Downtown Silver Spring's newest park, the Gene Lynch Urban Park, offers green space for picnics, relaxation and community connection. Credit: Elia Griffin

The fencing has come down around Downtown Silver Spring’s newest green space, the Gene Lynch Urban Park, which is set with six bench swings, a grassy lawn for activities and events and plenty of seating space.

Located across the street from the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center on Colesville Road, what was once the area for Ride-On buses to pick up passengers or to turn onto Colesville Road, is now a grassy urban park for people to hang out and relax.

“It was kind of converting, repurposing space that was, for all intents purposes, dead space or inactive space, into something that we hope … will be a really beautiful community space,” said Darren Flusche, the division chief of park planning and stewardship at Montgomery Parks. 

The park will be open to the public on Saturday. It is located at 8410 Colesville Road intersecting Wayne Avenue.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, County Executive Marc Elrich and Councilmember Kate Stewart will be at the park to for the opening celebration and to dedicate it to the late Planning Board commissioner, Gene Lynch, who was a civic leader and political activist.

The triangular-shaped park is a quarter acre and sits on the corner of a bustling intersection. From the bench swings there is a clear view of the Purple Line construction and railroad and Metro cars whirring by.

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The project came from a land exchange and partnership between the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and Montgomery Parks. A park was originally slated to be on the transit center’s property, but both entities worked to move the park across the street, which allowed for construction of the Purple Line, according to Flusche.

Surrounding the park are young trees and a mix of native and non-native plant species that are tough enough to withstand an urban environment, according to Linda Komes, a project manager and landscape architect for Montgomery Parks.

Some of the plants and trees at the park were grown at Montgomery Planning’s own Pope Farm Nursery, Komes said.

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Flusche told MoCo360 that the park is a flexible space for different types of activities but said that people should be mindful of the activities they do at the park, considering its close proximity to the road. Dogs should be leashed, and owners must pick up after them. It is not an off-leash dog park.

“We imagine people having lunch, having meals, rolling out blankets, and just generally relaxing,” Flusche said.

There are handful of urban parks surrounding the Downtown Silver Spring area: Acorn, Woodside, Fairview Road, Ellsworth, East Silver Spring, Kramer and Fenton Street urban Parks. An urban park is generally smaller in size compared to regional or neighborhood parks and located in a more densely populated areas.

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What makes the newest addition different from the rest is that Montgomery Parks took a more modern approach to its design. Rather than a buffer between communities and busy town centers, it was designed as a place for communities to connect and enjoy green, open space, Flusche said.

There is a blank concrete panel at the park that will have a piece of public art in the future. Montgomery Parks is in the process of working with five artists, chosen out of 125 submissions, to design five pieces of work that the public will be able to vote on in September.