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The developers of the Farm Women's Market site, EYA and Bernstein Management Corporation, are set to restart work after 18 months of dormancy. This project would refurbish and expand the Farm Women’s Market and result in a much-needed expansion of park and green space for the benefit of Bethesda. Most of the surface parking lot directly behind the Market would become a park, as would the entire parking lot between Leland and Walsh streets.
A key step for this fall will be putting together a financial plan to pay for a new underground garage and the park development. This must be in place before EYA can proceed to the Planning Board, a step they would like to take in the first months of 2022. Funds would come from many sources, including the developers, the County, and amounts previously paid by developers who have acquired additional density to build in Bethesda. In addition, County officials have advised us that they will ask the Town for a contribution. We have informed the parties that before the Town can come to any decision, we need to undertake an intensive level of engagement with residents regarding project benefits and funding, to determine how much we may be willing to contribute from our current reserves. We may also wish to consider use of a portion of the ARPA funding that the Town is receiving, if permissible.
We also are encouraging the Parks Department to proceed with a charette process so that the neighboring communities, including the Town, can comment on the proposed amenities for the park space. And we have asked the County Department of Transportation for a presentation of its final recommendation of the size of the new underground garage.
We will begin this engagement with a presentation from EYA of the current design for the project, which residents last saw in September 2019. We have scheduled this presentation for Monday, September 20 at 7 p.m. by Zoom. County officials also will attend.