Bethesda’s Kenwood Park again teems with young families
By Harriet Edleson
Krishna Collie and his wife, Chevanniese Smith, left the District’s Chevy Chase neighborhood five years ago, when they outgrew their house there. With two young sons, and a third on the way, they thought about renovating their home to meet their needs.
“We loved our neighborhood,” said Collie, 42, but the cost of renovation was “almost like buying a new home. When we did the math it made sense for us to get a new house.”
They began looking in Bethesda, Md., and settled on a house in the Kenwood Park neighborhood.
“We wanted to be out of the city but close to the city,” said Collie, now president of the Kenwood Park Citizens Association. Their three sons are now 8, 6 and 4.
Collie, a government contractor in information technology at the National Institutes of Health, and Smith, a lawyer who commutes downtown to the American Red Cross, created a new lifestyle when they chose the Montgomery County close-in suburbs. They are among a wave of new families moving to Kenwood Park, an area first developed in the mid-1950s, when the first ramblers and ranch houses were built.
As the original residents age and move away, some houses in Kenwood Park have been torn down to make way for larger houses. Others viewed as large enough are sold to new owners like Collie and Smith.
Embassies are neighbors: The location and the schools attract families with children, much as they did when Hannah Elson, a retired NIH scientist, and her retired physician husband moved into the neighborhood 25 years ago, with their two now-grown daughters.
Kenwood Park is once again a place where children play and neighbors meet at community activities. “All of a sudden there are children everywhere,” said Elson, who was president of the neighborhood association from 1995 to 2005. In addition, there are at least two embassy residences in the neighborhood, denoted by the national flags of Tanzania and Bangladesh.
According to the Kenwood Park Citizens Association website, construction of the houses began in 1954, with the last two streets completed in 1970. The last three vacant lots, owned by the adjacent residents, were developed in 2000, and since then the only way to build in Kenwood Park has been to demolish an existing house, a growing trend in the neighborhood as in others nearby. Collie said he has seen four new houses built on his street within the past five years.
The citizens association was established in 1985, and, since then, various committees have been formed to address issues and concerns of the 640 households, all single-family homes. The trees, streets and lots committee chose dark pink, double blossom Kwanzan cherry trees for the streets, yet most only lasted 15 to 20 years. Collie said neighbors can and do replace the trees, which are distinct from the Yoshino cherry trees around the Tidal Basin.
The association has a garden club, and it organized its first fall festival and pot luck last October. Another event is the Fourth of July party. Block parties began in 2015. Activities include bridge, book and dog-walking clubs. In addition, the association contracts with a neighborhood patrol company to deter crime.
Living there: Situated between River Road and Bradley Boulevard, and roughly equidistant from the Friendship Heights and Bethesda Metro stations, Kenwood Park is bounded by Plainview Road to the north, Radnor Road to the east, Kenwood Golf and Country Club to the south and Highboro Drive, Clearwood Road and Whittier Boulevard to the west.
According to Linda Chaletzky, a real estate agent with Evers & Co. Real Estate in the District, in the past year 19 properties sold in Kenwood Park, ranging from a six-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level house bought as a teardown for $550,000 to a newly built five-bedroom, four-bath Arts and Crafts-style house for $2.285 million.
Four homes are on the market, ranging from a 1966 Colonial with six bedrooms and six baths for $1.295 million to a newly built Arts & Crafts-style house with six bedrooms and seven baths for $2.395 million.
Schools: Burning Tree Elementary, Bradley Hills Elementary, Pyle Middle, Walt Whitman High.
Transit: The closest Metro stops are the Bethesda and Friendship Heights stations on the Red Line. Montgomery Ride-on Bus 36 runs along Bradley Boulevard. The T2 Metrobus runs along River Road.
Crime: According to the Montgomery police, in the past 12 months, one burglary and one theft were reported in Kenwood Park.
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