Great Falls Citizens Association ©

To serve as a non-partisan community political advocate to promote all aspects of community interest accruing to a common good and to preserve the historic, low density, semi-rural character of Great Falls and its natural resources.

Fairfax Connector Bus Service & Bus Stop Improvements
While shuttle bus service between the commercial areas in Great Falls (the village/Colvin Run/Seneca) and Metrorail is not foreseen in the immediate future, there are bus stops near both the eastern and western intersections of Colvin Run Road and Route 7 that connect to the new Spring Hill Metro station at Tysons. These bus stops are along Fairfax Connector Route 574. Information on Route 574 can be found on-line, click here.
For addtional information and details, please click here

Georgetown Pike Paving Project

The Virginia Department of Transportation will begin repaving eight miles of Georgetown Pike (Route 193) from I-495 to Springvale Road beginning Sunday, August 10, 2014 (weather permitting). The work will be performed at night from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday. This work is expected to take about two months to complete, weather permitting.

Drivers are asked to consider taking alternate routes during the repaving operation on Route 193. The road will be milled to a depth of four inches and replaced with 2.5 inches of intermediate asphalt and 1.5 inches of surface asphalt. Some areas of the existing pavement will require deeper patching prior to the asphalt overlay.

New Traffic Pattern at Route 7 Widening
Westbound traffic shift scheduled for Wednesday
Dranesville –
Drivers are asked to be aware of a new traffic pattern on westbound Route 7 beginning Wednesday night, July 30, as Virginia Department of Transportation crews shift traffic between Reston Avenue and the Fairfax County Parkway.

Crews will shift traffic slightly to the south for the next phase of construction. Residents and businesses along westbound Route 7, including access to Redberry Court, will use a temporary access road. This access road will be open at all times. Residents will be able to access both directions of Route 7 from the new signal at Redberry Court.

Improvements to this intersection are part of the project to widen Route 7 to three lanes in each direction between Rolling Holly Drive and Reston Avenue. The $37 million project will be complete in Dec. 2015. Visit the VDOT project page for details.

July TownHall - Turner Farm
At GFCA’s monthly TownHall meeting (July 8), the past and future of Turner Farm was discussed.  Representatives of civic groups active at Turner Farm presented history and described their groups’ activities and plans.  The meeting ended with a high-level discussion of the potential direction of future development at Turner Farm.

The meeting was triggered by Fairfax County Park Authority’s (FCPA) plans to revisit the Master Development Plan for the Farm in order to incorporate the recently acquired Farmhouse and related lots into the Plan.  Created in 2000, some updating of non-Farmhouse elements of the Plan may also be undertaken.  GFCA has been asked by the FCPA to facilitate some community discussion and provide some input to FCPA prior to the start of formal Plan revision activities in May 2015.  These activities will include more community comment and involvement, starting as early as next summer.

The meeting was a productive exchange of ideas and philosophies for use of the Farm.  Beverly Bradford, representing Save the Farm (one of the principal groups responsible for creating the funding and support to establish Turner Farm as a park) presented the history and important developments in the life of Turner Farm.  A round table discussion followed the presentation, anchored by John Adams (Georgetown Pike Association), Ginger Nelson Yale (Turner Farm Team), Charles Olin (Analemma Society), Richard Bliss (former Dranesville District FCPA Board Member and founder of Northern VA Conservation Trust), Chris Lehman (Great Falls Lacrosse Association) and Nicole Gnozzio (Riverbend Pony Club).  Many members of these and other groups were in attendance and participated in the meeting.

Overall, people agreed that the program was informative and helped foster a better understanding of Turner Farm and its position as a unique resource for our community and for Fairfax County.  For example, the Analemma Society’s astronomical education programs touch many adults and children from near and far.  The equestrian activities similarly benefit many.   A consistent theme from all the presentations and discussion is that Turner Farm has an environment of “low intensity, dark at night” activities and that this is central to the Farm’s current uses as well as to its unique aesthetic.  Eric Knudsen, GFCA President, held an informal, non-binding straw poll at the conclusion asking:  “do you support maintaining Turner Farm’s historic focus on ‘low intensity, dark at night’ uses”?  Support for that was unanimous by a show of hands among the 40-50 people in attendance.

June TownHall - GFCA Election Results and Plans for 2014-2015
The Great Falls Citizens Association annual election held June 10, for the term commencing July 1, 2014 resulted in the election of four new directors: Matt Haley, Torsten Kracht, Dawn McPhee, and Zaheer Poptani,. Re-elected were President Eric Knudsen, Vice-President Bill Canis, and directors Ralph Apton, Jack Clark, Pam Grosvenor, Scott Knight, Philip Pifer, and Jennifer Semko.
Continuing for a second year are Secretary Debbie Copito, Immediate Past President Jackie Taylor, and directors Ruth Carver, Wayne Foley, Bill Harvey, Ed Phillips, and Amy Stephan.

At the June 17 GFCA Board Meeting, Bud Thompson was elected as Treasurer and David Kondner was selected to fill the remaining Board seat.
The June 10 meeting was also an “Open Mic” forum at which community opinions on a number of topics were discussed. GFCA wanted Great Falls residents opinions on these topics in order to frame its agenda for the upcoming year.

Roads, Traffic and Tolls
The Great Falls Citizens Association Transportation Committee, in collaboration with the Transportation Committee of the McLean Citizens Association, met with Aubrey Layne, Virginia’s new Secretary of Transportation. For more information, click here

Great Falls Legacy White Oak Project
To spur interest in keeping white oaks part of our community’s future, the Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) has launched the Legacy White Oak Project to plant a new generation of white oaks.  Our initial goal has been to plant 8-10 foot white oaks at our local parks.  To that end, we have established agreements with the Fairfax County Park Foundation and the Library Foundation so that residents’ contributions for trees on those properties will be fully tax deductible.  County facilities managers have identified sites in most local parks and at the library.

Trees will only be planted if residents contribute. The cost of a new tree, mulching, staking and two months of watering is $434.  For the fall 2014 program, contributions are due by August 25. (The program will continue tree planting in spring 2015).

Great Falls residents are responding enthusiastically.  Tree sites at the library and Colvin Run Mill were snapped up in the first week.  Sites are still available at Riverbend Park, Nike Park (next to Forestville School) and Lockmead Park (on Riva Ridge Rd).  If your son or daughter is an avid soccer, lacrosse or baseball player, think about donating so a tree at one of the playing fields in honor of their team. Due to construction issues, there will not be tree sites at the Grange and Turner Farm until next year. 

SGB, the local landscaping company that will plant and water the trees, has agreed to also plant them at local homes and churches, and residents and at least one church have signed up for a white oaks too. It’s not tax deductible of course if you have one planted at your home, but the landscaper will water it or reduce the price if you want to do that yourself.  All trees are guaranteed for a year. We plan to put the 2014 white oaks in the ground in early September.  Contributions for fall planting must be received by August 25!

Here are the ways to make your contribution: 
If you would like to see one planted in a local park, make a contribution in one of the three ways listed below and specify which park you would like you tree to be planted.  An acknowledgement letter will be provided to each donor that is suitable for tax purposes.

Send check (payable to FCPF) to Fairfax County Park Foundation, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 404, Fairfax, VA 22035  Specify the Great Falls Legacy White Oak Project


Visit Fairfax Park Foundation.  Click the Donate Now button. Direct my donation to: select Fairfax County Park Foundation from the drop down menu. Additional Notes: enter Great Falls Legacy White Oak Project

(Visa or MasterCard).
Call the Park Foundation at 703-324-8582. Specify gift amount and the Great Falls Legacy White Oak Project. Provide donor and credit card information

If you want to have one planted at your home or church, for further details, contact Bill Canis, GFCA Vice President, Bill Canis.

GFCA & GFHS Call for Changes to
Resident Curatorship Program Proposal
GFCA and other community organizations have been long-time supporters of the concept of Resident Curatorship (RC) as a commonsense solution to the need to preserve historic county-owned buildings, such as the farmhouse on Turner Farm in Great Falls. In concept, an RC program could help the restoration and preservation of historic buildings by leasing buildings to private parties who agree to restore and maintain them properly. This summer, Fairfax County released a proposed RC program for comment. After review, the GFCA and the Great Falls Historical Society (GFHS) have joined forces in calling for changes to the proposal.

GFCA and GFHS formed a Working Group in July to review the nearly 250-page report that Fairfax County developed proposing a county RC program. In a letter to the County sent on Aug 6, GFCA and GFHS called for a stronger set of criteria in selecting historic properties, urged that the Turner Farmhouse be selected as the County’s pilot project to demonstrate how the RC works, and called for a public hearing so other community groups and residents could comment on the RC plan. The recommendations developed by the Great Falls working group also suggested changes to program administration, standards for curator selection, and leasing terms. Click here for a copy of the Working Group recommendations.

Last year, GFCA passed a resolution supporting the Mark Turner Farmhouse on Georgetown Pike as a primary candidate for the new RC program. Unfortunately, this historic home has become a community eyesore with no upkeep since acquired by FCPA four years ago. It is hoped that quick action to implement an RC program could lead to restoration of the Turner Farmhouse and other historic structures owned by the County.

Virginia DEQ Approves Contaminated Site Cleanup Plan
In January, the state Department of Environmental Quality approved the first phase Corrective Action Plan (CAP) that details the start of cleanup activities at the old Exxon station.  GFCA provided active input to the final CAP.  While we are not pleased with all elements of the CAP, substantial improvements have been made to the draft CAP released in the fall, and we are pleased that cleanup has begun.  For further information, click here

GFCA Membership Renewal
Annual memberships expired on June 30. If your membership was expiring, you received e-mail or a postal notice last month with renewal instructions. If you received a renewal notice, and have renewed your membership, thank you! If you have not yet renewed your membership, please take a moment and renew today. If you have any questions about membership and renewals, please contact the Membership Team.

Plans Revealed for Grange Renovation
For details, click here




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