Wednesday, March 9, 2016

RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS of the Silver Spring Regional Center

The Silver Spring Regional Center connects Montgomery County and community members, businesses, institutions, non-profits, visitors, and all interests in Silver Spring.

Our mission is to "Strengthen communication between the community and various agencies of County Government; Coordinate necessary interagency action with respect to each local area; and recommend programs and policies tailored to the local community."

The work of the Center is done through efforts in the Silver Spring Regional Area, which encompasses the area south of the beltway (plus Four Corners), east to the Prince George County line, south to the Washington DC line and west to Rock Creek Park. 

In the downtown Area, much of the work is done through the Silver Spring Urban District which provides enhanced services to the Central Business District to ensure that downtown Silver Spring is maintained as a clean, safe and attractive environment to promote a vibrant social and business climate to support long-term economic viability and vitality. SSUD services include ambassadorship , security, streetscape maintenance, walkway repairs , tree maintenance, marketing, promotions and special events. The Silver Spring Urban District sponsors a summer concert series, the Silver Spring Jazz Festival, the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade, the Taste the World in Fenton Village and other events to attract people to downtown Silver Spring.  

Downtown is also an "Arts & Entertainment District." The goal of the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District is to provide a welcoming, eclectic, urban center in downtown that showcases the arts and entertainment community, while providing a unique source of culture, recreation, and entertainment for residents and visitors, and creates a dynamic economic anchor for downtown Silver Spring’s continued redevelopment and revitalization.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS for the Regional Area

[1] Purple Line and BRT: The Silver Spring Regional Services Center (RSC) worked with the County's DOT to move forward the planning for the Purple Line Light Rail project as it nears the start of construction. Community-wide meetings, information sessions, and dialogues were held to discuss progress and the cost savings measures suggested by the State; as well area specific convenings with various neighborhoods and groups adjacent to future stations (i.e.: Wayne Ave ara residents; Lyttonsville and Rosemary' Hills and their master planning process; Arliss Street townhouses; and the business communities in Bonifant, Long Branch, Takoma Langley, and Brookeville.)  Similarly, work began with the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Rapid Transit System. The Silver Spring RSC worked with DOT in identifying a diverse pool of participants from the area's traditional and non-traditional civic infrastructure to serve on the CACs.

[2] Small Commercial Hubs: The Silver Spring RSC is working with the many stakeholders in the Area's commercial hubs (outside the core of downtown and Takorna Park) to "celebrate today while plans made for tomorrow." A new web-site directory was developed for Montgomery Hills; working with neighborhood residents, a composite list of businesses in the Brookeville/Lyttonsville area was generated; under the leadership of the Long Branch Business League, new murals have been added to Long Branch; serving on the Takoma Langley Commercial Development Authority, new banners were put up, as well as a new ad campaign initiated; and, with collaboration of the Urban District, the 5th Taste the World in Fenton Village was highly successful.

[3] Placemaking: The continuing emphasis on placemaking has yielded concrete ideas, including the recent experiment to introduce quality busking ("street performances") in carefully selected public spaces beyond the core of downtown to increase the sense of safety and security, as well as providing a more enjoyable urban public realm. Working through an intensive community input process, the implementation of various pedestrian and bicycle circulation improvements are well underway under the auspices of DOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Impact Areas (BiPPA.)

[4] Engaging the Community: The Silver Spring eNewIetter has expanded its reach to nearly 5,000 recipients; and it is routinely Facebooked and Twitted - as well as cut-and-paste to neighborhood listservs. Participation in the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) is on the rise, with more residents attending not only the formal monthly meetings of the CAB, but also the many meetings of its three Committees: Neighborhoods, Commercial Economic Development, and Transportation, Energy, and Environment.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS for the Urban District and Arts & Entertainment District

[1] Support of Veterans Plaza Events: The Silver Spring Urban District supported over 70 events on Veterans Plaza - and adjacent Ellsworth St., which is oftentimes closed for events as well - by closing and opening the street, managing trash disposal, recycling efforts, and general ambassadorship support. 

[2] Production of Marquee Events: The 10th Annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival, was once a gain a great success; as so was the
Thanksgiving Parade bringing thousands of people to downtown and bringing major social and traditional media exposure to downtown. The Taste the World in Fenton Village has now grown to be an expected annual event to affirm the many independently owned restaurants in the southern part of downtown Silver Spring.

[3] Collaboration with Other Agencies: Working with DOT staff, the new VanGo schedule and route were implemented, now providing for a real loop which mns later into the weeknights and Saturdays. The Silver Spring Urban District, working with Department of GeneraI Servicres, WMATA, DOT and others retired the IOS operations for the Silver Spring Transit Center; and helped orient users to the new station, distributing over 2,500 brochures. The SSUD reaffirmed its Weekender Program with the Department of Conections, agreeing to continue this highly successful program indefinitely.

[4] Recycling: The SSUD recycled approximately 5 tons of material (plastic, glass and aluminum bottles and cans). delivering it to the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station.


The work of the Regional Center is done in part through the efforts of various advisory groups. These include:

·        The Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board
·        The Silver Spring Urban District Advisory Committee
·        The Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment Advisory Committee

Reemberto Rodriguez, Director
Silver Spring Regional Area

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