Tuesday, August 12, 2008

what's up the pike: unannounced vacation?

Community turnout and vendor participation in this year's East County Community Day were considerably lower than last year's. Check out this slideshow of the event's two-year history.

Just Up The Pike's been quiet over the past week, but there's no better time to abdicate blogging duties than during the August recess, when Your Government closes up shop and heads for the Outer Banks. Away from the beaches, however, it's still business-as-usual in East County. Here's a look at what's happening this week:

- Last Saturday's East County Community Day, held at the Windsor Court and Tower Apartments on Castle Boulevard, was a mild disappointment. Held in conjunction with a memorial service for three Windsor residents who died in an apartment fire last summer, the first Community Day benefited from publicity in the Gazette, Montgomery County's events calendar, and local news stations. This year, however, that publicity was nonexistent, with yours truly unaware of when time the event even started.

Those who came out were mainly Windsor Court residents, and vendor participation was also considerably lower, with only seven tables under the big tent, most of whom didn't get much traffic, save for Holy Cross Hospital, which was giving blood pressure tests, and Verizon, who had visors and bags to offer. While their bags were a big hit with residents seeking a place to put their flyers from my table in, I was disappointed that an "East County Community Day" failed to bring out the entire community. My question for Windsor Court is: why do your residents have to die in order for people to know you exist?

- Love it or hate it, the InterCounty Connector is moving along quickly, with construction sites and staging areas appearing up and down the new toll road's eighteen-mile route. In East County, construction means that a portion of Dogwood Drive near Briggs Chaney Road will close permanently to make room for an interchange. Adjacent to Cross Creek Club and lined with new, $600,000 townhomes, Dogwood was until recently home to the few remaining farmhouses from a time when Briggs Chaney wasn't synonymous with "garden apartments."

The ICC's first phase, between I-370 in Gaithersburg and Georgia Avenue in Norbeck, is expected to wrap up by the fall of 2010, with the entire highway, ending at Route 1 in Laurel, being completed a year later. For the Dogwood closure, check out SHA's website or Dr. Gridlock for more information.

- As I'm sure you read in last week's Gazette, the Dutch Country Farmers' Market will remain in Burtonsville through November. Developer Chris Jones is waiting to obtain the permits to start construction on a redevelopment of the Burtonsville Shopping Center, home to the market, which was supposed to begin this summer. The Dutch Market plans to move to a new, considerably larger location in Laurel by the end of the year. JUTP is doing an ongoing series on the Burtonsville Shopping Center revitalization, and it's worth checking out.

1 comment:

Thomas Hardman said...

As for the East County Community Day, well, "Could Be Worse".

If that causes you to want to bang rocks on your head 'cause it feels so good when you stop, try this.

Bel Pre Square had its National Night Out Against Crime last Tuesday. In previous years, some of the same people contributed mightily to the Aspen Hill National Night Out events held at North Gate Park, which were widely regarded as a huge success, having not yet degenerated into the vendor feeding frenzy and all around carnival of Olney's NNO events. Bel Pre Square is more or less garden apartments along the line of Briggs Chaney, or for that matter, Potomac Gardens in SE DC. They're a former HOC "section viii" campus where the homes were more or less given to anyone who had lived there on the dole for long enough, located just west of the Plaza del Mercado Shopping Center, across from Argyle Middle School.