Hayfield Secondary School junior Ernanio Mandlate could take a bus home to his Kingstowne home but a path through the newly acquired Kingstowne Park is faster. After months dedicated to getting the paperwork in line, the Fairfax County Park Authority has finally acquired the 76-acre property.
Ernanio saw the "no trespassing" signs before, but he still cut through on the path.
"They had a sign there and it said Fairfax County didn't approve the parkland yet," he said.
Signs at all entrances to the park, which is between Hayfield Secondary School and Kingstowne Parkway, sought to prohibit people from going on the property. On March 17, the county attorney finally submitted the final copy of the deed.
"There wasn't a dispute," said Christine Tollefson, administrative assistant in Supervisor Dana Kauffman's (D-Lee) office. "It took a lot of time to cross the T's and dot the I's."
Originally the land was slated for atheletic fields but changes in the federal wetlands act wouldn't allow development to fill in the lakes and swamps for soccer fields. The fields were relocated to an area in Clermont off Franconia Rd.
The park is classified as a "passive" park, which means that it has no ball fields, no fishing and only nature trails for walking. The lake on the property used to be an old gravel pit and is now popular with the bird population.
"We have a blue heron here," said Roberta Cain, who works in the Kingstowne community office. "He eats on my street. We've seen a red tail hawk."