It has been a few weeks since we have had anything to report, but today Save Woodlawn Stables has important news. We have just signed onto the Programmatic Agreement (PA) for the Route 1 Widening Project. This important document is what we have been working towards as a Consulting Party with the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA). This document is the first step in the commitment to construct new barns at Woodlawn. Though our first priority was always to defeat the Bypass proposal for Route 1, when it became clear that neither Federal Highways nor Fairfax County was interested in revisiting this “preferred option”, we began to work on a compromise solution. The inclusion of these new barns as part of the plans for the road are a major step forward, and it marks the beginning of a new future for equestrian pursuits at Woodlawn.
People should know that the Programmatic Agreement is just one of many documents that have been developed as part of the required compliance with Federal Laws governing the treatment of historic properties. The PA defines the threats to the historic resources in the entire project area, and detailing how those threats and adverse impacts will be "mitigated".
The PA specifically mentions that the road will negatively impact both the stables and the larger historic district (not a surprise to anyone, I'm sure). It sets out a framework where the redesign of the stables complex and the construction of the new barns will be discussed in a series of design meetings. The first design meeting will be held sometime in January. The second meeting will be held within 6 months of the first meeting. That means design work will possibly be completed before the summer.
What this means in the bigger picture is that the road is coming. At this time it is estimated that the land for the new roadbed will be purchased by VDOT in six months, and work will begin shortly thereafter.
We will continue to post blog updates on participation and progress in the design workshops and will report any information we learn about the timetables for construction or any upcoming meetings.
With the signing of the PA we have entered a new phase, but one where the public will still have a voice. As we move forward, it will be crucial to let our political representatives know that we still care about the future of Woodlawn Stables and this property and we will be monitoring to make sure that those implementing the road construction stay true to the message that the public clearly stated over the summer: that Woodlawn Stables matters, and that we should not have to lose both Woodlawn’s and the community’s heritage just for a new road. The community clearly communicated their desire to maintain Woodlawn’s heritage as an equestrian facility at the summer public meetings and in numerous emails and phone calls to our elected officials. We have compromised greatly by having the stables side of the road reduced and concurring with this decision in the PA. There is a creative and fair solution on the table with the new barns. We will be working hard to continue saving this very special place, and we hope you will keep supporting us so we can make it happen.
Please read our press release at our website www.savewoodlawnstables.org