2017 | Government

Futsal About To Get a Test Run in Silver Spring

County plans to build its first court as part of Dewey Local Park renovations

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Via Montgomery Parks

The way things are headed, Montgomery County is about to get its very first outdoor futsal court, right in the heart of Silver Spring’s Dewey Local Park.

Except … what, exactly, is futsal?

Well, parks staff explained to public officials on Thursday, it’s very similar to soccer. But played on a hard surface and with five players on each team.

The new futsal court proposed for Dewey Local Park would double as a space for playing street hockey and would have fencing and a protective fiberglass board donated by the Washington Capitals, as part of the team’s effort to promote the sport.

The Montgomery County Planning Board approved the court concept as part of a package of renovations for Dewey Local Park on Dewey Road between Randolph and Garrett Park roads. As envisioned, the roughly $2 million project would also bring a dog park, outdoor gym space and new playground that will have a “ropes and bridges” theme.

“I love this park,” board member Natali Fani-Gonzalez told parks staff. “I don’t have anything else to say. … You guys thought of everything.”

The 14.5-acre park at 11720 Dewey Road currently has four tennis courts, but parks staff found most people actually used the space for other activities, such as soccer, skateboarding, karate and street hockey. The new park plans do not feature tennis courts, since there didn’t seem to be a community demand for them and because the courts at nearby Randolph Hills Local Park were recently upgraded, according to a staff report. Construction at Dewey Local Park is slated to begin this fall.

Proposal for Dewey Local Park in Silver Spring. Credit: Montgomery County Planning Department.

A concept plan to spruce up Long Branch-Wayne Local Park in Silver Spring also cleared the board on Thursday.

The roughly $5.5 million project, which would happen in three phases, involves adding a new parking lot to the facility and expanding the existing one. It also widens Wayne Avenue, creates new pathways and entrances to the park and refreshes the athletic field.

Playground upgrades, new fitness equipment and additional seating also are part of the proposal.

However, one resident near the 509 E. University Blvd. park said he was concerned about the three-part timeline for improvements. The staff proposal recommends putting the first two phases in line to receive capital funding and holding off on the final phase.

Dan Edelstein, former president of the Long Branch Civic Association, said he’d hate to see the project stall out on the second phase, which involves spending more than $1.5 million on building the parking lot, moving the basketball court and adding some other amenities. Edelstein said community members are more excited about phase three improvements such as the field renovation and a new pedestrian bridge over Long Branch, and he urged the board to prioritize these features.

“Without phase three, the soccer field will remain one of the worst in the county,” he said.

The board passed the proposal as recommended by staff, noting that the plan was still in its concept phase, and officials will work with the community to flesh it out.

Concept plan for Long Branch-Wayne Park improvements. Credit: Montgomery County Planning Department.