State Lease Gives Albemarle County Control of Biscuit Run Park

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site of Biscuit Run Park site of Biscuit Run Park

It's a happy new year for those who love the outdoors. Thursday Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a 99-year lease giving Albemarle County control of Biscuit Run Park just south of Charlottesville.

The property is located between Route 20 and Avon Street. A lack of state funding has stalled the project to date.

Now the ball is in Albemarle County’s court to developing the 1,200 acre property for outdoor enthusiasts. But, the new lease won't cost the county money. McAuliffe said he instructed the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to come up with creative ways to get the park running.

"The good news is that 80 percent of the 1,200 acres will remain forested.  We're going to protect all the sensitive natural heritage resources we have on the site,” said McAuliffe.

At one point Biscuit Run was slated for private development but the state purchased the property in 2009 for more than $21 million in cash and tax credits.

A county spokesperson says one of the first steps will be to reconvene around a master plan for the park, which includes identifying resources needed to get the land into a useable park.

"The terrain, scenery, farm roads, and paths showed us the terrific potential for enjoyment and recreation for a wide range of residents and interests,” stated Albemarle County Supervisor Ann Mallek. 

Release from Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe:

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced a partnership with Albemarle County to open Biscuit Run park to the public. Governor McAuliffe and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) signed a 99-year lease with Albemarle County for the property. Biscuit Run is a nearly 1200-acre property located near Charlottesville.

“It was a goal of my administration to open Biscuit Run during my time as governor,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I am pleased we were able to push past the challenges and develop a partnership that will benefit the citizens of Virginia. I want to thank all who were instrumental in thinking creatively and bringing together this great partnership between Albemarle County and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.”

The Commonwealth of Virginia acquired the property in 2009 under Governor Kaine’s administration. This new partnership will allow for the park to open sooner than expected and will provide high-quality recreational opportunities for Albemarle County and the surrounding communities.

“Albemarle County is excited about the opportunity to partner with the Commonwealth to open this significant piece of property for productive public use,” said Ann Mallek, Chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. “This park will be the first of its kind in the county’s development area and will provide urban and rural recreational and educational opportunities for our community and visitors alike.”

The lease was crafted to assure protection of the park’s natural resources. A minimum of eighty percent of the park will remain forested, all sensitive natural heritage resources will be protected, and management concerns like invasive species will be addressed.

“This project has been years in the making and is the result of hard work and dedication by many people,” said DCR Director Clyde Cristman. “Biscuit Run will be a significant outdoor recreation asset for the citizens of Albemarle County and the region.”

Albemarle County will work alongside the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. VDOT will make needed road improvements for safe access to the park. DCR will cooperate with Albemarle County on the planning process to provide outdoor recreation facilities that best meet the needs of the citizens while protecting the park’s natural resources.

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