Columbia Local Park

Division: Park Development Division
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Existing Park Existing Amenities

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Project Description

Columbia Local Park is located at 14900 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville.  It is adjacent to the Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center and the Marilyn J. Praisner Library. The 25.2-acre park is bisected by a densely forested stream valley, effectively splitting the park into two distinct spaces.  With significant frontage along Old Columbia Pike, the three basketball courts, two baseball fields, and multi-user swing in the southern portion of the park are highly visible and heavily used.  Beyond the forested stream valley, the northern portion of the park is relatively isolated, obscured from Old Columbia Pike by the nearby library and recreation center.  As such, the baseball field, two tennis courts, and picnic shelter receive very little use, compared to the southern portion of the park.

In addition to the baseball field, tennis court, and picnic shelter in the northern portion of the park, three additional tennis courts have been taken out of service, leaving only a large, open paved area surrounded by a ten-foot-tall fence. The purpose of this project is to find a permanent use for the former tennis courts and simultaneously activate the northern portion of the park to make it more inviting to future users and to discourage inappropriate activities from occurring.  Because Columbia Local Park is within the Upper Paint Branch Special Protection Area, the amount of impervious surface within the park cannot be increased. One of the goals of the project is to remove and de-consolidate paved areas wherever possible.

Following a community engagement process, the drawings, cost estimates, and determination of regulatory feasibility will be developed to approximately 30%, and a Facility Plan will be presented to the Planning Board for approval. Upon approval from the Planning Board, complete construction documents will be developed for the project to be built.

Background

Acquired in 1969, Columbia Local Park was developed in 1974 with many of the amenities that still exist today. In the 1990s, residents began to express interest in re-purposing a portion of the five tennis courts in the northern portion of the park for various activities.  Various requests were made for the courts to be converted into a roller hockey rink, skate park, dog park, baseball batting cages, cricket practice facilities, and other uses, but no official action was taken to redevelop the courts.  By 2004, all five of the tennis courts had degraded to the point where they had to be taken out of service due to safety concerns.  In 2005, two of the tennis courts were completely renovated and remain in good working condition today.  The nets and posts were removed from the remaining three courts, leaving an expanse of flat, paved surface, enclosed by a ten-foot-tall fence.

For three weeks during the spring of 2017, a time lapse camera was installed to capture the usage of all five tennis courts. The camera snapped a photo every fifteen minutes from dawn till dusk and provided insight into when park users were visiting the courts and how the courts were being used.  Not surprisingly, tennis was the predominant activity to occur on the two active tennis courts.  In the three abandoned courts, however, uses varied from dog exercise, cycling, soccer, and baseball practice.

Status/Project Update

Property, Ecoregion, Map, Land lot, Urban design, Grass, Biome

Columbia Local Park Recommended Facility Plan

  • Spring 2018- Public outreach began to seek community input on activating the park. A community meeting was held on April 24, 2018, and votes regarding three design options were collected through an Open Town Hall Forum. These comments were used to develop the recommended Facility Plan.
  • Fall 2019- A Combined Preliminary and Final Water Quality Plan, and a Site Development Stormwater Management Plan were approved by the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services in October 2019.  The regulatory inputs have been incorporated into the recommended Facility Plan.
  • Winter 2020– The project was on hold due to a staff shortage and has resumed.  The revised recommended Facility Plan is posted on the Open Town Hall Forum for public review.
  • Spring 2021– Staff prepared the facility plan staff report and submitted the Preliminary Water Quality Plan for Mandatory Referral application.
  • Summer 2021– The recommended Park Facility Plan, Preliminary Water Quality Plan and Mandatory Referral (MR2021028) were approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board for review on July 29, 2021. Detailed design will begin in fall 2021.

Calendar and Meeting Notes

Links to review meeting notes and Planning Board staff report will be attached to each applicable calendar event as it is scheduled and completed.

DATE/TIME
DISCUSSION AND MEETING NOTES
LOCATION
Winter 2018
– Facility Planning began with a preliminary assessment of site conditions and internal scoping
Spring 2018
April 24, 2018 7pm – 8:30pm – Community Meeting- Columbia Local Park

Postcard

PowerPoint Presentation

– Meeting Notes

Open Town Hall – Review Options #1,2,3 for selection and commentary

Marilyn J. Praisner
Community Recreation Center
14906 Old Columbia Pike
Burtonsville, MD 20866
Summer 2018
July 17, 2018 Open Town Hall voting closed
– Result: Option # 3 selected as a preferred option
-Developing detailed design

-Secure environmental permits

Winter 2020
Open Town Hall – Review Recommended Facility Plan (refined Option #3)
Summer 2021
July 29, 2021 Planning Board reviewed and approved the Facility Plan on July 29, 2021.
– View the Staff Report
– View Attachments: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H & IFor ADA translation assistance contact the Project Manager:
Ching-Fang.Chen@MontgomeryParks.org
(301) 495-2572
On-line Meeting*

 

Fall 2021 Begin detailed design

*Dates and times are subject to change.  Visit MontgomeryPlanningBoard.org/agendas closer to the date.


M-NCPPC Staff Contact

Ching-Fang Chen, Project Manager
Ching-Fang.Chen@MontgomeryParks.org
(301) 495-2572

Last Updated: August 3, 2021