Aldermen View Plans For Proposed Westside Regional Park

It includes an aquatic center, water park, other features.

After more that six months of work involving a survey of the property and meeting with citizens, a feasibility study on the development of a westside regional park was presented Wednesday to the Frederick Board of Aldermen.

The plan calls for a festival farm complex; a sports complex with multi-use fields for football, lacrosse and soccer; a stadium that will seat 4,000 people; and natatorium (indoor swimming pool) which will be 60,000 square feet; a 2-and-a-half-acre water park;  and a maintenance yard with a salt barn for the city, according to Grace E. Fielder and Associates, which developed the plan.

Fielder, who was at the Wednesday workshop, said she and her team spoke with residents about want they wanted for a regional park. “They wanted soccer, they wanted open areas. We had to deal with the need for a maintenance yard; the Butterfly Lane realignment. We needed to make sure we had 20.9-acres for reforestation. We needed access for the proposed Butterfly {Ridge} Elementary School. And the farmstead presentation was important for the Maryland Historic Trust,” she said.

“I think this is very exciting,” said Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak, who has been pushing for the development of this park for a long time.

Alderman Michael O’Connor was also impressed with the feasibility study. He says he wants the aquatic center to be developed first. “I would say that the only way we don’t miss the opportunity for an aquatics center is to move forward on it now,” he said.

But Alderman Josh Bokee had some concerns whether the indoor pool was feasible. “Yes, I would like an indoor pool. I think it would be a critical aquatic center that would add value for folks not just the west side of the city, but the city itself,” he said. “However, I don’t know if that feasible.”

“I have to assume that if you’re presenting a concept plan to me that at least a baseline level the data that you have to back this up is all feasible, or you wouldn’t put it on a plan,” Alderman O’Connor said to Public Works Director Zach Kershner.

Kershner said all of these features in the proposed westside regional park don’t have to be developed all at once. “There’s nothing saying we have to restore all of these buildings from day one and then  have open to the public. They’re buttoned up. We could open the festival ground area and start generating some interest, start generating a little bit of revenue. Come and put the soccer fields below there. Possibly put in a field where the stadium will be some day. Do the rough grading and get a stadium in there. And you can kind of take it down in sizable chunks,” he said.

Kershner said the Aldermen will receive a feasibility study in  the summer which addresses the financials and cost estimates for these facilities.

The westside regional park is proposed for the 136-acres of  Hargett Farm along Butterfly Lane. The city purchased the property in 2008 for a regional park. Part of it has been set aside for the new Butterfly Ridge Elementary School which is expected to open in August, 2018.