Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission officials said the renovation and expansion of Evans Parkway Neighborhood Park in Silver Spring is now complete. The only detail left is for inspectors to walk through the facility to make sure there are no remaining issues.
Officials said the park, which is along Georgia Avenue and Cascade Place, should reopen sometime in August.
The park, originally 5 acres, was expanded to include an additional 2.46 acres.
Evans Parkway has been closed since the winter of 2012 due to a renovation project that was approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board on Jan. 18, 2007.
According to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission website, completion of the project was anticipated for the spring of 2014. The additional land was purchased in 2005.
The renovated park will feature two half-court basketball courts, paved pedestrian loop trails, rain gardens, and Wi-Fi.
Park and planning officials expect to install an interactive kiosk with a touchscreen computer, which visitors can use to access the park’s website for more information. The kiosk should be installed within a few months.
“I think we did very good and we didn’t delay that much. ... The construction is completed,” said Parviz Izadjoo, the Evans Parkway Neighborhood Park project manager for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
Izadjoo said two things caused the project’s delay: the long winter and broken glass bottles shallowly buried in some parts of the site. The bottles were trash left behind.
The bottles had to be removed and new soil had to be installed with a net underneath, so if bottles were buried again, they would not get too deep in the ground.
Izadjoo said the facility is 40 years old, and renovations had been in the works for almost a decade. The project was funded by the county through its Capital Improvements Project budget and cost approximately $3.4 million.
Some residents who live near the park wondered when the facility would open again.
“That has been our neighborhood park as long as I remember. Right now, there is nothing the kids could go to,” Maria Kania said.
Kania lives three blocks from the park and has two grandchildren. She said the oldest is 2 years old, loves being outside, and can’t wait to use the playground.
“We are now in the summertime, and the kids [in the neighborhood] don’t have nowhere to play,” Kania said.
Other new amenities include parallel parking spaces, replacement of playground equipment, new boardwalk and paved pedestrian loop trails, a shelter, and new landscaping.
Izadjoo said the project includes the removal of an existing concrete stormwater management channel. The concrete was replaced with a natural stream channel that, according to Izadjoo, will provide a habitat for wildlife and riparian plants.
The new park is also a smoke-free site.
The park was selected to participate in a pilot study by The Sustainable Sites Initiative, a program that helps creates ecologically resilient communities. According to officials, if the site meets all the qualifications and receives the minimum number of points, it will be certified as a “Sustainable Site.”
One requirement to be sustainable is to install landscaping that requires reduced or no irrigation, to conserve water.
“We planted the site with trees, meadow grasses and wildflowers, which solely depend on the rainfall without the need for irrigation,” Izadjoo said.
Among the flowers are paleleaf woodland sunflowers, golden tickseed, calico aster, and white wood aster.
Around the park, there will be:
• The reptile stone with the image of an eastern painted turtle near the butterfly garden
• The bird stone set on a hill near the end of the park with the image of Baltimore Orioles
• The plant and insect stone with a butterfly and wild bergamot image
• The tree and amphibian stone, which highlights the new habit for different species of plants, animals and insects.
Ali Della Bitta and Drew Goerlitz of New York are the artists who created the stones. They were chosen after an October 2010 nationwide competition, with the help of Arts and Humanities of Montgomery County.