Fairfax County’s plan to develop Ruckstahl Park in Idylwood with new amenities came into clearer focus this month.
Building off a 2015 master plan, the Fairfax County Park Authority board approved a scope for the approximately $2 million project at its final 2022 meeting on Dec. 14, the agency announced on Wednesday (Dec. 21).
Staff recommended that the 7.2-acre site at 2445 Idylwood Road get a picnic pavilion, an open play area, an accessible loop trail, a nature-themed playground, a “fitness cluster” and vehicle access and parking improvements. The project will also fund invasive species management efforts at the park.
“This is a valuable parcel inside the Beltway that came to us at an exceptional bargain,” Ken Quincy, the board’s Providence District representative, said. “The community has been very energetic and engaged throughout the process of defining the vision for the future. We’re very excited to move this project forward.”
Located just north of I-66, the parcels that make up Ruckstahl Park were previously occupied by a residential farm owned by Dr. Lillian Ruckstahl, who gave the land to the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust in her will when she died in 2008.
The park authority acquired the property from the NVCT for $250,000 in 2011. The transfer established a conservation easement that prohibits athletic fields, among other conditions, according to the master plan.
Noting that it’s “increasingly rare” to find land suitable for a public park in Idylwood, the master plan envisioned Ruckstahl as a mostly neighborhood-serving park designed to “preserve a sense of the open landscape” and provide “low impact community recreation opportunities.”
The conceptual development plan shows a trail looping around the park with exits onto Dunford Drive and Idylwood Road. Placed to accommodate a potential, future widening of Idylwood Road, the trail could be connected to nearby Idylwood Park and the Washington & Old Dominion Trail with additional pedestrian and bicycle facilities, the plan says.
The proposed vehicular amenities include a new parking lot with up to 20 spaces. Access would be provided off Idylwood Road in the same location as the former residential driveway.
The plan also calls for an existing field to be retained as an open space for recreation and community gatherings, an educational nature playground for kids, a picnic area or outdoor classroom, benches and other furnishings, and intepretive signs about the site’s environment or history.
Well before Ruckstahl moved in during the 1950s, the land had been part of a plantation called “The Mount” that lasted from the mid-1700s to around 1900, when it was broken up and sold off for smaller farms in the Civil War’s wake, according to the FCPA.
The property also became one of the county’s first formally recorded archaeological sites in the 1960s after archaeologists found artifacts dating back to the Archaic Period, though the master plan says “little can be gleaned from the records about how the site was used.”
Funded by the county’s 2020 park bond, developing Ruckstahl Park could produce $7,000 in annual revenue for the park authority, while costing $4,000 a year to maintain with an estimated lifetime cost of $1 million after 20 years.
The FCPA says permitting will begin in “the first part” of 2023, and construction could start in the first quarter of 2024.
Good Friday evening! Today we published 6 articles that were read a total of 6621 times on FFXnow alone, so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles…
Lake Anne’s plaza will once again spring to life this summer with concerts. Lake Anne Live! — an event series that kicked off last year — brings Thursday evening concerts…
The proposed repurposing of Inova Health System’s former corporate headquarters in Merrifield as live/work and workforce housing units got a hearty recommendation from the Fairfax County Planning Commission earlier this…
Are you ready for summer? Live Fairfax has a bucket list of indoor activities, outdoor escapades and trips to explore this summer.
Camps are just the beginning of what’s in store at Art House 7 this summer. We’re thrilled to offer an array of exciting classes for both kids and adults!Rediscover your creativity with some of our AH7 favorites, such as drawing, hand-sewing, modern embroidery, and our popular 3-week Jump into Crochet classes. But that’s not all! We’ve added some fresh and exciting options to our summer class selection, guaranteed to spark your imagination.
To enhance your artistic journey, we have intensified some of our Ceramics: The Wheel classes to a full 3-hour duration. This extended time allows for more creativity and skill development in each class session. If you’re eager for a captivating twist, give Contemporary Still-Life Drawing & Painting a go. Or why not try an immersive outdoor painting adventure? We have a unique opportunity for you to bring your painting skills to life while learning and creating in the great outdoors with our Landscape Painting: Studio and Plein Air class!
We invite you to visit our website and explore our full Summer Session schedule, brimming with a diverse range of classes and camps. Classes and camps begin June 20th. Unleash your inner artist, broaden your horizons, and embark on a summer adventure like no other. Let’s make this a summer to remember at Art House 7!
Potomac Harmony Chorus has a new director! We’re ready
to kick off the season with new music, a new approach, and YOU!
Potomac Harmony is one of 500 choruses in Sweet
Adelines International. We’re a vibrant,
contemporary, inclusive, welcoming, and open community of women singers who
perform four-part harmony, barbershop style, committed to a high level of
achievement through teaching, mentoring, personal growth, and performance. Our vision is to entertain, educate, and
enrich lives through musical expression while promoting the barbershop art
Potomac Harmony recently had our first performance
with our new director, receiving rave reviews! We invite you to stop by any Wednesday
evening and be part of the fun and harmony!
Army Birthday Festival – Free and Fun
Make Saturday, June 10, 2023 a great day!
Come celebrate the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Rain or Shine!
• Experience outdoor and indoor fun activities, for all
Unveiling of West Ford historical highway marker
Gum Springs will be celebrating 190 years of its founding by freedman West Ford on Saturday, June 17, 2023. To kick-off the celebration, there will be an unveiling of a Virginia historical highway marker for West Ford on Fordson Road