Saturday, September 10, 2011

SSRC: Issues, Projects, Activities , and Other News

Issues, Projects, Activities , and Other News
Report for August 2011 Reemberto Rodríguez, Director

Curfew: This issue is certainly prevalent in many community dialogues, civic meetings, and general conversations. The SSCAB’s Neighborhood and Commercial & Economic Development Committees held a joint session on the curfew in mid-August. The session was extremely well attended, and representatives from the Council and the Executive were present. The SSCAB, with special guest Council President Ervin, will take up the issue at their Board Meeting on September 12th.

Noise Bill: As the bill evolves, there seems to be a growing consensus in Silver Spring that public and private opportunities to activate the area by providing and sponsoring concerts and other performances is something that should continue. Many have expressed the opinion that any limitation on these activities may hinder the economic vitality of the area.

Fenton Street Market: At the end of this calendar year we will have finished the pilot project whereas the Regional Center sponsored the Fenton Street Market on Veterans Plaza. As we move to institutionalize the success of this type of activity on the Plaza, we are proceeding with the development of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a craft market that would occur on a regular basis.

Thanksgiving Parade: The Recreation Department will be holding a community meeting on how to continue improving the Parade. There’s already been a series of meeting with the various Advisory Groups and/or their committees to explain why the route changed and other logistical matters. This broader meeting will emphasize the many opportunities for continued engagement by area residents and businesses in the Parade and how it can maximize its positive impacts.

Fillmore: Opening date is set for September 15th. The community is invited to get a preview of the space on Monday, September 12th. All advisory group members and civic leaders have been invited. Many inquires continue coming in about the Fillmore, but the exhaustive FAQ web-site that the County has prepared has successfully answered most of the inquires. There’s been extensive internal tactical strategy sessions to ensure a successful opening and continued operations.

Civic Building and Veterans Plaza Operations: We are successfully working closely with the new Facility Operations Manager of the facility (Jewru Bandeh.) There’s been substantial improvements in all areas of operations, with new protocols put in place. For example, now the building closes to the public at 6 p.m. during week days (Rented functions still take place beyond that.) Also, a new set of Plaza Rules will be unveiled soon.

Silver Spring Green: This community initiative has really taken off, due in large part to the leadership offered by the DEP staff (Doug Weinberg) who has successfully steward the process. We continue being part of this effort and are helping it grow as it becomes an exemplary non-profit organization.

Silver Spring Senior Village: This volunteer driven initiative to establish a “senior village” close to downtown Silver Spring is getting lots of traction. (This is modeled after a very successful model established in Bethesda whereas senior come together to help each other and collaborate to ‘age in place’ – or ‘age in our neighborhood’.) We are part of the effort to get this going. On-going meetings at Springvale Terrace are taking place regularly.

National Night Out: August 2nd was National Night Out. Our Police did a great job in being part of this annual event. The Regional Center visited various sites and the day was clearly a huge success.

September Festivals (and other upcoming activities): There are 7 festivals in the Silver Spring Regional Center area in September, beginning of course with our own Jazz Festival. We are working with our internal and external partners to ensure these events not only happen without a hitch, but offer an opportunity for successful community engagement…. Coming in October: Community Services Week; Opening of Ice Rink…. Coming in November: Veterans Day Unveiling of Veterans Plaza Art Piece; and, Thanksgiving Parade.

Plaza Ambiance Performances: Thanks to the volunteer effort of Silver Spring Town Center, Inc., there were over 30 free ‘ambiance’ performances on the Plaza during the Spring and Summer. All these performers performed free of charge and provided a wonderful environment to enliven our Plaza and offer the opportunity for community members to come together and enjoy all that downtown has to offer.

Red Shirts Get New Chief!: Victor Salazar, long time staff with Weed & Seed and active community member (Four Corners) is now the manager of our Urban District’s “Red Shirt” (Clean & Safe) Team. The number of ‘feet on the streets’ in downtown is increasingly tremendously. It is these folks that keep the area clean and serve as ‘good will ambassadors’… When you see them around, please say a simple ‘thank you!’

Trip to El Salvador: In July I was fortunate to go to El Salvador with others from the County, including the County Executive and Councilmember Leventhal. This personal trip was highly successful. Subsequent post-visit gatherings are probing to be very useful for our work, particularly in
Silver Spring Senior Village: Our efforts to support the volunteers starting the Silver Spring Senior Village continue. We have helped them make connections with other people and resources that have expedited their capacity to become operational in the near future.

Advisory Groups Activities/Issues:

Citizens Advisory Board: In August the board held is CIP Forum. The September meeting will be focusing on the Curfew. They will also hold a retreat in September, and soon welcome three new members. Continuing the practice of focusing on different neighborhoods, October will be devoted to Takoma Park. (The Mayor will visit with the Board in November.)
Starting MONDAY SEPTEMBER 26, the SSCAB’s three committees will all meet at the same time (7-9pm) in the Civic Building every 4th Monday of the month.

Urban District Advisory Committee: They will begin meeting at the Urban District offices (the Fire Station) again. This month they will review the development proposal for the current site of the Silver Spring Post Office. (The Post Office is moving.)

Arts & Entertainment Advisory Committee: The Arts & Entertainment District (re)Designation Application is due October 1st. The Committee is serving as a solid sounding board for the narrative of the application. Also, new members have been asked to rejoin and the Committee has expanded to include representation from the Fillmore, Round House, Arts & Humanities Council, and Peterson Co. (Downtown Silver Spring.)


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