(Updated at 12:55 p.m.) A nonprofit helping people with disabilities is moving closer toward maintaining, renovating and upgrading a farmhouse built in 1891 at Frying Pan Farm Park.
The organization, ServiceSource, says it’s ready to proceed with the project to add programming, a “grab and go” café and a handicrafts specialty shop to the 12-room Ellmore Farmhouse, where its clients would operate the services and benefit from an array of music, dance and art classes as well as reading groups and other activities.
“ServiceSource seeks to engage with the Frying Pan Park visitors and park guests by offering supplemental amenities including … [selling] handcrafted items made by people with disabilities through our Bloom Artisans Program,” the organization says, noting that individuals who create the items receive 100% of the sales. “ServiceSource participants regularly participate in classes and craft greeting cards, soy-based candles, organic soaps, and handwoven scarves and tote bags.”
On Tuesday, Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn requested the board expedite a Board of Supervisors public hearing for Feb. 8, noting that supervisors approved the organization for its Resident Curator Program on May 4. The organization’s lease runs for 29 years.
The program allows county properties to be leased for a long-term period for no rent while resident curators maintain standards to preserve historic properties and promote them to the public.
ServiceSource spokesperson Kendra Hand said the organization is ready to proceed with the upgrades once it gets approval. The organization is looking to fundraise $660,000 for the project, according to the organization. Helping to round that out, a 50th anniversary virtual celebration will take place Dec. 9, where all proceeds will help the Ellmore Farmhouse project.
The farmhouse (2739 West Ox Road) is painted white inside and out and features hardwood floors. The organization hopes to add meeting and multipurpose rooms as well as a computer room and community room at the two-story home, all while preserving its historic character.
The county’s Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Jan. 26.
A nonprofit dedicated to helping people with disabilities has formally submitted plans to Fairfax County for a new program that will operate out of the Ellmore Farmhouse in Herndon’s Frying Pan Farm Park.
ServiceSource signed a 29-year lease for the property at 2739 West Ox Road on May 24 after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the nonprofit as the newest addition to the park authority’s Resident Curator Program earlier that month.
Now, county planners are reviewing a special exception application to permit an adult day support center at the farmhouse, so ServiceSource can establish a Long-Term Community Integration Services program with classes, training, and other services for adults with developmental disabilities.
“This application presents a unique opportunity to collocate a meaningful community service on County parkland and appropriately renovate a historic structure,” Scott Adams, an attorney representing ServiceSource, said in a statement of justification. “The synergy of collocating the proposed facility within Frying Pan Farm Park will serve as a peaceful setting with natural and recreational amenities for the program’s participants while also serving to further activate and support the park.”
Filed on Aug. 16, the application proposes allowing about 15 clients and six staff members at the Ellmore Farmhouse from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.
Intended to help integrate participants into the general community, the program will offer a variety of activities depending on the day, including:
- Community engagement activities, which could include volunteering in Frying Pan Farm Park’s visitor center and at Kidwell Farm
- Skill building and training opportunities
- Music, dance, and art classes
- Visits to local sites and small businesses
- Classes on computers, nutrition, and other life skills
- Reading groups
- Planning meetings with family members, ServiceSource employees, and Fairfax County-Falls Church Community Services Board staff
ServiceSource plans to collaborate with the Fairfax County Park Authority on additional amenities for Frying Pan Farm Park visitors, such as a “grab-and-go” cafe with snacks and drinks that would employ adults with disabilities.
The nonprofit also proposes selling candles, soap, tote bags, and other items handcrafted by people with disabilities through its self-employment program. All proceeds would go to the individuals who made the products.
As a resident curator, ServiceSource has committed to rehabilitating the two-story, 3,300 square-foot farmhouse by improving its accessibility and incorporating green building designs, while also preserving its historic character.
It is obligated to provide public access to the property, including at least one annual open house, and to deliver annual reports to the park authority, which owns the site, according to the lease, which won’t take effect until the special exception request and any other necessary permits are approved.
As part of the special exception application, ServiceSource has asked the county to waive a requirement that it provide an estimate for the maximum number of trips that will be generated by the facility, citing the limited number of participants in the proposed program.
It is also seeking waivers of any requirements to dedicate, construct, or widen existing roads and to provide a minor paved trail on the site that’s included in the county’s Comprehensive Trails Plan Map.
“The limited scope of the application does not warrant the construction of a new trail and users of the Adult Day Support Center will [be] dropped off and picked up by vehicle,” the statement of justification says. “There is an existing sidewalk that connects the Ellmore Farmhouse to the pedestrian crosswalk at West Ox Road and an existing trail along the southern portion of West Ox Road.”
The sublease will last 29 years as part of Fairfax County’s Resident Curator Program, which aims “to preserve historic properties by offering long-term leases to qualified tenants who agree to rehabilitate and maintain these historic resources in accordance with established preservation standards,” according to the county.
The decision followed an advertised public hearing on the motion that did not draw any comments from the community.
In accordance with the terms of the resident curator program, ServiceSource will rehabilitate the two-story, 3,300 square-foot house at 2739 West Ox Road while maintaining time-appropriate aspects of the property that was built in 1891.
“During the 29-year term of the sublease, ServiceSource will rehabilitate the building by making ADA compliant improvements, and incorporating green building designs in a manner that respects that late 19th-early 20th century heritage of the structure,” Fairfax County Facilities Management Department Assistant Director Mike Lambert said, reading a staff report to the board.
ServiceSource plans to use the historic property as a “Community Integration Center” that will offer employment for up to 15 adults through an on-site café and handicrafts specialty store.
“This is a really nice property, historic property. This is, I think, another good example and good use of the resident curator program,” Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said. “[I’m] very pleased this is going forward. I would note I think the resident curator program is still very much a work in progress, but very happy this particular site is working out that way.”
Originally built in 1891, the farmhouse sits on four-and-a-half acres within Frying Pan Farm Park. It is one of six properties in the resident curator program, which is managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority.
Three of the other properties are under rehabilitation — the Hannah P. Clark House in Lorton, the Stempson House in Lorton, and the Turner Farmhouse in Great Falls. The other two RCP properties to be re-advertised are the Ash Grove House and Lahey Lost Valley, which are both located in Vienna.
Photo via Fairfax County Government
Two resident curators presented their plans to repurpose the historic Ellmore Farmhouse as part of the Fairfax County Park Authority’s resident curator program.
Two applicants proposed uses for the property through the program, which allows individuals and organizations to secure long-term lease agreements in exchange for rehabilitating the park authority’s underutilized historic properties.
Applicants Karl and Jessie Scherm proposed to use the property as a residential home, drawing on his memories and experience of visiting Frying Pan Farm Park.
The Scherms proposed to use the property for several community uses, including hosting members of the Chantilly Bible Church and welcoming widows and their school-aged children into the home.
“Our children, much like the Ellmore and Smith children, have had the opportunity to spend time learning about farming and caring for animals through the 4-H clubs they are in,” according to the application. “Living in the Ellmore Farmhouse would allow us more time to learn and share with others about the original families and animals that lived here on this property.”
The second applicant — a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities — proposed to use the property as a gathering space for its longterm and community integration services program, which serves 15 clients.
“Our solution will maximize heritage conservation efforts for the property to benefit the Fairfax community, including Frying Pan Park visitors, adults with disabilities, and the general public,” according to the application.
The next meeting on the proposals will be held on Thursday, September 12 at 9 a.m. at the Herrity Biulding (12055 Government Center Parkway). The meeting is public but no comments will be taken.
All written comments must be submitted via email to [email protected] by Friday, September 6.
The Ellmore Farmhouse is a two-story home on West Ox Road in Herndon that was first used by William Ellmore, a prominent local politician, until 1935. The successive owners continued to operate the property as a dairy forum until it was sold in 1854. FCPA purchased the property for inclusion into Frying Pan Farm Park in 2001.
Photo via Fairfax County Government
Applicants will present their plans for Ellmore Farmhouse, a historic property on West Ox Road, to the county’s resident curator evaluation team later this month.
The curator program opens up the property to long-term lease agreements with individuals or organizations. Curators lease the property in exchange for a financial commitment toward rehabilitation of the county’s underused historic properties. Curators are selected through a competitive application process.
The team will hear proposals for the two-story property during a public meeting on Wednesday, July 31 at 7 p.m. in the Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The evaluation team will ask questions about the project and provide feedback.
The Ellmore Farmhouse was constructed in 1891 for Mary Ellmore and her two children. The property was sold after the Ellmore family lived in the home for more than 50 years and ran a dairy farm through 1945. William Ellmore, who operated the dairy farm and was a prominent local politician, served on several boards, including the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
After his death in 1935, the owners attempted to operate the dairy farm until they sold the farm in 1954. FCPA purchased the property in February 2001 for inclusion in Frying Pan Farm Park.
An additional meeting is set for Thursday, Sept. 12 at 9 a.m. in the Fairfax County Park Authority’s office (12055 Government Center Parkway).
Photo via Fairfax County Government