2019 | Development

Kensington Neighborhood Park Improvements Approved

Playground equipment, gardens and open spaces designed for ‘community unity’

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A Kensington park named for a Montgomery County civil rights leader and educator will undergo a nearly $1 million renovation, including the addition of gathering space, playground equipment and access for people with disabilities.

The 50- by 100-foot, county-owned Edith Throckmorton Neighborhood Park is about two miles outside the Capital Beltway, west of Connecticut Avenue, on Hampden Street. The northern portion of the park is undeveloped and a section is blocked by a fence, which will be removed.

The county Planning Board reviewed plans and unanimously voted in favor of the project Thursday after months of reviews and community meetings where some neighbors said gathering places for events were in short supply.

Intended to promote community unity, the proposed design includes a series of terraces and garden spaces, expansion of playground areas to accommodate all ages of children and an open area for picnicking, wheelchair-accessible ramps and updated furnishings.

Also included in the plan is a path connecting the park to local neighborhoods, a pingpong table, a dog waste collection station and lighting upgrades.

Improvements were needed because there is no open space for gathering, concrete is in poor condition and dated playground equipment is difficult to maintain and doesn’t meet current design standards, according to a staff report.

The county is known regionally for its world-class 421 parks and the Edith Throckmorton Neighborhood Park is one of few needing major work to bring it up to par with others, such as the Ken-Gar Palisades Local Park about a half-mile to the west. That park is outfitted with a playground, several athletic fields and restrooms.

One playground, designed for children ages 2 through 5, will include a toddler swing and playground equipment. The second playground for 5- through 12-year-olds includes a spinner, play structure and a “perch for children to view the park.”

“The renewed park will promote community engagement and provide opportunities for recreation, respite and enjoyment,” according to a Planning Board report.

The estimated cost of the total project is $992,630 and funded with the current capital improvements program, with $11,000 from the current operating budget. Work is expected to begin in the next year.

Throckmorton was a teacher and school principal and also head of the county chapter of the NAACP in the 1960s and 70s. She died Feb. 21, 1982, at age 81, according to the county’s Commission for Women.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com