The City an Honorable Mention Award from the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission during a ceremony on Dec. 16.
The City received a 2021 Honorable Mention Award from the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission during a virtual ceremony on December 16, 2021 for Discovery Park. The Sustainable Growth Awards celebrate significant achievement by individuals, businesses, organizations, and local governments to realize the “12 Planning Visions” adopted by the Maryland General Assembly. The awards promote exemplary work that represents or inspires collaboration, innovation, conservation, community impact, and quality of life.
“Our Discovery Park project exemplifies the power of partnerships between businesses, residents and the City for sustainable growth,” said Mayor Jud Ashman. “We appreciate the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission’s recognition of this local initiative that demonstrates our City’s commitment to responsible growth and development.”
Discovery Park opened in the fall of 2020 as a partnership between the City & AstraZeneca. It is a 15-acre parkland with walking trails, picnic structures, playgrounds, a secret butterfly garden, and other unique recreational features. Nearly three acres were developed to support the health of the protected sensitive areas on the property, including the forest conservation easements related to the stream valley buffer and the wetlands. The park was designed to be a passive park with low maintenance designs that celebrate open space and preserve natural habitat in accordance with the City’s environmental initiatives.
“The design and development of Discovery Park signifies another milestone in the City’s goal to have every resident live within a quarter mile of a park,” said Carolyn Muller, Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture. “This once abandoned area is now a thriving ecosystem filled with enriching opportunities for our community to play, explore, learn, and simply be.”
“Innovation and creativity are all part of what makes Maryland a leader in revitalizing communities and environmental stewardship,” said Robert McCord, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning. “I congratulate the City of Gaithersburg for receiving Honorable Mention for their 15-acre Discovery Park, which exemplifies the power of partnerships between businesses, residents, and the City for sustainable growth.”
The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission makes recommendations on growth and development issues and celebrates those achievements with an annual awards program. Commission members, who represent local and state government, business and nonprofit organization sectors, promote coordination and cooperation regarding innovative and responsible growth and development throughout Maryland. For a complete list of 2021 Maryland Sustainable Growth Award winners and to learn more about the Commission, click here. For a complete list of City parks & amenities, click here.
Updated on 12/3 to include construction video:
Construction of Pleasant View Park, the 28th park in the City of Gaithersburg’s inventory, is scheduled to start on Monday, November 8, 2021. The 9.54-acre park is located at the former Consumer Product Safety Commission site on Rt. 28. A 16-month construction period is anticipated, with completion in February 2023. Work will continue through the winter months, weather permitting.
The contractor for this project is Patriot Construction, LLC. Initial work will involve the mobilization of construction equipment, installation of erosion and sediment control structures, installation of a fabric barrier on an existing fence, the demolition of concrete slabs and asphalt surfaces, and clearing trees and shrubs.
The site will then be graded, a stormwater structure and new electrical service will be installed, and asphalt and concrete pathways will be laid down. Then comes the installation of amenities, including a playground, community garden, trees and shrubs, bike track, fitness pods, a pavilion, a welcome plaza, and more.
Entrance to the construction site is restricted to construction crewmembers and administration staff only. Vehicles will be parked within the site and a trailer will be brought in for staff. All work will be scheduled in compliance with the City’s Noise Ordinance.
Residents in the vicinity of the new park may hear and see the impacts of the construction. Equipment includes excavation and earth moving machines, soil compaction equipment, concrete and asphalt demolition equipment, temporary generators, hydraulic and pneumatic tools, construction debris removal trucks, new materials delivery trucks, and tree removal and tree trimming equipment.
Pleasant View Park is named after the nearby Pleasant View community, one of the first free black communities established after the Civil War. The park’s name honors the historic significance of that community and also reflects the beauty of the natural surroundings.
The land was acquired through the Federal Land to Parks Program of the United States Department of the Interior National Park Service. From 1955 to 1975, this location served as a fire control radar site for the U.S. Army NIKE missile system. After 1975, the site was used by the Consumer Product Safety Commission as the National Laboratory Campus for testing consumer products.
The address of the park is 10901 Darnestown Road.
The City of Gaithersburg has started planning for the City’s newest park, a 2.99 acre parcel located at the corner of Decoverly Drive and Steinbeck Avenue in Crown.
Per the City of Gaithersburg:
The park will occupy a portion of the original 175-acre property that was annexed into the City in 2006. While the parcel is a generous size, after accounting for required easements and stream valley buffers, the usable park space will be about 1.5 acres.
The 19th century Corn Crib Barn is the oldest surviving structure from the former England-Crown Farm. It will be undergoing preservation in late 2021.
A recent storm damaged the silos on the property, but they were quickly repaired.
The public is invited to participate in a survey, available June 1 – 22, 2021, to gain a better understanding of the types of uses and activities the community would like to see at the future park. Survey results will be used to develop a concept plan, which will be presented to the public for future comment.
Survey ends June 22
“Creating a park design that incorporates open space for recreation and small community gatherings and maximizing the useable space requires careful thought and balance. The City welcomes the community’s input in this process by participating in our survey.”
Basketball Hoops Going Back Up in MoCo Parks
About a year ago, on March 24th, 2020, Montgomery Parks made the decision to remove basketball hoops from local parks due to many people ignoring instructions not to gather.
Today, almost exactly a year later, Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson helped with the reinstallation of the first hoop at Woodside Urban Park in Silver Spring.
“With recent changes in Montgomery County
covid guidelines, basketball is no longer a high-risk sport. So, basketball hoops are going back up in the parks.”
It may take up to three weeks to reinstall all of the hoops across county parks.
Photo courtesy of Montgomery Parks.
Northwest Branch Trail’s geographic diversity attracts hikers, bikers, and dog walkers
Looking for a spot to spend MoCo’s occasional warm winter days? Try the Northwest Branch Trail.
With its main entrance next to Trader Joe’s on Columbia Pike, the trail follows roughly eight miles of the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River.
In the pictured part of the trail, one can hike up a hill to meet the Copperhead Run; climb over rocks and sit in sand next to the water; and mountain bike.
According to Montgomery Parks, horseback riding is permitted, too.
By Prayag Gordy
Wheaton Regional Park Adds Outdoor Workout Stations
Wheaton Regional Park (2000 Shorefield Rd) had added an 1,800 square-foot station that features seven pieces of equipment and an accessible walkway to the bathrooms, parking lot, playground, and Pine Lake Trail.
The workout area features a variety of stations that include cardio and various pieces of equipment that focus weight lifting weights.
Photo and information courtesy of Montgomery Parks
Many of you may have spent a sun-splashed day roaming the 18.3-acre grounds of Nike Missile Park in Gaithersburg near Snouffer School Road. However, this site was not always the lovely green space that we see today – and the “Nike” is not referring to the Swoosh we’re all familiar with. Project Nike was an anti-aircraft missile initiative that traces its roots back to 1944, when the U.S. Department of War (now the Department of Defense) tasked its scientists and engineers to develop a widespread anti-aircraft missile system. During the Cold War, tensions were at a fever pitch, and the U.S. military sought to ensure that the nation was protected in the event of an attack.
Previously known as Site W-94 in the Washington-Baltimore Defense Area (BA, W), the Gaithersburg site was one of several Nike facilities across the capital region equipped with anti-aircraft infrastructure for use in the case of airborne attacks. The site was equipped with the Nike Ajax (MIM-3) missile systems, which were the main foundation of the Nike program until the mid-1960s. Once the technology advanced past the Ajax’s point, the Gaithersburg Nike Missile site was deactivated and demolished, with the core site being transferred to the National Park Service and the surrounding areas developed into residential lots. In 1997, the National Park Service then transferred the site to the Maryland-National Capital Park Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), at which point we gained the Nike Missile Park that we know today.
Construction has recently begun at the former Montgomery Village Golf Course. Monument Realty is in charge of building the planned community that will be known as Bloom Village. The 150 acre site will consist of townhomes, single-family homes, walking paths, picnic areas, a dog park and an edible garden. The first homes are expected to be ready by Summer 2021.
You can read about how Montgomery Village will be incorporating the new homes in the Village News. Full site plans can be found at BloomMV’s website. Below are some photos of the golf course just weeks before construction began.
Ok, Google: Which MoCo Park is the Best?
The weekend will find many of us soaking up some sun or walking around in one of Montgomery County’s many parks.
According to the Montgomery Parks website, Montgomery County has 424 parks across over 37,000 acres in their network.
These parks are quite diverse; some stretch across wide green spaces for hundreds of acres, while others are smaller pop-up styles in more urban areas, or bigger “destination” types for specific sports or activities. This diversity is part of what makes enjoying the outdoors so enjoyable for MoCo residents.
As you all know, we love lists here at The MoCo Show. In that spirit, let’s countdown the top 10 highest-rated and reviewed parks in Montgomery County, according to Google. You might be surprised with the results!
Disclaimer: this list is based on parks that are 1) a part of Montgomery Parks’ network of parks (no city-maintained parks), and 2) have 200+ reviews on Google. The rankings are based on a combination of total reviews and star rating. All images are courtesy of Montgomery Parks’ website.
10) Ridge Road Regional Park: 21155 Frederick Rd, Germantown, MD 20876
4.5 stars & 226 reviews
This park boasts multiple ball fields, an in-line hockey rink, and various shaded picnic areas on 56 acres of land. Reviewers lauded the park’s green space and its peaceful, quiet locale. There’s even an enclosed area for dogs to stretch out their legs when overcome by “the zoomies.”
9) Meadowbrook Local Park:7901 Meadowbrook Ln, Chevy Chase, MD 20815
4.5 stars & 238 reviews
Meadowbrook Local Park is located next to Rock Creek Park in Chevy Chase, but it has a lot of appeal on its own. It has five different softball fields, a rentable recreational building. Previously, the playground equipment was painted in a unique “candy cane” pattern.
8) Falls Road Local Park: 12600 Falls Road, Potomac, MD 20854
4.6 stars & 224 reviews
Reviewers loved the award-winning Hadley Playground onsite, and that makes this park a great attraction if you’re in the area. The parking area has been recently renovated, and the green-space filled park also boasts outdoor exercise equipment and a grass-infield baseball field.
7) Meadowside Nature Center: 5100 Meadowside Ln, Rockville, MD 20876
4.7 stars & 206 reviews
Unfortunately, Meadowside Nature Center’s main building area is closed due to COVID-19 — however, when we reach the new normal, you really should consider checking it out if you haven’t already. The Center offers some great natural education options (both indoor and outdoor) that allow MoCo residents to learn more about the natural world around them. There are still some wonderful hiking trails surrounding the area, in the meantime.
6) Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park: 15131 Anacostia Tributary Trail System, Silver Spring, MD 20901
4.6 stars & 315 reviews
Is it a creek or a stream? Both? Regardless, you will find some of the most beautiful hiking and biking trails here. Reviewers noted its picturesque locale and shady trails that lead to some of the best strolls you will find in MoCo. It also links to a few other local parks and has multiple entrances depending on where you want to hop in.
5) Cabin John Regional Park: 7400 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda, MD 20817
4.6 stars & 563 reviews
At this point, we start getting into the real heavyweights in terms of review traffic. Cabin John Regional Park is truly one of the main havens for sports-lovers in MoCo, boasting attractions like an ice rink, well-maintained sports fields, five miles of hiking and biking trails, and even a miniature train for riding (currently closed for COVID).
4) South Germantown Recreational Park: 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds, Maryland 20841
4.6 stars & 594 reviews
The first of two Boyds-based entries on our list, South Germantown Recreational Park is absolutely one of MoCo’s most active parks in terms of foot traffic. There are so many options for both young and old at this park, including (but not limited to) mini-golf, a driving range, archery, the Maryland SoccerPlex & Montgomery TennisPlex, and even the King Barn Dairy Museum — a museum all about cows and dairy farms in the county!
3) Black Hill Regional Park: 20930 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds, Maryland 20841
4.8 stars & 812 reviews
Black Hill boasts over 2,000 acres for various activities. Set on the beautiful Little Seneca Lake, visitors can enjoy the tranquility of canoeing or kayaking on a bright and sunny say; the park also has several picnic shelters and over five miles for wooded hiking and biking. Reviewers consistently point to Black Hills as one of the most beautiful locations in MoCo.
2) Rock Creek Regional Park: 6700 Needwood Rd, Derwood, MD 20855
4.7 stars & 1,433 reviews
“Wait, isn’t Rock Creek Park in D.C? That’s not MoCo!” Well, over 70% of Rock Creek itself is located in MoCo, so maybe it’s time for MoCo to be a little more assertive in its claim on Rock Creek, but that’s for another time. Rock Creek Regional Park, however, is definitely in MoCo, containing the lovely Lake Needwood and also consisting of several miles of trails that extend to the Washington, D.C. line.
1) Wheaton Regional Park: 2000 Shorefield Road, Wheaton, Maryland 20902
4.7 stars & 2,005 reviews
We all know the elephant in the room here: Brookside Gardens is not included on this list. What a lot of people may not know is that Brookside Gardens is housed on the grounds of Wheaton Regional Park, and it’s important not to sell the grounds short beyond Brookside Gardens. The grounds is 536 acres, after all. Visitors can traipse through 11 miles of trails, board a replica 1863 train for a tour of the grounds, lace up their skates at the Wheaton Ice Arena, or, yes, enjoy the beauty of the acclaimed Brookside Gardens.
What are some of your favorite parks? Perhaps you won’t tell us, as you want to keep your favorite spots well-kept secrets. Regardless, we can all agree that MoCo has a wealth of options for recreation, and we love to showcase that.
Dog Park and Futsal/Street Hockey Facility Included in Dewey Park Reopening
Dewey Local Park reopened in Kensington after major renovations.
The renovations include a 22,000 square-foot lighted dog park with a separate area for small dogs and a street hockey/futsal facility which was developed in partnership with the Washington Capitals. The rink at Dewey Local Park is the second one of its kind; another one is available at Ridge Road Local Park.
Full Press release and pictures below:
Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has just completed a major renovation at Dewey Local Park. The 14.5-acre park located in Kensington, MD has been updated to include many new amenities such as a dog park, street hockey/futsal court, and new playground. The park was last updated in 1990.
“This much-anticipated park renovation delivers new amenities the community has been requesting,” said Mike Riley, director of Montgomery Parks. “An outdoor gym, dog park, and public art among other new features are certain to be a big hit with park users.”
New Park Amenities:
The renovated park features:
- A 22,000 square-foot, lighted dog park with separate areas for small dogs
- A new multi-age themed playground with a perimeter trike track
- A 2,400 square-foot outdoor gym
- Renovation of 1,400 linear feet of the Rock Creek trail
- Public art murals
- Stormwater management and beautiful landscaping
An important addition to the park is the new street hockey/futsal facility which was developed in partnership with the Washington Capitals. The rink at Dewey Local Park is the second one of its kind; another one is available at Ridge Road Local Park.
“The Washington Capitals are excited to partner with Montgomery Parks to help include a street hockey (and futsal court) as part of this renovation. The new outdoor facility is part of our commitment to provide access to the sport to everyone in our market, and it will offer so many residents an opportunity to play hockey,” said Peter Robinson, Director, Youth Hockey Development for the Washington Capitals.
Both street hockey / futsal rinks are available to permit for practices only beginning October 10th through the end of the month, when permit season ends. From November 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020, the rinks are available on a first come, first serve use.
The soccer field in the park, which is currently open for play, will be renovated at the end of the season in late fall and then re-open for play at the beginning of the spring 2021 season on March 15.
Photos courtesy of @MontgomeryParks.
Per the press release:
“After careful consideration we have decided to cancel Garden of Lights for the 2020 winter season,” said Stephanie Oberle, Director, Brookside Gardens. “The decision was based on many factors, including an overarching concern for the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff. While we are disappointed, we look forward to welcoming everyone back to the popular attraction in 2021.”
The Washington, Virginia and Maryland Garden Railway Society’s G-scale train exhibit that is traditionally hosted in the Conservatory is also canceled.
To mark the season, Brookside Gardens will offer a variety of both on-line and in-person programming for both children and adults, adapted to meet physical distancing requirements. The gift shop will carry festive merchandise and unusual house plants. Brookside Gardens will also be installing the fall Chrysanthemum Display outdoors.
Brookside Gardens’ outdoor garden areas are open daily from sunrise to sunset for exercise, meditation and wellness. The Visitor Center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., and the gift shop is open every Wednesday through Monday (closed on Tuesday).