Gaithersburg eyes former federal property for new city park -- Gazette.Net


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Parks officials with the City of Gaithersburg are hoping to acquire the 9.54-acre former home of the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Darnestown Road.

City Parks, Recreation, and Culture Director Michele Potter sent notice to the Department of the Interior, one of the administrators of the now-vacant property, that Gaithersburg has an interest in taking ownership of the site in hopes of turning it into a park.

The property, one of a dozen former Nike missile sites in the county, contains eight industrial buildings, most of which of were built around 1967, according to a notice by the federal General Services Administration, another administrator of the site, declaring the grounds surplus lands. Federal agencies are seeking to dispose of the land.

Representatives of the GSA did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Potter said her department has been keeping an eye on the site for three years now, since the Consumer Product Safety Commission relocated its testing operation from the Darnestown Road location to a lab space along the Interstate 270 corridor.

In her letter to the Interior, Potter wrote that the city expects the majority of the park would stay passive parkland while parks and recreation groups install a playground, skate park, or other active amenity.

Whether or not the city would demolish the buildings or turn them into a historic landmark has not yet been determined, she said. This would likely either be a condition of the city’s acquisition or a decision made later by a city committee, Potter said.

Currently, Gaithersburg has 153 acres of parkland.

The city expects a response after Aug. 13 to its bid, Potter said.

aruoff@gazette.net