What’s the Future for King Farm Farmstead Park

King Farm Community Garden.The October edition of the King Farm Chronicle, the community’s monthly newspaper which is mailed to over 3,500 homes within King Farm, will feature the upcoming Rockville City election.  They asked the candidates to provide answers to four questions and here’s the fourth and last one (with a bit in addition to the Chronicle’s 250-word limit):

4. What do you believe is the best use of the King Farm Farmstead Park and how would you bring that about? Do you favor expanding the City’s community garden at the Farmstead, or using the space to build a parking lot?

I strongly support preserving King Farm Farmstead, not only because of its historical significance but also because the community draws its name from this place–that doesn’t mean it needs to remain a farm, a dairy, or a home or has to be enshrined as a museum. Because of its history as a farm, its use for a community garden is certainly sympathetic. But I encourage additional compatible uses to ensure the preservation of the site for the enjoyment of everyone in Rockville, as well as King Farm.

As an Historic District Commissioner, various projects for the Farmstead have been presented to me over the years, however, I always came away from those meetings feeling that that the master plan needed to be evaluated and updated to create a place that more creatively and thoughtfully took advantage of the site’s unique assets and location in a comprehensive manner (I vaguely recall that some buildings were misidentified, resulting in confusion over use and demolition).  That planning would include evaluating suggested uses (I’ve heard everything from meeting space and swimming pool to model railroad park and science center), determining which are feasible, and then figuring out if parking is required. The advisory team should include diverse and informed perspectives pulled from King Farm residents (I believe the former executive director of the New Jersey Preservation Trust lives in King Farm) as well as other neighborhoods (our parks serve everyone), Recreation and Parks Commission, and city staff.

I’d really love to tackle this in the next few years, however, the city’s tightening finances will probably prevent that from happening (but we may be able to find special funding through the state’s Heritage Area program because of its historical significance).

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