Thursday, June 28, 2012


Fiscal 2012 ends Saturday June 30th.  The Silver Spring Regional Center, along with our Urban District, has had a very busy year!  Reflecting on some of the highlights gives us the opportunity to reaffirm our role as “the eyes and ears of the community to the County and vice the eyes and ears of the County to the Community.” Here are but a few (10) examples:

     [1] Worked with communities throughout the Regional Area (from Lyttonsville to Langley Park) to ensure that planning for the Purple Line considers the voices of all community members. (9 of the Purple Line’s 21 stations are in our Regional Area. Five of these have substantial concentration of small businesses.)

     [2] Worked extensively with the State Highway Administration in their many activities in the Area. This includes the plans to improve Georgia Avenue from 16th St. to the Beltway; new directional signage to parking garages; and, the pedestrian crosswalks and accompanying ADA ramps in the Business District.

     [3] Intensified efforts to work closer with our adjacent jurisdictions in matters of mutual interest.  In particular, we’ve begun working with Prince George County on human services related efforts; and continue working with Washington DC, particularly in the area bordering with South Silver Spring and 16th Street.

     [4] Successfully connected various proposed developments with their immediate neighboring communities to facilitate the Park & Planning approval process.  (Among these were the new development at the old Post Office, the redevelopment of the Baptist Church on Wayne and Fenton, and the new senior housing on Bonifant – next to the new Library.)

     [5] Continue working with our County agencies and others to ensure all community members remain informed during the planning, design, and construction of various public facilities and the disposition of county assets.  (Among these are the transit station, the new library, Progress Place, the soon-to-be old library, and the 3rd police precinct.)

     [6] Focused attention on small businesses throughout the Area, including: (a) Supported the efforts of the Long Branch Business League and Takoma Park’s New Ave Initiative; (b) Under the leadership of the Commercial Economic Development Committee of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board – held the highly successful “2nd Taste the World in Fenton Village” event to engage these small entrepreneurs in our civic process; and, (c) Worked with the community in Montgomery Hills commercial area to put up new banners, develop a business directory, and get a new map of the area designed (to be installed soon.) 

     [7] As a result of our work with the Smithsonian Institute and working together with some of our area’s non-profits participated at regular dialogues on immigration issues. Similarly, began efforts to engage segments of our community in particular efforts. This includes our work with the faith community, our Ethiopian community, and the growing number of outdoor markets in the greater Silver Spring area.

     [8] Working with the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board, established stronger relation and connection with the three premier new efforts and initiatives in our Area: (a) Silver Spring Green; (b) Silver Spring Senior Villages, and (c) Safe Silver Spring.

     [9] Working with our Urban District and its Advisory Committee, (a) Improved the “Weekender Program” (the team of offenders assigned to community service helping us keep downtown clean) and received national recognition for its successful implementation; (b) worked with many County agencies and others, successfully implemented the opening of The Fillmore, which has had over 100 events bringing countless ‘customers’ to our downtown area, enhancing our economic vitality and increasing vibrant nighttime economy; (c) partnered with the Recreation Department to deliver our highly successful Jazz Festival, Thanksgiving Parade, and Summer Concert Series; and, (d) Increased the number of “Red Shirts” that help us keep our downtown area ‘clean and safe’.

     [10] Other downtown area accomplishments included: (a) Established regular communication channels amongst county agencies and private sector interests that deal with downtown safety and security, thus substantially increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the many related efforts; (b) Worked with other County agencies, solidified the regular presence of the Fenton Street Market on Veterans Plaza on Saturdays for the economic and social benefit of the downtown area and the community at large; (c) Networked with the many ethnic groups and organizations bringing festivals and celebrations to downtown Silver Spring. Some of these events have brought literally thousands of people to enjoy our unique urban area; (d) Worked with the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc., brought regularly scheduled ambiance performances to Veterans Plaza, providing users of this public square a sense of safety and security as well as light entertainment while they enjoy the space; and, (e) Successfully transitioned the management, scheduling, and operations of the Silver Spring Civic Building and Veterans Plaza to the Community Use of Public Facilities.

{During FY12 we also started a new tradition: Our occasional and always informative “e-blasts”.  (If you are not receiving these, please let us know!)}

None of the above would have been possible without the collaboration of our three Advisory Groups: (1) the Citizens Advisory Board (and its three outstanding committees); (2) the Urban District Advisory Committee; and, (3) the Arts & Entertainment Advisory Committee; or the staff support from our “off-site” Business Management Team; and, most importantly, the amazing work of our Urban District staff under the leadership of Yvette Freeman, Chief of Operations. Additionally, this year we were fortunate to have an AmeriCorp with us, three seniors from the Jewish Community Action, and (at last count!) at least 10 volunteers that have offered us indispensable support… To all we say: THANKS!

We look forward to continuing our work with the community in our next fiscal year and beyond… See you around Silver Spring!

1 comment:

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