Planning Commission Approves Darnestown Road Park

Former Darnestown Road missile site to be a new playground and park.

Posted by Keith on July 8, 2021 7:21AM

The Gaithersburg Planning Commission Approves Darnestown Road Park Construction

On Tuesday, the Gaithersburg Planning Commission approved a plan to construct a new park and playground on Darnestown Road. The exact address is 10901 Darnestown Road.

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According to the drawings presented, the plan is to have a parking lot, a play area and a lawn. Next to the parking lot, there’s a planned community garden.

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The location for the park is kind of interesting. From 1955 to 1975, the property was owned by the Department of Defense. The defense agency used the location to support a NIKE missile site located about three-quarters of a mile away.

In 1975, the Consumer Product Safety Commission acquired the property. The federal agency modified buildings on the property and used the location for research and testing of consumer products for safety.

It was 2010 when the city of Gaithersburg parks department started to discuss with the National Park Service about acquiring the 9.5 acre property. In 2012, the city’s application to acquire the property was approved with the stipulation that the property used as a public park or recreational purposes.

By the time the city of Gaithersburg actually took ownership of the property several modifications were made. A bunch of buildings were removed, along with a helicopter pad, underground oil tank, and possibly a tunnel used to connect the property with the nearby NIKE missile site. Prior to the City’s acquisition of the property, numerous buildings and structures were removed from the property that included a helicopter pad, diesel generators, underground oil tanks, Building D and secure storage, and potentially a tunnel that was used to connect the subject property with the nearby NIKE missile site.

If the plan is carried out as designed, there will be a “pump track” at the location rather than components of an anti-aircraft weapons system.

Planning Commission Members present John Bauer Chair Philip Wessell Vice Chair Matthew Hopkins Commissioner Lloyd Kaufman Commissioner Danielle Winborne Commissioner

Staff present Deputy City Manager Enslinger Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture Muller Community Planning Manager Mann Capital Projects Programs Manager Prithviraj Planner Berger Deputy City Attorney Johnson.