Capital Improvements Program

All development, improvement, and maintenance is governed by the Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The CIP is prepared every two years to cover a six-year cycle. The CIP includes new or renovation projects costing over $30,000 with a useful life greater than 15 years. It also includes smaller planned life cycle asset replacement (PLAR) projects that increase the life of assets.

The most recent CIP was approved by the Montgomery County Council on May 24, 2019. The County’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) maintains information about prior CIPs on their website. Please click here to explore OMB’s interactive Open Budget publications.

CIP Projects

Projects considered for inclusion in the CIP evolve from various sources, including but not limited to:

  • Variety of plans and studies, e.g. master plans, functional plans, needs plans (Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan [LPPRP] )
  • Approved facility plans
  • Citizen requests at public forums, letter, etc.
  • Planning Board directives
  • County Council directives
  • CIP requests submitted via an intra-departmental on-line CIP Request Form
  • Land acquisitions and developer park donations

There are two major types of capital development projects in the CIP: (1) Stand Alone Projects and (2) Level-of-Effort Projects.

Stand-Alone Projects

Projects which have completed and approved facility plans

  • Include large park renovations or construction of new parks
  • Budget and appropriation are required to be approved by County Council once created
  • More than likely have operating budget impact
  • Closeout once appropriation has been spent and the project is complete

Example: Development of Greenbriar Local Park

Level-of-Effort Projects

Smaller projects that do not require extensive planning and design. Projects are reviewed each fiscal year and reprioritized as necessary

  • Include mostly infrastructure maintenance projects
  • Generally, less than $300,000
  • Supported by a consistent annual funding level
  • Less likely to have an operating budget impact
  • Stay active indefinitely

Example: Planned Lifecycle Asset Replacement of Playground Equipment

Other examples of Level-of-Effort projects include:

  • Ballfield Initiatives: ballfield lighting, and reconfiguration and upgrades of existing fields.
  • Minor New Construction: a variety of new park amenities, such as new picnic shelters, dog parks, stormwater management, and drainage upgrades, parking lot expansions, retaining walls, and sewer improvements.
  • PLAR (Planned Lifecycle Asset Replacement): improvements to various existing park amenities such as playgrounds and tennis courts.
  • Pollution Prevention and Repairs to Ponds and Lakes: continuing efforts to update and maintain our existing facilities to meet today’s environmental standards.
  • Restoration of Historic Structures: the repair, stabilization, and renovation of some of the important historical structures and sites that are located on parkland.
  • Resurfacing Parking Lots and Paths: the lifecycle renovation of parking lots, entrance roads, and paved walkways.
  • Roof Replacement: roof replacements at park buildings and other structures such as picnic shelters.
  • Trails: Hard & Natural Surface: Design & Construction: design and construction of new trails and extensions or connectors to existing trails, trail amenities, signage, and renovations along existing trails.

Facility Planning

The facility planning process is required when variables or options involved in a project do not support reliable independent cost estimating. This process includes a program of requirements (POR), engineering and environmental studies, feasibility studies, concept plans, and park management plans.

The purpose of a facility plan is to produce a well-reasoned project cost estimate and takes the project through 30% design as required by County Council. Also known as “preliminary design,” a facility plan includes topographic surveys, traffic studies, conceptual site plans, schematic drawings, cost estimates, and most of all…public input!

Land Acquisition

The CIP also includes funding for the acquisition of land for purposes of park development and conservation of open space. The following is a list of the different types of acquisitions as they are captured in the CIP:

  • Acquisition: Local Parks: Acquisition of land to develop urban, local, and neighborhood parks
  • Acquisition: Non-Local Parks: Acquisition of land to develop regional, recreational, stream valley, conservation, and special parks
  • Legacy Open Space: Acquisition of land of countywide significance that may be of exceptional natural or cultural value
  • ALARF (Advance Land Acquisition Revolving Fund): Revolving acquisition fund used to acquire rights-of-way and other property needed for future public projects

Funding Sources

  • Park and Planning General Obligation Bonds
  • County General Obligation Bonds
  • State Bond Bills and Grants
  • Program Open Space
  • Contributions and Donations
  • Federal Grants
  • Enterprise Funds
  • Current Revenue

Factors to Consider

CIP Projects are prioritized based on several factors, including:

  • Planning Board criteria, including safety and environmental factors
  • Infrastructure Condition Assessment Study priorities
  • Facility planning evaluation matrices
  • Priorities assigned by field staff
  • Priorities assigned by a CIP evaluation committee, consisting of senior management
  • Public needs
  • New projects versus renovation projects

CIP capacity is limited by the following:

  • Fiscal Capacity
    • Available funding sources
    • Spending Affordability Guidelines (SAG)
      • Local Projects – SAG limits on Park and Planning Bonds
      • Non-Local Projects – All Montgomery County agencies compete for the same funding and SAG
  • Balancing a growing backlog of projects with new priorities and needs
  • County Executive’s Readiness Criteria
  • Implementation capability (limited resources, including staff)
  • Operating budget impact (OBI)

Park Construction

Once the preferred plan and cost estimate are approved by the Planning Board and the Montgomery County Council, a detailed set of construction drawings and specifications are developed.  The drawings and specifications outline all materials and processes necessary for construction.  This phase includes:

  • All construction permits are applied for and obtained from the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS) in Rockville.
    • Permits include, but are not limited to building permits, stormwater/sediment control permits, grading permits, electrical permits, etc.
  • The construction project is then publicly advertised and bid on by private contractors.
    • Some smaller projects are completed by M-NCPPC’s Facility Management Department.

It can take several years to complete a new park, park facility, or a major renovation.  The length of time needed for preliminary design through construction varies by project. It depends on the project’s scale, the complexity, and also on available funding.  If funding is not available at the time of the approval of the plan, the Montgomery County Council will set the schedule and the funding at a later date.

Once construction is complete, we can prepare the site for use by the public.

Public Participation

There are several opportunities for the public to participate in the CIP process:

  • Montgomery County Planning Board (MCPB) and Recreation Advisory Boards Joint CIP Public Forum (Spring of odd years)
  • Council CIP Public Hearings (February of even years)
  • Public hearings for master plans and facility plans, and other MCPB hearings
  • Letters to MCPB, County Council, Park, and Planning staff

On the Horizon: the Next CIP

In December 2018, the Parks Department began working on the next CIP for fiscal years 2021-2026 (FY21-26).  State law requires the Department to submit the FY21-26 CIP to the County Executive by November 1, 2019. Getting there will involve a lot of engagement with Department staff, the public, and several strategies and work sessions with the Planning Board.

What has been going on already?

Some of the Department work includes:

  • Department staff submission of project ideas in the Department’s Enterprise Asset Management System
  • Strategy Session and CIP kick-off with the Planning Board on April 4, 2019.
  • Meetings of the Department’s CIP Evaluation Committee – Department directors and division chiefs have been reviewing new capital project submissions and discussing where they fit in the priorities of existing projects and the Planning Board’s CIP strategy. The bulk of this work will continue through early summer.

What’s coming up?

Public feedback

  • CIP Forum, June 13, 2019, at 7:00 PM. The Planning Board, the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board, and the Recreation Department invite you to tell us what you would like to see in the Parks.  You can sign up to speak in person or submit comments to the department directly.
    • Written comments by June 11, 2019, may be submitted to the Montgomery County Planning Board, Casey Anderson, Chair, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland, 20910 or by email to
    • To speak at the public forum, residents must call 301-495-4605 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
      • NOTE: The forum is limited to 35 speakers.
  • Open Town Hall – Can’t make it to the CIP Forum? Visit us online at the Parks Open Town Hall and leave your ideas and feedback on the CIP Open Topic.
  • Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) forums – The County’s CABs have been hosting forums with the public to provide feedback to the County Executive regarding the FY21-26 CIP, including Parks. Meetings include:
    • Silver Spring – Monday, April 22, 7:00 pm – Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, 240-777-5307;
    • Bethesda-Chevy Chase – Tuesday, May 7, 7:00 pm – Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, 240-777-8200;
    • Upcounty – Tuesday, May 14, 7:00 pm – Black Rock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown, 240-777-8040;
    • Mid-County – Monday, May 20, 7:00 pm – Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Road, Silver Spring, 240-777-8101 or 240-777-6820;
    • Eastern County – Thursday, May 23, 7:00 pm – Eastern Montgomery Regional Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Road, Silver Spring, 240-777-8414.
    • Planning Board CIP Sessions
      • Strategy Session #2, July 25, 2019
      • Work Sessions: September 5 and 12, 2019
      • Adoption Session, October 3, 2019
    • Submission of the CIP to the County Executive and County Council, November 1, 2019
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Last Updated: May 30, 2019