Little Bennett Regional Park – Day Use Area

Division: Park Development
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Project Description

Located at 23701 Frederick Road (MD 355) in Clarksburg, this project implements the 2011 approved Facility Plan for a new 65-acre Day Use Area on the western fringe of Little Bennett Regional Park along MD Route 355 (Frederick Road) as a ‘gateway’ area to the regional park, the county’s best natural area.  The purpose is to create a welcoming entrance from the main road and a destination for families to spend the day.  The project involves nature-based recreational activities with an emphasis on interpretation to highlight the site’s unique ecological and cultural heritage.

Background

The 2007 Little Bennett Regional Park Master Plan recommended developing a Day Use Area, approximately 65 acres on the western edge of the park, to welcome people and provide them with an overview of the natural and cultural interpretive opportunities of the park.  The site consists primarily of rolling hills, open meadow areas, stream valleys and edge ecosystems that provide valuable non-forested habitats.  The culturally rich and ecologically diverse landscape provides a unique setting for the project.

Grassland, Prairie, Natural environment, Field, Natural landscape, Meadow, Grass, Vegetation, Plain, Steppe

Site Photo

The approved Facility Plan recommends protecting the contiguous meadow and surrounding ecotones while engaging visitors with nature-based recreation and interpretation. The Plan included two entrances from MD Route 355, an access road and parking; a multi-purpose classroom building with outdoor educational terraces and an amphitheater; group picnic areas and shelter; play complex, sledding hill, nature play areas and learning alcoves; hard surface and natural surface trails, bridges and connections to the larger park trail system, boardwalks and overlooks; meadow restoration and landscape management; stormwater management and supporting infrastructure; signage and interpretation. The facility plan received the 2012 Traveling Award from the Potomac and Maryland Chapters of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), which is the top honor reserved for a project that uniquely reflects and solves the most current issues in landscape architecture through innovative design excellence.

Map, Ecoregion

2011 Facility Plan

As recommended by the 2007 Little Bennett Regional Park Master Plan, a Phase 1 project to provide the northern park entrance along MD Route 355 was implemented with state grants and matching park funding from the FY12-14 CIP program while the overall Day Use Area is underway.  The 4-acre pilot project was completed in 2014 and received the 2016 President’s Award for design from the Potomac Chapter ASLA as well as the 2017 M-NCPPC Planning Department’s Design Excellence Award.

Due to fiscal constraints and affordability concerns, the total construction budget for the overall project has been reduced.  This project intends to develop a viable gateway destination with basic park framework and supporting infrastructure and amenities.  Program components will be reassessed and refined to construct the project within budget while maintaining the integrity of the approved Day Use Area plan.

Status/Project Update

The facility plan was approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board on October 6, 2011.  Funding for design and construction was approved in the Department of Parks’ Fiscal Year 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Program.  Detailed design began this fall.  Procurement for an architectural and engineering professional team is underway.

Calendar and Meeting Notes

Opportunities for public participation are shown below. Links to review meeting notes and Planning Board memos will be attached to each applicable calendar event as it is scheduled and completed.

DATE/TIME
DISCUSSION AND MEETING NOTES
LOCATION
Fall – Winter 2009 Facility Planning begins. Pre-design (project preparation, survey, data collection, site reconnaissance, design research)
Spring 2010 Develop a program of requirements
Spring – Summer 2010 Schematic Design, develop design approach and concept
September 29, 2010
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Community Meeting to obtain input from the community
May 23, 2011 The project presented to the Clarksburg Civic Association for comments
June 15, 2011 The project presented to the Up-County Recreation Advisory Board for comments
Spring/Summer 2011 Finalize design, refine preferred plan, obtain preliminary permits, develop cost estimate
October 6, 2011 Planning Board Meeting for approval of facility plan (open for public testimony)
–  Facility Plan Report
– Staff Memo
– Appendices
Montgomery Regional Office Building
Auditorium
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
September 2013 Phase 1 construction began
Fall 2014 Phase 1 completed
Fall 2019 Design begins
2022 Construction begins


M-NCPPC Staff Contact

Ching-Fang Chen, Project Manager/Landscape Architect
Ching-Fang.Chen@MontgomeryParks.org
301-495-2557

Last Updated: December 19, 2019