Council hears request to plan park at future library location
Oct. 17, 2001
Kristen Milton
Staff Writer

The community was quiet Tuesday as the County Council held a public hearing on whether to fund design work for a park planned for Germantown Town Center. But library advocates say they will keep a close eye on this possible new neighbor.

Charles Loehr, director of planning for the Maryland National-Capital Park and Planning Commission, presented his organization's request for $160,000 from the fiscal year 2002 budget on Tuesday.

No Germantown residents spoke at the hearing.

The four-acre park is planned to be a largely open space with a gazebo and amphitheater that will be used for community gatherings and events.

Planners are hoping to consolidate stormwater management for the park with two housing developments on Locbury Drive and the new Germantown Library. That would create a single deep pond and marshes in the area, a suggestion that has been met with opposition from various environmental groups including Maryland Department of the Environment.

Steve Stackwick, president of the New Germantown Library Action Team, said he opposes the consolidation plan mainly for its impact on wetlands in the area and also because he fears it will further delay a library he believes should be built sooner than scheduled.

Stackwick's group has discussed the park and pond issues though they have not taken an official position, he said Monday.

"We're all for the park," he said. "That may even push the library ... [but] if they are still pushing the consolidation we'd like a chance to have our voices heard."

Even if the library remains on its current schedule of opening in 2006, the funding for planning the park needs to be appropriated now so that the two projects can be coordinated, Loehr said. He also said the department was "keenly aware" of the environmental concerns but the library was "approaching its final schematic design" and time was growing short.

The funding is scheduled to be discussed by the council's Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee on Monday.