Several years of community effort in the Bailey's Crossroads area came to truition recently when the new Bailey's Community Center officially opened.
The center, next to the farmer Lillian Carey School at Summers Lane, is the first major improvement to be completed in the Bailey's Neighborhood Conservation Area program since Neighborhood improvement and Conservation Plan was adopted in 1976 by the Fairfax Board of Supervisors and the county Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
The center houses a combination gymnasium and multipurpose room, a teen room with pingpong, billiards and games, a senior citizens' arts and crafts and a kitchen. The facilities can be used by the handicapped. On the grounds outside are a spray pond and an amphitheater.
Homeowners in the Bailey's Spring-dale area frist requested recreation center funding for the community's 1,500 residents in December 1974.
In 1975, money was approved by the board of supervisors to hire an architect to design the center.
The firm of Fry and Welch Associates of Washington was chosen by an architectural selection committee, which included a Bailey's resident.
During the design stages, a community center advisory committee, made up of Bailey's residents, reviewed the architect's plans. The committee approved the final plans in April 1976.
The center cost $586,900 - $576,900 in federal community developement funds and $10,000 from general county revenues. The general contractor for the project was Littlepage Corp. of Fairfax.
Col. Charles Robinson, a longtime area resident who has been working for the community center for several years, told the 200 persons at the ceremony that the new center was an example of what can be accomplished if the community works together.
"This is a giant step," he said, "but there are other areas that need our attention. Let's have the best program and most active center in the county. But let's not forget there is other work to be done (in our conservation district)."
Robinson is a member of the community center planning committee. Other members are Rosa Wood, Eugene Puryear, Mary Puryear, Clarence Pitts, Houston Summers and Pamela Washington.
Acting as master of ceremonies for the dedication was Carl A.S. Coan, Jr., vice chairman of the Redevelopment and Housing Authority of Fairfax County. On hand to cut the ribbon for the ceremony was Mason District Supervisor Alan Magazine, who praised the community's efforts.
Houston Summers, who in addition to being on the center planning committee is also president of the Springdale Civic Association, told the audience that the center is just one of several bring about since the early 1960s. He cited an improved storm drainage system and road, sewer and sidewalk improvements.
Other speakers at the dedication included John F. Herrity, chairman of the board of supervisors; Sarah Underwood director of Community Planning and Development of HUD, and Julia Sheppard, who with Wood, gave a history of recreation program efforts in the community dating from the 1940s. Wood ran one of the first recreation programs in 1952 on a vacant lot in the community.
Music was provided by the Warner Baptist Church Choir and the Scripture Church of Christ Choir. A buffet followed the dedication with music provided in the gym by a local rock group.
The day-to-day operation of the center is handled by the Fairfax County Department of Recreation and Community Services. The center is open 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and from 2 to 6 p.m., Sundays.
An after-school playground program between 3 and 6 p.m. is scheduled all school days in February. Friday and Saturday nights have been reserved for teens. Other activities scheduled this month include youth basketball, volleyball, sports clinics, children's activities and senior citizens programs.