Great Falls, VA, 22066
The Park Authority has edited the Draft Turner Farm Park Master Plan Revision based on public comments received following the Public Comment Meeting on October 30, 2017 at the Great Falls Grange, for which the public comment period closed on November 30, 2017.
The Park Authority Board will vote on the revised draft master plan on January 24, 2018. The revised draft master plan is available in the Planning and Development Committee Package. For more information about the Park Authority Board meeting, visit Park Authority Board and Committee Meetings.
The Park Authority invites the public to lend its voice to the decision-making process. Comments may also be shared by email at Parkmail@fairfaxcounty.gov, or at the address at the top of this page.
Turner Farm Park provides opportunities for outdoor recreation and enjoyment of nature across its 56 acres. Located at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Springvale Road, the park contains a former National Defense Mapping Agency observation tower, a roll-top observatory, equestrian facilities, the Turner Farm House, a playground, and a picnic area. Classified as a Countywide Park, Turner Farm Park provides a unique opportunity for county residents to understand the county’s agrarian past and Cold War history.
The Park Authority initially acquired the section of stream valley and open fields along the south and east sides of the park, formerly known as Lexington Estates Park, in 1975. The park was expanded in 1999 through the acquisition of property formerly owned by the federal government, after which the original master plan was created to guide the park’s development. Finally the property containing the Turner Farm House and its appurtenant buildings was acquired in 2010.
The 1905 Turner Farm House and the 1960s observatory tower, adaptively reused as a remotely activated telescope observatory, are the most recognizable features of Turner Farm Park. While many visitors come to Turner Farm for equestrian or astronomy activities, few recognize the significance that the land and its former owners had in our county’s heritage. In the 1940s, the Turner’s were nationally recognized as model farmers. At the height of the Cold War and after acquiring several acres of land from the Turners, the federal government built a Nike missile control site on the property. The Turner Farm House and barns tell of the site’s agrarian history, echoed today by the continued equestrian presence in the park. While most of the Nike facility has been removed, the observatory towers are still major landmarks in the community.
Turner Farm Park contains acres of trees and open fields, a portion of which is within a floodplain and an established Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Areas (RPA). These features provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife which are often enjoyed by park patrons. The tree cover and RPA in the park enhance water and air quality while providing critical wildlife safe havens.
A master plan revision is undertaken when a park or its surrounding community have notably changed since the approval of the current master plan.
The existing Turner Farm Park Master Plan was approved in 2000. While the master plan reflects most of the existing features, additional land has been acquired subsequent to the 2000 master plan approval, which includes the Turner Farm House and associated structures. Some features reflected on the existing master plan have never been constructed and additional improvements may be desired to enhance accessibility. The existing plan also does not address the Resident Curator Program which was recently established as an option for public-private partnerships to provide much needed assistance in maintaining Fairfax County’s historic houses, including the Turner Farm House.
Additionally, Fairfax County’s demographics have changed since 2000. The county’s population grew by over 167,000 residents between 2000 and 2016. More than 18,000 of those residents settled in the Dranesville District. This trend is anticipated to continue with Fairfax County welcoming an additional 125,000 residents by the year 2030. Along the way, the average age of Fairfax County residents is increasing. More and more residents are living in townhomes or multifamily buildings without the benefit of a traditional backyard for recreation. As demographics are shifting, so are recreational preferences. Understanding the relationship of outdoor recreation to health and wellbeing has increased the demand for park space which suggests opportunities for park changes. The master plan revision provides an opportunity to adapt and plan for all these changes.
Park circulation, site operational needs, access, natural resource management, history, and archaeology will all be reviewed as part of the master plan revision. Site analysis will examine ways to encourage safe access to and through the park while easing vehicular movements. The master plan process will also consider appropriate use of the newly acquired property, management of natural and cultural resources, and attention to the desires of the community.
September 14, 2017 Draft Master Plan
June 27, 2017 Public Information Meeting
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12000 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035