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Burke Centre Turns 30

Celebrations throughout the year mark community's 30th anniversary.

Burke Centre's theme — "nature and community in harmony" — is what attracted Luanne Smith to the community back in 1982.

Construction on Burke Centre began in 1977, and open space was everywhere, said Smith, a 25-year resident and former member on the Board of Trustees. Now, development has changed things slightly, but the original theme is still evident throughout much of the area.

"Although it's 30-years old, I think it's aged well," said Patrick Gloyd, executive director of the Burke Centre Conservancy.

Nine companies built traditional-style homes and town houses in the community, with prices ranging from $50,000 to $90,000, according to "Braddock's True Gold: 20th Century Life in the Heart of Fairfax County"— a book about the Braddock District's history. Today, the median home price in Burke is $442,000, according to county data, and Burke Centre now includes condominiums, co-ops, duplexes and quads, in addition to the town homes and single family detached homes originally built there.

Gloyd said that thanks to an active architectural review board that enforces covenants and preserves the appearances of residences, Burke Centre's homes are well-maintained. Recent reserve studies, such as the cluster reserve study and the bathymetric study of Burke Centre's ponds, ensure that the community schedules proper maintenance and upkeep for all of its infrastructure, said Gloyd.

"We’ll continue to maintain and continue to do what we need to keep the community in good shape," he said.

The Woods Community Center is one of the oldest structures in all of Burke, according to county data, which cites it as the first house built in Burke. The Conservancy closed the center last year for a building addition and renovations. Gloyd said he hopes the project will be completed this year.

"Revamping the Woods Center is a very positive sign that things will only get better."

Conservancy staff and volunteers are planning a celebratory year to honor the community's 30th anniversary. Festivities will kick off Saturday, Feb. 17, with a wine tasting party at the Ponds Community Center. The Washington Wine Academy is hosting the event, which will feature Virginian wines, food, trivia and live entertainment.

A lot of the celebrations planned are successes from past anniversaries, she said, but staff is trying to make each event a little more interesting. Another exciting element this year is the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, so Winslow said the Conservancy staff will try to incorporate that into some celebrations.

"We're just trying to do some different things this year," said Jeannie Winslow, director of administration at the Conservancy. "It's a really exciting time for Burke Centre."

Smith said volunteering has dropped in recent years, and hopes to get it back up to the levels she remembers from the 1980s. Smith has volunteered in the community since she moved in. She created an annual Earth Day celebration in Burke Centre, started a "green" team and is currently the SHARE coordinator. A overall decline in volunteers has also contributed to some of her lost motivation too, however, she said.

"Burke Centre's future is bright because of our staff," said Smith. "If we could only get our volunteers motivated again, Burke Centre would truly be a force to reckon with."