Construction has officially begun on equestrian parking at Turner Farm Park (927 Springvale Road).
Contractors began working in the area Monday (Oct. 17) to install stormwater and drainage elements, a new driveway entrance, and a gravel parking lot.
The project is expected to wrap up by the end of December. Work will be limited between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays. The contractor might work on Saturdays to avoid project delays.
Construction access to the site is primarily through Springvale Road.
Turner Farm Park spans 40 acres, and the ground are open to the public. The park was a former dairy farm that is open for general riding.
The facility includes a playground for small children and a picnic pavilion and shelter.
An effort is underway to preserve the dark skies around the Turner Farm Park Observatory in Great Falls.
To reduce light pollution in the area, Fairfax County is considering amending zoning standards for outdoor lighting within one-half mile of the observatory, which is located at the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Springvale Road.
The observatory has several telescopes and a former National Defense Mapping Agency observation tower. Since the spring of 2018, the facility has served more than 3,700 people with educational programming.
Changes would largely impact residential development — roughly 500 properties — surrounding the observatory.
So far, county staff indicate that residents appear split about possible changes to the zoning rule. An official proposal expected in the winter of this year.
“Comments received in support of additional regulations expressed that the amendment would be an important and valuable step in protecting dark skies and the use of the observatory,” staff said in a memo. “Comments in opposition indicated that additional regulations are not needed, and concerns were expressed about several issues, including safety and security, and whether additional regulations within ½ mile of the observatory would be meaningful, given the overall light pollution of the area.”
The county held a public meeting on the issue on Monday (Sept. 19). Residents and community organizations offered feedback on the existing conditions near the observatory and possible changes that could affect properties within a one-half-mile radius of the observatory.
Representatives for the Fairfax County Police Department noted that proper lighting is a deterrent for criminal activity, but overnighting and uplighting are not required to facilitate a safe environment.
The Great Falls Citizen Association held the first official public meeting on the issue on March 24. The association has historically supported efforts to preserve the area’s dark skies.
“Because this proposed amendment involves a unique set of circumstances, GFCA is in the process of evaluating the County’s preliminary concepts on the amendment and considering its impact on the community, following two Town Hall sessions GFCA hosted,” Peter Falcone, a spokesperson for the association, wrote in a statement.
The observatory is also working toward becoming an official urban night sky place from the International Dark Sky Association.
Case Against Park Police Who Shot McLean Man Dropped — “Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) on Friday dropped the state’s federal appeal in the manslaughter case against two U.S. Park Police officers, effectively ending any attempt at criminal prosecution of the officers who fatally shot unarmed motorist Bijan Ghaisar in a Fairfax County neighborhood in 2017.” [The Washington Post]
Hundreds Help Pack Ukrainian Refugee Donations — “Hundreds of volunteers gathered this weekend in Oakton to help pack approx. 1800 boxes with donations collected for displaced Ukrainians. Huge thanks to our community members for donating, these wonderful volunteers, and to Paxton Co. for generously shipping these items.” [Chairman Jeff McKay/Twitter]
Mount Vernon Fire Started by Hair Dryer — A house fire in the 3700 block of Nalls Road on Wednesday (April 20) was started accidentally by an electrical event involving a hair dryer in the basement bathroom, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says. There were reported injuries or displacements, but the fire caused an estimated $37,500 in damages. [FCFRD]
Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers Critical to Covid Response — “Since February of 2020, over 1,400 MRC members volunteered more than 65,000 hours at vaccination clinics and testing events, and assisting with outreach, isolation and quarantine efforts, logistical support, and so much more.” [Fairfax County Health Department]
Merrifield Nonprofit Gets Boost from Football Fans — “Wolf Trap Animal Rescue keeps receiving donations from the public in honor of Dwayne Haskins, the former Washington quarterback who died in an accident on a Florida highway on April 9. Haskins…selected Wolf Trap Animal Rescue as his organization to represent for the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign.” [Patch]
Turner Farm Observatory Seeks “Dark Sky” Designation — “To help reverse the trend of growing light pollution, the Great Falls observatory applied to become an Urban Night Sky Place with the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA)…If approved, the observatory would become the first IDA-designated place in the Washington region.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Construction Starts on Woodley Hills Park Playground — “The Fairfax County Park Authority will begin the installation of a new playground and removal of the existing playground the week of April 25, 2022. Construction access to the site will be from Old Mount Vernon Road. It is anticipated that the playground replacement will be completed by early June 2022.” [FCPA]
Reston Library Book Sale Starts Wednesday — The Friends of the Reston Regional Library will host its biggest book sale of the year, starting with a members-only night from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday (April 27). The sale will be open to all starting at 10 a.m. Thursday through Sunday (April 28-May 2) and include 35,000 to 40,000 books. [Friends of the Reston Regional Library]
It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 75 and low of 55. Sunrise at 6:19 am and sunset at 7:57 pm. [Weather.gov]