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We are opposed to the development of Ayrlawn Park by MCPS for building a new elementary school.  We advocate for immediate removal of Ayrlawn Park from consideration for development (just as the County has agreed to remove all other parks from consideration) and that the County commit to maintaining Ayrlawn Park as a local park for the foreseeable future. 

 Ayrlawn Park is a heavily used gathering space for neighborhood families, especially those with young children who can enjoy the playground, meet their neighbors, and strengthen community ties.  It is worth noting that the playground was partially privately funded by committed neighborhood families who would now see their efforts destroyed.  The fields at the Park are used not only by residents of the neighborhood but by the larger community for sports practices and games.  Additionally, the Park provides a much needed greenspace in a highly developed area.  

 Ayrlawn Park is also home to the YMCA’s before and after school programs for children with working families, an important resource and benefit not only for neighborhood families but for the community at large.  The YMCA also uses the park and its building there to provide summer camp programs for neighborhood children and the wider community.  Development of the park would mean the loss of these benefits.   

The roads surrounding Ayrlawn Park are already overrun by school traffic (bus and car) to Wyngate Elementary School, North Bethesda Middle School, Walter Johnson High School, the French International School, and also by commuters who use our neighborhood as a “cut-through” to NIH, Walter Reed, and nearby major thoroughfares.  Even if new access roads were built for the proposed school, they would still branch off from existing overused secondary roads and exacerbate an already difficult and frequently dangerous traffic situation in our neighborhood.

The County’s own data shows that Wyngate Elementary School is currently under capacity and is projected to be under capacity for the next 5-6 years.  In short, our neighborhood does not currently need and is not projected to need another elementary school at this time.  There are several more options of which the County is aware that would be less disruptive to and in some instances welcomed by the neighborhoods involved, and where a new school would be closer to the students who actually need the additional space.

For these reasons and more, we ask that MCPS and Montgomery County immediately remove Ayrlawn Park from consideration for development and that the County commit to preserving and maintaining the Park for the foreseeable future.

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