Town News


Posted on: August 24, 2021

Farm Women’s Market and New Parks

August 2022:
We expect that this fall will be a crucial time to finalize arrangements for the development of the new parks associated with the redevelopment of the Farm Women’s Market. The four parties involved -- the Town, the Parks Department, the developers, and the County, through the Department of Transportation -- are exchanging drafts of a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) that will set out the general responsibilities of the parties, including the Town’s commitment, revised by the Town Council in July, to contribute $4.5 million. Upon completion of this LOI, the County Executive will send a request to the County Council to amend the County budget to include the $9.25 million that represents the County’s portion of the funding.

Following the execution of the LOI, the parties will begin work on the definitive documents. We also expect that a design review, or charette, process will be conducted this fall. During this process, the Town and other surrounding communities will have the opportunity to review and comment on the proposed design for the parks and the amenities that they will contain. We will provide regular updates to residents on this project. 

July 2022:
On July 21, the Council discussed the Farm Women’s Market parks development project, including a revised draft Letter of Intent (LOI) from the County. The Council noted many improvements in this latest version that address concerns the Town had previously raised. Among other points, the new version provides for an increase in County funding from $7.75 million to $9.25 million, thereby eliminating a funding gap in the initial version of the LOI. Specific mention is now included of a public engagement process that will involve the Town and others in the planning of the parks and amenities. The Council also discussed remaining issues, including the need in the final documents to address the prospect of cost overruns. Mayor Rush noted that the County Executive will send the request for a budget amendment to the County Council upon execution of the LOI. The Council agreed on the importance of completing the LOI during August so that the amendment can be submitted in September and considered by the current County Council. 

The Council also discussed a County request for the Town to consider increasing its financial commitment to the Farm Women’s Market parks development project from $4 million to $4.5 million. (In November 2021, the Council voted unanimously to appropriate up to $4 million to this project, with conditions.). The Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution to authorize, with conditions, an appropriation of $4.5 million for the project.

June 2022:
On June 28, the Town Council held a work session to discuss a response to a draft Letter of Intent (LOI) related to the Farm Women's Market parks development project, including a County request for the Town to consider increasing its financial commitment to the project from $4 million to $4.5 million. In November 2021, the Council voted unanimously to appropriate up to $4 million to this project, with conditions.

At the June meeting, the Council voted unanimously to appropriate an additional $500,000 to the project, with certain conditions as outlined below, and subject to a public hearing at its July 21 meeting. 

  • The state funds provided to the Town for the project will be spent on both parks, per the requirements of the state legislation.
  • The Town will earmark an amount of its contribution to the cost of building the Lot 10 park such that the Town’s contribution, combined with the funds from other parties, fulfills 100% of the funding for the Lot 10 park.  
  • The County will assume ultimate responsibility for sourcing the $1,475,000 identified as “Other Contributions." Under no circumstances will the Town be asked to contribute to fill this gap.
  • Regarding the requirement for the Bethesda Parking Lot District to be paid fair market value for Lot 10, if there is any prospect that this requirement will have to be satisfied with cash, then a source of payment of this amount needs to be identified. 
  • All parties will contribute their funds in a timely way during construction, such that a construction loan is not required, and the project thereby avoids costs of interest during construction and related fees and taxes. The Town will need assurance that all parties understand this and will make their pro-rata payments upon calls for funding from the developers. 

The Council also agreed to substantive revisions to the LOI, which will be the subject of negotiations among the involved parties. A clean version of the LOI with the Town's revisions is available for review here.

We encourage residents to provide comments on the proposed further appropriation and the draft LOI to the Town Council by email to or at the July 21 hearing. Thank you.    

April 2022:
The Maryland General Assembly passed the capital budget for Fiscal Year 2023. The budget includes a total of $3.5 million earmarked to support the creation of new parks associated with the redevelopment of the Farm Women’s Market. $3 million is included in this upcoming fiscal year, and another $500,000 is pre-authorized to be included in the budget for FY24. In an April 7 letter, the Town Council extended its appreciation for State support for this vital project.

February 2022:
On February 9, Mayor Rush provided testimony to the County Council  regarding lack of funding for this project in the County Executive’s proposed Capital Improvement Program budget and Town efforts to encourage the County Executive to amend the proposed budget to include this project. He also reported on meetings Vice Mayor Lane and he have held with six County Councilmembers, all of whom have expressed strong support for the creation of these parks.

November 2021
The Town Council voted unanimously to approve a resolution authorizing the appropriation of up to $4 million, subject to certain conditions, for a parks creation project as part of the redevelopment of the Farm Women’s Market site. Town officials have been participating in discussions with the developers and the County’s Transportation and Parks departments, regarding a financing plan for the building of the underground garage and constructing parks on the land currently used for the two surface parking lots.

September 2021:
On September 20, Town residents received an update on the project from EYA, Bernstein Management Corporation, and the County's Department of Transportation.  Links to materials from the September meeting are below.

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