Loudoun Nears Deal on State Park Expansion

The county Board of Supervisors is looking to add to land purchased by the state government in 2016 to establish a new state park in far northwestern Loudoun. The county is nearing a deal to acquire 280 acres that sits adjacent to the state-owned tract.

“At this point, it looks like the second property is going to fall into place,” after three midnight closed-door board meetings, Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) told a gathering of the Greater Hillsboro Area Business Alliance on Sept. 24.

It would assemble roughly 1,300 acres near Neersville for a long-anticipated state park. It brings together land from the Robert and Dee Leggett Foundation, the Old Dominion Land Conservancy, and the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship.

The Blue Ridge Center already has trails and other facilities, making for a ready-made park that Higgins said he expects will jump to the top of the list for new state parks once the land is together.

Higgins said the county is working toward a letter of intent with Robert and Dee Leggett, the owners of the remaining land.

“We’ve been in conversation with the state as well,” Higgins said. “I think some of the difficulties come because there’s too many moving parts.” He said he hopes to get all parties “on the same page.”

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced plans for the park in northwestern Loudoun just before leaving office in 2014. Since then, efforts have focused on transferring the assemblage of land on the Blue Ridge to the state government. The county has approved zoning adjustments at that property to remove hurdles to the park’s development. Under the current plan, the Blue Ridge Center will continue to manage the property for as long as needed for the state, saving the government money on hiring new employees.

rgreene@loudounnow.com

Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship property in Neersville already has miles of hiking trails and could be added to land planned for a new state park.
[Douglas Graham/Loudoun Now]

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