Harry Sanders, the so-called "Father of the Purple Line," will get a memorial in his honor at Woodside Park in Silver Spring, just a few blocks from where he lived and campaigned for the light-rail line between Bethesda and New Carrollton.
Neighbors of Harry Sanders, along with the Action Commitee for Transit and Purple Line NOW!, came together to plant a tree and lay a plaque in his honor at Woodside Park, located at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Spring Street, and they'll hold a dedication ceremony for it this Thursday at 10am at the park.
Sanders moved to Silver Spring with his family in the 1970's in anticipation of the Metro opening; soon after, he became an advocate for transit it Montgomery County, co-founding the Action Committee for Transit and pushing for the proposed Georgetown Branch Trolley, a line between Bethesda and Silver Spring that eventually became the Purple Line. Sanders continued in Woodside until he passed away in 2010.
From the press release:
"Harry remains an inspiration to us all as we work to realize his prescient vision for the County's future," says Purple Line NOW! President, Ralph Bennett. Many of the donations for the memorial plaque and surrounding redbud tree came from neighbors of the Sanders' family who reside on Noyes Lane in the Woodside community. Neighbor and friend Liz Gayaldo says "It was something we wanted to do for Harry, a gift in honor and with affection for him."
Greg Sanders, who is currently an officer on the Purple Line NOW! Board of Directors and the son of Harry and Barbara Sanders reacted to the gift, "this wonderful tree and plaque were a gifts from my father's neighbors who valued his work to form connections within the community. That same impulse motivated his work for the Purple Line. Transit is not mere concrete and steel - it is connecting people with jobs, family and friends, and education. Harry loved trains, but he loved people even more. Connecting all our people is worth paying for."
This won't be the only memorial to Harry Sanders. Shortly after his death, the County Council voted to rename the future Woodside Purple Line station after him. The future Sanders/Woodside station will be located on 16th Street between Spring Street and Second Avenue; if the state of Maryland can find a funding source, it's scheduled to open in 2020.
Longtime readers know I grew up across the street from Woodside Park and had the privilege of working with Harry Sanders at Purple Line NOW! I'm excited to see this memorial put in place.