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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Home / Caroline Freeland Urban Park – Renovation

Caroline Freeland Urban Park – Renovation

ariel view of caroline freeland park renovation
playground rendition of carline freeland park renovation

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

Construction started July 2023 and the park is expected to be closed to the public until fall 2024. The renovated park will feature a new central lawn and a large seating terrace. Accessible pathways will provide easy access to new amenities, including a larger playground, bench swings, and bicycle parking.  The entire streetscape fronting the park will be improved, including a new entry plaza. Hampden Lane will be renovated into a more pedestrian-oriented plaza, while maintaining required emergency vehicle access through the park. 

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

Calendar and Meeting Notes 

Project DateProject Meeting Notes Resources
November 6, 2013Community Meeting #1
To solicit community input
Winter 2013-2014Develop Plan Alternatives
March 12, 2014Community Meeting #2
To solicit community input on concept plans.
Spring 2014Develop Preferred Plan
Summer/Fall 2014Refine Preferred Plan, obtain preliminary permits, develop a cost estimate.
January 20, 2015Presentation to Edgemoor Citizens Association
Winter/Spring 2015Develop Draft Facility Plan Package (30% design)
Finalize preliminary permits.
July 16, 2015Planning Board Meeting
Facility Plan approved.
Spring 2021 – Spring 2023Detailed Design, Construction Documentation, and Final Permitting phase.
Summer 2023 – Fall 2024*Park closed during construction.
Last Updated: April 25, 2024