Fairfax County officials celebrate opening of North Hill Park
Fairfax County officials held a ribbon cutting Sept. 16 to mark the opening of North Hill Park, a 12-acre public park located on the eastern side of Richmond Highway between Groveton and Hybla Valley.
Flanked by the new Residences at North Hill apartment community, North Hill Townhomes, Cherry Arms Apartments and Bryant High School, the park provides multiple access points for community members. Around 3/4-mile of looping trails, some of which are ADA accessible, wind through the hilly and forested park, ultimately leading to an open expanse with a playground, fitness area, pickleball courts and basketball court. That section of the park is 78 feet above Richmond Highway according to county documents, enabling visitors to enjoy sweeping views.
Besides providing recreational facilities, the park features an open play area, pavilion and picnic tables.
The steepness of the site and the instability of its clay soil initially posed challenges for the design team, which ended up building site walls to stabilize the hill.
Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) deputy director Sara Baldwin credited Park Authority staff with successfully tackling the challenges of the “unique park” within the FCPA’s park system.
“With the creativity and ingenuity of our planning and development staff, you have this wonderful park here today,” she said.
Linwood Gorham, the Mount Vernon District Representative to the FCPA Board, thanked staff, project partners and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for their support in getting the park built. He noted that North Hill was the “study park” seen in presentations about FCPA’s Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Access (PROSA) Strategy to improve park access county-wide with “an equity lens.”
“This park is absolutely in a needed and perfect place, and I’m very happy to have it in this place,” said Gorham.
Describing the park as a “connector to so many communities,” Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay said the site would enable many people to come together, get to know each other, recreate and build healthy lifestyles.
Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, whom McKay credited with helping build community support for the project, said the surrounding community already had embraced the new park by participating in a clean-up that netted 176 bags of trash and five tons of large debris.
“There is a deep interest, caring and commitment to the park and all whom it will serve,” said Storck.
The $3 million North Hill Park project, funded by the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Department of Housing and Community Development, is considered 100% complete. Future phases of development may include the addition of more trails, according to FCPA staff.
A 23-space dedicated parking lot for park visitors is located at 7230 Nightingale Hill Lane.