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Caroline Freeland Urban Park – Renovation

Division: Park Development

rendering of park from birds eye

Project Description

Caroline Freeland Urban Park is located at 7200 Arlington Road in Bethesda, Maryland between Hampden Lane and Elm Street.  The park provides an ideal setting for lunchtime meetings and weekend activities due to its close proximity to the Bethesda Library, local businesses, neighborhoods, and restaurants.

The goal of this project is to develop an innovative, attractive, and environmentally sensitive design for the long-term renovation of the park.  The design process will focus on identifying opportunities to improve the park as an amenity for the local community while balancing the need to improve connections to the Bethesda Central Business District (CBD).  The park’s downtown location offers great potential to create a memorable and unique open space that provides a cohesive and flexible framework to support passive recreational needs and cultural activities.


Originally acquired in 1983, this one-acre park was named for Caroline Freeland, the first female chair of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC).  Situated at the western edge of the Downtown Bethesda Central Business District (CBD), the park was originally designed to buffer residential communities from commercial development.

Existing park elements include a covered wooden pavilion structure, an open-air wooden trellis, a public art sculpture, stone steps (along Elm Street), concrete and wood retaining walls, raised wooden planters, a sloped lawn area, a variety of large trees, a paved plaza at the terminus of Hampden Street, and a fenced-in playground area.  The public art sculpture that is located on the lawn was designed by George Greenamyer and was installed in 1989 as a commission from Art in the Parks.  The playground area, which was renovated in 2010, features a variety of play equipment and is a popular destination for local residents.  Large deciduous and evergreen trees comprise most of the southern half of the site, with mature flowering trees in raised planters to the north.

The site contains a wide variety of paving materials, furnishings, and site amenities.  Wood benches and picnic tables attract lunch-goers and leisure activities during the day and weekends.

The Montgomery County Planning Board approved the Facility Plan on July 16, 2015.  The Detailed Design and Construction Documentation phase began in Spring 2021

Status/Project Update

Park improvements are coming soon to Caroline Freeland Park!  Construction is expected to begin in late 2022.  Please note – Caroline Freeland Park is expected to be closed to the public for most of 2023 during the construction of park improvements.  ( Click on each picture to enlarge.)


Calendar and Meeting Notes

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

Summer 2013
Facility Planning begins; preliminary assessment of site conditions is developed
November 6, 2013
7pm – 9pm
Community Meeting #1 to solicit community input
1.) View the presentation shown at the meeting
2.) View summary of community comments
3.) View results from the “Green Dot – Red Dot” character exercise
Green dot = Like/Prefer
Red dot = Dislike/Don’t Prefer
Bethesda Library
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD 20814
Winter 2013-2014 Develop Plan Alternatives
March 12, 2014
7pm – 9pm
Community Meeting #2 to solicit community input on three (3) concept plans. A summary of comments and presentation materials are posted below.
– View the meeting notes
– View options A, B, and C
– View the presentation
Bethesda Chevy-Chase Regional Service Center
East-West Room (Room A/B)
4805 Edgemoor Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
Spring 2014
Develop Preferred Plan
Summer/Fall 2014
Refine Preferred Plan, obtain preliminary permits, develop a cost estimate
January 20, 2015 Presentation to Edgemoor Citizens Association
(staff provided a project update as requested)
– View the presentation
– View the Preferred Plan (15% design)
Bethesda Chevy-Chase Regional Service Center
4805 Edgemoor Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
Winter/Spring 2015 Develop Draft Facility Plan Package (30% design)
Finalize preliminary permits
July 16, 2015 Planning Board Meeting – Facility Plan approved.
– View the presentation
Montgomery Regional Office
8787 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Spring 2021 – Fall 2022* Detailed Design, Construction Documentation, and Final Permitting phase.
Fall 2022 – Fall 2023* Construction of park improvements. Please note: Caroline Freeland Park is expected to be closed to the public for most of 2023 during construction.

*Dates and times subject to change.  Please contact project manager for additional information.

M-NCPPC Staff Contact

Lucas Bonney, Project Manager

Last Updated: June 27, 2022