‘His Contributions Will Remain an Invaluable Legacy’ in Fairfax

‘His Contributions Will Remain an Invaluable Legacy’ in Fairfax

Brian Knapp feted for 23 years of service to parks.


<36hd>‘His Contributions Will Remain an Invaluable Legacy’

Brian Knapp feted for 23 years of service to parks.

<1b>By Bonnie Hobbs

<2b>The Connection

Needing to be a Fairfax City resident for a year before being eligible to serve on one of its boards or commissions, Brian Knapp could hardly wait to volunteer after moving here. And, said former Mayor David Meyer, “As soon as he was able to serve his community, he did so.”

On July 27, 1999, Knapp was appointed to the City’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB), on which he served 23 years, including as its chairman since 2002. He also served 15 years on NOVA Parks, which operates 33 regional parks.

And at Fairfax City Council’s Jan. 10 meeting, the City gave him a framed proclamation honoring him for all he’s done. Meyer presented it because this ceremony was supposed to have happened last year (while he was still mayor), but was delayed.

Reading the proclamation, Meyer said Knapp served during the tenure of three, City Parks and Rec directors and “supported transformative initiatives in the City’s recreational program.” These included the construction of the Sherwood Community Center and the opening of the Stafford Drive, Draper Drive and Ted Grefe parks.

Other milestones occurring during his watch were the refurbishment of Van Dyck Park, the repurposing of the Green Acres School into a recreation center/senior center, and the repurposing of the Westmore school site into a place for recreation, as well as a dog park. Knapp was also instrumental in planning the George Snyder Trail and helping PRAB develop its first Parks and Recreation Master Plan in 2014.

Council first appointed Knapp to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority in 2007. And during his time on this entity, he helped it develop two, strategic, five-year plans, rebrand itself as NOVA Parks and, said Meyer, become “one of the premier, regional-park organizations in the United States.”

In addition, Knapp served on the City’s Open Space Task Force that added more than 45 acres of undeveloped land to Fairfax’s inventory of open space. He also joined the Task Force on Children and Families, which strengthened communication to City residents about programs catering to children and teens. And he did all these things while also serving as an active leader of Boy Scout Troop 1113 of St. Leo’s Catholic Church.

Meyer then expressed his “heartfelt and profound” appreciation to Knapp, on behalf of all the Fairfax residents, for Knapp’s “tireless and effective advocacy and superior leadership of Parks and Recreation programs and facilities in the City of Fairfax and the Northern Virginia region. We are blessed beyond measure for Brian Knapp’s contributions – which will remain an invaluable legacy for many generations in the future.”

Then it was Knapp’s turn to speak, and he first thanked his wife Mary and son David for their support of him throughout the years that made what he accomplished possible. “I got to serve with great people and fellow volunteers in the City and regionally,” he said. “I got to know people from so many different groups in the City.

“It was a real honor to serve with so many powerful, distinguished individuals who, in their own right, had done so many other things in their lives. They, too, were giving their time to help out in Parks and Rec. And I’d also like to thank all the professionals I got to know during that time – people who give time, energy and passion to something we all love: recreation.”

Knapp thanked, as well, former City mayors John Mason, Robert Lederer, Scott Silverthorne and Meyer for all he was able to achieve under their leadership, plus the guidance of City Council. “This is teamwork, and I’m really grateful to be honored by all of you, this evening,” said Knapp. “It’s been a wonderful ride; thank you very much.”