Montgomery Council Committee to Discuss Closing 11 Park Activity Buildings as Part of Proposed Mid-Year Budget Savings Plan
On Monday, Feb. 8: White Flint Sector Plan Staging
ROCKVILLE, Md., February 5, 2010—The Montgomery County Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee on Monday, Feb. 8, will hold a worksession on the proposed closing of 11 park activity buildings at various local parks operated by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). The closings were suggested as part of County Executive Isiah Leggett’s proposal to reduce spending in current Fiscal Year 2010 by approximately $70 million.
The PHED Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Mike Knapp and includes Councilmembers Marc Elrich and Nancy Floreen, will meet at 1:30 p.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The live broadcast also can be viewed via streaming through the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov.
M-NCPPC previously supported the mid-year budget savings plan with proposed reductions totaling $1.25 million. The PHED committee agreed with the suggested reductions, except for a proposal to eliminate maintenance for school ballfields. The committee felt that this reduction would significantly impact the use of fields by students and groups that use the fields after school and on weekends. The committee asked M-NCPPC to identify an alternative to the $181,300 that would have been saved by eliminating ballfield maintenance.
M-NCPPC is now recommending closing 11 park activity buildings as an alternative. The recommendation is to close the buildings at this time and later determine the ultimate disposition of the facilities on a case-by-case analysis. The Department of Parks believes that the park activity building program is the least essential and one of the least utilized of their programs. In 2007, the Department of Parks conducted a study of all 29 park activity buildings and concluded that there are “too many buildings with too much unused time” that are losing money and have too large a future maintenance liability.
The buildings proposed for closure are in the following parks: Owens Park in Beallsville (Fiscal Year 2009 usage of available capacity was 3 percent); Lynnbrook Park in Bethesda (9 percent usage); Stoneybrook Park in Wheaton (10 percent); Camp Seneca in Boyds (11 percent); Ken-Gar Palisades in Kensington (14 percent); North Chevy Chase (15 percent); Maplewood-Alta Vista in Bethesda (17 percent); Nolte in Silver Spring (17 percent); North Four Corners in Silver Spring (17 percent); Clarksburg Neighborhood Park (17 percent); and Colesville Local Park (18 percent).
The full Council is scheduled to vote on the entire mid-year budget savings plan on Tuesday, Feb. 9.
The PHED Committee on Monday also will discuss staging options for the White Flint Sector Plan.
At 2 p.m. in the Third Floor Conference Room, the Management and Fiscal Policy Committee, which is chaired by Duchy Trachtenberg and includes Councilmembers Valerie Ervin and Nancy Navarro, will hold a worksession on Spending Affordability Guidelines for the Fiscal Year 2011 Operating Budget