Rockville residents suggest park on site of burned house -- Gazette.Net







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A group of residents is asking Rockville officials to look into acquiring the now-vacant property at 175 Watts Branch Parkway where a building burned down earlier this year.

The five-acre property is owned by Montgomery County. The building that used to house the Karma Academy for Boys, a residential treatment facility, burned down in February after sitting vacant since the facility closed in 2010. Greg Ossont, deputy director of the county Department of General Services, said the county does not know what caused the fire.

Now, some people in the neighborhoods nearby are hoping the city can help turn the land into a park. A group of Rockshire and Fallsmead residents asked the Mayor and Council Monday evening to consider acquiring the property and cleaning it up to be used as parkland, and the mayor and councilmembers seemed open to looking into the possibility.

“I totally agree,” Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said. “It belongs in the City of Rockville.”

The city already owns Woottons Mill Park, which includes land on either side of the Watts Branch property.

In the early part of the 20th century, the Watts Branch property belonged to farmer C.C. Veirs. His daughter, Carolyn Veirs Mudgett, built a house on the property in the 1950s.

Mudgett’s daughter, Carol Waldrop, said Veirs donated other property for parkland in the city during his lifetime, and Mudgett likes the idea of a park on the land that used to be her home.

“She thinks that would be a very nice idea,” Waldrop said. “Her father had donated (a) meadow, and she thinks he would be very pleased.”

Ossont said the county does not have any immediate plans for the property and would be interested to hear any proposals from the city.