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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Neighborhood comes together to raise funds for new playground

This old playground will be replaced.

The Olde Forge and Surrey Square neighborhoods in Fairfax are getting a new playground, thanks a grant from Fairfax County, donations from local businesses, and a huge amount of work by local residents.  

The design for the new playground.
When Olde Forge resident Joanne Elder’s son was a toddler a couple of years ago, she discovered  the old playground in the neighborhood was in terrible shape. It was installed in the 1960s, didn’t meet current safety standards, and needed extensive repairs. The community association agreed and put Elder in charge of developing a new playground.

On March 25, the Fairfax County Park Authority Board approved a $20,000 Mastenbrook Grant for the playground project – after the community raised $20,000 in matching funds. The Park Authority will provide the remaining funds for the $150,000 project.

World Karate at the Twinbrook Shopping Center on Braddock Road, realtor Debbie Dogrul, and Transurban each contributed $1,000, Elder said. Other businesses, including PJ Landscaping, Steve’s Mowing, My Gym Burke, and PotomacValley Veterinary Hospital contributed, as well.

The community held fundraisers at Jersey Mike’s and other restaurants; hosted a Neighborhood Fair with vendors, food, games, and drawings; and held a rummage sale and a home tour. Members of a former babysitting co-op made a large group donation even though all of their children are too old to use a playground. Volunteers also went door-to-door to ask for contributions.

It was a lengthy process with lots of meetings with county officials, surveys to determine what residents wanted in the new playground, and issues regarding sewer easements and environmental concerns.

The new equipment should be installed later this spring or in early summer, Elder says. The neighborhood actually has two playgrounds, and the second one, with swings and a slide, will be turned into a restoration site, with the invasive plants removed.

About 15 to 20 volunteers worked on the playground project. “It was awesome to see everyone working together from new moms to grandparents,” Elder says. “The whole neighborhood really got behind the project.”


  1. What a great story! So many people were generous with their time, ideas, money and labor. Thanks, Ellie. It gives me hope Mason District citizens can unite and work together for the betterment of our area.

  2. Olde Forge is actually in the Braddock District -- it's off Braddock Road not too far from the beltway. There are plenty of great neighborhoods in Mason, too.