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Planning underway for new Colvin Run Mill trail, but funding path unclear

A sign for Colvin Run Mill (file photo)

Residents are calling on the Fairfax County Park Authority to ensure that a trail is constructed on the south side of a new tunnel in Colvin Run Mill Park.

Construction on the $1.5 million tunnel under Route 7 as part of the widening of Leesburg Pike is currently underway. But the project, which is managed by state officials, lacks a 1,000-foot trail to the south side of the tunnel that would allow residents to walk to the park’s sites in Great Falls, Lake Fairfax and Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail.

In a recent call to action by the Friends of Colvin Run Mill, James Waller described the issue as a a “tunnel to nowhere” and urged members of the nonprofit to ask elected representatives to allocate carryover funds for the project.

Last month, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors allocated $15.7 million to the park authority from the fiscal year 2023 budget carryover.

In a statement to FFXnow, Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust says he hopes the park authority will use a portion of the carryover funds for the trail.

“The Park Authority, however, is an independent agency with many needs and challenges,” Foust wrote. “I cannot mandate when the Park Authority will allocate funds for the construction of this trail, but I am confident they consider it a priority and are trying to make it happen.”

But carryover funds can only be used for system-wide maintenance projects and not new amenities, according to FCPA spokesperson Benjamin Boxer.

“The carryover funding received from the County is restricted to different uses and will not be a part of this project,” Boxer said.

Boxer said the park authority has authorized up to $200,000 for feasibility, environmental review and design for the future trail project.

“Work is progressing as the studies have been completed and we are entering into the design phase of the project so that when future funding is identified, we will be ready to pursue the project,” Boxer wrote in the statement.

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