Originally posted in the Loudoun Tribune. Written by Ryan Butler.
Acclaimed skate park designer Wally Holladay talks with Loudoun residents April 12 about ideas for the new facility.
Brambleton, home to one of the fastest growing communities in one of the nation’s fastest growing counties, is inching closer to a world class park.
Set to open in 2019 across from Madison’s Trust Elementary School, the Hal and Berni Hanson Memorial Regional Park will feature more than a dozen soccer fields, lighted cricket pitch, walking paths and equestrian facilities, among dozens of other features, spread out over 250 acres in Brambleton. More than just a traditional park, the facility will also feature a sprinkler fixture for children to play in as well as event lodge for weddings or banquets. Surrounded by hundreds of new homes, located near the new Brambleton Library and just down the road from the Beaverdam Reservoir, the new park will be a focal point of Brambleton’s development in the years to come.
“It’s going to be a busy hub for the community,” said Loudoun County Chief Park Planner Mark Novak. “It’s totally different than what we used to be building.”
That includes bringing a new skate park on the property. The Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services brought in renowned skate park designer Wally Holladay to lead plans for an original design spread over 15,000 sq ft. It will be the third skate park in the county, along with similar facilities in Leesburg and Dulles South, but the first with direct access to such a wide range of amenities.
As the county’s population continues to grow, from 80,000 in 1990 to an estimated 400,000 or more by 2020, quality of life issues have become a major focus of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. In their most recent budget cycle, elected officials’ priorities have included traffic congestion relief, mental health funding and providing additional recreational facilities. To pay for projects like the park, the county has been slowly allocating funds in previous budgets and when finished, expect to spend around $45 million for it as of part the more than $1 billion Loudoun has budgeted for capital improvement projects in Brambleton and across the county in the next few years.
Obtaining the land required negotiations with the Hanson family, Dominion Power and the National Park Service as a part of a United States Department of Interior program. The family for Haldore ‘Hal’ Hanson, a writer, state department official and non-profit leader who died in 1992, agreed to sell his property only if it was preserved as a park. Negotiating along with the Hanson family, Dominion Power and the National Park Service, a federal program permitted the County to sell a five acre park parcel to Dominion Power in exchange for a new park parcel of greater or equal value. Using funds from this sale of land to Dominion Power, the county then purchased the Hanson Family parcel, according to a report from the Loudoun County government.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved the acquisition of the parcel from the Hanson Family Partnership for a Regional Park in the Fall of 2008. The Board subsequently approved the Master Plan for the park on October 3, 2012. A Special Exception for the Park was approved on July 2, 2014, allowing for lighted fields. Though county park officials warn construction for such large-scale projects can take a decade or more to complete, as in the case of Bolen Memorial Park in Leesburg, they are optimistic Loudoun’s booming population will have an unrivaled facility to use in just a few years.