Friday, June 1, 2012

Citizens Appeal to State, Seek to Protect Park.

Seeking to preserve an important county asset, citizens of Kensington’s Rock Creek Hills community have filed an appeal with the Maryland State Board of Education, asking the State board to overturn the Montgomery County school board’s recent decision to take the site of Rock Creek Hills Park to build a middle school.

In their appeal, the citizens, joined by the Rock Creek Hills Citizens' Association, write that the county board "... failed to fulfill its obligation to select a site that would most adequately meet the program needs of its students and assure that it was making the most fiscally prudent decision."

The citizens also intend to file litigation to compel the state of Maryland to enforce its Program Open Space law and protect Rock Creek Hills Park from being improperly converted from park use.

Rock Creek Hills Park, the heart of the Rock Creek Hills community, is an important recreational asset for Montgomery County, featuring two regulation soccer fields, which are in high demand and short supply in the dense "DownCounty" area. Last year, the county's Parks Department issued permits for over 1200 hours of use of the fields (such permitted use is the only use for which records are kept) by groups from around the county, including the state-champion B-CC High School girls' soccer team.

The appellants are hopeful that they will prevail, and that the park and all its recreational assets will be protected for future generations.