Berliner Wants Interim Improvements For Wall Park

Wall Local Park, with the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center and a 250-spot parking lot, via Montgomery ParksThe long-term plan for Wall Park is an expansive green space that would serve as the central gathering and recreation spot for a redeveloping White Flint.

But that plan (no specific timetable has been given) is dependent on a new street grid, funding in the county budget and a yet to be finalized agreement to share a parking garage proposed by the developer next door.

For now, Councilmember Roger Berliner says he’d like to see the existing 12 acres of the park (4901 Nicholson Lane) put to better use — at least until White Flint and the park are more fully developed.

“There certainly must be low-cost, low-impact options that could help bring this park to life during the interim period — options that would not preclude approval of a final design that, of course, will be developed in conjunction with the community,” Berliner wrote in a letter sent this week to Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and Montgomery Parks Director Mike Riley.

The park now has a small playground, picnic area and multi-use field, but most know the immediate area for the 250-space parking lot that serves the adjacent Shriver Aquatic Center.

The idea is to transform the parking lot into a great lawn that could host programming and serve as an important civic space. A recreation center would be added to go along with the Aquatic Center, which backs up to the planned Gables Residential apartment development.

Wall Park existing facilities, via Montgomery ParksMuch of Wall Park’s progress will depend on the progress of a new road network for the area of Old Georgetown Road and Executive Boulevard. Gables can’t build its 450- to 500-unit apartment building without the new grid and Montgomery Parks is hoping to share part of the parking garage the developer plans to build.

Berliner wrote that he’s concerned the existing Wall Park is underutilized to the point that many don’t realize the significant improvements that are coming.

“As the [White Flint Sector] Plan continues to build out, it will be more and more important that the community begin to realize some of the public amenities promised in the plan,” Berliner wrote. “I believe the Department of Parks is well positioned to do some experimentation, to try temporary uses of some of our parks, and I hope one such park can be Wall Park.

“Today, I would hazard to guess that too many residents are unaware of the very existence of Wall Park. That is in large measure because it has never been designed to draw people into its space,” he wrote. “It has never been designed to be an active recreation or gathering space. It has instead served primarily as a green buffer around the aquatic center. As such, it is a greatly underutilized public asset.”

Berliner wrote that he’d like to discuss interim options with the department soon.

Images via Montgomery Parks

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