Almost 50 county residents attended a public meeting hosted by the Montgomery County Parks Planning Department on Oct. 30 to share their input about a proposed dog park in Silver Spring at Ellsworth Park on Colesville Road.
According to a presentation by the county’s parks and planning department officials, the criteria for selecting Ellsworth location was based on walkability; existing parkland — a site that is underutilized and does not involve purchase of the land; and a site that has no environmental restraints, appropriate to the conversion of a dog park.
“Based on the amount of public outreach we have done, we think it [Ellsworth Park] works,” said Dominic Quattrocchi, a senior planner and arborist at the park and planning department.
A dog park can cost between $40,000 to $500,000 based on size, site work, type of ground amenities, and fencing choice, but county officials said that $250,000 has been already set aside in the Montgomery County Capital Improvement program in fiscal year 2014 to develop the park.
The Ellsworth Urban Park location has 3.6 acres, but only 10,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet is being considered for the development of the park. The department received more than 300 comments, and many were in favor of the Ellsworth location, according to Quattrocchi.
“We are also here to make sure there’s enough support, more support than not, for having a dog park here in Ellsworth,” said Brooke Farquhar, supervisor with Montgomery County Park and Trail Planning at Department of Parks.
Some residents at the meeting had concerns about small dogs’ safety and asked for the possibility to have two separate areas for small and big dogs.
“If we decide to go with the two-system model we are going to have to have a smaller dog park,” said Aaron Feldman, a senior landscape architect at the Montgomery County park planning commission.
Residents also suggested a double-gated entrance, and well-lit area to be available for people who will walk their dogs when it is dark outside.
Other considered sites were Jesup Blair Park, Fairview Neighborhood Park, Fenton Street Urban Park, Bullis Local Park, Montgomery Regional Office, Nolte Local Park, Dale Avenue Neighborhood Park, Rock Creek Park near Interstate 495, and Sligo Creek Golf Course.
The parks planning department will revise the dog park design, add the new public input and present the new concept to the planning board next winter in 2014.
The public is still encouraged to send comments about the proposal to www.parkplanning.org.