Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"the turf" safe; teenage loitering remains undisturbed

TOMORROW, OR MAYBE FRIDAY, WE DON'T REALLY KNOW: Just Up The Pike sits down with County Councilman Marc Elrich (D-At Large) for a super-brief chat about schools and cautious - very cautious - growth.

Two years ago, Silver Spring protested the County's plans to eliminate an ice rink from the proposed Civic Center, but less than a year after the "temporary" turf lawn we've all grown lo love has been installed, residents came back asking to keep it green, and it looks like those in charge have listened. Both the Penguin and the Scene report that Park and Planning doesn't want an ice rink in Downtown Silver Spring after all, concerned that it wasn't the best use of precious public open space.

It looks like Silver Spring residents may have won the battle to keep "the Turf," but will they reconsider? The point of keeping the ice rink was to provide an additional draw to the Downtown area and show that Silver Spring really was worthy of such a large investment, but if it's not worth the expense, what does that say about Downtown?

I'm happy we're keeping "the Turf." It's a boon to the community and shows that, while we are a very fickle people, we certainly can't pass up an afternoon lying on our backs watching the clouds go by - especially in weather like this. Here's hoping that global warming continues to make an ice rink economically unfeasible. (I kid: who knows what I'll get for saying that here.)

What can I say? This is great news, but I wonder if residents really will be happy if the County follows through and finds a way to keep "the Turf" or even real grass on the site. The community fought tooth-and-nail to retain an ice rink in the plans, despite the higher cost. When winter comes, will they be saying we made the right decision?

IN OTHER NEWS: The Wheaton Plaza 11's added two screens for indie films, but moviegoers are still flocking to the AFI Silver; a redevelopment plan for Burtonsville Town Center will crystallize after an "East County Market Study" is completed later this spring; MCPS is smarting after Ike Leggett offers them less money than expected in next year's budget (more on that later); and speed cameras will be deployed on a trial basis at several locations throughout East County, including ones on Calverton Boulevard, Briggs Chaney Road, and Randolph Road.

Hey, go outside today! It won't be like this again for a little while.


Sligo said...

Too bad the turf is kind of filthy right now. It needs to be vacuumed.

MoCoPolitics said...

Couple of comments:

(1) I don't agree with your construct of an either/or between a rink and the fake grass. If the rink is not built, something else most likely will be.

(2) Yes, people use the turf, but have you looked at it up close? I walked through that area yesterday morning and it looked like hell and it made my knees hurt. If that area is going to be kept as an open space (which I would wholeheartedly endorse), I think it ought to be done RIGHT. Plant some grass or put down some sod with some appropriate landscaping, and allocate some money for annual upkeep and repair. DO NOT just leave the astroturf that is there now, as it is unsightly and most likely ultimately unsafe.

Anonymous said...

Keep the green in silver spring!

Anonymous said...

Could they at least put in some fake plastic palm trees?

Anonymous said...

I agree it needs a vacuum but I LOVE the "turf" (really SoftLawn, not astroturf)--it's the best public space I can imagine. And in many ways (shhhh) is better than grass. Dries faster after rain, for one thing.
Do you know of a place to show support for keeping the green there?

Anonymous said...

The best place to voice support for either option is at the next silver spring citizens advisory board meeting. They will certainly be debating this.

Anonymous said...

I sold Montgomery County that turf and I can assure you that by Monday noon, they will have a proposal on their desk for us to come replace it with some GOOD turf.

The stuff we used was cheap - it had to be to meet their budget. For a bit more money (peanuts compared to the $22 million proposed concrete jungle), we can put something in that (if properly cared for) will last 5 or 6 years and will be beautiful.

It will actually look like grass (close to an NFL Football Field), not the minty-green, low-pile stuff we sold them a few years ago.

Keep up the pressure. We love the exposure and we love Silver Spring!