Soccer-Friendly Parks

Montgomery County will install brightly colored trash cans, bilingual signs and portable toilets in 11 public parks to accommodate the increase in soccer matches on recreational fields, county planning officials said.

The recent announcement of the park additions during a ceremony at Old Blair Park in Silver Spring was followed by an adult soccer match between Team Senegal and Marcelo Cardenas. (Marcelo Cardenas defeated Team Senegal, 2-0.)

The teams, composed of players from Africa, South America, Central America, the United States and Europe, represent the growing "internationalization" of Montgomery County, said Derick Berlage, chairman of the Montgomery County Planning Board. And soccer is a very international sport.

"The demand for soccer is going to grow faster than we are able to build fields," Berlage said. He said the plan also is intended to attract soccer teams to less popular fields, so there is less crowding in larger or regional parks.

"In downcounty, there is almost no land left. We want to meet that demand, but we want to do it in a way that makes sure that the parks are good neighbors for residents," Berlage said.

The pilot program comes two years after a failed plan to remove garbage cans from all county parks, with the exception of regional and recreational parks. Dubbed the "carry-in, carry-out" experiment, the plan was later thrown out by the County Council.

Garbage cans have been restored to all the parks, planning officials said.

The following local parks are in the new pilot program: Bullis, Dewey, Jesup-Blair, Long Branch-Wayne, Randolph Hills, Old Blair Field, Winding Creek, Meadowbrook, Ray's Meadow, Rosemary Hills and Capitol View.

If the program is successful, the number of parks involved will be increased.

Meeting on Thomas Farm

The city of Rockville has scheduled a public meeting to discuss plans for the 15,000-square-foot Thomas Farm Community Center in Fallsgrove, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lakewood Elementary School.

Plans for the center include a gym, two multipurpose rooms, a fitness center, a kitchenette, offices and storage space.

The center, named after a farm that once occupied the site, will be part of a new, mixed-development community west of Interstate 270, but it will remain open to all city residents. Officials expect construction to start next spring, and the center is expected to open in 2007.

Lakewood Elementary school is at 2534 Lindley Terr. For more information, call the city parks office at 240-314-8602.

Panel Discussion on Energy

Maryland State Del. Karen S. Montgomery (D-Montgomery) is sponsoring a panel discussion Sunday afternoon to address "Energy for the 21st Century."

The discussion, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the New Olney Theatre, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd., will involve representatives from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Clean Energy Partnership, Clipper Windpower Inc. and the Maryland Soybean Board. For more information, call 240-620-1486.

New Support Group Home

The Platelet Disorder Support Association opened new offices in Rockville in June and celebrated its seventh anniversary on Sept. 16.

The nonprofit organization offers support to people who have immune thrombocytopenic purpura, an autoimmune disease with no known cure. For more information, call 877-528-3538 or visit

Meeting on Parks Fee Hike

The Montgomery County Planning Board will conduct a public hearing Monday on proposed fee increases for park facilities and services. The fee proposal could come up at any time during the board's meeting after 11:45 a.m. The board will deliberate and decide on fee increases for golf, ice skating, picnic shelters, train and carousel rides, nature center programs, renting Brookside Gardens and reserving ballfields and recreational buildings.

The hearing will be in the auditorium at board offices, 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. For more information, call 301-495-4600.

-- Compiled by ARUNA JAIN