Although the picnic tables and soccer balls may be years in coming, a handful of Oakton residents gathered Saturday to celebrate recently acquired parkland for the village of Oakton.
"I would just like to see an area that parents and kids can enjoy," said Oakton resident Ernie Castro, whose dog was anxious for a walk.
Owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority, the 10 acres of parkland are located off Hunter Mill Road, across the street from the future Oakton Library.
Many of the citizens attending Saturday's event saw the celebration as the fulfillment of years of lobbying for a community park. In the spring of 2000, citizens with Options for Oakton had acquired 3,000 signatures from area residents asking the county for parkland in Oakton.
In early 2001, as the citizens were negotiating with Fairfax County on the Hearthstone housing development on Hunter Mill Road, Options for Oakton president Bob Adams had heard that the Corbalis property was up for sale. Working with Providence District supervisor Gerry Connolly, Adams approached the Corbalis family several times and asked the family to consider selling the property to the county as parkland. Connolly himself worked with the Fairfax County Park Authority to acquire the land.
"I feel very grateful that the county and Gerry acquired the land," Adams said.
The county bought the Corbalis property for $2.8 million in October 2001.
"Corbalis is a lovely property in a great location. This piece is located near the site of a proposed library, and I envision a day when library patrons can walk next door to enjoy outdoor activities," said Connolly in an October 2001 press release announcing the acquisition. "What we are trying to do is establish the sense of a village in Oakton."
Although the Park Authority now maintains the land, the park's use has yet to be determined. The next step for the land is to create a master plan for the park. To create the master plan, the Park Authority will conduct historical, topographical and archeological assessments of the site, as well as gather citizen input on uses for the park, said Park Authority public information officer Judy Pedersen.
However, the actual park may not be finished for years, as other county-owned parkland is ahead in the queue, Pedersen added.
Yet the citizens attending Saturday's event were hopeful that the park would include a ballpark without lights, or a natural wooded habitat.
"It's good use for the space, and better than having another housing development," said Castro.