Looking back, here’s what happened at the parks this year

Improvements were made to existing structures, new parks were created and ongoing projects are taking steps toward completion.

1. On Aug. 27, $10 lifetime park passes for seniors became a thing of the past, now costing those 62 and up $80.

A lifetime pass to all the National Parks costs seniors just $10, but not for long

2. Renovations are still underway at Widewater State Park, which, according to the 2013 Executive Summary Master Plan, will improve trails, playgrounds and picnic areas; add a Visitors Center, office space, environmental education center and trail enhancements; and address overnight facilities, cabins, campgrounds and canoe-in camping sites. Construction is moving along as planned at the Beaverdam Reservoir, Loudoun County Water officials aiming for a late-2018 completion date. And as far as bike trails go, two new paths were added to Leesburg’s Bike Trail Network and a Pickett Road, Fairfax, underpass now connects the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail, the Wilcoxon Park Trail, the Gateway Regional Park and the Fairfax Connector Trail.

What’s new with NoVA’s parks

3. A new playground opened in September at South Run while Nottoway Park’s stream restoration project—attempting to cut back on erosion and invasive plants—began. The Lake Accotink Park carousel closed for the remainder of 2017; Great Falls Nike Park updated one of their fields to synthetic turf, added a new trail and made lighting, drainage and other improvements; and the Potomack Lakes Sportsplex debuted two revamped fields at the 47-acre campus.

The latest happenings at the parks

4. FCBEscola Northern Virginia, a franchise of premier soccer schools and training programs from FC Barcelona, opened a soccer training facility at the Evergreen Sportsplex; Frying Pan Farm Park recently began offering a corporate team-building program based on farm-themed activities; and a $2 million grant from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is helping make waterway improvements to Dewey’s Creek and  Powell’s Creek tributaries.

New at the parks

5. The Cherry Hill Park playground closed but is scheduled to reopen in early 2018; the Long Bridge Park Aquatic & Fitness Center debuted its plan to the public in October and is currently searching for a firm to help with the design/build; Fairfax County baseball fields, the Pinecrest Golf Course and the Friends of Historic Huntley were given money through six Mastenbrook Grants; and the historic Stone Bridge at Manassas Battlefield is under construction, improvements focused on stabilizing its foundation, making repairs and repaving its surface.

Fee hikes, reconstruction and a design showcase happening at area parks

6. In December, the final phase of the Burke Lake Golf Center $6.6 million project was completed following the opening of its 4,200-square-foot clubhouse; Lee District Park designed Chessie’s Trail where little ones will find interactive elements such as spinning rocks, a sidewalk with animal tracks, a stone abacus and wildlife figures; Dewey’s Creek stream restoration efforts should be completed sometime during winter 2018; and through the Resident Curator Program, Steven McCullough will be moving into Lorton’s historic Stempson House, where he will live rent-free and rehabilitate the house.

Burke Lake Golf Center’s Clubhouse is now open, plus another place for kids to play