The Playground Renovation Program has enabled MCP to improve cherished parks
The gradual decrease in Montgomery County’s fear of COVID is prompting Montgomery County Parks (MCP) to prepare for an influx of visitors. Along with the loosening of mask mandates, the warmer weather is sparking new renovations to parks, including several in the Blair community.
One of the more recent initiatives is the Playground Renovation Program (PRG), which the Parks Department launched this past February. The county is still seeing more add-ons and repairs being done at their local playgrounds. A list of past and upcoming renovated parks is available here.
Sligo-Dennis Avenue Park is one of the many soon-to-be-renovated local parks in the Blair community. Junior Binayak Luitel is a frequent visitor of the park and has been for almost all of his life. He is extremely glad to hear that MCP is rejuvenating a childhood memory.
“Hopefully they add some more swings because I’ve been waiting on that since I was like seven,” Luitel says. He also mentions safety concerns, recalling an instance when his little cousin was cut by a jagged edge on one of the play-sets at the park. “I hope they are also looking at fixing up the basic safety stuff before making it look pretty,” he adds.
Junior Abel Berhanu expresses a similar sentiment concerning where the majority of funds should be going. “I see parks near Maple Avenue and see broken hoops and old [playground] sets. Then I walk down the street for 30 [minutes] and see construction on a park that already looks fine,” he explains.
On their website, MCP clarifies that this new initiative doesn't only focus on building new parks and making older parks look “pretty.” They are looking into the safety aspect of their parks and making sure to invest good sums of money to keep a strong safety standard across the county.
Andy Frank, MCP’s Chief of Park Development, reiterates this statement and expands on what the department’s priorities are. “It’s important to us to make sure that our parks are safe and available. Once we achieve that, we look to build on the aesthetic quality of the parks,” he says.
A great example of MCP fixing up basic features is seen with the new renovations at Burnt Mills Park. Frank is proud of the work they were able to complete there: “We improved upon the sidewalk and added a bridge to make the trek from Trader Joe’s to the trail much easier…We’re really happy with that,” he explains.
Along with safety, the department also values community input. On top of the upcoming renovations, MCP is accepting visitors’ ideas pertaining to the design of parks. The list of parks that are accepting suggestions is available here.
When senior Natin Teresa learned about this opportunity, he immediately thought up some suggestions for MCP on how to spruce up Acorn Park. He suggests adding an extra painting to the current “History of Silver Spring” exhibit and adding more benches.
Community input is being implemented into the renovations at the Silver Spring Intermediate Neighborhood Park. The park’s basketball court was reconstructed a handful of years ago, and now, due to local suggestions, a futsal field is being added along with more turf for informal field play.
Junior Hayden Cookson recalls using the open field at this park to play football as a kid. “I don’t think I’ll be out there playing on the new field, but I’m glad the smaller kids get more space than I did,” he admits.
Treasured memories are created at communal parks and it seems that the Blair community is looking forward to future improvements. Renovations allow future generations to develop their own memories, and MCP’s programs and cooperation with locals accelerates the parks' improvement. Although MCP renovates parks on a regular basis, it seems that these incoming improvements might be some of their best yet.
Samuale Asefa. Hello! My name is Sam and I'm a writer for SCO. I am a self-proclaimed movie buff and love listening to all types of music. More »