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Columbia Local Park Renovation

map columbia local park renovation, new path, 3', 5', 10' tall fence, new shade structure, accessible parking spaces

Project Description

Columbia Local Park is located at 14900 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville. It is adjacent to the Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center and the Marilyn J. Praisner Library. The 25.2-acre park is bisected by a densely forested stream valley, effectively splitting the park into two distinct spaces. With significant frontage along Old Columbia Pike, the three basketball courts, two baseball fields, and multi-user swing in the southern portion of the park are highly visible and heavily used. Beyond the forested stream valley, the northern portion of the park is relatively isolated, obscured from Old Columbia Pike by the nearby library and recreation center. As such, the baseball field, two tennis courts, and picnic shelter receive less use compared to the southern portion of the park.

In addition to the baseball field, tennis court, and picnic shelter in the northern portion of the park, three additional tennis courts have been taken out of service, leaving only a large, open paved area surrounded by a ten-foot-tall fence. The purpose of this project is to find a permanent use for the former tennis courts and simultaneously activate the northern portion of the park to make it more inviting to future users and to discourage inappropriate activities from occurring. Because Columbia Local Park is within the Upper Paint Branch Special Protection Area, the amount of impervious surface within the park cannot be increased. One of the goals of the project is to remove and de-consolidate paved areas wherever possible.

The approved design includes the addition of four purpose-built pickleball courts, a tennis court with pickleball overlay lines, and a soccer court. Adjacent to the new courts, a gathering plaza with seating and device charging stations will provide a place for the community to gather while waiting for or watching the courts. The area of the former tennis courts will become a fenced-in dog park with a shade shelter and seating. Dedicated spaces for small dogs and large dogs will be provided. Additional modifications and amenities will include: a water fountain with bottle filler and dog bowl, new parking lot with increased ADA accessibility, a renovated shade shelter with picnic tables and grill, and a new connection to the adjacent neighborhood.

Status/Project Update

  • Spring 2018 – Public outreach began to seek community input on activating the park. A community meeting was held on April 24, 2018, and votes regarding three design options were collected through an Open Town Hall Forum. These comments were used to develop the recommended Facility Plan.
  • Fall 2019 – A Combined Preliminary and Final Water Quality Plan, and a Site Development Stormwater Management Plan were approved by the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services in October 2019.  The regulatory inputs have been incorporated into the recommended Facility Plan.
  • Winter 2020 – The project was on hold due to a staff shortage and has resumed.  The revised recommended Facility Plan is posted on the Open Town Hall Forum for public review.
  • Spring 2021 – Staff prepared the facility plan staff report and submitted the Preliminary Water Quality Plan for Mandatory Referral application.
  • Summer 2021 – The recommended Park Facility Plan, Preliminary Water Quality Plan and Mandatory Referral (MR2021028) were approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board for review on July 29, 2021.
  • Fall 2022 – Spring 2023 – Final design and construction documents.
  • Summer 2023 – Construction documents and permitting completed.
  • Current Phase – Construction began in Fall 2023. The northern portion of the park will be closed for approx. 6-8 months.
  • Park Opening – Tentatively Mid-May 2024 (subject to change)
  • Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: Saturday June 29th, 2024 (more details to come)

Dates are subject to change.

Project TimelineProject StageProject Resources
Winter 2018Facility Planning began with a preliminary assessment of site conditions and internal scoping.N/A
April 2018Community Meeting- Columbia Local ParkOpen Town Hall Review Options #1,2,3 for selection and commentary
July 2018Open Town Hall voting closed.Option # 3 selected as a preferred option
Summer 2019Developing Design Concept
Secure Preliminary Environmental Approvals
Winter 2020Open Town Hall Review Recommended Facility PlanRefined Option #3
July 2021Planning Board Approved the Facility PlanView the Staff Report from July 2021 (accessible pdf)
View Forest Conservation Exemption Attachment D (accessible pdf)
View Cost Estimate Attachment E (accessible pdf)
View Operating Budget Impact Attachment F (accessible pdf)
View Water Management Plan Attachment I (accessible pdf)
Fall 2023 (Current Phase)Construction to begin. Northern portion of the park is closed.Construction anticipated to last approx. 6-8 months.
May 20, 2024Park is Opened to the Public
Last Updated: May 28, 2024