- In case you missed it: State Senator Jamie Raskin recently held a fundraiser in downtown Silver Spring and preceded it with a "flash mob" on Ellsworth Drive. Over 150 people, including a mix of volunteers, students at the Maryland Youth Ballet, and Raskin himself, danced to the Contours' "Do You Love Me" on Ellsworth Drive. And awesome photographer/friend of JUTP Chip Py was there to capture the scene.
- In less fun news, if you're interested about new developments in downtown Silver Spring, there are three public meetings this month about new apartment buildings proposed along Fenton Street. They're a great chance to learn about what's going on and offer your suggestions as well. (Thanks to reader Jag for the heads-up.)
Karen Burditt of East Silver Spring has been circulating the meeting announcements on downtown-area listservs with the following message:
If you want to have a say in the future of Fenton Village then come out for about an hour and see what the developers have proposed.
This is a public process and will be part of the development record on these projects. The Developers have to record your comments - you can speak to the height, massing, appearance, parking, density, use, etc. You can also see three different developments and compare the different approaches of the different development teams. You can hear your neighbor's opinions and concerns as well. If you believe that Fenton Village needs to be developed in a manner supported by the local community - then please come out and be part of the process.
- This Thursday, December 6 will be a presentation about the Adele, a proposed apartment building at the corner of Fenton and Thayer where there's an abandoned auto repair shop today. The project was originally approved in 2008 for an 8-story building with 96 apartments, but the property went into foreclosure, so now it's got a new developer, a new architect and possibly a new program as well. The meeting's at 7:30pm at the First Baptist Church of Silver Spring, located at the corner of Fenton Street and Wayne Avenue.
|Rendering of Studio Plaza courtesy of WDG Architects.|
- Next Thursday, December 13 will be a meeting about Studio Plaza, a major development in the block bounded by Georgia, Thayer, and Silver Spring avenues and Fenton Street that could contain apartments, shops, offices and even a hotel. Though I was really excited about the original proposal 3 years ago, the latest design presented this summer leaves a lot to be desired, and it's important that residents make their concerns known. That meeting will be at 7pm at the Silver Spring Civic Building.
|2009 rendering of proposed apartment building next to the future Silver Spring Library.|
- Finally, on Monday, December 17, Montgomery County will present their plans for an apartment building for low-income seniors next to the future Silver Spring Library at Fenton and Bonifant. The 8-story building would have 110 apartments and ground-floor retail space. This is an especially important project due to the rising cost of housing in downtown Silver Spring.
One of the reasons why housing is so expensive in the area is because there's a lot of demand to live in places like downtown Silver Spring but not a lot of supply, even with four new apartment buildings going up as we speak. It certainly doesn't help that a small group of neighbors keeps fighting proposed housing developments in and around downtown.
While there are lots of questions to be answered about these three new projects, we have to remember that downtown Silver Spring is a major hub for jobs, shopping and transportation. More people living here means more customers for local businesses, fewer cars pouring in on Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road, and more preserved open space in the county as a whole. Hopefully, residents will keep that in mind as they attend these meetings this month.
That Studio Plaza building looks rather like a re-skinning of a 1970s building, rather than something new.
Carrying the lot-filling 10 to 13 rectangle out of the District is hardly a piece of architectural imagination.
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