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Gil McCutcheon Park Swings Fundraising Drive FAQ

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What will it look like?

This will be a “one bay” swingset with two swings on it. One will be a regular, flat swing, while the other will be a two-seat expression swing, that “promotes intergenerational play as adults and children swing together. The multi-user swing has a patented face-to-face design that features a bucket seat for children under five and a comfortable adult swing seat that allows a parent and child (or grandparent and grandchild) to interact.”

 

The county will make the final design decisions, keeping the swingset look in line with the existing play structure.

 

Will it have a baby swing?

Yes. The expression swing includes a bucket seat built for children under age five.

 

Where will the swing set be located?

Adjacent to the existing play structure. The county will make the final location decision, in dialogue with the Villamay Community Association and neighbors of the park.

 

When will the swing set be completed?

After the fundraising goal is met, the county begins the final work and sets the timetable from there.

 

Why wasn’t a swing set part of the original play structure?

A swing set was part of the original plan, but fundraising efforts fell short of the required amount. We opted to go ahead with the basic playground and save the swing set for later.  The playground was commissioned in May 2004. After 19 years, the time has arrived for the swing set.

Gilbert S. McCutcheon Park
Previously, the Lamond Property

History of the Lamond Property/Gilbert S. McCutcheon Park

For over 60 years, the Slater Lamond Family owned the 18-acre property located at the southern end of Villamay, building their home in 1939 and occupying the house until 1986. In 1998, Harris Development company notified Villamay (VM) residents that they had entered into a preliminary agreement with the Lamond family to clear-cut the trees and excavate the land with the intent to build 32 large homes on the site. A single access point was to be via a spur cut in from Burtonwood Drive. Responding to community concerns, Mt. Vernon Supervisor Gerry Hyland, called a public meeting on 18 August 1998. Over 250 Mt. Vernon area residents attended. During the meeting, Gerry appointed Eleanor Quigley of Wellington Heights as Chair of a Lamond Small Task Force and VM resident Steve Markle as Vice-Chair. The group was charged “To oversee construction plans as they are submitted for review in order to hold ‘developer’s feet to the fire.’” In August 1999 Supervisor Hyland established the Lamond Community Task Force to develop a land use plan for the property, should it be acquired as parkland. In conjunction with county representatives, a core team of Villamay Community Association (VCA) members, neighbors from surrounding communities, business, and athletic interests, crafted the master development plan. Ultimately benefitting from the successful passage of a bond referendum, the county acquired the property in February 2000 from the Lamond family for approximately $4.6M, designating the resource as a Community Park. In May 2012 it was renamed Gil McCutcheon Park in honor of an ardent supporter and long serving member of the FCPA. VCA neighbors serving on the Lamond Small Task Force and the Lamond Community Task Force included: Helen Caplinger, Betty Fees, Patricia Markle, George Pratt, Lee Williams and Sam Wood.

Elly Doyle award.jpg
Steve Markle Receives The Elly Doyle Park Service Award

On August 17, 2022, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board announced that Villamay resident Stephen Markle was one of two recipients of the Elly Doyle Park Service Award for 2022. Stephen is an Invasive Management Area (IMA) Volunteer Site Leader and a Park Volunteer Team Leader. He has volunteered his time to Gil McCutcheon Park in Alexandria, Virginia, since 1998, helping protect and preserve this 18-acre park for over 24 years. As an IMA site leader, he has organized over 137 workdays and contributed approximately 2,276 hours to the restoration and maintenance of the park. He has spent countless hours repairing trails and working with volunteers to ensure safe use of trails.

Steve's efforts to protect McCutcheon Park predate its renaming from Lamond Park. Markle served as Vice Chair of the Lamond Community Task Force to develop a land use plan for the property. He wrote Mastenbrook grants and fundraised to develop a park playground. He coordinated workdays, signed Adopt-A-Park agreements, and he continues to lead volunteer work. He coordinated efforts with neighbors that back up to the parkland, finding an agreement to remove bamboo. Overall, he has done whatever it takes to make this a special place, logging a total of 7,816.5 hours of volunteer service over the years.

© 2019 by Villamay Community Association  |   Paintings courtesy of Betsy Grady

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