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Lakelands Community Raises Quality of Life Issues Associated with Gaithersburg’s Turf Field

2lakelands_park_002 (1)The Lakelands Board of Directors is asking Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman for his help when it comes to addressing some quality of life issues associated with the city’s popular¬†synthetic turf field, which is located in the residential neighborhood at Lakelands Park.

In a letter to Mayor Ashman and dated June 22nd on behalf of the board, Lakelands property manager Gary Simon describes traffic, litter and noise issues as “urgent” and “of great concern to the residents of the community.”

According to Simon, city staffers have not been able to resolve these issues, and that’s why he is writing directly to the mayor for help.

“The recently installed turf field on Main Street adjacent to Lakelands Park Middle School has created significant disruption to the neighborhood,” writes Simon. “The most significant of which is the safety of our residents, especially our children. Numerous individual requests to various city staff members has not resolved any of these issues.”

According to Simon, there are collisions and near accidents on a daily basis because of the crowded streets adjacent to the field.

“Because the facility has no parking of its own, our streets are overcrowded with parked cars,” Simon said.

In addition, he said, the use of the field has created a litter and debris problem for the residential neighborhood.

“Patrons of the field have little respect for the area, and often do not clean up during or after use,” said Simon. “This is another area that does not seem to have been considered by the city. There is no management of this facility at all, and the Lakelands residents closest to the field are left to suffer the consequences of the lack of planning.”

He also says visitors often loiter after hours at the field, and play loud music.

In his letter, Simon said the community’s concerns have been shared with city staff more than once.

“The responses have varied, but the most frustrating response to date is the response I fear to be the most true; the city does not have the staff to adequately control the use of this facility,” Simon wrote. “As a community, we find that to be beyond disturbing. To place a facility of this nature in a well-established residential area, with no ability to control the effects is irresponsible at a minimum. While we know the behavior of individuals is not something the city of the community can control, the lack of management of the facility is something we expect that you address immediately.”

When asked about the city’s response, Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman told MyMCMedia that he is looking into the community’s concerns.

The field, which is available for rentals, opened almost two years ago and received national attention for its organic infill of rice husks, coconut fiber and cork. It does not use black rubber infill. The field is available for open play from now thru Sept. 4, during select hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

You can find more information about the hours of operation at the field, here.

Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at sburke@mymcmedia.org or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.

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