhl Park will be presented to the Park Authority Planning and Development Committee on October 14, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. for a recommended approval action to the full Park Authority Board for consideration on October 28, 2015. The board package can be viewed on the Park Authority Board webpage at: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/boardagn2.htm
The Park Planning Process
This park planning process was kicked off with a public information meeting held on July 30, 2014. The meeting presentation and summary of comments are available on this web page under the Document List. After the July 30, 2014 meeting, staff generated a draft master plan for Ruckstuhl Park based on comment received at this meeting. Staff conducted a planning workshop with community association representatives at Marshall High School on March 31, 2015. Public comments were very similar at both meetings. The comments received focused on traffic, concerns over the lack of crosswalks and complete sidewalks to access the park, trail connectivity, and preservation of natural resources including wildlife. Use preferences included trails, nature viewing and protection areas, picnic areas, as well as unscheduled casual open use areas. They also expressed a clear desire for interpretation of site history and natural features. This input was used to revise the draft master plan.
The draft master plan was published for public review in June 2015 and reflects the public input and desires of benefactor Dr. Lily Ruckstuhl to provide a public place for enjoyment of the property in perpetuity. The draft plan includes local serving features that complement the natural setting including a nature playground that will utilize a mix of natural and constructed products that help youth experience nature through play as well as a small picnic area/outdoor classroom that will support small group gatherings and stewardship education. A small parking lot will facilitate convenient access to the park for users and maintenance. A trail network will provide access throughout the site connecting planned and the diverse natural areas preserved throughout the site for a varied experience.
The community was invited to an Open House at the park on July 28, 2015 and to a Public Comment Meeting at Marshall High School on July 29, 2015 followed by a 30-day public comment period. Many neighbors visited the park during the open house and about 16 community members attended the meeting with four providing oral public comment. Most members of the community expressed support for the plan and concerns for safe site access with cross walks and complete sidewalks. Other comments highlighted preservation and respect for the adjacent Lindsay Family Cemetery. Staff made commitments to work with transportation officials at the time of park development to address park access safety. This commitment is noted in the design concern section of the master plan. The presentation, and public comments from the July 29, 2015 meeting, as well as the Final Draft Master Plan, and full public comment summary are available from the Document List on this web page.
The Park Site
Located between Idylwood Road and I-66, Ruckstuhl Park
has 7.2 acres of lawn, meadow, and forest. Ruckstuhl Park is located in
the Jefferson Planning District, and is classified as a local park,
expected to serve the surrounding residential neighborhoods. It is
increasingly rare for the Park Authority to find property that is ideal
for a local public park in this developed part of Fairfax County. The
acquisition of this property was made possible largely due to the
generosity of Dr. Lily Ruckstuhl and the Northern Virginia Conservation
Trust, to whom she donated her property upon her passing in September
2008. Dr. Ruckstuhl expressed her desire that her property be forever
preserved, preferably as a public park that area residents could enjoy
as she had for many years. A conservation easement was placed on the
property and prescribes certain conditions on the property and
prohibits uses such as athletic fields.
Through the master plan process, the Park Authority will engage park stakeholders through its public participation process to help the Park Authority determine the appropriate uses and facilities within the park.