Monday, December 22, 2008

Regional Park Authority Turns 50

Walter Mess Recieving Award

(Left to right: Brian Knapp, Walter Mess, & Barry Buschow)

Darrell Winslow Recieving Award

(Left to right: Paul Gilbert, Darrell Winslow, & Joan Rokus)

On December 20, 2008 NVRPA kicked off a year of 50th Anniversary festivities with an event at the Bull Run Festival of Lights.

We took this opportunity to thank our member jurisdictions of: Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, and the Cities of Falls Church, Fairfax and Alexandria. For half a century NVRPA has been conserving land and creating destination parks in Northern Virginia. We also took this opportunity to give special awards to two individuals who helped make NVRPA what it is today, Walter Mess, Board Member and founder from 1959 - 2004, and Darrell Winslow, former Executive Director who worked for NVRPA from 1966- 1994.
Some of the comments made during this event are listed below:

William Chesley, Alexandria Parks Department
We are certainly appreciative for our relationship with the [Regional Park Authority]. In fact, listening to remarks here in terms of the economy, we’ve been grateful to be able to take advantage of the Regional Park Authority’s facilities. So, the economy not withstanding, I’d just like to say that NVRPA does a great job, the facilities look nice, and the customer service is outstanding.

Barbara Favola, Arlington Board of Supervisors
I can tell you that Arlingtonians really do appreciate the Park Authority. The community of Arlington is a small community, only 26 miles, and the Park Authority is a big part of that. Thank you for being so progressive. You’ve grown along with the county, you’ve developed along with the county, you’ve been really responsive in increasing our tree canopy, the invasive plant initiative … you’re helping us on a number of things. We appreciate your support, and we’re happy to continue to be a partner with you.

David Snyder, Falls Church City Council
The saying goes that nothing happens by accident. Nothing is truer than that expression with regard to the wonderful public service that the park authority has provided. Let’s see now, recreation, education, environmental protection, historic preservation. Not bad for one agency. So as we look forward to the next year, I’d like to say congratulations; to all those who started it, to all those who serve on the board, and to all the professionals involved who have truly created a wonderful legacy, not only for the present, but for the future as well.

Robert Lederer, Mayor of Fairfax City
First of all, let me just add my congratulations on behalf of the city of Fairfax for 50 years of providing a wonderful service to our region and certainly to our community. In the city of Fairfax, we take our parks and open space very seriously. We’re only 6 square miles, but we have 23 separate parks, we have 21 miles of pedestrian and bike trails that tie in the Fairfax County System and open space, added 42 acres of open space the last three years. The Park Authority is obviously a big part of that. Congratulations on 50 years.

Sharon Bulova, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
The regional park authority combines things that are of the highest priority to [Fairfax County], such as the preservation of open space, tree canopy and also our recreational opportunities. Looking ahead to our future as well as to our past, I think our future is going to be a great one, and so more and more the opportunity to be able to preserve our green space in the region is going to be of the utmost importance. Thank you for continuing to work with us and helping to create a green future.

Penny Gross, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
I want to thank the Regional Park Authority for accepting the challenge of the Korean Bell Garden, which is going to be at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. They tried to find a spot in [Fairfax County] … and they found a home with the Regional Park Authority. It is going to be fabulous. It is going to be that kind of place where more and more people can enjoy their own culture, a place very reminiscent of their homeland. I want to thank the Regional Park Authority for stepping up to the plate and making Fairfax County a better place to live.
Joan Rokus, NVRPA Board Member and former Loudoun County Supervisor Revieved the plaque on behalf of Loudoun County.

Santa's Garage

This year at the Bull Run Festival of Lights we added "Santa's Garage" to our Holiday Village at the end of the light show. Santa had quite a collection of red and white vintage muscle cars. This proves that even St. Nick like his toys. In his stable was a 1968 Mercury Courgar, a replica 1965 AC Cobra, a 1968 Pontiac GTO, and a 1965 Corvette.
Santa was overheard saying that "when you have to travel the whole world delivering toys in just one night, a fast red convertible is very handy." Rodolph could not be reached for comment.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Riverfront land in Loudoun to become regional park

Last week we released the news that we had a contract to buy a 275 acre property on the Potomac River as a new regional park.

First the Washington Post wrote a story on it and then it was picked up by the Associated Press and has been run on too many newspapers to list, including the International Herald Tribune, numerous local radio shows and TV. Below is the piece put out by AP.

Riverfront land in Loudoun to become regional park
By the Associated Press
December 4, 2008
LEESBURG, Va. - Officials say a 275-acre swath of land with ties to the Civil War will be protected as a regional park in Loudoun County. The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority will buy the tract along the Potomac River north of Leesburg. The park authority will pay private landowners about $2.8 million for the parcel. The property was once the home of Confederate Lt. Col. Elijah White and was used as a strategic route during battle. The park, which includes a half-mile of Potomac shoreline, will be known as White's Ford Regional Park. It will include a boat ramp, picnic pavilions, campgrounds and cabins. There also will be interpretive exhibits explaining the park's Civil War history.

Here are some links to other articles written about this land deal:

Washington Post

Leesburg Today

Loudoun Times

Col. White is the second person from the left seated.
We believe the two women standing were the Ball sisters who lived at Temple Hall Farm during the war. At one point the Ball sisters were arrested smuggling medical supplies from Maryland across the ferry.