Prince William Co. considers donating park land for Manassas-area school

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As Prince William County, Virginia, leaders plan how to alleviate school overcrowding, one item on the list would carve out county land near Manassas for a long-planned elementary school.

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors is set to consider transferring about 18 acres of county land, including 12.4 acres of Rosemont Lewis Park, off Ashton Avenue near Sudley Manor Drive.

Supervisors voted 8-0 Tuesday to schedule a required public hearing Feb. 4 to hear comments on the land transfer.

If the proposed transfer is approved following the hearing, the park will lose a little more than half of its acreage to the school.

In July 2019, school officials held a community forum to discuss plans. They said the proposed elementary school would be located at the corner of Crestwood Drive and Ashton Avenue, next to existing Rosemont Lewis Park, and they noted the possibility at the time that the county could transfer some of its land to the division to build the proposed elementary school.

School officials also said the school is slated to open September 2022, and the existing park at 11000 Crestwood Drive in Manassas would remain intact, including the pedestrian trail, tennis and basketball courts, pavilion and tot lot. Construction could begin as early as February 2021.

The proposal would relieve overcrowding at Ellis Elementary and Mullen Elementary, and possibly other schools depending on updated school zoning. The recently constructed John Jenkins Elementary School in eastern Prince William County led the division to redraw school boundaries that impacted thousands of area residents.

The school division plans to pave the gravel entrance to Rosemont Lewis Park and has proposed adding 34 parking spaces for park visitors.

The division also is considering adding walking paths from nearby neighborhoods to the proposed school and the park to increase pedestrian traffic.

The school division has proposed a single entrance to the proposed school. To accommodate traffic, the division is looking to add a left-turn lane on Crestwood Drive and a right-turn lane on Ashton Avenue. The left-turn lane would mean the loss of six on-street parking spaces. Local residents like Leslie Parry say the spaces are much-needed.

Residents near the proposed elementary school expressed some concerns with the proposal at a community forum. One resident at that forum said they were concerned about losing six on-street parking spaces due to the school’s construction. Another resident said they were concerned about increased traffic that could make it difficult to leave through the one entrance to her neighborhood at Vernon Street and Crestwood Drive.

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