Thursday, June 26, 2008

what's up the pike: giving and taking

The reconstruction of the Silver Spring Metro may not get as much funding as it needs according to a new proposal from County Executive Ike Leggett.

Two years have passed since the fateful flood that gave rise to Just Up The Pike, and I'm proud that I've been able to keep it up, unlike so many of my other grand projects that flame out shortly after getting started. The past two years have been a wild ride, meeting people, traveling the county, making friends and losing a few as well. Here's to another year of writing about the place that I love most - and, to kick it off, here's a look at what's happening around East County:

- It's become clear this week: so shall Ike Leggett giveth, so shall he taketh away. Right after throwing more money at the promoters who'll run the Fillmore music hall in Downtown Silver Spring, County Executive Leggett proposes cutting funds from the Paul Sarbanes Transit Center, a $50 million reconstruction of the existing Silver Spring Metro station. The transit center would expand the capacity of what is currently the state's second-largest transportation hub, bringing local and regional bus service together along with the Purple Line.

Like the Fillmore, the Sarbanes Transit Center is the centerpiece of a large mixed-use development with offices, hotels and possibly residential units. Planning Board Chairman Royce Hanson says the cost-cutting threatens "important design elements" of the project, including the location of a police station and transit store.

- As one East County private school embarks on an ambitious expansion, another struggles to pay its monthly rent. The Chelsea School, a facility for learning-disabled students just outside of Downtown, just embarked on a fundraising campaign to build a Daniel Libeskind-designed addition to their campus. Meanwhile, the Newport School, currently located on Tech Road in Calverton, can't even keep their doors open for next year if their landlord doesn't cut rents.

Both schools have a long history in the area, and in recent years, both have also had to change locations frequently. The Newport School lost three-fourths of their enrollment when they moved to their current space in an office park, administrators said, crippling their ability to raise funds.

Dear reader: thanks for reading! We hope you'll keep coming back again and again. You are why Just Up The Pike has kept going strong.

1 comment:

rb said...

My son graduated from the Newport School 12 years ago. It was a perfect alternative to the local middle and high schools which were totally overwhelming. Newport grew considerably after he left but collapsed when they were kicked out of the building that is now Newport Middle School in Kensington which the county took back. Unfortunately the people in my neighborhood and carpool petitioned the county to take the school back to relieve the overcrowding in the current middle school. Newport could not find equivalent space and spent several years in much smaller church facilities, at which time their numbers decreased. Moving to the new facilities on Tech road did not increase enrollment as was hoped.
Recently I was happy to learn that the man who was head master when my son was in school was to return to the job. He was a wonderful influence on the students, particularly the high school students. Unfortunately that may not happen.