Capital Improvements Program

All development, improvement, and maintenance are governed by the Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The CIP is prepared every two years to cover a six-year cycle. The CIP includes new or renovation projects costing over $30,000 with a useful life greater than 15 years. It also includes smaller planned life cycle asset replacement (PLAR) projects that increase the life of assets.

The most recent CIP for fiscal years 19-24 was approved by the Montgomery County Council on May 24, 2019. The County’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) maintains information about prior CIPs on their website, where you can explore OMB’s interactive Open Budget publications. More information about the next CIP for fiscal years 21-26 is below in the section On the Horizon: the Next CIP.

CIP Projects

Projects considered for inclusion in the CIP evolve from various sources, including but not limited to:

  • Variety of plans and studies, e.g. master plans, functional plans, needs plans (Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan [LPPRP] )
  • Approved facility plans
  • Citizen requests at public forums, letters, etc.
  • Planning Board directives
  • County Council directives
  • CIP requests submitted via an intra-departmental on-line CIP Request Form
  • Land acquisitions and developer park donations

There are two major types of capital development projects in the CIP: (1) Stand-Alone Projects and (2) Level-of-Effort Projects.

Stand-Alone Projects

Projects which have completed and approved facility plans

  • Include large park renovations or construction of new parks
  • Budget and appropriation are required to be approved by County Council once created
  • More than likely have operating budget impact
  • Closeout once appropriation has been spent and the project is complete

Example: Development of Greenbriar Local Park

Level-of-Effort Projects

Smaller projects that do not require extensive planning and design. Projects are reviewed each fiscal year and reprioritized as necessary

  • Include mostly infrastructure maintenance projects
  • Generally, less than $300,000
  • Supported by a consistent annual funding level
  • Less likely to have an operating budget impact
  • Stay active indefinitely

Example: Planned Lifecycle Asset Replacement of Playground Equipment

Other examples of Level-of-Effort projects include:

  • Ballfield Initiatives: ballfield lighting, and reconfiguration and upgrades of existing fields.
  • Minor New Construction: a variety of new park amenities, such as new picnic shelters, dog parks, stormwater management, and drainage upgrades, parking lot expansions, retaining walls, and sewer improvements.
  • PLAR (Planned Lifecycle Asset Replacement): improvements to various existing park amenities such as playgrounds and tennis courts.
  • Pollution Prevention and Repairs to Ponds and Lakes: continuing efforts to update and maintain our existing facilities to meet today’s environmental standards.
  • Restoration of Historic Structures: the repair, stabilization, and renovation of some of the important historical structures and sites that are located in the parkland.
  • Resurfacing Parking Lots and Paths: the lifecycle renovation of parking lots, entrance roads, and paved walkways.
  • Roof Replacement: roof replacements at park buildings and other structures such as picnic shelters.
  • Trails: Hard & Natural Surface: Design & Construction: design and construction of new trails and extensions or connectors to existing trails, trail amenities, signage, and renovations along existing trails.

Facility Planning

The facility planning process is required when variables or options involved in a project do not support reliable independent cost estimating. This process includes a program of requirements (POR), engineering and environmental studies, feasibility studies, concept plans, and park management plans.

The purpose of a facility plan is to produce a well-reasoned project cost estimate and takes the project through 30% design as required by County Council. Also known as “preliminary design,” a facility plan includes topographic surveys, traffic studies, conceptual site plans, schematic drawings, cost estimates, and most of all…public input!

Land Acquisition

The CIP also includes funding for the acquisition of land for purposes of park development and conservation of open space. The following is a list of the different types of acquisitions as they are captured in the CIP:

  • Acquisition: Local Parks: Acquisition of land to develop urban, local, and neighborhood parks
  • Acquisition: Non-Local Parks: Acquisition of land to develop regional, recreational, stream valley, conservation, and special parks
  • Legacy Open Space: Acquisition of land of countywide significance that may be of exceptional natural or cultural value
  • ALARF (Advance Land Acquisition Revolving Fund): Revolving acquisition fund used to acquire rights-of-way and other property needed for future public projects

Funding Sources

  • Park and Planning General Obligation Bonds
  • County General Obligation Bonds
  • State Bond Bills and Grants
  • Program Open Space
  • Contributions and Donations
  • Federal Grants
  • Enterprise Funds
  • Current Revenue

Factors to Consider

CIP Projects are prioritized based on several factors, including:

  • Planning Board criteria, including safety and environmental factors
  • Infrastructure Condition Assessment Study priorities
  • Facility planning evaluation matrices
  • Priorities assigned by field staff
  • Priorities assigned by a CIP evaluation committee, consisting of senior management
  • Public needs
  • New projects versus renovation projects

CIP capacity is limited by the following:

  • Fiscal Capacity
    • Available funding sources
    • Spending Affordability Guidelines (SAG)
      • Local Projects – SAG limits on Park and Planning Bonds
      • Non-Local Projects – All Montgomery County agencies compete for the same funding and SAG
  • Balancing a growing backlog of projects with new priorities and needs
  • County Executive’s Readiness Criteria
  • Implementation capability (limited resources, including staff)
  • Operating budget impact (OBI)

Park Construction

Once the preferred plan and cost estimate are approved by the Planning Board and the Montgomery County Council, a detailed set of construction drawings and specifications are developed.  The drawings and specifications outline all materials and processes necessary for construction.  This phase includes:

  • All construction permits are applied for and obtained from the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS) in Rockville.
    • Permits include, but are not limited to building permits, stormwater/sediment control permits, grading permits, electrical permits, etc.
  • The construction project is then publicly advertised and bid on by private contractors.
    • Some smaller projects are completed by M-NCPPC’s Facility Management Department.

It can take several years to complete a new park, park facility, or a major renovation.  The length of time needed for preliminary design through construction varies by project. It depends on the project’s scale, the complexity, and also on available funding.  If funding is not available at the time of the approval of the plan, the Montgomery County Council will set the schedule and the funding at a later date.

Once construction is complete, we can prepare the site for use by the public.

Public Participation

There are several opportunities for the public to participate in the CIP process:

    • Montgomery County Planning Board (MCPB) and Recreation Advisory Boards Joint CIP Public Forum (Spring of odd years)
    • Council CIP Public Hearings (February each year)
    • Public hearings for master plans and facility plans, and other MCPB hearings
  • Letters to MCPB, County Council, Park, and Planning staff

On the Horizon: the Next CIP

The Planning Board approved the FY21-26 CIP in October 2019 and submitted it to the County Executive and County Council on November 1, 2019.  The Parks Department began this effort in December of 2018 which involved a lot of engagement with Department staff, the public, and several strategies and work sessions with the Planning Board.

What has been going on already?

Department work includes:

  • Staff submission of project ideas in the Department’s Enterprise Asset Management System
  • Public Feedback
    • CIP Forum, June 13, 2019
    • Online Open Town Hall, May/June 2019
    • Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) forums, April-May 2019
    • Summary (see p.5)
  • Meetings of the Department’s CIP Evaluation Committee (April-June 2019) – Department directors and division chiefs review new capital project submissions and discuss where they fit in the priorities of existing projects and the Planning Board’s CIP strategy.
  • Planning Board Work Sessions
  • Submission of the Department’s FY21-26 CIP to the County Executive and County Council, November 1, 2019 via the County’s BASIS system.

What’s coming up?

The County Executive is currently reviewing the Parks CIP submission.  On January 15, 2020, he will release his Recommended FY21-26 CIP to the County Council for all departments and agencies, including the Parks CIP.  Typically, the Executive incorporates the Parks CIP with some modifications from what the Planning Board has transmitted.

The County Council will hold a public hearing on the CIP, tentatively scheduled for February 4-6, 2020.  Several weeks before the hearing, residents can sign up to provide testimony.  In February, soon after the public hearing, the Council’s Planning, Housing & Economic Development (PHED) Committee will review the CIP and make recommendations to the full Council (posted agendas). Later in February or early March, the Council will take straw votes on the Parks CIP.  In the earlier part of May 2020, after reviewing the Operating Budget, the Council will revisit the CIP and may amend their earlier straw votes pertaining to the Parks CIP. Later in May 2020, the Council will formally adopt resolutions for the FY21-26 CIP as well as the FY21 Capital Budget and the FY21 Operating Budget. FY21 funding appropriated for park projects in the CIP and Capital Budget will be available for the Department to spend on July 1, 2020.

Last Updated: November 18, 2019