Sunday, July 27, 2008

Farewell to the Turf!

At the "Farewell to the Turf" event, Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin unveiled the sign announcing the construction of the new Silver Spring Civic Building and Veterans Plaza.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Farewell to the "Turf" Event - Friday, July 25, 2008 from 6-8 pm

Montgomery County is hosting a "Farewell to the Turf" event at the corner of Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive, tomorrow, Friday, July 25th, from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

The County-sponsored "Signs of the Times" Party will feature a d.j. and street entertainers.

There will also be the unveiling of the construction sign for the New
Civic Building.

For more information please call 301-565-7300.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jane Redicker Elected to Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. Board of Directors

At its July 16, 2008 meeting, the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. Board of Directors elected Jane Redicker of Silver Spring as a member of the Board. Redicker is President of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce.

The other members of the SSTCI Board of Directors are Don Berkemeyer, Jr., Alan Bowser, Sheryl Brissett-Chapman, Theresa Cameron, Estefany Carrillo, David Fogel, Bryant Foulger, Jack Hewitt, Graciela Jaschek, Mark Kozaki, Jon Lourie, Aurelia Martin, Laura Steinberg, Wanda Whiteside, Beth A. Wong and Mary Ann Zimmerman

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Arts Alley Fridays: Live Music in South Silver Spring

Check out the South Silver Spring Summer Performance Series

Free Outdoor Concerts every Friday from 5:30- 7:30pm (weather permitting)

Where? The Arts Alley @ Blair Mill
8040 Georgia Avenue (behind Mayorga Coffee)
Silver Spring, Maryland

Musicians from throughout the metro area and beyond will be showcased in the Arts Alley in the South Point area of Silver Spring.

Visit them on the web at

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Council approves more money for civic building - Gazette

Members also say they support more funding that could restore transit center design cuts

by Agnes Jasinski | Staff Writer |Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An additional $2.5 million to move forward with the Silver Spring Civic Building and Veterans Plaza project was approved on Tuesday by the Montgomery County Council, and members expressed support for additional funding needed to break ground on the Paul S. Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center project.

The council also heard testimony Tuesday afternoon in favor of both long-awaited downtown Silver Spring projects.

‘‘Our community in Silver Spring has been waiting for many years for both projects, and we look forward to their completion, and their completion at the highest level of excellence,” Kathy Stevens, executive vice chairwoman of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board, testified Tuesday.

The council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment committee will consider whether to recommend at least $16.72 million in additional funding for the transit center at a meeting on Monday. The council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development committee recommended unanimous support of the $2.5 million in additional funding for the civic building at a meeting Thursday.

Both funding requests came from County Executive Isiah Leggett’s (D) office. The first, to supplement funding for the more than $91 million transit center, would pay for a number of items that came in over budget, including streetscaping, canopies using glass panels and an environmentally friendly ‘‘green” roof. The transit center, which would consolidate buses, Metro trains, MARC trains and taxis, would include residences and a hotel on the site, which will be constructed by a private developer, Foulger-Pratt.

The second request of $2.5 million, which was approved in a unanimous vote Tuesday, will pay for ‘‘cost escalation of the last several years” in materials that would be needed for construction of the more than $17 million civic building, according to a memo from Leggett. That project would include an ice rink and pavilion located at the corner of Fenton Street and Ellsworth Drive.

Despite design changes and value engineering to reduce costs, bids for both projects came in over budget.

The current design of the transit center reflects about $3.4 million in design changes to lower the cost, said Diane Schwartz Jones, an assistant chief administrative officer in Leggett’s office.

‘‘In a perfect world, we would fund everything,” Jones testified Tuesday.

County Councilman Marc Elrich (D-At large) of Takoma Park said Tuesday that the council should go even further than the $16.72 million and look for additional money to pay for some items on the county Planning Board’s list of what Chairman Royce Hanson had described as ‘‘essential elements.”

Hanson testified Tuesday that the pedestrian-friendliness and attractiveness of the center would be reduced with the design elements proposed to be cut from the project. Those include relocating the transit store to the plaza, eliminating all-glass panels in stairway and escalator enclosures, as well as taking away a canopy at the entrance of the Metro station and stamped asphalt sidewalks that have a brick-like appearance.

‘‘They represent a small fraction of the total cost,” Hanson said Tuesday.

Jon Lourie, chairman of the Silver Spring Urban District Advisory Committee, testified in support of Leggett’s $16.72 million proposal but added that the committee would look at the design elements in the project that had been cut at a meeting Thursday.

If the $16.72 million in supplemental funding for the transit center is appropriated, contractors could break ground on the project by September, with 26 months of construction to follow, Don Scheuerman of the county’s Department of General Services told members of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board Monday night.

Construction on the civic building will begin by the end of the summer and take up to 14 months, said Gary Stith, director of the Silver Spring Regional Center.

‘‘Silver Spring’s waited a long time for both of these projects. It’s time to put the shovel in the ground and get moving on both the Silver Spring civic building and the Silver Spring transit center,” Jane Redicker, president of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, testified Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Council prez likes the civic center, hates the game - Silver Spring Penguin

By Jennifer Deseo on July 15, 2008

ROCKVILLE — The county council’s economic-development committee recommended additional funds for Silver Spring’s planned civic center, but not without dishing out a little grief.

“I’m just annoyed with the process,” council president and committee member Michael Knapp told his colleagues at their meeting Thursday. “We’re ten days into the new fiscal year, and already we’re being asked for $2.5 million.”

The District 2 Dem and his committee colleagues — Nancy Floreen and Marc Elrich, both at-large Dems — were miffed at the appropriation’s timing. Construction bids were received in mid March, but MoCo exec Ike Leggett’s request for the extra cash hit the council only last month. A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, and the construction bid expires Thursday.

“No one said, ‘Hey, this one might come in on the high side.’ ” Knapp complained.”The fact that we came up with bids that were higher [than anticipated] never came up.”

Elrich threw his two cents in and wondered why value engineering (read: designing on the cheap) didn’t trim the project’s budget. According to the council’s legislative analysis, value engineering trimmed 5,000 square feet of space from the building, which will sit along Ellsworth Drive between Fenton and Cedar streets.

That means no stage in the building’s great hall, and a community-use room that doubles as a conference room for Silver Spring’s regional center. Interior and exterior frou-frou have also been “simplified”, the analysis states.

“It’s less of a project,” Elrich said. “It’s shrunk in size and grown in price.”

Blame the higher price tag on the rising cost of, well, everything. Building materials like steel and copper, plus the gas needed to schlep the stuff into Silver Spring, have impacted the project’s overall cost, Don Sheuerman, of the new department of general services, testified.

And the hits are gonna keep on coming, warned council member Valerie Ervin (D-District 5), who attended the meeting. Expect higher-than-expected tabs for downtown Silver Spring’s other big public projects — the transit center and the new public library, she said.

“Let’s get a look at the numbers,” Knapp suggested, seeking to avoid being broadsided again. “I don’t want to back ourselves in a corner and just agree to everything that comes across the street” from the county exec’s office, he said.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center...coming soon!

A new Cultural Arts Center (located at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and East-West Highway) will support the newly created Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District. This center will establish the College as a center for the performing arts in the down-county area and fill a longstanding void in the community. It will provide an excellent venue for county and metro area arts patrons to attend unique professional public performances and also a venue for events sponsored by community organizations. The Cultural Arts Center will contain two performance spaces. The 500-seat music and dance theatre with a state of the art stage and acoustics will be used primarily as a rental space/booking house by organizations from outside the College. The 100-seat theatre will be used by the Communications and Performing Arts Department for performances and as a classroom space for speech, theatre, film, and dance classes. In addition, regional theatre groups and community organizations will use the theatre.

To celebrate and acknowledge the vibrant and diverse student population and the surrounding communities, the Center will offer concerts and events for all ages. Music and dance from various cross-cultural backgrounds will be a major element in the offerings. Weekend performances will be scheduled throughout the year and bring in regional and national groups. The College will pursue partnerships with area performing groups to offer enriching educational activities and maximize the use of the center by the community.

The campus community looks forward to a time when students, faculty, and staff can come together for large special events important to campus life. However, even more significant are the education and enrichment opportunities for students. For many students, it will be an opportunity to see live professional performances for the first time. For faculty in a wide variety of disciplines, it will be an opportunity to supplement and enrich their teaching through the inclusion of concerts, theatre, or dance performances that students can conveniently attend.

Inclusion of the arts in any major urban district can tremendously impact its economic climate. The diversity of Montgomery College’s student population alone will serve to enhance and stimulate the city’s revitalization effort as it promotes unification of diverse cultures and provides entrepreneurial and family-based business opportunities for immigrant, disadvantaged, and other emerging business owners. In addition, a vibrant arts district generates employment, tourism, non-profit revenue, commercial revenue, tourist spending, and capital spending. Montgomery College is pleased to be a major anchor of the Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District and we will continue to provide cultural and educational opportunities for this community and region.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Annual parade will highlight festivities in Takoma Park

by Mike Meno | Staff Writer

An eclectic assortment of international dancers, marching bands and attention-grabbing civic groups will blend hometown pride with the offbeat and unusual Friday for Takoma Park’s 119th Independence Day celebration.

With its theme of ‘‘Unity and Diversity,” this year’s celebration will kick off with a 10 a.m. parade down Carroll Avenue, followed by a 7:30 p.m. program of music and prizes at Takoma Park Middle School and fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Belle Ziegler, a member of the Takoma Park Independence Day Committee, said this year’s celebration should easily live up to the Takoma Park event’s reputation as a colorful, one-of-a-kind experience.

‘‘Takoma Park is a real melting pot,” she said. ‘‘This year, we’ll have more costume groups I think than we’ve ever had.”

Among the highlights in this year’s parade will be a procession by students from Piney Branch Elementary School, who will celebrate their school’s international diversity with dance troupes and ethnic attire.

‘‘We plan to have as many different countries represented at Piney Branch Elementary School as possible,” said Principal Bertram Generlette.

Students who don’t wear international attire will instead don swim clothes and floats to celebrate the re-opening of the school’s pool, which finally received county and city funding this year after being closed for the entire school year.

‘‘It’s just such a wonderful, small-town celebration,” said Sue Katz Miller, the outgoing co-president of the Piney Branch PTA. ‘‘I love the off-beat, really local parts of the parade. I like it when that’s balanced with the rag-tag local stuff. That’s what makes it feel like the Takoma Park parade, and not just anybody’s parade. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate our diversity.”

Ziegler said many other local causes, from the anti-slots movement to energy conservation, will be represented. One of those will be a display about the Takoma Metro, the site of a longstanding townhouse development proposal that has been opposed by many residents.

Seth Grimes, a member of the group D.C.-Maryland Neighbors for Takoma Transit, said the plans are being kept under wraps until the parade, but promised that the display will be both surprising and entertaining.

‘‘We want to find a way to let everyone know that this opposition has not gone away,” he said. ‘‘... We want to do that in a fun and entertaining way, and so we thought the Fourth of July Parade was a good opportunity.”

The parade will be headed by Mayor Bruce Williams and Grand Marshal Ray Messick, a 56-year member of the Takoma Park Lions Club. Other officials in attendance will include U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D-Dist. 8) of Kensington, state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D), and state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D). Music will be performed by the MacMillan Pipe Bands, dc Motors, Mecca Temple No. 10 Drum and Bugle Corps, the Morning Few, D.C. Pan Jammers, Image Band, Trinidad and Tobago Steel Band and others.

Fireworks by Zambelli Fireworks Internationale will take place at Takoma Park Middle School around 9:30 p.m., following the evening program, which will include performances by Bele Bele Rhythm Collective and the Takoma Park Community Band, as well as the announcement of award winners from the parade.

Takoma Park July 4 parade and fireworks

The parade starts at the intersection of Carroll and Ethan Allen avenues and travels south on Carroll to Maple Avenue, then turns right on Maple to Sherman Avenue.

A program of music begins 7:30 p.m. at Takoma Park Middle School followed by fireworks. For more information about Takoma Park’s Fourth of July celebration, visit