Thursday, February 11, 2021
Senator Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Delegate Paul Krizek (D-Mount Vernon) today announced that both the Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations and House Appropriations Committees have agreed to their request to contribute towards the public purchase and preservation of historic River Farm.
The House Appropriations Committee included $2 million in funding to preserve River Farm in the its proposed budget, and the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee included $5 million in combined funding for the preservation of both historic Chickahominy tribal lands and River Farm. The final funding amount will be resolved by the Joint Budget Conferees in the coming weeks. This funding will be allocated to Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks) and the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) to assist in the purchase of the multi-million dollar property.
“This is a huge moment for everyone who has worked so hard to protect the amazing and unique River Farm,” said Alan Rowsome, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust and Save River Farm Committee Member. “The leadership that Senator Ebbin and Delegate Krizek have shown in securing these critical funds give us a significant boost towards the goal of safeguarding River Farm for all time, and we look forward to working with the budget conferees in the days ahead to secure the highest possible amount for its acquisition.”
“I’m pleased that our coalition secured amendments in both the House and Senate budgets to help acquire the River Farm property. This victory is not just important to the Mount Vernon community; the preservation of the historic beauty of George Washington’s River Farm for generations to come is valuable to the entire Commonwealth and nation. Thank you to our constituents for your advocacy and making your voices heard,” said Krizek.
“This is another important step in ensuring Virginians will continue to enjoy River Farm for years to come. I am hopeful that, with the addition of this state funding, NOVA Parks will soon be able to move forward with the purchase of the property, and improve on its current state through regular upkeep, programming, and preservation,” said Senator Adam Ebbin.
Delegate Krizek and Senator Ebbin earlier this year gathered over 1,000 petition signatures from concerned residents which they delivered to the American Horticultural Society, urging the organization to ensure that the property be preserved as public space, and serve as Partners to the Save River Farm Committee, a grassroots organization working to preserve the property.
River Farm, which comprises 25 acres of publicly accessible green space on the Potomac River, served as the headquarters for the American Horticultural Society (AHS) since 1973. In August 2020, AHS announced their intent to sell the property on the open real estate market. Following an outflow of public support, a team of local, state, and federal elected officials, along with local preservation partners, began the process of preserving the property.