A dream long held by Rockville's West End residents was realized earlier this week when the City Council agreed to buy a portion of the two and a half acres of land around the former Rockville Academy.

Community residents had fought for many years to have the city buy the land, according to Bernard A. Fitzgerald Jr., the city's real estate specialist.

The 1.068 acres, bordered by South Adams and West Jefferson streets, will be used as a small park. The land will be purchased for $186,100 from its present owner, the Rockville United Methodist Church, according to Fitzgerald. Seventy-five percent of the cost will be paid for by the state under its open-spaces program.

The Rockville Academy, a women's school that operated during the late 1920s and early 1930s, is located across West Jefferson Street from United Methodist. The city hopes the academy building, now up for sale, will be restored for use as professional offices, as have other historic buildings in the city, said Fitzgerald.

The church plans to allot about 30,000 square feet to parking for potential tenants of the building and to retain the rest for church parking.

The council also was briefed on the development potential of the city's central business district over the next decade by Lewis Bolan, vice president of Real Estate Research Corporation. The city contracted with the consulting firm to study growth potential in its downtown area.

Bolan told the council the city "is on the verge of a very dramatic change" with planned Metro service to the city and the likelihood of population growth as a result.

He predicted that during the 1980s the downtown area could attract up to 1.5 million square feet of private office space and 2,000 housing units, mostly townhouses and condominium apartments.

In other matters, the city will hold a public hearing Aug. 18 to discuss the enactment of a law prohibiting the carry-out sale of alcoholic beverages by stores in shopping centers adjacent to residential neighborhoods.

Under the proposed law, stores already operating would be allowed to continue but no new off-premises businesses would be allowed in these shopping centers.

The proposal, officials said, is in response to neighbors' complaints of disorderly conduct, littering and vandalism filtering into residential communities are located near shopping centers whose stores have off-premises liquor licenses.