Land agreement strengthens community ties
January 17, 2013
Fort Belvoir is strengthening its ties to the community thanks to a land parcel agreement between the garrison, the Federal Highway Administration, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, according to Chris Landgraf, Directorate of Public Works master planner.
The NTHP, owner of the Woodlawn Estate, is giving the estate's current U.S. Route 1 entrance near Old Mill Road to the FHWA to use as land for the Mulligan Road project that is making the connection between Route 1 and Telegraph road. Belvoir is helping the NTHP build a new entry point by providing the organization about 2.8 acres of land, according to Landgraf.
"Fort Belvoir continues to be conscientious about the impact projects may have to historic resources," said Ross Bradford, Associate General Counsel for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Fort Belvoir frequently reaches out to the National Trust for our input on many issues related to the preservation of historic resources both on Fort Belvoir and in the Woodlawn Historic District."
FHWA will install landscaping, fencing and gates on the new site, said Bradford, who anticipates the new location opening in the spring.
The Woodlawn Estate is a historic house museum that was originally a part of Mount Vernon, George Washington's historic plantation estate. Currently, the property is open to tours and event rentals.
"Changing Woodlawn's entrance will not necessarily have a major impact on operations at Woodlawn, but it is a major change for the site. Woodlawn's main entrance is familiar to generations of families throughout the region," Bradford said. "Shifting the entrance will require a minor adjustment for most people who are familiar with the site, but we are confident that the Federal Highway Administration will ensure a smooth transition."
The new configuration will serve as an entrance for the estate and for the Woodlawn Quaker Meeting, home to the religious body known as the Alexandria Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. The Quakers, also known as Friends, founded the meeting in the 1840s. The historic meeting house and property are part of the Fairfax County Woodlawn Overlay District and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The land Belvoir is providing is at the intersection of Woodlawn Road and Route 1, a section of Belvoir blocked off for security concerns. Landgraf said the transfer of property prevents the installation's ability to use Woodlawn Road as an evacuation route in emergency situations, but the post is solving this issue by opening a new North Post entrance, opposite Pence Gate.
"In an emergency situation, anybody on North Post can immediately get onto U.S. Route 1," Landgraf said. "This new access control point will also be an additional access point onto North Post." Landgraf hopes to have the project completed by late 2014 or early 2015.