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 lifecycle asset replacement (PLAR) projects that increase the life of assets.

The most recent version of the CIP for fiscal years 21-26 was approved by the Montgomery County Council (Resolution 19-866) on May 27, 2021.  This resolution included the FY22 Capital Budget.

Prior Council resolutions for the FY21-26 CIP include

  • Resolution 19-466  – The original FY212-26 CIP resolution, including the FY21 Capital Budget, May 21, 2020
  • Resolution 19-588 – A cost savings plan for FY21 that reduced FY21 expenditures by $628,000, September 15, 2020

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. You can also access the current Parks CIP documents in the “Resources” section to the right.

Below you will find some general information about the CIP as well as what the Department is looking at moving forward into FY23-28.

If you are looking for Operating Budget Information, please visit our Budget Page.

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 re-prioritized 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.
  • 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 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 often includes a program of requirements (POR), engineering and environmental studies, feasibility studies, concept plans, and park management plans 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
  • Bethesda Park Impact Payment: A capital project that receives funds from development for new facilities and new parks within the Bethesda Downtown Plan boundary
  • Legacy Open Space: Acquisition of land of countywide significance that may be of exceptional natural or cultural value
  • Legacy Urban Space: Acquisition of valuable open space in the county’s most densely populated areas with a methodology for more equitably linking parks to populations in urban areas
  • 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, Grants, and Loans
  • 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 Department, Planning Board or Montgomery County Council, as applicable, 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

Current CIP: FY21-26

Work on the CIP has been ongoing since late 2018 through today. While the CIP is overhauled every two years, it is reviewed annually because the requests made in the first two fiscal years become the Capital Budget for FY21 and FY22 respectively.  For instance, the FY21-26 CIP was first approved in May 2020 and the appropriation request associated with FY21 were also adopted as the FY21 Capital Budget.  A year later, in May 2021, the County Council approved the FY22 version of the CIP and adopted the respective appropriation requests for FY22 as the FY22 Capital Budget. Below you will find all the details of both FY21 and FY22 versions of the CIP and Capital Budget.

FY21 version of the CIP and FY21 Capital Budget

Development and approval:

  • 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.
  • County Executive review of the CIP and transmittal to the County Council with some recommended changes
  • County Council approval of the FY21 Capital Budget and FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP), Resolution 19-466, May 21, 2020.  This includes revised Project Description Forms for several projects submitted by the Department on November 1, 2019.

FY21 Cost Savings Plan:

  • Shortly after the CIP was approved, on September 15, 2020, at the request of the County Executive and County Council, the Parks Department participated in a cost savings plan for fiscal year 21 that reduced the Parks CIP by $628,000 (Resolution 19-588).


FY22 version of the CIP (the “biennial year”) and FY22 Capital  Budget

  • Department staff reviewed capital projects in the CIP for needed amendments to reflect necessary changes and to prepare the FY22 capital Budget (January-September 2020)
  • Planning Board Work Sessions
  • Submission of the Department’s FY21-26 CIP (FY22 version) to the County Executive and County Council, November 1, 2020 via the County’s BASIS system
  • County Executive review of the CIP and transmittal to the County Council with some recommended changes
  • County Council review
    • Public Hearing, February 9, 2021, – Watch (starts at about 1:07:45)
    • Committee Review, PHED, March 4, 2021 – Staff reportWatch – the Committee recommended in favor of the Executive’s recommended CIP except for $3 million of reductions that would have  reduced budgets for Ballfields by $500k per year in FY23-25 and delayed Phase 2 field renovations at Blair High School from FY23 to FY26 ($1.5M)
    • Full Council, May 10, 2021 – the full Council reviewed the PHED Committee Recommendations and appropriations for additional State funding (see next section below)
  • Addition of State Funding
    • The in the most recent session of the Maryland General Assembly the State of Maryland added additional funding in the form of grants and Program Open Space
      • Grants
        • Power Line Trail, $10,000,000 – for additional work on a 13-mile natural-surface and paved trail will connect
          South Germantown Recreational Park to Cabin John Regional Park
        • Damascus Recreational Park, $225,000 – for athletic field lighting at field 3 or 4
        • South Germantown Recreational Park, $150,000 – for upgrades including the installation of a parking lot at the bike skills area with ADA enhancements
        • Willett Branch Greenway, $550,000 – to Acquire land for the planned Willett Branch Greenway in the Westbard Community
        • Randolph Hills Local Park, $150,000 – to replace the trail bridge and renovate the hard surface trail connector from Randolph Hills Local Park to the Rock Creek Trail
        • Wheaton Regional Park, $200,000 – to renovat e the hard surface trail from Narin Road to the dog park access road
        • Long Branch Local Park near Domer Avenue, $200,000 – to replace the existing trail bridge with a new signature bridge
        • Fox Chapel Neighborhood Park, $150,000 – playground replacement and ADA improvements
    • For more information
  • Final Council Adoption
    • County Council approval of the FY22 Capital Budget and FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP), Resolution 19-866, May 27, 2020.  This includes revised Project Description Forms for several projects submitted by the Department on November 1, 2020.


A New CIP for FY23-28

While work was wrapping up on the FY22 Capital Budget and amended FY21-26 CIP, the Department began working on the next CIP. Development of this CIP is following a pattern similar to the prior CIP described in the sections above. Below you will find information and links about the development of the FY23-28 CIP:

  • Staff submission of project ideas in the Department’s Enterprise Asset Management System, Spring 2021
  • Public Feedback
    • CIP Forum, June 10, 2020 – Watch (2:03:50)
    • Online Open Town Hall, May/June 2021
    • Letters and feedback
    • Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) forums
    • Summary (see p.8)
  • Based on this feedback and direction from the Planning Board in Strategy sessions (links below) staff continue to review new capital project submissions and where they fit in the priorities of the existing projects in the CIP.
  • Planning Board Strategy Sessions
  • Planning Board Work Sessions
  • Submission of the Departments FY23-28 CIP to the County Executive and County Council, November 1, 2021 via the County’s BASIS system.

Future Milestones for the FY23-28 CIP will include:

  • County Executive release of recommendations for the FY23-28 CIP, January 15, 2022
  • County Council Review of the FY23-28 CIP
    • Public Hearings, early February 2022
    • Committee review (Planning Housing, and Economic Development Committee (PHED)), February-March 2022
    • Full Council Review and adoption, March-May 2022


Last Updated: November 5, 2021