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Resident Curator Program

Resident Curator Program

Be a preservation hero. Help Fairfax County preserve our tangible past by partnering with us to care for our historic resources. Slices of Fairfax County history are slipping away as some little-used, publicly-owned historic properties fall victim to the elements and disuse. The Resident Curator Program (RCP) is designed to preserve historic properties by offering long-term leases to qualified tenants who agree to rehabilitate and maintain these historic resources. A curator can be a private citizen, a non-profit entity, or a for-profit entity.

Resident Curator Program Introduction

Background Virginia Code Establishing Resident Curator Programs

In January 2011, the General Assembly amended Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2306 authorizing localities to develop resident curator programs. The Code enables localities to create, by ordinance, "a resident curator program such that private entities through lease or other contract may be engaged to manage, preserve, maintain, or operate, including the option to reside in, any such historic area, property, lands, or estate owned or leased by the locality."

Fairfax County Resident Curator Program Ordinance

The Board of Supervisors adopted the Resident Curator Program Ordinance in 2014, establishing a Resident Curator Program in Fairfax County. This program, designed to preserve and maintain historic properties owned or leased by the County, will lease historic properties to individuals or businesses, requiring that resident curators maintain and improve the leased properties according to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, 36 CFR Part 68 (2013), as amended. Additionally, the curator is required to provide reasonable public access consistent with the historic property's nature and use

Resident Curator Program Stated Goal and Objective

The objective of the Fairfax County Resident Curator Program (RCP) is the preservation of historic buildings within the county…The end goal is to rehabilitate and maintain underutilized historic properties and provide periodic public access to appreciate the historical significance of the properties.

The RCP is designed to preserve historic properties by offering long-term leases to qualified tenants who agree to rehabilitate and maintain these historic resources in accordance with established preservation standards. A curator can be a private citizen, a non-profit entity, or a for-profit entity.

Any proposed rehabilitation of these sites must meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation, and the curator must provide reasonable public access to the property. In return, curators pay no rent as long as they continue to fulfill their contractual obligations. Curators are responsible for upkeep, property maintenance expenses, utilities, and county property taxes.

Summary of the Resident Curator Program

By definition, a Resident Curator Program (RCP) enables an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization, to serve as the curator of a property. Fairfax County's RCP is intended to reduce the public costs associated with the care and preservation of the properties by enabling groups or individuals to take over the responsibility. In addition to caring for the day-to-day management of the property, the curators are responsible for the rehabilitation and continued maintenance of the property. Properties that are included in the RCP have been deemed historically significant and meet established criteria of eligibility for curator.

Resident Curator Program Overview – Rehabilitate, Reuse and Maintain

The Fairfax County RCP allows the county to address underutilized publicly-owned historic properties by entering into long-term leases with qualified tenants who agree to rehabilitate the property in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, and provide ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the property for the duration of the contract.

The RCP arose to address the large number of historically significant structures deteriorating on public land. The public/private partnerships created through RCPs in other jurisdictions have provided a successful stewardship solution for these important cultural resources.

A resident curator is a contractual agreement between Fairfax County and the curator, where the curator agrees to provide the service of rehabilitation and on-going maintenance of a property in exchange for the long-term occupation of the property. A curator can be a private citizen, a non-profit entity, or a for-profit entity. The proposed rehabilitation must meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, and the Curator must provide "reasonable public access" to the property.

Determining the Length of the Curator Lease

A gross annual fair market rental amount will be established through a third party appraisal. The curator's annual estimated costs to manage and maintain the property will then be deducted from the gross annual fair market rental amount, in order to determine the curator's net annual rental obligation. The total estimated rehabilitation expenses will be divided by the net annual rental obligation to determine the length of the lease. In most cases, curators will accrue much of the rent obligation for the term through the costs of rehabilitation. No cash rent is collected during the base lease term as long as the curator continues to fulfill the obligations under the lease.

Once the rehabilitation of the property is complete, the curator can remain in the property for the length of the curator terms without paying any rent, as long as they are meeting their contractual obligations, including managing and maintaining the property . The curators are responsible for the management, maintenance, and general upkeep of the property for as long as the Curator is in force. They are also responsible for all utilities and county property taxes.

The County Conversation Podcast
podcast Listen: May 24 - Denice Dressel - Park Authority's Resident Curator Program (21:59)

Turner Farm House

10609 Georgetown Pike
Great Falls, Va. 22066


Turner Farm Documentation

The Turner Farmhouse, built in 1905 by the Turner family, is located in a 52-acre community park at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Springvale Road in Great Falls, Virginia. The property contains several historic structures. The Mark Turner Dairy Farm is an example of the type of farm that predominated in the Great Falls area during the early years of the twentieth century, and the Turners were hailed as model farmers in a 1948 article in the "National Grange Monthly."

The 3,216-square-foot house is significant due to its Queen Anne style architecture and because it exemplifies the cultural, economic, and historic heritage of the Springvale and Forestville/Great Falls communities in Northern Virginia. Many of the original details, formal parlor, hardwood flooring, and fireplaces remain. The farm house has four bedrooms and four bathrooms.

>> Turner Farmhouse Site Summary
>> Turner Farmhouse Preliminary Historic Structure Report
>> Turner Farm Treatment Plan
>> Turner Farmhouse Building Evaluation
>> 1999 Building Assessment
>> Turner Farm Treatment Costs
>> Turner Farm Septic Information

Turner Application Review and Evaluation Team Meeting Schedule

The Resident Curator Evaluation Team for applications to Turner Farm will hold a public information meeting on May 17, 2017, at 7 p.m. at the Great Falls Grange located at 9818 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls, VA. The meeting provides an opportunity for applicants to present their proposal to the evaluation team in a public forum. This will be the evaluation team’s opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback to the applicants, and to receive public comment on each proposal.

Additional meetings of the evaluation team will be held on Mondays, May 8, May 22 and July 10 at 9 a.m. in the Herrity Building at 12055 Government Center Pkwy, Fairfax, VA. These meetings will take place in the ninth floor Park Authority Board Room. While these Monday meetings are open to the public, there will be no opportunity for public comment.

Members of the public are asked to submit comments in writing to the project manager via Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov by Friday, June 2, 2017.

For more information contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662.

The Park Authority is currently working to update the master plan for Turner Farm Park. To find out more about the planning process and to add your voice to the conversation, visit Turner Farm Park Master Plan Revision

Ellmore Farm


Ellmore Farmhouse Documentation

The Ellmore Farmhouse is a two-story, 3,300-square-foot property located on West Ox Road in Herndon, Virginia. The farmhouse was constructed principally of yellow pine in 1891 for Mrs. Mary W. Ellmore and her two children. Members of the Ellmore family occupied the property for more than 50 years, operating a productive dairy farm there through 1945, when the property was sold.

The successive owners continued to operate a dairy farm until selling the farm in 1954. In February 2001, the Fairfax County Park Authority purchased the property for inclusion in Frying Pan Farm Park.

The farmhouse has 12 rooms, one full bath and one half-bath, a one-third basement, and a front porch that has been restored to its original span across the full front of the house. It has central heat, gas and sewer connections, and water is available.

>> Ellmore Farmhouse Site Summary
>> Ellmore Farmhouse Historic Structure Report
>> Ellmore Farmhouse Treatment Plan
>> Ellmore Farmhouse Building Evaluation
>> National Register Nomination

Ellmore Farmhouse Application Review and Evaluation Team Meeting Schedule

Application Review and Public Comment Coming Soon.

Stempson House


Stempson House Documentation

The circa 1937 Stempson House is a vernacular style residence with Colonial Revival style elements. The house is significant due to its association with the Occoquan Workhouse and Reformatory, later known as Lorton Prison, which incorporated Progressive Era reform ideals, and for its association with the Women's Suffrage movement of the early 1900s.

In 1910, the land on which the Stempson House is located was purchased by the United States federal government for the prison. In 1937, amongst the Lorton Reformatory orchard trees, prisoners constructed a residence for a prison officer. Ultimately, the residence was converted for use by the prison security office.

The three bay by two bay frame house measures approximately 1,500 square feet with a garage of approximately 400 square feet. It has three porches. The basement walls, chimneys, portico floors, walkways and basement areaways are of brick construction. The construction materials and methods used are typical of residential housing construction in the early 1930s. The home has a living room, office, kitchen, dining room, 3 bedrooms, 1 full bath and 2 half baths and an unfinished attic.

>> Stempson House Site Summary
>> Stempson Historic Structures Report
>> Stempson House Treatment Plan
>> Stempson Building Evaluation
>> Stempson House Sewer Availability Map
>> Stempson House ACM Report
>> National Register for D. C. Workhouse and Reformatory Historic District

Stempson Application Review and Evaluation Team Meeting Schedule

Application Review and Public Comment Coming Soon.

Resident Curator Program
Document Downloads

>> REVISED:  Information, Scope and Parameters
>> Property Process Timeline Estimates
>> Maintenance Guidelines and Checklist
>> Resources
>> Definitions
>> FCPA Policy Statements
>> Frequently Asked Questions



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Fairfax County Park Authority
Resource Management Division
Denice Dressel, Resident Curator Project Manager
12055 Government Center Pkwy., Suite 927
Fairfax, Virginia 22035-0000

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
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