Briar Patch Park renamed in honor of local resident

On September 7, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to rename Briar Patch Park in Sterling Gwen Thompson Briar Patch Park. 

An excerpt from Chairman York’s website provides additional information:

15. *BOARD MEMBER INITIATIVE: RENAMING OF BRIAR PATCH PARK IN STERLING, VA

Gwendolyn D. Thompson, an educator and admired civic supporter, was a member of the Sterling Jaycees and spent 22 years being dedicated to the funding and up keep of Briar Patch Park.  She is remembered by the community as the founder, creator and caretaker of Briar Patch Park.  Gwen Thompson was basically the lifeline of the Park as the Chairman of the monthly yard sale that funded partially funded the park and was also known as the “sign lady”.  She and her husband built a sign that she then asked for a small donation in order to post birthdays, anniversaries and other such notices.  All monies went to the upkeep of the park.  Thompson, who had been the yard sale chair and a Jaycee since 1978 said, “It’s the love of the park.  We wanted to keep the park up.”  Gwen Thompson was particularly passionate about having a safe outdoor area that provided recreational opportunities for local children and their families.   Briar Patch Park has three creative playground units, a picnic pavilion with tables, and volleyball, tennis and basketball courts where local residents can enjoy the outdoors and gather with family and friends. On June 17, 2011, Gwen Thompson passed away after a courageous battle with cancer.  Her community said, “Of course we remember Gwen’s dream that Sterling Park needed a playground and park for its children.  The dream became a reality and today all of the work that was done still benefits children of ALL ages.”

  1. (This item was initiated by Chairman York.)
  2. The Board of Supervisors moved to amend the name of “Briar Patch Park” to the “Gwen Thompson Briar Patch Park” in honor and recognition of Gwendolyn D. Thompson, for her dedication and commitment to the Park and for making the Park a reality for the Sterling Community.  (Consent Item) (Seconded by Supervisor Miller.  The motion passed 9-0).

The sign at Briar Patch Park, listing birthdays, parties, and other special events is certainly a memory I hold dear, along with years of my childhood spent climbing through the original wooden playground there.

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