Frederick leaders have at last approved a plan to begin developing a 136-acre park on property the city purchased almost a decade ago west of the city. That’s good news.
While the city has taken steps toward developing the property — budgeting for road improvements on the adjacent Md. 180 and approving a bond re-funding to allow public/private partnerships — endorsing a master plan for the site seemed to stall amid disagreements about how ambitious it should be.
Late last year, city aldermen declined to accept or reject a development plan that was written by Laurel-based consultant G.E. Fielder & Associates because it contained too many moving parts and at too steep a cost. That concept, with a price tag of $98.5 million, included 11 multi-purpose sports fields, a 4,000-seat stadium, a 60,000-square-foot swimming center, a water park and all the trimmings.
The plan city leaders approved last week still has plenty of options, but they’re just that — options. The new plan lacks the previous plan’s precision but allows a more gradual build-out and doesn’t commit to expensive features that might never get built.
That’s understandable, but we hope city leaders continue to work to sell the idea of a regional park with plenty of amenities to city residents. The city of Frederick has no shortage of walking trails and picnic areas; what it needs is a well-developed regional park with an broad range of facilities for recreational activities.
We applaud the city’s taking this first step toward developing the Hargett Farm property. The city paid $18 million for this park. It’s time city residents got to enjoy it.