The Silver Spring Transit Center may not be open yet, but one county councilman hopes to at least open part of it soon as green space for Silver Spring residents.
Montgomery County Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At Large) spoke at the Silver Spring Advisory Board monthly meeting on Monday about a shortage of green spaces in Silver Spring.
During the conversation Riemer noted the idea of having a Silver Spring “Central Park” at the triangular area on Ramsey Avenue, Wayne Avenue and Colesville Road next to the Silver Spring Transit Center. The councilman said there’s a possibility for the space to be open in the spring.
“The land next to the transit center is currently planned for a hotel. I would like to find out if we could put a park there,” said Riemer.
The land is owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority along with the county. The total property is 5.65 acres.
In 2009, the property appraised at more than $20 million.
“We have to keep our eyes in the development agreement ... I think we have a really good case to make for acquiring it,” said Riemer.
But, the transit authority has a proposed development including a hotel tower, an office building and a residential building, and also a park.
According to Morgan Dye, public information officer for WMATA, the master plan for the Transit Center and joint development project included landscaped public space near the rail station entrance, park/public space within the development area, and a triangular park in the property bounded by Ramsey Avenue, Wayne Avenue and Colesville Road.
Riemer is proposing to drop the hotel portion of the project.
Residents in Silver Spring have expressed in previously meetings concerns about the need of dog parks, trees and grassy places for recreation in the community.
Evan Glass, chairman of the Silver Spring Advisory Board and Democratic candidate for a District 5 seat on the County Council, said the space next to the transit center is already green space, so it should be a “great” starting point for more parks in downtown Silver Spring.
“I’ve recognized that we need more green space in downtown Silver Spring. The hard part is figuring out where it is going to go. ... As more people are moving to Silver Spring we have to be mindful of the community that they are moving into, and the community that we are going to have for generations to come,” Glass said.
Other topics at the Monday board meeting included updates about “The Parks at Walter Reed” proposal that will feature 3.1 million square feet of space, including 2,100 senior housing units, and some retail space. Developers told the board that they expect to have a groundbreaking for redevelopment of Walter Reed by winter of 2015.