Welcome to Lee District! I’m so glad you’ve decided to check out all the wonderful things that make this district the best part of Fairfax County. I might be a little biased having lived in this neck of the woods my entire life.
Here in Lee District, we have a wonderful blend of history, modern amenities, and some amazing plans in the works, which will continue to enhance the quality of life of an already excellent, all-encompassing community. I am proud of our area’s heritage, and we work hard to preserve our community’s neighborly, small-town atmosphere while continuing to bring modern and urban conveniences to all community members via retail, transportation, and entertainment. I’m happy to say we are a very diverse and welcoming community.
Our district is a vibrant mix of neighborhoods, small family businesses, convenient shopping centers, parks and recreation centers, and boasts excellent schools. We are neighbors to the Fort Belvoir community, which not only serves our military residents, but offers friendly amenities to everyone in our community.
Additionally, we have many transportation options to help keep cars off the roads. If you are looking for an alternative to driving, consider hopping on the Metro at the Franconia-Springfield Station or the Virginia Railway Express (VRE). You may also want to try using one of the many Metro bus routes that serve our area, in addition to riding the Metro.
THERE ARE SOME WONDERFUL PLACES to visit in Lee District. If you’re in the mood for shopping, don’t miss the Springfield Town Center. The Springfield Town Center is on Franconia Road, just a short distance from the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station. It’s got loads of great restaurants and retail and it hosts a farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. There is something for everyone to enjoy (young or old) including places like Dave and Busters. I’d also suggest checking out the Hilltop Village Center, home to Wegmans and many different restaurants. This is located right off Beulah Street, across from Fort Belvoir.
Once you’ve had your fill of shopping and entertainment, head over to Huntley Meadows Park, often called the crown jewel of the Fairfax County Park System. Huntley Meadows Park is more than 1,500 acres with majestic forests, wildflower-filled meadows, and wetlands bursting with life. Take a walk on the wetland’s award-winning boardwalk — and experience some of the best wildlife watching in the Washington metropolitan area. You’ll see beavers, frogs, dragonflies, and herons. Huntley Meadows is well known as a prime birding spot, with over 200 species identified in the park.
You can also head over to Lee District Park. Here we have the Lee District RECenter and two unique features — an accessible treehouse and Our Special Harbor accessible spray park. The complex features Chesapeake Bay-themed attractions including a spraying osprey nest, Chessie the sea serpent, misting sunflowers, and a lighthouse. The beach area is quieter with softer bubblers and interactive water tables. The computerized water maze and dumping crab basket provide more lively activity. In addition to the spray park, the family recreation area has a fully accessible treehouse and a playground for children of all abilities from ages 5 to 12. During the summer, you can also stop by Lee District Park’s Amphitheater to enjoy live music and bands every Wednesday night as part of Park Authority’s Lee Summer Entertainment Concert Series.
In keeping with our park theme, be sure to visit Lake Accotink Park and its 493 acres including a 55-acre lake, wetlands, and streams with splendid views of waterfowl and marsh life.
Now that you’ve relaxed with nature and parks, it’s time to experience some history.
Just a short walk from the main entrance to Huntley Meadows Park, you’ll find Historic Huntley, the house that was built for Thomson Francis Mason. Thomson Francis Mason was the mayor of Alexandria, D.C. from 1827-30 and a grandson of George Mason. He used the federal period villa, which was built for him in 1825, as a summer retreat.
It’s hard to imagine that busy Franconia Road was once a rural road for Virginia tobacco on its way to the port city of Alexandria. Another great spot, rich with history, is the Franconia Museum, co-located with my office and the police station at 6121 Franconia Road. It offers a glimpse into the Franconia of yesterday.
While you’re in the Franconia area, you might also be interested in learning about Laurel Grove School on Beulah Street. Laurel Grove was a school that served African American children in the community until 1932 as the Laurel Grove Colored School. The school survives as the only remaining African American schoolhouse in Northern Virginia and offers those interested in learning a rich history lesson.
While there is already so much to do and experience in Lee District, I believe that there is always work to do. That is what we strive for here in Lee District, to keep moving the needle forward and continuing to increase the quality of life for all our community members. As we work towards increased positive progress, there are quite a few exciting projects taking place across Lee District worth mentioning.
In addition to our ever-expanding retail and restaurant options across the district, we also have a few other additions coming to our area. I’m excited to say that the grocery store chain, Lidl, is coming to central Springfield and is expected to open in 2020. Additionally, we will soon begin seeing the construction of the Springfield Commuter Parking Garage, expected to open in Spring of 2022. This garage will give our commuters and carpoolers in the community more parking options. Additionally, we were glad to have the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) decide to make Springfield its new home to thousands of employees. The ground was broken on this project last year and what will be the second-largest office building in the County is expected to open next year as well.
THE REVITALIZATION in our district continues as well. The Springfield Branding Project is well underway. This project includes the design and implementation of many new “Welcome to Springfield” gateway signs. This project was developed to create a sense of place by creating recognizable images that identify our community and create a sense of togetherness of which we can all be proud.
In addition to revitalization efforts in Springfield, we are seeing lots of progress in the Richmond Highway Corridor which is filled with activity. In 2017, the County approved the largest planning effort in Fairfax County since Tysons. Embark, as it’s called, is a new land-use plan which creates a multimodal future for pedestrians and drivers. Embark will preserve and improve our affordable housing stock and create more environmental controls while increasing retail and entertainment options along the highway. As part of Embark, we will also see the implementation of a state-of-the-art Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT).
Additionally, many bus stop sites along Route One have been substantially completed as part of the Richmond Highway Bus Stop Improvement project. These improvements include the installation of bus shelters, benches, bike racks, and sidewalks. We are also hard at work increasing pedestrian refuges, crosswalks, and bike lanes to foster ease of multimodal transportation in the community.
Lee District has outstanding civic and business resources with a long history of citizen involvement in community and government. Our community’s involvement and engagement in the civic process is a true testament to the wonderful people you’ll encounter here in Lee District and I invite you to join them. Please stop by the Franconia Government Center to say hello and tell us how we can be of service. Our office is at 6121 Franconia Road and the phone number is 703-971-6262.
Whether you have just moved into the neighborhood, are visiting, or driving on the mixing bowl and passing through, Lee District has something to offer everyone!
Lee District Top 10 Places and Events
(In no particular order)
The Annual Springfield Bridgewalk
Lee District Nights Concert Series
Springfield Town Center
Huntley Meadows Park
Lee District Park/Waterpark