The recurring theme was "basketball courts" and all things free—"free food," "free Wi-Fi," and so on. There was also a request for shuttle services from schools or ensuring that there was some form of public transport available to the youth space.
The responses to the kind of activities, indoor and outdoor, brought a plethora of ideas to the table, from perceived risk activities (such as rock climbing) and skating, basketball, outdoor gardens, and outdoor concerts and barbecues to a "teenage bar," showing movies and games minus the alcohol.
(Forget skateboarding! The new cool thing to do in Silver Spring is finding ways to smuggle booze into the teenage bar.)
Community activist Tony Hausner posted these photos of the event, including a few drawings of what appears to be the soon-to-be-former Silver Spring Library, one of the proposed sites for a downtown youth center. He sent these points out in an e-mail to attendees of the workshop, outlining a plan to make this project a reality:
1) There will be a need to develop a political organization to lobby for the SS library. This group needs to be as broad based as possible including school based groups, like student organizations, and ptsas, etc. I will be glad to work with you all on such an effort
2) There is public space that is available, such as at schools, libraries, rec centers, and community centers. There will need to develop strategies to access that space, either through school auspices, such as ptsas, or by using the political organization to lobby for such. Again, I will be glad to work with you all on this.
3) Safe Silver Spring, the Regional Center staff (SSRC), SSCAB, and a number of other community leaders have been discussing creating an inventory of public and private space that is available either free or at low cost. Right now, we need volunteers to help survey space for that inventory. The volunteers would survey churches, businesses, apartment complexes, and other potential sources of space in the SSRC service area. Please help us identify volunteers among the groups that participated in the charrette and other organizations and let me know the names of volunteers.
I'm excited to see the community working together to create this space, especially in the center of downtown, which has already become a major destination for kids throughout East County. Hopefully, a new teen center will not only give our youth a place to hangout but a real stake in the community as well.
- Today's the inauguration for the new Montgomery County Council, and the Examiner has a little Q-and-A session with new at-large councilmember Hans Riemer, who says he enjoys going to album release parties at the Velvet Lounge, and hanging out at Saint-Ex on 14th Street. I know Hans (a longtime friend of JUTP) campaigned on being a new, younger pol - but even I feel old reading that!
- It sounds like something out of a movie, but it isn't: the developer of Leisure World is threatening legal action if the retirement community doesn't pay them for using the name "Leisure World." Says resident and veteran Roy Rosfeld: "If we have to pay for it, tell 'em to stuff it. We'll get some fancy new name." Right on, sir.
- Over in College Park, developer Cordish Companies hosted an open house to discuss the proposed East Campus redevelopment, which is going back to the drawing board after years of discussion.
The developer of Leisure World is going to learn why that community is such a political power in our county. They are people with a lot of experience in getting things done AND they have time to dedicate to things.
Reading the Examiner Q&A with Mr Riemer, I actually have a slight element of hope that he might take the initiative to bring to Montgomery some of the youthful energy and joie-de-vivre that characterizes much of the District's nightlife and cultural offerings.
Velvet Lounge? St-Ex? Wow, this guy likes a lot of the same places I used to hang out. St-Ex back when I had a decent job, and Velvet Lounge, long long ago before they even had a working Metro station nearby. I may have even rubbed elbows with him up in the madness that is 18th Street NW Adams Morgan after the closing bell, eating greasy Jumbo Slice pizza and trying to dodge frat boys, Marines on leave, and pickpockets. You'd think I'd remember if I'd ever run into him at Asylum on dollar-beer nite Saturdays starting at 5:00PM, a favorite of the Hill interns, and one of the best places in town to see stunning skin-and-ink artwork.
Well, somehow I can't imagine that the stodgy old Council will suddenly come to their senses and let MoCo be what it once was, easily as fun as the District, but at least I know that someone on the Council actually knows how to party, and isn't afraid to go downtown to do it.
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