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Get Rid Of The Geese!

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BCI Burke Company Came America

Kemp Mill Urban Park users who are fed up with a foul odor emanating from the park's pond could be a bit closer to relief now that redesign plans include measures to deter geese.

The stench is caused by poor drainage, stagnant water and a buildup of feces from geese, whose droppings also splatter benches and walkways.

Planners at LSG Landscape Architecture, the Vienna-based firm charged with redesigning the park, say they think they have found a solution. Changing the shape of the pond and adding rocks and vegetation to its edges will discourage geese, which prefer to use broad bodies of water that have unobstructed paths to dry land. A self-sustaining water feature with three pools, two waterfalls and an underground filter and pump will keep water moving to prevent stagnation.

The pond improvements are among several in LSG's redesign for the park, which was presented to about 30 residents last week at Kemp Mill Elementary School. The design, which includes a larger playground, a basketball court, exercise equipment and wider walking paths, will go before the Montgomery County Planning Board this summer.

If the board approves the design, it will be submitted for funding to the county for inclusion in the fiscal 2013-18 Department of Parks Capital Improvements Program. It could take two to six years for the plan to make its way through approvals, obtain funding and come to fruition. There is no cost estimate. LSG is being paid $208,659 for designing the park, including change orders or services not in the original contract, said project manager C.J. Lilly. An additional change order outside the original contract is in negotiations.

In developing the design, LSG spent more than a year working with the Kemp Mill community to agree on an approach. Despite the addition of a basketball court and upgrades to the pond, LSG says the alterations would not change the park's usability. For example, the park would still have a playground, but it would be larger and with a durable rubber surface.

The pond takes up 21,000 square feet - about 22 percent - of the 2.2-acre park, and the playground is 5,100 square feet. In the new design, the pond is about 12,600 square feet, and the playground is more than 7,000 square feet.

The new playground would have separate sections for younger and older children. LSG has estimated the new playground would enable more children to use the equipment at one time.

Some residents questioned the proposed improvements and suggested the playground space be expanded.

"I personally would like them to get rid of some of the trees and make an open play area," said Sandberg, who has two children, ages 5 and 7. "It would make a huge difference. With that space, they could put more equipment in."

Allison Marcus of Kemp Mill agreed, noting the playground is crowded. When she brings her 7-month-old son to the park, she said, she usually has to fight for a seat and wait in line for the swings.

The new park design "is nice," Marcus said. "My big thing is it should have an expanded play area. Right now, it's completely open. Closing it in, you're really shrinking it."

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November 20, 2019, 1:57 pm PDT

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