Chabad of Silver Spring may soon have a new home at the North Four Corners Park activity building in Silver Spring.
The activity building is one of eight “underutilized” buildings at eight parks in the county for which the park’s department is trying to find tenants, said Dan Hertz, project manager for Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning, who oversees the process.
Representatives from Chabad of Silver Spring — a local chapter of the nonprofit Jewish organization — were not immediately able to comment.
The other seven parks include Clarksburg Neighborhood Park, Colesville Local Park, Ken-Gar Palisades Local Park in Kensington, Maplewood-Alta Vista Local Park in Bethesda, North Chevy Chase Local Park, Owens Local Park in Beallsville and Stoneybrook Local Park in Wheaton.
The Ken-Gar Palisades building is occupied by the Montessori School, which has also shown interest in the Maplewood location, though no contract has been negotiated yet, Hertz said. The Clarksburg Sports Association is negotiating a five-year lease for the Clarksburg location, he added.
Hertz said the park activity buildings have been underutilized for “quite a while.” Leasing the space, he said, would help defray the costs associated with having a vacant building while putting the buildings back to use to serve the community.
Hertz said requests for proposals have generated competitive offers for the spaces. Each request is evaluated according to a list of criteria provided to the applying organizations. An in-house group of people from the parks department evaluate the applicants. From there, the department negotiates leases with the organization, he said. The process, Hertz said, can take several months.
He also said they try to select organizations such as day care centers, schools or sports associations because they will make better use of the park. Because these areas are zoned residential, the activity buildings cannot be leased for commercial use. The organizations also must abide by park rules.
The initial lease for these spaces is about five years and the spaces are being leased for fair market value, Hertz said.
John Nissel, who oversees the management of parks field operations, said the money from the lease on the activity buildings goes into the property management fund under the facility management division. The project is not tax funded.