It's more than 10 years since the informal parking lot on the northwest side of the River Road trail bridge was removed to make way for a green space and rest area, but it seems like the project is finally moving forward. In 2009, the Coalition for the Capital Crescent Trail offered to manage construction of the plaza and the parks department would just contribute plantings, and that's the deal that was signed in 2012.
But the CCCT has found it a challenge to oversee the project with an all volunteer group (odd that the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail didn't lend a hand - they might have found some shrimp after all) so the Parks Department is taking over.
The new agreement stipulates that parks staff will secure a contractor for the project and will oversee construction and inspection of the work.
The coalition has agreed to raise funds to build the plaza just north of River Road, but it likely will be unable to finance the entire project at once, according to a staff document. Instead, the project will happen in phases, with the first portion including a sitting wall, steel pergola and plantings.
That sounds like the North Plaza as described in 2009
The "North Plaza" will include two curved concrete seating walls covered with stone veneer, one on each side of the asphalt Trail at the base of the bridge ramp over River Road. A steel Pergola, composed of five vertical posts and attached horizontal beam, secured behind the western seating wall, will symbolize a Gateway to River Road.
While they won't manage construction, CCCT will do a lot of fundraising
The coalition has committed to gather $350,000 for the project, with help from the Montgomery Parks Foundation, according to the report. Project partners say it’s possible that additional money might be raised or the work will cost less than expected.
The volunteer group has also agreed to contribute $5,000 annually for three years to help with maintenance.
Future phases of the project could include the area under the bridge at River Road and the plaza on the trail’s east side.
Because that's what real friends do.
The project hasn't been put out to bid yet, so it's hard to say when it will start or be completed.
Several residents who attended a public meeting in Bethesda said they were unimpressed with the company’s plan to add trail improvements such as a public plaza and landscaping in exchange for the county allowing the car dealership to keep the garage expansion intact.
More about it here.
Montgomery County Council member Marc Elrich, the only elected official who attended the meeting, said he was unimpressed.
“That park is bupkis,” Elrich said, adding that the dealership’s proposal would likely cost much less than the millions of dollars that it would cost to remove the encroaching part of the garage expansion from the easement. “The community is getting a pie-shaped wedge and a little bit of screen. To me, it seems inappropriate. I would rather fight it than compromise.”