Fairfax City council members and developers agreed Tuesday night on a concept design proposal for the new Kitty Pozer Park in the center of downtown Fairfax.
The final design features a lawn oval and plaza running diagonal from the intersection of North Street and University Drive into what's now Kitty Pozer Garden. Kitty Pozer Park will offer a pergola, cascade water fountain, bike racks and landscaping meant to serve as a gathering place for downtown shoppers and events.
Developers from AECOM, the company designing the park, listened to council members' concerns about the last proposal (design H) in May. This latest design keeps the same overall plan, but moves the plaza space originally designed for the corner of North and University farther into Kitty Pozer Garden and moves the holiday tree away from the center of the park.
Business owners spoke against the proposed Kitty Pozer expansion during park discussions early this year. They are afraid that their shops will suffer with the disappearance of the temporary parking lot next to Old Town Hall.
The final design includes two major parking lots, one next to Old Town Hall, the other at the corner of North Street and Old Lee Highway, for a total of 43 parking spaces. This total is the same as concept design H. The North Street and Old Lee Highway parking lot has been designed to allow farmer's market events like those held every Sunday. Lately the Sunday market events have been moved to West and Main streets due to development.
Fairfax City and the Economic Development Authority (EDA) partnered to purchase the properties years ago. According to Councilman Dan Drummond, the block was never intended to be a parking lot. A temporary parking lot was added in 2005, but it was supposed to be just that, temporary. The block was still listed as one of the city's green spaces in a 2008 open space report.
Drummond asked the designers to come up with a way to keep families from running into the North and University intersection. He mentioned the time a Virginia State Police cruiser hopped the sidewalk and drove into the Auld Shebeen just a block away. They agreed to consider installing a short wall at the entrance.
Historic Fairfax City Inc. told council members of their concern for preserving Kitty Pozer Garden. Community Development Chief Jack Blevins suggested narrowing the lawn oval at the corner of North and University to bring the plaza up out of the garden a bit.
Councilman Jeff Greenfield suggested a choreographed fountain, citing a trip out of state where he saw families captivated by such a fountain in a central gathering place. The fountain could be programmed to cycle through animated phases on its own or timed with music. Developers agreed to look into that idea.
With the go-ahead, developers will start the design phase.
Click the thumbnails to see Concept H and the latest concept in larger form. You can check out the staff report here.