Blooms Park is located at 9701 Manassas Drive in Manassas Park. Formerly known as General’s Ridge Golf Course, Blooms Park is a passive park with approximately 3.39 miles of challenging trails. Blooms Park emphasizes a connection with nature. Wildlife including deer, eagles, foxes, turkeys, snakes, and more roam the park. Visitors should exercise caution when visiting Blooms Park.
Hours: Currently closed to the public. Scheduled to open mid-September 2019.
Parking: Free lot
Restrictions: No alcohol, pedestrian use only on trails
History of Blooms Park
Originally named Union Mill Park after the nearby site Union Mill trestle, Blooms Park and the area saw historical significance during the Civil War primarily in 1861-1862 during the Battles of 1st and 2nd Manassas. Just south of Blooms Park is Camp Carondelet (also known as the Louisiana Brigade Winter Camp) and Georgia Cemetery.
The Union Mill trestle, a strategic site for both the Union and the Confederacy, spanned the Bull Run River just northeast of Blooms Park. This rail was part of the Alexandria and Orange line and was the only route to Richmond that could be traveled entirely by rail. The trestle changed hands four times during the war. Although the trestle has been lost, the sand stone abutments still remain that bear ‘graffiti’ from soldiers that were positioned to defend the line. Though identified on the map, Union Mill trestle is not accessible to the general public.
Camp Carondelet and the Georgia Cemetery, identified collectively in the historical register, are located south of Blooms Park. Camp Carondelet, site of the Grand Ball, served as winter quarters for Louisiana troops. Camp Carondelet is an eight acre natural parcel that sits along the property line of Cougar Elementary School. The Georgia Cemetery is identified as the final resting place for members of the Georgia campaign during the fierce battles along the Bull Run and is located in the Blooms Crossing Subdivision.
In 1993, the City of Manassas Park began to develop Union Mill Park into a golf course initially named Union Hill Golf Course. Development of the golf course was eventually transferred to the Prince William County Park Authority in 1994 and then renamed Manassas Park Public Golf Course and opened to the public in 1996. In 2001, the course was renamed General’s Ridge Golf Course and remained in operation for another 18 years.
In 2019, General’s Ridge Golf Course was transferred back to the City of Manassas Park which brought a total of 270 acres of park land to the City. The park was then renamed Blooms Park after the nearby subdivision of Blooms Crossing. The park is currently being maintained as a passive park with approximately 3.39 miles of trails for patrons to use.
The Department of Parks and Recreation would like to dedicate Blooms Park to Catherine Morretta and Bethiah Shuemaker. Mile markers along the trail system have been dedicated in their memory.
Catherine Morretta started in July 1995 as a Recreation Programmer for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation and later promoted to Director in May 1997. She oversaw programming in the Costello Park Recreation Center (est. 1990) including the creation of the Leaders-in-Training program designed to help inspire local teens. She also partnered with Social Services to develop special holiday programs completely funded by donations that were designed to provide gifts and holiday cheer to those most in need in the community. The Department continues to run these programs today.
Morretta was also instrumental with the reopening of Signal Hill Park and the grand opening of Signal Bay Waterpark in 1996. When construction of the Manassas Park Community Center began in November 2008 (which would eventually replace Manassas Park Elementary School and the Recreation Center) she was a passionate advocate for ADA compliance where every detail was designed to be inclusive of the disability community.
When the Community Center opened in January 2010, Morretta had a transformative vision for the Department to substantially increase the amount, quality, and diversity of programming for the residents of Manassas Park. This vision also included programs for the developmentally and cognitively disabled where, through collaborative efforts in the community, she established the Buddy Club and Take One Drama. Economic access to programming was a powerful motivator for Morretta which eventually led to her creating the All Access Passport in July 2013.
Morretta passed away in July 2015, but she remains in the hearts of her staff and the community in various ways including the Catherine’s Caring Hands scholarship which provides funding for low income families to participate in Parks and Recreation programming.
In 1979, Bethiah Shuemaker, her husband Don Shuemaker, and her son Donald Shuemaker moved to Manassas Park. A passionate and involved parent, Shuemaker was an iconic presence at her son’s school functions, fundraisers, and parent teacher association meetings. She began working for Parks and Recreation in January 1997 where she worked with school age children in programs such as Extended Care and summer camps. Energetic, nurturing, and selfless, Shuemaker was adored by all the families whose lives she touched.
In 2014, she was asked to use her talents to develop and grow the senior programming at the Manassas Park Community Center where she readily admitted she was terrified at such a drastic change in her career. From the outside, nobody would have known as she made the transition appear effortless. She quickly became beloved by the senior population and through her efforts she established the pickleball program which is still thriving and growing today.
In December 2017, Shuemaker passed away, yet she continues to energize the senior population where staff and volunteers continue to host potlucks and pickleball tournaments in her memory.