Showing posts with label Parks and Recreation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parks and Recreation. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Rockville Mayor & Council to consider adopting plan to "reimagine" RedGate Park


Rockville's Mayor and Council will consider adopting an updated Master Plan to "reimagine" RedGate Park, a former City-owned golf course at 14500 Avery Road at their Monday, October 17, 2022 meeting. Formulated with input from the public, city staff and elected officials, the latest version of the plan envisions the park as an arboretum. It would include community gardens, an amphitheatre with a deck overlook and a visitor center.

Following a July 18 discussion of the plan by the Mayor and Council, several updates were made. Picnic pavilions were added, as was a dog exercise area for small and large breeds. The layout of pathways was refined, identifying existing ones that will be retained or removed, and the specific routes of new ones. Finally, a more specific location for the visitor center was determined.

With the new changes, the estimated cost of the reimagined park will be somewhere between $16,301,533 and $24,452,299. City staff are recommending adoption of the plan.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

UPDATE: Rockville outdoor Movies in the Parks tonight, August 10: The Boss Baby CANCELED


Update - 12:58 PM: Tonight's movie has been canceled due to the forecast of severe weather

The City of Rockville's feature presentation tonight, Wednesday, August 10, for the 2022 Movies in the Parks series will be 2017's The Boss Baby. Showtime will be at dusk, approximately 8:00 PM, at Montrose Park at 451 Congressional Lane. The movie is free; bring your own chairs, blankets, food and (non-alcoholic, sorry!) beverages. If there is inclement weather, the movie is subject to cancelation, so check the forecast before leaving home.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Assault at Rockville park


City of Rockville police responded to a call regarding a 2nd-degree assault, and disorderly conduct, at a public park Sunday afternoon. The assault was reported at a park in the 1900 block of Veirs Mill Road at 2:33 PM, according to crime data. That appears to be the bike trail leading to Twinbrook Park.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Montgomery County transit use, return to offices remains far below pre-pandemic numbers, new data show


Park use and grocery/pharmacy shopping
now less than during pandemic

New Google Mobility data show life in Montgomery County has yet to resume pre-pandemic patterns over the first three months of 2022, and some activity categories have even declined below their pandemic numbers. Transit use in the county has been even worse this year than it was last fall, dropping from 43% below early 2020 ridership numbers to 48% below in early 2022. Workers are heading back to the office only 1% more so far this year than they were last fall, with residents working on-location 30% less than during the same period before the pandemic in 2020.

Wheaton Claridge Local Park

County residents in 2022 so far are still staying home 10% more than they did in early 2020. In a troubling change, residents have actually reduced their time in parks and in grocery and drug stores. Google data during the pandemic months of 2020 and 2021 had showed residents were actually spending more time in parks, grocery stores and drug stores than they were before the pandemic. Now even those categories have gone negative.

Buses lined up at
Rockville Metro station

Residents spent 5% less time in parks between January 21 and March 4, 2022 than they did over the same period in 2020. They spent 6% less time in grocery and drug stores so far this year than they did in early 2020, which is odd considering that Covid-19 cases were way up when the year started, and shelves were bare for several weeks at grocery stores. And they've spent a whopping 30% less time in other types of retail stores and in recreation activities this year than they did in January - March 2020.

County residents spent less time
shopping at CVS Pharmacy so far
this year than they did over the same
period in 2020

The data collected by Google is limited to those users who have opted in to allowing the tech giant to track their phone's location. It measures both the frequency of visits, and the amount of time those users stay in the places categorized in the results, such as grocery stores, transit stations and parks.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Rockville Planning Commission to discuss new parkland requirements for developers

Anderson Park in Rockville

The Rockville Planning Commission will discuss a proposed update to parkland requirements for developments that include more than 25 multifamily, 20 townhouse or attached, or 15 single-family home units. Non-residential developments with 5000 square feet or more of floor space would also be under the new requirements. Options under discussion will include dedication of land, fees-in-lieu-of dedication and impact fees.

When the Mayor and Council discussed the issue, they came up with several recommendations for the new park requirement rules. They suggested the Parks impact fee apply to the affected non-residential projects. The impact fee should be only 75% of what was recommended by a fiscal consultant to the City, to reduce costs for developers. Impact fees should be indexed to the Engineering News Record's Capital Cost Index, as they are in several Maryland counties right now. And exemptions should apply to the moderately-priced dwelling units in a project, existing and pending projects already under review by the City, and developments that include three or fewer residential units.

Planning commissioners will hold the discussion at their March 23, 2022 meeting. The virtual meeting will begin at 7:00 PM.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Transit, office use still haven't recovered in Montgomery County, mobility data show


Use of parks continues to surge

New mobility data released by Google indicates Montgomery County residents still aren't riding transit or going to the office in pre-pandemic numbers, despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. Google compared data acquired from devices between September 29 and November 10, 2021 with pre-covid-outbreak data collected between January 3 and February 6, 2020. 

Transit use is still down 43% from early 2020 ridership numbers, the new data show. Employees are traveling to office workplaces 31% less this fall than in early 2020. 

Montgomery residents are still spending
more time in pharmacies than before the
pandemic, but less than they did this summer

County residents are still shopping in grocery stores and pharmacies more than they did before the pandemic, but only 2% more often, down from 7% more at the time of my last report. Shoppers are still not going into other types of retail stores or recreation facilities as often as they did pre-covid; those numbers are still 11% below the early 2020 baseline.

Use of Montgomery County parks during the
pandemic continues to surge

Montgomery County still has a new appreciation for the great outdoors, though. Fall use of parks countywide shot up to 42% higher than that of early 2020; that number was up only 28% more in warmer July and August 2021, by comparison. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

New Rockville skate park opens


Skate or die! The new and updated Rockville Skate Park has opened at 355 Martins Lane. Gone is the 2001-model wood and steel park. In its place are concrete ramps and bowls, and new rails. Other features include an entrance building with a family/gender-neutral restroom, lighting, landscaping, parking, a stormwater management facility, and access road improvements. The park was designed and built by Spohn Ranch of Los Angeles, in coordination with input from the skating community in Rockville.

Challenges at the park include a kidney bowl, manual pads, quarter pipes, a radius wedge, a rainbow grind rail, a grind ledge, a slappy curb and pole. Whether you know what those terms mean or not makes no difference; the City says the park is designed for all ages and skill levels.

The park’s hours are: 3-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The park is closed on Mondays through Tuesday, June 15. Summer hours, beginning Wednesday, June 16, are noon-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Helmets are required; a few loaner helmets will be available at the park. Staff at the park will strictly enforce the helmet rule during operating hours.

Photo courtesy City of Rockville

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Rockville Swim Center loosening pandemic restrictions


Pandemic restrictions continue to loosen in Rockville and across the country. Among these are several changes in protocols at the Rockville Swim Center, located at 355 Martins Lane. 

Effective now, no face coverings are required in outdoor areas at the center, except for when checking in for an outdoor reservation. Masks are still required indoors, including in the gym, except while in the water.

Beginning this Saturday, May 29, 2021, reservations will no longer be needed for the outdoor Fitness and Recreation Pools, indoor North Pool, or Fitness Room. Users may return to sharing a lap lane with others in these areas, without limitations on the number of swimmers per lane. 

Use of the center will also no longer be restricted to City of Rockville residents and facility members, also effective May 29. The whirlpool and sauna remain closed for the time being.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Benches proposed for Chestnut Lodge Park in Rockville


Two benches would be installed in Chestnut Lodge Park at 500 W. Montgomery Avenue in Rockville under a proposal to be reviewed by the Historic District Commission. The park is one of the few physical remnants of the world-famous Chestnut Lodge sanitarium, which burnt down under very suspicious circumstances in 2009.

Aerial view of Chestnut Lodge Park;
orange arrows indicate proposed
bench locations


The "Madison" bench model proposed for use is made out of recycled plastic bottles. Planning staff has concluded the proposal meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation #9, and is recommending approval of the bench plan. The HDC will take up the matter at its April 15 virtual meeting.



Thursday, April 1, 2021

Rockville seeks public input on future of RedGate Park


The City of Rockville is seeking public feedback on the future use of RedGate Park, which was designated as parkland by the Mayor and Council when the golf course on the site at 14500 Avery Road closed. An online survey has been set up for this purpose. Respondents are being asked to weigh in on what features and amenities the park should have. You do not have to be a City resident to participate, but you do have to register to take the survey.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Rockville cancels July 4th fireworks; farmers market to return in June

The coronavirus pandemic continues to upend calendars and traditions across the globe and here in Rockville. Annual July 4th fireworks that were to have been held at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park in King Farm have been canceled. Hometown Holidays and the Memorial Day parade have also been canceled. On a brighter note, Rockville's Farmers Market will return to the parking lot at the corner of Route 28 and Monroe Street on June 6.

Coronavirus-related facilities closures have been extended through May 29, including City Hall. The City of Rockville’s tennis and pickleball courts, the dog park at King Farm, and all parks and trails are open. Playgrounds, athletic fields, bathrooms, fitness stations, basketball, Bankshot and volleyball courts will remain closed until further notice. City events, in-person classes, programs, rentals and activities are also canceled through May 29.

Most of the state of Maryland moved into Phase 1 of Gov. Larry Hogan's reopening plan Friday. Montgomery County declined to do so, and is remaining under a new Stay-at-Home lockdown order declared by the Montgomery County Council.

Photo via U.S. Department of Defense

Monday, May 6, 2019

MoCo Planning Board to discuss 6-month pilot allowing ebikes/scooters on trails

The Montgomery County Planning Board will discuss a proposed six-month pilot program that would allow e-bikes and electric scooters to operate on some County trails at their meeting this Thursday, May 9, 2019. Montgomery County is still working out an agreement with four dockless e-bike companies for the pilot. If approved by the board, the pilot could begin as early as this month.

Only bikes powered by rechargeable battery will be allowed on the trails during the pilot. The trails selected are the Matthew Henson Trail (Aspen Hill/Silver Spring), Sligo Creek Trail (only the Montgomery County section), Long Branch Trail, Rock Creek Trail, and the paved sections of the Northwest Branch Trail within Montgomery County. Signs will be posted at the selected trails, and public announcements will be made by County government agencies, at least two weeks prior to the start of the program, County officials say.
Paved surface trails where e-bikes
and e-scooters could be used during
the six-month pilot program
Planning staff says that the trails selected are more often used for longer distance trips through stream valleys. The Parks Department wants to evaluate the results and user feedback before allowing the electric bikes on busier trails like the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda. They'll be examining conflicts with other trail users, rules violations, safety, logistics, and personal vs. commercial use.

Gas scooters and electric hoverboards and skateboards will remain illegal on all County trails during the pilot. Bikes cannot have throttle assist mechanisms.

The groundwork for the pilot was laid by a related park directive approved two years ago by the board. Staff are recommending approval of the pilot program.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Rockville seeks input on future of parks at public meetings tonight

Weigh in on the future of Rockville's parks and recreation programs and facilities at two public meetings being held tonight, Thursday, March 28, 2019 by the city's Department of Recreation and Parks. The first meeting will be held at 6:00 PM in the social hall at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, located at 603 Edmonston Drive. Tonight's second meeting will begin at 7:30 PM, and will be held at the Rockville Senior Center, located at 1150 Carnation Drive.

If you cannot attend tonight, you can also submit comments online.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Rockville Planning Commission to discuss master plan update vision for parks

Orange areas on the map are
homes that are further from
parks and recreation facilities
than planners and residents
would like
The Rockville Planning Commission will be briefed on, and discuss, the section of the 2040 Master Plan update on Parks and Recreation Facilities at their Thursday, November 9 meeting at City Hall at 7:00 PM. A draft of the plan sets out goals based on feedback from community listening sessions and previous discussions.

Among the goals are leveraging private sector capital, property and resources; continuing expansion of well-connected bike facilities; improving cooperation with Montgomery College, Montgomery County and Montgomery County Public Schools, which all have facilities in or near Rockville; ensuring City parks and facilities have distinctive branding; ensuring no net loss of square footage of parkland (something the Montgomery County Council failed to do in recent years); and ensuring that all homes within the City are a quarter-mile walk from at least one park or recreation facility.

Currently, 79% of Rockville homes are within the quarter-mile range. Underserved areas are primarily east of Rockville Pike, west of I-270, and in the town center. The latter could be very effectively addressed by a long-considered plan to bury the Pike in the town center area, and building a major park on top of it.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Public meeting scheduled on Chestnut Lodge park proposal

A required pre-application area meeting on the proposed conversion of three Chestnut Lodge parcels into parkland will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 7:00 PM in the Mayor and Council chambers at Rockville City Hall. The proposal would remove three land parcels from the Chestnut Lodge Planned Development at 500 West Montgomery Avenue for future use as a public park.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rockville councilman: Stop funding tackle football


Rockville Councilmember Mark Pierzchala advised his colleagues at last night's Mayor and Council meeting that he wants the City to stop funding contact football for youth in its budget. The Mayor and Council have allotted $342,510 for youth sports in FY-2016. However, the amount of that which funds tackle football is not broken out in the budget document.

The Recreation and Parks Department offers a Rockville Football League for youth on its list of sports. A representative for the City, Jen Liberto, sits on the Board of Directors of this league entity. But it's unclear how much control or say Rockville has in its budget and operations, or how much the City contributes financially to the league. If Rockville were to cease funding tackle football, the impact on this or other programs is also unclear.

Pierzchala said that, as a former football player in his own youth, he knows football is inherently a "helmet-to-helmet" game. With recent concerns over concussions and long-term brain injuries in football players at all levels, Pierzchala argued that this is discussion the City must have. He said he wanted to give advance notice of his position, so that no one would be taken by surprise when the new budget deliberations are underway.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ROCKVILLE RESIDENT CRITICIZES CITY "COMBAT SPORTS" CLASSES HE SAYS "ENHANCE VIOLENCE"

Dr. Maynard Moore, a Rockville resident affiliated with the National Association of Recreational Equality, asked the Mayor and Council Monday to add recreational sports programs that promote cooperation, rather than competition.  Referring to Sunday's Super Bowl, Moore said "we can be thankful that apparently no one was seriously hurt. This spring the City of Rockville will be providing classes for teaching...'defeat others' combat sports," sports he said may be "conducive to aggression."

Referring to football, soccer, basketball and hockey, Moore cited research that suggests such competitive, "opponent-oriented" sports are "enhancing violence among young people," and may lead to bullying.

Moore did not suggest the city cancel the traditional sports classes, but asked the Mayor and Council to add one or two classes that would "foster cooperation, rather than aggression," such as bankshot basketball.

Mayor Bridget Newton said the city already has three bankshot basketball facilities.

ROCKVILLE NAMES NEW HEAD OF PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT

Timothy J. Chesnutt, former director of the Jacksonville, North Carolina Parks and Recreation Department, will fill that position now in Rockville. Chesnutt was hired by Rockville City Manager Barb Matthews, who announced the news Monday.

Chesnutt succeeds longtime director (and former City Hall podium turner) Burt Hall.

“I have long known Rockville is a special place," Chesnutt said. "The Recreation and Parks Department has a reputation for providing quality, innovative and responsive services and programs, and I am honored to be chosen to be a part of this exceptional team. I look forward to working with the City Manager, the outstanding staff of the Recreation and Parks Department, the Mayor and Council, and the greater Rockville community to carry on a tradition of excellence.”