New Park To Open in Chevy Chase Village This Week

Western Grove Urban Park will be county's first park with Wi-Fi

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Western Grove Urban Park in Chevy Chase

Via Montgomery Parks

Story updated 6:34 p.m. Wednesday with the correct park address.

Weary shoppers and travelers near the Friendship Heights Metro station will soon be able to take a breather on a wooden bench or a winding pathway at Western Grove Urban Park.

The 1.9-acre site is ready for recreation after more than a decade of planning and work, and parks officials on Sunday are holding a grand opening to celebrate the pocket of green amid the bustle of Chevy Chase.

The park has a nature play area for children, a stone terrace with tables and chairs for coffee drinkers and tall trees for shade lovers.

It will be the Montgomery Parks system’s first park with Wi-Fi, a press release stated.

“It’s about preserving the natural landscape and creating a place for contemplation and also bringing parks into the 21st century,” said Meredith Wellington, who chairs the group Friends of Western Grove Park.

Water feature and nature playground at Western Grove Urban Park. Via Montgomery Parks.

Wellington, a former member of the Montgomery County Planning Board, said officials identified the property as a potential park site more than 15 years ago. Chevy Chase Village and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission shared the $5 million cost of buying the property in 2002, and several years later, tore down the house and garage that stood on the site, Wellington said.

After clearing out dead and dying trees and invasive plants on the property, officials developed a conceptual plan for the new park and worked for several years on a more detailed design, according to a parks system timeline.

Western Grove sits near the Metro station and adjacent to the Collection at Chevy Chase shopping center, putting the new park in a convenient spot for shoppers, residents and commuters, Wellington added.

She said the lighted paths that run through the site will open a pedestrian connection from the neighborhoods to the Metro station. The park also has a human sundial—allowing people to use their own shadows to tell time—and moveable chairs and tables, so visitors can create their own seating arrangements.

“So it’s a community builder,” Wellington said.

The $1.2 million parks project began in May 2016 and wrapped up earlier this month. Officials are hosting a ribbon-cutting event and grand opening on Sunday to mark the occasion. The celebration, at 5409 Grove St., will run from 2 to 4 p.m. and will include live music, refreshments, games and a bulb planting, a press release stated.

The park will be open seven days each week from sunrise to sunset.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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