Soccer Fields Planned for GE Tech Park

County officials attended the Lakelands Community Association board meeting on August 17 to share the latest plans for GE Tech Park.

A new soccer field may replace the dilapidated tennis courts and basketball courts on the GE Technology Park site between Lakelands and Kentlands.

In September, Montgomery County will be soliciting bids from private companies to rip up the tennis and basketball courts as well as the rundown baseball field and replace it with a full-sized youth soccer field.

“We know we have a dire need for youth soccer fields across the county. We are trying to pick up places wherever we can,” Diane Schwartz Jones, Assistant Chief Administrator for Montgomery County told the Lakelands Board of Directors Aug. 17.

A soccer field would require about two acres of land. The county site has about four acres. The successful bidder for the project would be responsible for constructing and maintaining the field, Jones said. The soccer field operator would then be contracted by the county for a negotiated term of years, she said. The county expects to award that contract this fall.

David Dise, director of the Montgomery County Department of General Services updated the Lakelands board on the county’s plan for the National Geographic site.

Construction on the public service memorial which will be located next to the main National Geographic building will begin this fall and is expected to be a circular monument about 50 feet in diameter.

Design is underway for the interior renovations of the Finmarc warehouse currently housing Giant’s Peapod. Peapod’s lease expires in June 2011 when that company will move its operations to Hanover, Maryland. Dise said there will be no exterior changes to that warehouse which will become the county’s liquor warehouse, however the county intends to thicken the buffer between the building and nearby homes in Lakelands.

The county is spending $20 million to bring the current National Geographic building up to current building code by replacing the HVAC, phone and electrical systems as well as installing a sprinkler system in the building. Work on that building begins in November and will be completed by February, according to Dise.

“We will be focusing our renovation contracts for that building on small local businesses,” Dise said.

County employees will begin occupancy in March 2011 when the county’s Department of Transportation, Fire and Rescue Services Division, Police Administration, First District Police station, a state-of-the-art police laboratory and Environmental Management offices move in. The building will also house a 3,000 square foot backup data center for the county. In all just less than 900 employees will work in that building with full occupancy by next summer.

Lakelands Board Member Albert Leacock questioned the amount of traffic generated by the county’s plan.

“The community has benefited that this building has been grossly underutilized for a long time. Now that it will be fully utilized there will be more traffic than today,” Dise said. County employees and liquor warehouse traffic will be required to use Edison Drive as the entry to the property.