Montgomery Parks and Planning departments provide Fall 2023 Semiannual presentation to Montgomery County Council
October 20, 2023
WHEATON, Md. – The Montgomery Parks and Montgomery Planning departments, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), presented their Fall 2023 Semiannual Report to the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday, October 17, 2023. The presentation summarized key projects, initiatives, and activities from the past six months and those that will be completed over the next six months and beyond.
Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Artie Harris was joined by his Planning Board colleagues James Hedrick and Josh Linden. He introduced the presentation by discussing the priorities of the newly appointed five-member Planning Board and provided the County Council with updates on the Board’s work since his appointment last June. Chair Harris shared with the County Council that “the Montgomery County Planning Board is focused on accelerating housing production, especially affordable housing, advancing regional coordination and implementing the recommendations in Thrive Montgomery 2050 and the Parks Recreation & Open Space (PROS) Plan.” He also recognized the outstanding career and contributions of Montgomery Parks’ Director Mike Riley who will be retiring at the end of the year after 38 years of service with M-NCPPC.
Montgomery Parks Director Mike Riley then introduced Montgomery Parks’ accomplishments highlighting the department’s efforts to provide new parks and updated amenities to communities across the county, with an emphasis on equity focus areas. Other accomplishments included hosting a variety of fun and educational events that brought thousands of people into parks, securing millions of dollars in state and federal grants to improve parks, and improvements to more than 100 elementary and middle school athletic fields.
“It was bittersweet to present my final Semiannual Report to the County Council,” said Montgomery Parks Director Mike Riley. “Twice a year for over a decade, I’ve come to the Council to tell them about the great work we do with the resources they allocate to us, and I am grateful for the support and encouragement we’ve received. I know that Parks staff will continue to dedicate themselves to providing the best quality programs and amenities for all county residents.”
Acting Montgomery Planning Director Tanya Stern then explained how Montgomery Planning’s work has been advancing the outcomes of Thrive Montgomery 2050. Organized by County Council districts, the presentation highlighted the department’s robust work program including a focus on equitable engagement and updates on regulatory projects. “I’m proud of the excellent planning work being produced by Montgomery Planning staff,” said Stern. “We have delivered cutting-edge and community-based plans and projects to Montgomery County’s residents over the last six months, and I’m energized by what we have ahead of us in terms of strengthening the county’s economic health, community equity and environmental resilience.”
Montgomery Parks’ Notable Achievements
- Hosted a variety of events to foster community building such as The Better with Age Comedy Show, Mudfest, Scotland Juneteenth Heritage Festival, Acoustics and Ales, among others.
- Secured millions of dollars in state and federal capital grants to improve parks, trails, and parkways.
- Secured funding to invest in multiple Capital Improvement Projects including implementing the updated Wheaton Regional Park Master Plan improvements and Vision Zero enhancements.
- Implementation of upcoming park refresher projects including the recent completion of Gene Lynch Urban Park and the forthcoming re-opening Hillandale Local Park coming this November.
- Reducing the time between park project initiations and completions.
- Engaged hundreds of people about upcoming skate park projects through a creative marketing and outreach campaign.
- Development and implementation of the Long Branch Parks Initiative – a holistic approach to improve nine parks located in the Long Branch community.
- Renovated 109 Montgomery County Public Schools elementary and middle school athletic fields.
Montgomery Planning’s Notable Achievements
- Delivered three master plans to the County Council: Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan, Pedestrian Master Plan, Fairland and Briggs Chaney Master Plan. The County Council subsequently unanimously adopted the Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan and Pedestrian Master Plan.
- Continued the commitment to advancing racial equity and systemically dismantling institutional racism in planning and land use decisions through Montgomery Planning’s Equity Agenda in Planning, including by engaging with the county’s diverse community using multiple equitable engagement strategies during plan development.
- Developed the Community Equity Index and Explorer.
- Completed the Wheaton Downtown Study.
- Installed two Remarkable Montgomery: Untold Stories historic markers with a focus on community equity.
- Launched the 2024 Update to the Growth and Infrastructure Policy.
- Provided 104 free shade trees to residents through the Reforest Montgomery
- Completed work on the Development Review Process Workgroup.
- Launched the Development Dashboard.
- Honored that Montgomery Planning staff were featured at six sessions at the American Planning Association National Capital Area Chapter Conference.
Montgomery Planning’s Ongoing and Upcoming Master Plans and Studies
- Great Seneca Plan: Connecting Life and Science
- Takoma Park Minor Master Plan Amendment
- University Boulevard Corridor Plan
- Clarksburg Gateway Sector Plan
- Eastern Silver Spring Communities Plan
- The Master Plan of Highways and Transitways Technical Update
- Incentive Zoning Update
- Friendship Heights Urban Design Study
- Damascus Placemaking
- Silver Spring Streetscape Standards Update
- Germantown Employment Corridor Check-In