Lexington Park, MD- A blustery, sunny day welcomed hundreds of Southern Marylanders to the Lexington Manor Passive Park Cherry Blossom Festival last Saturday.

The 84-acre park on the grounds of the former “Flattops” is in the process of being developed to become completely motorless. Walking, jogging, biking, etc are allowed.

On this day though, the pathways were lined with different organizations from St. Mary’s, food trucks, and of course the beautiful Cherry Blossoms. The day opened with the Director of St. Mary’s Recreation and Parks Arthur Shepard speaking about the activities, followed by Commissioner President Randy Guy and Commissioner John O’Connor and Eric Colvin.

O’Connor spoke about what it meant to the community to have this passive park in their neighborhood,” It’s a massive addition for people to be able to get out of their homes, relax, enjoy take in some history at the same time from the museums that we have here. And then really just relax in a place where you don’t have motorized vehicles. And that’s really what it comes down to. It’s just peace and tranquility.”

During the opening statements, Commissioner Colvin spoke about how his grandparents lived in the Flattops when they were first built,” So my grandparents lived here when it was the flattops when it was probably newly built. It’s just great to see this use of the space and it’s always been a space that’s been about family and now it can be utilized even further for the family for just the community to gather together. It’s a great space for that.”

Throughout the day people poured into the park, taking in the beautiful Southern Maryland day(minus the wind and thunder-graupel). Director Shepard spoke with us briefly about the park itself.

“Well, in 2018, we began the process of planning the master plan. So all that initial planning and plus the master planning of the design, where it says that the plan came together, to see the community out, to see the way it’s supposed to be used. A passive park, non-motorized wheels, the vendors, the stakeholders, and the partners just mean that the plan from start to finish came to full fruition today, “said Shepard.

Shepard has been the Director of St. Mary’s Recreation and Parks since 2017 and has been involved with this the entire way. “The Director of Recreation and Parks has a lot parks; 21 Parks;15 public landings, and this is just a piece of it. Now the one thing that I do appreciate and like the most about this is different. This is a passive park, a nonathletic Park. This is where we want people to come for exercise, wellness, gatherings, concerts, events, such as today. So no, it appeals to me greatly. And I’m proud of it and I’m grateful for the staff and in the work by even our partners and design teams, and the staff and county government.”

Vice-Chairperson of The St. mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks Citizens Advisory Board Chandra Norton said the park had a special meaning to her and her family. “Well, it’s twofold because believe it or not, in this particular location, I was raised, my childhood home was here. So the fact that we’re here is partially emotional. And it’s just a great way for the community to come together and just see the grounds and you know, feel historic, you know, to extort feeling that you get from here and it’s such a beautiful day you know, see what St Mary’s County is all about.”

“Believe it or not more amenities as you you can see the property is vast, lot of open space but this is what the county wanted you to know. So it’s a great way to use this particular area which you know, has been in question for a while but it’s a good way to get back to the community so our residents can enjoy the space you know,” Norton finished.

The park has several amenities still to be added. A community garden is planned for next Spring, along with a pavilion, and events areas.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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