IN THE GAZETTE: Construction trailer causes kerfuffle in Cloverly; Konterra development steals spotlight from growth of existing neighborhoods; my high school paper named best in the state.
ABOVE: These signs attempt to define the boundaries of Colesville.
As much as I love East County, it's hard to find a sense of community here. In the past forty years, rural farming villages like Burtonsville, Colesville and Fairland have been swallowed up by suburban development designed with little regard to creating defined "places."
"Place" refers both to the boundaries of a community as a whole - as suggested by signs like those used in Colesville (see above) and the spaces within it, like well-known streets, shopping districts, or parks and squares. Downtown Silver Spring has "the Turf," which serves as a hangout for the entire East County. Its success proves how important public spaces are to a community's health - and to the local economy, as seen by the measures Downtown restaurants are taking in preparation for this weekend's Jazz Festival, partially held on the Turf.
While these kinds of spaces don't exist Up The Pike, the whole month of September seems to be devoted to creating public spaces for East County residents to hang out with one another, even if only temporary.
so much more AFTER THE JUMP . . .
Attractions for this year's Summer Carnival are set up at the corner of Fairland Road and Old Columbia Pike.
For the next two weekends, the massive field at Fairland Road and Old Columbia Pike will become home to the 16th Annual Summer Carnival, hosted by the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department. Riding a Ferris wheel may not seem like a town-building activity, but the carnival creates a "town square" of sorts where East County residents can hang out and enjoy themselves, even if only for a few nights.
At the end of the month, the 17th-annual Burtonsville Day casts Old Columbia Pike as East County's Main Street, complete with a parade. This year's celebration is especially important as it commemorates the fifth anniversary of the Fairland Community Recreation Center, a facility that gives residents a place to meet year-round - albeit in a more structured fashion than a public square. I doubt you'll hear people say "let's meet up at the community center," but it's an important step towards creating better gathering places.
Over the summer, we talked about Ashton's struggle to create a village center that showed the community's heritage while also giving residents a place to hang out. These spaces are every bit as important to East County's development as office parks and highway interchanges, if not more so. Events like the Summer Carnival and Burtonsville Day show East County residents want to get together and celebrate their community. How can we harness that energy into creating places where they can do that during the rest of the year?