The planning board recently approved the $8.5 million purchase of a 0.4 acre lot along the future Capital Crescent Trail for the creation of a the "Capital Crescent Civic Green" - a new park at the Bethesda trailhead. This occurred after the The Park and Planning Commission negotiated a Land Purchase Agreement to acquire the two parcels using the Advance Land Acquisition Revolving Fund (ALARF).
The Capital Crescent Trail will run along the east side of the civic green, connecting the new trail tunnel on the north side to a protected bike lane on Bethesda Avenue on the south side. The bike lane will cross Woodmont and connect to the existing Capital Crescent Trail south of Bethesda Avenue.
Sketch of the civic green with the CCT highlighted in yellow
A park on this site is consistent with both the Bethesda Purple Line Station Plan Minor Master Plan Amendment, though that plan had the trail continuing east to Woodmont Avenue.
It's more fleshed out in the Bethesda Downtown Plan
The Capital Crescent Civic Green is envisioned as the civic green for the Bethesda Row District and the western gateway of the Capital Crescent Trail. It will build on the success of the existing small plaza at the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Bethesda Avenue, and act as an outdoor civic center for the Bethesda Row District.
While some park advocates are concerned it's too small, the County plans to combine it with other land on the other side of Reed possibly increasing the size of the park to 0.6 or 0.7 acres.
There's also a lot of concern that $8.5 million is too much for such a small plot. But while the plot is small, construction of a retail building would’ve been possible on the property, and that property could've been 145 feet high with a FAR of 5.0. What's more
The county expects to recoup a significant percentage of the purchase price from the state in exchange for letting MTA use the site. The county is still working out the arrangement with the state, so the exact amount hasn’t been finalized, Anderson said.
So, that has to be priced in.
Because MTA will likely need to use the site during Purple Line construction, officials hope to build the park following Purple Line completion in 2022.
The Council is scheduled to take action on this on December 5th.