Little Bennett Regional Park to grow -- Gazette.Net







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Little Bennett Regional Park, the county’s largest park, is getting a small addition.

The Montgomery County Planning Board voted Thursday to support nearly $1.6 million to acquire more land for the Clarksburg park.

The transaction is 14 acres of undeveloped land, to become part of the park, and 4 acres for right-of-way for extension of Snowden Farm Parkway. The forested, unimproved property is located near the intersection of Clarksburg Road and Snowden Farm Parkway.

Montgomery County Land Acquisition Specialist William E. Gries said negotiations for the land began earlier this year. The owner is the Chuntung Changchien Revocable Trust, set up by three husband-and-wife couples who have held the land since 1980.

The addition “is expected to be conservation-oriented parkland in the near term,” Gries said.

Funding for the transaction comes from state’s Program Open Space grants, which are dedicated for the acquisition of recreational land or open space.

Snowden Farm Parkway will bisect the property once its construction is completed, Gries said. A Potomac Edison power line also runs through it, reducing the amount of land that can be used for recreational purposes.

The 2007 master plan for Little Bennett includes future construction of a day use area, with a parking lot and picnic area.

“In the long term, there may be development of active-use facilities on the portion of the property adjacent to Clarksburg Road, across from Little Bennett Elementary School,” Gries said.

Gries said the county “may entertain some suggestions” for a few acres of the residential-zoned property to become a housing development after Snowden Farm Parkway is built through it.

Little Bennett Regional Park is about 3,700 acres in size and has trails, streams, picnic areas and the county’s only campground. The park is also home to historical structures such as the Hyattstown Mill and the Kingsley School House.

The county executive’s office will review the terms of the contract to acquire the property.