Wednesday, December 26, 2012

SILVER SPRING REGIONAL AREA – Community Engagement Opportunities

Did you know that in our Silver Spring Regional Area there are a series of regularly scheduled meetings providing everyone opportunities for engaging our community? The public is welcome to these meetings. Formal members of these “Advisory Groups” are nominated by the County Executive and approved by the County Council. Principal among these are:

Meets the second Monday of every month (except July and August) at 7 p.m. in the Civic Building.
They deal with “all things Silver Spring”, within the Regional Area boundaries.  (The Area is one of five “Regional Areas” in the County. See link above for map.)

The “SSCAB” has an active committee structure. Its three Committees are (1) Neighborhoods; (2) Commercial Economic Development; and, (3) Transportation, Energy & Environment. All three Committees meet at the same time (in separate rooms) at 7 p.m. in the Civic Building the fourth Monday of every month (except July and August.)

Participation in the SSCAB Committee meetings by the general public is highly encouraged. You do not have to be a formal member of the Board to participate in their deliberations.

Meets the third Thursday of every month (except July and August) at 3:30 p.m. in the 3rd floor of the Fire Station (8110 Georgia Avenue)

Our downtown area – from the DC line north to the ‘core’ of downtown – is an officially recognized ‘urban district’.  This official Advisory Group provides advice regarding issues impacting the Urban District.  

Meets (most every) second Thursday of every month at Discovery Communications, 8:00 a.m.

This official Advisory Group focuses on transportation issues in the downtown area.


There are also other Advisory Groups worth checking out. For example:

Meets quarterly. Exact dates disseminated through our Regional Area eNewsletter.

This Advisory Group, appointed by the County Executive, provides advice for issues pertinent to the growing arts and entertainment culture in the officially designated Arts and Entertainment District of Silver Spring (generally the same area as the Urban District and the Transportation Management District.)


Additionally, many non-profits hold regular meetings inviting the general public to participate. Dates vary, so stay tune to our eNewsletter for exact dates, times, and location. Among these are:

Safe Silver Spring meets monthly to discuss safety issues relevant to our community. Everyone is welcome to these monthly meetings. They also hold a quarterly dialogues with the 3rd Police Precinct Commander, where the community is also invited.

Silver Spring Green offers opportunities for community members interested in ‘everything green’ to participate in their events and committee structure.

The DSSSV is part of a national movement to establish ‘senior villages’. They also hold occasional events and welcome participation in their committee structure.

(*Google these groups for further information.)


Of course, there are countless non-profits in the area, many of which sponsor wonderful community events open to all… Again: Stay tuned to our eNewsletter for notices of opportunities to participate. 

In the Silver Spring Regional Area, we also have many robust neighborhood associations, condo associations, and emerging tenant associations. These provide opportunities to connect with neighbors for matters of common interest. You are highly encouraged to get in touch with your area association… Best way to find out about them? Ask a neighbor! Most have active ListServs and other social media connections. (While we can not list their meeting dates in our eNewsletter, we certainly welcome notices of their special events that are open to community members outside their boundaries.)

Our schools, libraries, and recreational centers also offer many opportunities to engage and be active in the community… We encourage all to walk over to their neighborhood school, library, and/or rec center and find out more information.  (While we can not routinely list all events going on in these public realms, we try to occasionally include a representative sample.)


The above list tries to capture opportunities for engaging in our traditional civic infrastructure in the Silver Spring Regional Area. However, there are many other non-traditional ways of ‘building community’.  While it is impossible to know “all that is going on”, we remain committed to disseminating at least some of the opportunities that the different entities share with us.  Among these are:

Sports: The many formal (and informal) leagues throughout the area are a viable means of connecting to neighbors and community.

Affinity Groups: Chess clubs and such also offer wonderful opportunities to get to know our community and be part of it.

Faith Community: We recently counted over 60 active faith groups in the Silver Spring Regional Area. Many of these are active in social justice ministry in collaboration with other faith groups. Community also ‘happens’ here.

Festivals and Community Celebrations: In 2015 there will be over 40 “festivals” in the Silver Spring Regional Area. The traditional ones (the Jazz Festival, the Takoma Park Folk Festival, etc.) were joined by the beautiful pageantry of the Ethiopian Festival, Africa-Fest, the Telemundo Dia de la Familia, Harvest Moon Festival, Zombie Walk, Restaurant Week, Taste the World in Fenton Village, and many other entrepreneur – and community - ventures that provide fun and enjoyment for all community members.

Business Area Promotions: Downtown Silver Spring, Old Takoma, the New Ave., and other business areas do a wonderful job of bringing us together to celebrate where community and commerce intersect. The Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, a membership organization, is also very active in the broader Silver Spring area.

Outdoor Markets: At last count, there are at least five active outdoor markets in the Silver Spring Regional Area. These markets also celebrate where community and commerce intersect, while at the same time providing opportunities for local and regional entrepreneurs.

…and then there’s the arts…

Art is life and life is art.  The Silver Spring Regional Area has an increasing number of opportunities where the arts are flourishing. Some of what is mentioned above certainly has an ‘arts component’ – particularly the festivals and craft markets. But there are also the galleries, the performance venues, the ambiance performance on the public squares… The presence of major venues (AFI, the Fillmore, the Silver Spring Black Box) are increasingly complemented by the growing nighttime economy with many restaurants offering live music, comedy, and entertainment... Non-traditional community engagement also happens in these spaces, places, and productions…


[1] Please keep sending us your notices… We’ll do the best we can to include them in our eNewsletter… HOWEVER: We can not guarantee it - and we need at least 10 days notice… You are highly encouraged to aggressively get the word out through other means. For example, if your event is happening in Silver Spring's downtown, make sure you list it yourself on It is easy! Just click on the SUBMIT AN EVENT link.

[2] Please help us disseminate this info by reposting, putting the links on FaceBook, Tweet, etc. Also: If you’ve been forwarded this e-blast (or are reading it on the blog) and you’d like to subscribe to get it directly, the link is HERE.

We look forward to seeing you in and around the Silver Spring Regional Area as we ‘do community’!

Reemberto Rodríguez, Director

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