Wednesday, March 7, 2007

the slow return of just up the pike

If you've ever driven down Fairland Road, you've probably seen this homemade sign for John Kerry taped to a telephone pole, still there three years after the election. I don't know if it (or the pole) will survive the construction to widen the road, so I decided to take a photograph of it for posterity.

Here's what's happening in the area, to the best of my knowledge:

IT'S RACHEL CARSON'S BIRTHDAY! Not until May, but when it comes, the State would like it to be a holiday commemorating the life and work of the Silver Spring resident and environmental activist. From her house on Berwick Road in Quaint Acres, Carson spearheaded the environmental movement with her then-controversial book, Silent Spring. She's probably the most influential person to come out of Silver Spring - except for neighbor Lewis Black, of course.

LAUREL MALL ASCENDANT? Three months after first reported by Just Up The Pike, the Post takes a detailed look at the twenty-eight-year-old mall's new lease on life. In less than two years, the center could have a slew of new stores, a movie theatre and a completely different look, creating a huge impact on the city of Laurel and, by proxy, East Montgomery County.

WHITHER GEORGIA AVENUE? The Penguin has been doing a series of sorts on the stretch of Georgia Avenue between Wayne Avenue and the railroad bridge. It's not Downtown Silver Spring and it's not dopey SoPo (short for South Point, which makes no sense, because Silver Spring sits at the very NORTHERN point of D.C.) but rather somewhere in between, and you can bet that none of those people who hang out on "the Turf" Friday nights would think to go there.

While the Hook and Ladder brewpub (a big waste of the old fire house, as I've said before) will bring some foot traffic to the area, it'll take a lot more to make it not only safe but exciting. There is a lot south of Wayne, but the blocks are long, the sidewalks narrow, and the lighting poor, making the area rather uninviting to young people used to the sensory overload of Ellsworth Drive.

And I wonder what changes could encourage people to visit the area, commonly known as "Fenton Village" (though the Penguin has a poll with new name suggestions) short of a tabula rasa redevelopment like what happened on Ellsworth. Thinking about Laurel Mall, I can't help but imagine Downtown Silver Spring as a giant mall, with the Majestic/Borders/City Place as an anchor at one end, and the clubs and galleries of South Point anchoring the other end. What goes in the middle? (Mall logic would dictate some sort of food court, or a giant carousel.)


SSBoricua said...

If you build it, they will come.

Yuppies will flock to a new brewery like bugs to a bug-light.

thecourtyard said...

Oh, I know they'll come to the brewery. I'm just upset that there couldn't be something that more people could enjoy . . . but we've been down that road before.

Anonymous said...

what's your problem with the new brewery? the recent article in the washington post about it points out that the brewery is going to be opened by the folks (and former montgomery county firefighters) who own silver spring's hook and ladder brewing company. this means that:

1) this is a locally owned business selling a locally made product
2) not only will the historic building be preserved, but it will be preserved in a way that appropriately captures the building's heritage by people who care deeply about that heritage.
3)a percentage of their profits are donated to the local firefighter's burn foundation

given this, i'd say you'd be hard pressed to come up with a more appropriate choice for this location.

if it's not a establishment that you'd care to patronize that's fine, but you have to admit this is a great move for the community.

Anonymous said...

With the loss of the Greyhound bus terminal I think Fenton Village will go even more downhill. There is no demand for so much retail in Silver Spring after the completion of the DSS project which consolidated all the major downtown retail demand in one outdoor/indoor mall.

Things are so bad in Fenton Village that they closed off half of the Fenton Village parking garage due to lack of demand for parking in the area.

Anonymous said...

more apartment buildings will create more demand for food services.

brewpub lover said...

Yeah, man, I am so excited about the brewery. I can't wait for it to open. I think it is the perfect solution for the old firehouse.