Partnerships Bring Improvements at The Turner Farm

Partnerships Bring Improvements at The Turner Farm

The Turner Farm in Great Falls is taking shape.

Improvements have been made to the entrance on Springvale Road.

Black fence has gone up to delineate an area once used as a launch site for Nike missiles and now planned as an astronomy park.

The Analemma Society, a community group in Great Falls, is raising money and making plans for a “sundial garden” there to exhibit antique styles of time-keeping devices.

Brogue Charities, which sponsors fireworks at the park on July 4, raised money for a picnic pavilion to be built this spring.

A tot lot and playground were recently installed by the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA), financed with $10,000 raised by the Great Falls Lions that was matched with a $10,000 grant from the FCPA’s Mastenbrook fund.

A group of horse enthusiasts also raised $10,000 to pay for a horse-friendly board fence now being put up at the park by Great Falls fence builder, Charles Alfred.

That effort by the Equestrian Committee of The Turner Farm Team was also boosted by a $10,000 Mastenbrook matching grant.

Currently, volunteers are working on plans for an all-purpose riding ring and cross country course at the park, said Molly Hockman, who co-chairs the Turner Farm Equestrian Committee.

“We are hoping to get donated services, and that the Park Authority will be able to provide some materials,” Hockman said.

A group of parents whose children participate in the Rocky Run Pony Club are interested in sponsoring polocrosse games at the park, Hockman said.

It is a game on horseback that combines lacrosse and polo, using mallets with nets to scoop up a puck.

The Equestrian Committee, which usually meets on the third Tuesday of the month, will next meet at 7 p.m on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Great Falls Community Library, Hockman said.

And FCPA staff are working to shore up the barn on the property. Although it won’t be used for functions, it will be preserved, according to Lynn Tadlock, Director of Development for FCPA.

The 52-acre public park at The Turner Farm combines 12 acres from the Nike site that was given back to citizens by the federal park service when the site was abandoned in the 1990s.

It incorporates 23 acres of existing parkland proffered by a developer in the 1970s and 17 acres from a former dairy farm that was purchased in 1999 with funds generated by a $75 million park bond referendum in 1998.

A master plan, approved for the park in 2000, also calls for a natural-surface running track.

Seneca Excavating, a locally-owned business, donated its services to remove the buildings that once housed federal employees at the Nike launch site and later, the Defense Mapping Agency.