After nearly a decade of delays, College Park will get the Hollywood Gateway Park. On July 4, the city council voted to proceed with the project, but deliberations on what to include in the park persist.
The park will be located in the 4700 block of Edgewood Road, where it meets Route 1 in north College Park. The city bought the house there in 2008 with the intention of turning it into a small neighborhood park, District 1 Councilman Fazlul Kabir said. Difficulties in acquiring the necessary land and, more recently, finding the budget for the project have delayed the park's construction since then.
"It's taken longer than I think anyone has ever wanted it to," said College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn.
The park is intended to be a "landmark" for those traveling on the Capital Beltway and Route 1 into College Park, Wojahn said.
Kabir said 200 to 300 families live within a 5- to 10-minute walk from where the park will be. To make the park more accessible to these residents, he said, the city spent two years and $80,000 to acquire a second area of land that connects the park to 47th Place.
An early incomplete estimate for the park project was $600,000, Wojahn said. A more recent estimate that included the cost of expanding the land area put the cost of the project at $1.5 million, he added.
Kabir said 94 percent of the costs for the project will be covered by grant money, but some other councilmembers said they thought the grant money could be put to better use elsewhere.
At the June 13 city council meeting, Councilwoman Mary Cook said if she had known the project would cost $1.5 million, she would not have voted for it in 2008, according to the meeting's minutes.
The council scaled back some of the project's features out of budget concerns, said city planning director Terry Schum, but agreed to move forward with the park's main features. Different lighting fixtures, park furniture and landscaping were all selected to lower the overall cost. A park slide will be added as an option during bidding, she said.
"There will be a park. There will be some tables, some benches, some really nice landscaping, a green garden. There will be a nice pavilion," Kabir said.
Schum said the project will go out to bid in mid-August. Afterward, the park's features, cost and timeline will be finalized. Kabir said the park is expected as of now to finish construction by January.