Planners approve buying one-acre lot to expand northwest edge of Ovid Hazen Wells park in Clarksburg -- Gazette.Net



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The county Planning Board recently approved spending $395,000 to buy a house and one-acre lot to help expand the Ovid Hazen Wells regional park in Clarksburg.

The board approved the purchase of the lot on Piedmont Road during its regular meeting on Thursday July 17.

The funds will come out of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s supply of state Program Open Space funds, which are generated by real estate transactions.

Planners with MNCPPC, which runs the 290-acre park, hope that they will also be able to buy two adjacent parcels totaling 11 acres to expand the northwest corner of the park along the north side of Skylark Road.

“The acquisition of this first parcel helps us hopefully to be [in a position] about getting the two other parcels,” said Rachel Newhouse, planner coordinator, during her presentation of the draft development plan.

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing about the Ovid Hazen Wells park on Oct. 2, followed by work sessions before final approval.

Ideas for the mostly rural park of woods and fields includes a combined regional recreation, aquatic and senior center. However, the county’s Department of Recreation is also looking at other sites for the regional center, which is likely to attract considerable traffic.

Planners are proposing that the carousel to be moved from Wheaton be placed on the western side of the park, which is already developed with ballfields and picnic areas.

Other ideas include developing the historic house in the center of the park into an event center that could accommodate 150 to 200 visitors for weddings, graduation parties and other social events.

“The cost would be fleshed out in a facility plan,” Newhouse said.

Planners also envision complementing the Red Wiggler Community Farm in the eastern section near Ridge Road with community gardens and a planting education program.

“People could learn how to grow fruits and vegetables in their own home gardens,” Newhouse said.

Also suggested is a dog park, sledding hill and active recreation area for teenagers that could include a climbing wall or climbing tower.

To read the draft plan, visit montgomeryplanningboard.org and search for the agenda for the July 17 meeting.



vterhune@gazette.net