Rockville City Officials to Receive Presentation on Final Concept for Re-Imagining RedGate Park

by MCS Staff

City of Rockville Planning staff recommends that the Mayor and Council receive a presentation on the final concept for the Re-Imagining RedGate Park and adopt the attached Master Plan (a few photos below) at the upcoming October 17th Rockville mayor and city council meeting. If the Mayor and Council adopt the Plan, the Recreation and Parks Department staff will work with the City Manager to submit for FY 24 funding to begin implementing the identified priorities for RedGate Park. Once funding is approved by the Mayor and Council, staff would move forward with the necessary site plans for implementation. If the Mayor and Council request changes to the proposed Plan and choose not to adopt at this meeting, staff will revise the Plan and present at a future Mayor and Council meeting for adoption.

Background and Process Summary: In March 2020, the Mayor and Council voted to retain the entire 131-acre site, formerly RedGate Golf Course, as a public park. The Mayor and Council requested that park elements include both active and passive recreation, as well as natural open areas. The Mayor and Council also advocated for significant community engagement to help identify and prioritize the elements that would ultimately be included in the park plan. Following the Mayor and Council meeting, staff finalized the Scope of Work. A detailed Request for Proposals was then issued to secure a multi-disciplinary team to conduct a master plan process for the site. Mahan Rykiel Associates, Inc. was procured in January 2021 to join the project team as its consultant.

Since January 2021, the project team has worked on a number of tasks to complete the master plan. The overarching tasks included:

  1. Project Kick-Off and Data Analysis
  2. Existing Conditions Analysis and Base Map
  3. Community Engagement
  4. Recommended Elements Report
  5. Develop Conceptual Plan Alternatives
  6. Concept Plan Refinement
  7. Presentation of Final Park Plan Concept

Staff believes that the Plan process has been thorough, engaging, inclusive, equitable, and reflects the vision expounded by Rockville residents, and thus is ready for adoption.

Final Master Plan

The Plan envisions the park as an Arboretum comprised of new and existing forest, feature landscapes including new meadow areas and varied gardens, environmental site design, interpretive signage, public art, and passive areas/lawns with new and existing pathways. Approximately ninety percent (90%) of RedGate Park is designated for passive recreation and natural habitats, and ten percent (10%) for more active recreation. This factor is representative of the Mayor and Council’s feedback and direction, as well as being consistent with the desires expressed by many Rockville residents during both phases of community engagement and throughout the project. The active recreation elements in the Plan include a playground, a picnic area, a dog park, community gardens, an amphitheater with a deck overlook, and a new visitor center. Plan details are provided in the Master Plan Report, Attachment A.

Clubhouse Assessment and New Visitor Center
Whitman, Requardt & Associates (WRA), the subconsultant, developed an assessment of the existing clubhouse to inform the City on whether the existing clubhouse building should be renovated to accommodate a new use, or whether it should be demolished in its entirety and a new building or facility constructed for a specific use and function on the site. After their site visit and assessment of the building, WRA estimates that the cost to renovate the existing building would exceed the cost to construct a new building. The price to construct a new building is approximately $3.8 million and the price to renovate the existing building is approximately $4.06 million. Therefore, WRA recommends that the City demolish the existing facility and provide a similarly-scaled new building that is universally accessible, simpler in plan and roof form, and that could support a functional multi-purpose event space with efficiently- configured support areas.

Following the completion of the assessment by WRA and the feedback received at Mayor and Council, Robbie Sabbakhan, Chief Building Official, visited the clubhouse for an internal review to gauge its existing conditions and whether it could be re-occupied. Based on observed conditions, Mr. Sabbakhan recommends both exterior and interior repairs to the building before use and re-occupancy for temporary meetings and activities. Exterior repairs include the deck, doors, exterior lighting, and street numbers posted on the building. Recommended interior repairs include sprinklers (assuming assembly occupancy use, including gatherings for civic, social, religious functions and recreational), mechanical systems and HVAC, restroom facilities and plumbing fixtures, some water damage, kitchen equipment, and some electrical outlets, to name a few.

Park Cost Estimate
The project consultant developed a cost estimate detailing a cost range to construct the park based on a master plan rather than a specific park design. The estimate was categorized into project areas that could potentially be phased, or construction of areas grouped. A cost range was included for each of the project areas, and then a design allowance and construction contingency values were added based on City costs and timing of improvements. The values in the table include the base cost, a 15% design allowance, and a 40% contingency.

RedGate Park Construction Cost

Project Areas Cost Range (From) Cost Range (To)

Visitor Center Building

$ 3,566,012

$ 5,349,018

Visitor Center Site

$ 811,915

$ 1,217,872

Existing Parking Lot

$ 331,028

$ 496,542

Community Gardens

$ 309,001

$ 463,501


$ 2,761,729

$ 4,142,594

Deck Overlook at Amphitheater

$ 1,437,780

$ 2,156,670


$ 1,358,978

$ 2,038,467

Entrance Road

$ 698,306

$ 1,047,459

Picnic Area

$ 313,658

$ 470,487

Dog Park

$ 218,736

$ 328,104

Park-Wide Enhancements

$ 4,494,390

$ 6,741,585

GRAND TOTAL $ 16,301,533 $ 24,452,299

Mayor and Council History

The Mayor and Council began to plan for future discussion of the RedGate property during Old/New Business on October 8, 2018. A motion was made and approved directing staff to examine various options for the property. These options included, but were not limited to, continuing to operate the property as a golf course, developing other recreation/park uses, developing the property as residential units, as well as a combination of these options. To objectively assess the viability of continuing to operate RedGate as a golf course, staff recommended engaging the National Golf Foundation (NGF) for a second study.

The Mayor and Council received a presentation on the second NGF report on February 25, 2019, discussed the implications of the report, and agreed that the next step would be to hold a work session to discuss the future of the RedGate property. A work session to discuss and provide guidance on planning for the future of RedGate Park was held during the June 17, 2019, Mayor and Council meeting. The Mayor and Council held a second work session on February 3, 2020, to discuss the possibility of master planning RedGate Park and provided direction to staff on an initial draft Scope of Work for developing park concepts. Following the direction from the Mayor and Council, staff revised the Scope of Work and presented a refined version to Mayor and Council on March 30, 2020.

On October 18, 2021, the Mayor and Council received a progress update on the planning work, the community engagement initiatives, and the input received from the public. Staff received feedback on the amenities list and the project team’s proposed next steps from the Mayor and Council.

The Mayor and Council received a presentation on three different park concepts on February 7, 2022, during a RedGate project work session. The Mayor and Council provided staff input and direction on their preferred concept and park amenities. It was agreed that staff, along with the consultant, should produce one refined concept and present the concept to the public to seek additional feedback from the community.

At the July 18, 2022 Mayor and Council meeting, a refined RedGate Concept Plan developed with guidance from the Mayor and Council and public input received from a second round of community engagement was discussed. The staff presentation also included the results from the community engagement effort, a preliminary park cost estimate and clubhouse assessment findings to aid the Mayor and Council in reaching a decision and providing final direction to staff on the proposed park master plan.


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