Thursday, December 10, 2009

advisory board wants civic building named for silver spring

"Your Name Here"
Silver Spring's new Civic Building (you know, the one with the windows) currently under construction at Ellsworth and Fenton shouldn't be named after anyone at all, say the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board. The panel of residents living in or near Downtown wrote a letter to the County Council and County Executive asking that the new public hall simply be called the "Silver Spring Civic Building," in honor of the community.

Debate over who the building should be dedicated to has raged for years, which suggestions ranging from former County Executive Doug Duncan to former Silver Spring resident Dave Chappelle. (Okay, that was my suggestion, and I stand by it.) The letter follows:
Dear County Executive Leggett and County Council,

Several months ago, we were asked to serve as a community sounding board about possible names for the new Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza. After many neighborhood meetings and much community input, we recommend that the building not be named after any one person, but rather be named after the community: Silver Spring.

The majority of local residents thought the buildProxy-Connection: keep-alive
Cache-Control: max-age=0

g should not be named after anybody, especially politicians. There were a few exceptions: one person, serving as a representative the County Executive’s office, recommended naming the building after Jim Gleason. Also, there was also a locally-circulated petition urging that the building be named after Doug Duncan. Although it garnered 35 signatures, it did not gain significant local traction, and would also require overruling the county’s naming policies. Our board greatly respects the contributions of both of these former County Executives, and we would honor their accomplishments by allowing a civic, public building of this nature to represent the community with the community’s own name.

We also represent the community in strongly supporting naming the plaza Veterans Plaza. In doing so, we honor those who served and continue to serve in our nation’s armed forces. Their works and their sacrifices deserve our recognition and gratitude.

As a result, we urge that the building be simply named the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza.


Darian Unger, Chair
Silver Spring Advisory Board
The Advisory Board's suggestion raises a whole other discussion about The Naming Of Things. How long should a name be, and can being too descriptive or self-referential destroy the quality of a place by leaving nothing to the imagination?

To me, the most egregious example of "over-naming" something would be the "Rockville Town Square Plaza." Anyone who took high school Spanish would know that plaza means square, but perhaps there were concerns that the phrase "Rockville Town Square" would create confusion between the physical square and the development that shares its name. (Old David Alpert from GGW pointed out to me once that ville is French for "town," meaning that, fully translated, the place is called "Rock Town Town Square Square.")

If we've decided against naming the building for someone, isn't it enough to call it the Silver Spring Civic Building? Is it necessary to tack "at Veterans Plaza" at the end so long as the actual Veterans Plaza will be located right in front of the building, there for visitors to pass through on their way in?


Robert said...

The Silver Spring Advisory Committee is to be congratulated for their common sense approach to naming the new Civic Building. Calling it the "Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza" is a great idea!

Now if they'd only take the same common sense approach to the proposed bridge to the new library from the parking garage across Wayne Avenue. The bridge would improve access to the library and Fenton Village and save money too.

WashingtonGardener said...

I concur with the SSAC the "Silver Spring Civic Building" is what we will all call it anyway so keep it simple.