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Residents find plenty of reasons to stay in Kings Park

The Springfield, Va., community, which is a draw for military families, is prized for its walkability

Ruth Wong, 87, cuts flowers off the bushes outside her home in the Kings Park neighborhood of Springfield, Va. She moved to the neighborhood with her husband in 1963 and is the original owner of her house. She raised her children there and spends time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the home today. (Maansi Srivastava/The Washington Post)

Marie Cullerton, who will be 80 this year, moved to Kings Park in Springfield, Va., with her husband in 1973 — not long after the houses off Braddock Road were built. The city lovers, a military family, thought they would leave the neighborhood after awhile for somewhere in Alexandria, but Kings Park compelled them to stay.

“We weren’t going to stay that long; we were only going to stay for two years. And we got involved with the community and couldn’t leave it. It became home for us. So we stayed, and I’m still here,” Cullerton said.

Her husband died six years ago, but she said she doesn’t feel alone thanks to her neighbors and church, which has a group of widows who gather for a weekly dinner.

“I enjoy talking to the neighbors, especially Leann next door and her husband. I was having a problem with my car, and I think he jumped it every day for me,” she said. “I mean, unbelievable — that’s dedication to a neighbor. I said, ‘What would I do without Brian?’”

Aside from the people and neighborhood celebrations, the amenities and surrounding businesses have also compelled residents to stay in the area. Charlotte Hannagan, a resident since 2014 and Kings Park Civic Association vice president of social outreach, noted that there’s so much within walking distance of the neighborhood.

“What I really like about Kings Park is that you can walk to the elementary school, you can walk to the community pool, you can walk to the Giant, and there's a couple of restaurants, and the CVS. And then there's a library that you can walk to,” she said. “We live across from the park — the playground — so that was a huge, huge draw for me: to be able to walk places.”

Beverly Boschert, a former Fairfax County Public Schools teacher and, like Hannagan, a military spouse, also has fond memories of walking in Kings Park when her son was young. She said the walkable activities Hannagan enjoys are the reasons her own family has stayed in the neighborhood, where she has lived since 1977.

“The convenience and the friendly atmosphere are the main attractions, and the reasons we’ve remodeled and worked on the house rather than move,” she said. “We were happy here, so we’ve done what we needed to be able to stay here.”

Boschert said the neighborhood’s makeup has become more racially and ethnically diverse over the years and now has a mix of young families and retired couples.

Hannagan, 33, is part of one such family with younger children. They often get together with other military families in the neighborhood.

“My kids are able to just walk out of the door and they have a bunch of friends that are neighbors that they can go play with. I know we can get that in many places, but I've just been very happy with how the people are,” she said. “A lot of them are in the same boat as us with two working parents, with deployments. We’re just there for each other, which has been wonderful.”

Cullerton’s children and grandchildren are now spread across the country, but she’s found a different sort of family in Kings Park. A free, recurring senior luncheon hosted at Hunan West, a Chinese restaurant in Kings Park Shopping Center, is how she connected with others in the neighborhood pre-pandemic.

“You build up a sense of community here with the businesses, and they treat you well. We’ve always tried to go back to that restaurant all the time. I’ll go back, and they know me now,” she said. Cullerton noted that the neighborhood recognized the restaurant with a plaque, which hangs on its wall.

The Kings Park Gazette, a neighborhood newsletter published quarterly, details events, updates and musings from residents.

Living there: Kings Park is bounded by Burke Lake Road, Rolling Road and Braddock Road and Lake Accotink Park. The community has 1,152 homes. Two homes are on the market and three are under contract, according to Susan Metcalf, a real estate agent with AveryHess. Fourteen homes have sold this year.

Last year, the most expensive home sold was a four-bedroom, three-bathroom rambler for $815,000, Metcalf said. The least expensive was a four-bedroom, three-bathroom split-foyer home for $550,000. The average listing price is $773,000, and rentals range between $2,800 and $3,500 a month in the Springfield community, according to Metcalf.

Schools: Kings Park Elementary (grades K-3), Kings Glen Elementary (grades 4-6) and Lake Braddock Secondary (grades 7-12).

Transit: Metrobus and Fairfax Connector routes serve the neighborhood. The closest Metro station, Franconia-Springfield (Blue Line), is a 15-minute drive away. The Rolling Road Station for the Virginia Railway Express is a five-minute drive.