In February, the Kentlands Citizens Assembly (KCA) Board of Trustees unanimously approved a memorandum I forwarded to the Board to investigate the possibility of a dog park near the Kentlands.
There has been a growing interest among Kentlands, and Lakelands, residents about a dog park, including requests made to the KCA Board and a continued conversation on Nextdoor over the past two years. Residents have commented, “Has anyone in the Kentlands tried to get a dog park play area,” and “I would love something fenced where my dog could play with other dogs that I could walk to,” and recently from Lakelands to the KCA Board, “Several people would like to explore a dog park in the Lakelands or Kentlands and we would appreciate your input on how we can make this a reality.”
Non-pet owners have also requested a safer and more appropriate alternative such as a dog park, after sharing concerns about dog owners who allow their pets off-leash on the Village Green, around the lakes, and in neighborhood pocket parks.
Where Would a Kentlands Dog Park Be Located?
Residents shared suggestions including the green adjacent to the Kentlands Clubhouse, Little Quarry Park off Chestertown, and the island between Firehouse Lane and Leeke’s Lot; however, none of these recommendations would work for varied reasons. Both Lakelands and the Kentlands face a similar obstacle — there is really no adequate space within either community that can be dedicated to a dog park.
One pet owner’s recommendation seemed more feasible — the land between Lakelands Park and the county office building at the corner of Main Street and Darnestown Road. Parking was available at Lakelands Park. The land was not adjacent to homeowner properties. It was large enough. There were old tennis courts onsite in disrepair, serving no useful purpose. It was unknown, however, who owned the land, the City of Gaithersburg or Montgomery County.
Starting the Process
As a first step, as outlined in the February Board memo, I approached the Lakelands Board to see if they would have any interest in joining in on the research. A request from two communities would be stronger than one. A response is anticipated in March.
Concurrently, I pursued an informal discussion with Neil Harris of the Gaithersburg City Council for advice and assistance in determining who owns the property. Harris referred me to Michele Potter, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture for the City of Gaithersburg.
Potter explained that the site was owned by Montgomery County, but the City of Gaithersburg had recently obtained a short-term lease for it, and was in discussions for a 50-year lease. The news was encouraging, but Potter cautioned that the City planned to build a sand volleyball court on the property and establish a volleyball league. She also mentioned the City had a one-dog-park policy.
The City of Gaithersburg’s one dog park, called a Dog Exercise Area (DEA), is located in Green Park (link at end of article).
The DEA comprises approximately one acre of fenced land separated into two sections. The upper level is 17,000 sq. ft. and has a bluestone dust-based ground cover. The lower level is 43,000 sq. ft. and is grass covered. Both levels have benches, seasonal drinking water stations, and dog waste bag dispensers. There is free parking. Potter clarified that the City had to close the grassy area over the winter, because it became muddy, but is reopening that section April 1.
Asbury Methodist Village
Potter also mentioned that private communities could establish their own dog park. Asbury Methodist Village had also approached the City for a dog park, offered to pay for it, but was faced with the one-dog-park policy. Asbury decided to establish its own dog park, the Pet Activity and Wellness Site (PAWS) on their property in October 2017.
I will submit a report to the KCA Board at the March meeting. Residents are welcome to comment during the open Citizens Forum. The proposed site adjacent to Lakelands Park leased by the City appears to be unavailable for a dog park. The matter will be explored further.
For More Information
Dog Exercise Area at Green Park, 151 Bickerstaff Way, Gaithersburg, MD 20878. Website:
Green Park Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Park/210696362293453 for dog owners to connect.
Animal Control, 301-258-6343, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for starting the conversation. For comments, questions or suggestions about a dog park near the Kentlands, please email email@example.com.