When Fairfax County reimagined Tysons Corner several years ago, the vision included plenty of parks, to create green spaces and provide space for recreation and community events.
Now, the Fairfax County Park Authority has taken that sketch and developed it into a more detailed concept, a process that senior park planner Andrea Dorlester described as “taking a black-and-white picture and going into technicolor.”
The plan aims to meet the needs of Tysons as it redevelops over the next 30 to 40 years with sports fields, recreation centers, public plazas and natural areas.
The plan looks at developing a wide variety of types of parks in Tysons, encompassing natural and historic preservation, as well as recreation. It provides more detail on what those facilities will look like and how they will be developed.
The Park Authority owns about 90 acres of land in Tysons, none of it in the heart of the new urban district. Most of the parks in Tysons are on the western edge, except for Westgate Park and Scotts Run Stream Valley on the eastern side.
The plan envisions adding much more park space within Tysons as properties redevelop, connected by a network of new trails and a “community circuit”: a marked walking or biking loop that connects many of the planned parks and provides a convenient, well-marked route for running, biking or walking.
As Tysons landowners rezone their properties, the Park Authority is also working closely with developers on creative solutions to meeting the community’s park needs.
For example, Dorlester said, the requirements for two separate rezoning applications at the Commons of McLean and Capital One were combined so that one organization is providing an indoor recreation facility and one is providing a sports field, instead of both contributing their partial shares to a future project.
Concepts that are new to the county, like “pop-up parks,” will also begin to show up in Tysons. With some paint, planters and benches or other seating, paved open areas can become parks, Dorlester said.
“It’s a really creative way, without spending a lot of money, to transform a surface parking lot,” she said.
Meridian Group plans to do this as it redevelops the former SAIC property, near a spot where food trucks congregate in Tysons.
Other temporary park space could be placed on land that is cleared for redevelopment, but not all the buildings will be constructed at once, Dorlester said.
Another facet of the Tysons park system is that much of it will be privately owned and managed, said Sandra Stallman, manager of the Park Authority’s Planning Branch.
“We want to make sure they are publicly accessible,” she said, but often the land will remain in private hands.
The Park Authority is currently collecting public feedback on the concept plan for the Tysons Park System. For more information, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/plandev/tysons-park-planning.htm.
Information will also be available at the Tysons Community Open House, May 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Spring Hill Elementary School.