Councilmember Nancy Navarro: Itís Our Turn: Support Wheaton Redevelopment NOW
It's Our Turn: Support Wheaton Redevelopment NOW
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How long does Wheaton have to wait for redevelopment?
The County Executive included $41.9 million for Wheaton Redevelopment in his recommended Capital Improvements Program (CIP), representing Montgomery County's contribution to what is expected to be a $300 million private-public development partnership. While some of my colleagues on the Council have already expressed support, others say they want to delay this project by a couple of years.
For over a decade, Wheaton has heard empty promises from the County about redevelopment with little to show for it. Finally, the County Executive has developed a bold initiative that will jump-start Wheaton's revitalization, which will help both the urban core and the surrounding residential communities. We can't let this moment pass us by.
On March 12th at 2 p.m. the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee (PHED) will hold a work session on the Wheaton Redevelopment Program. The public is encouraged to attend to show your support for this important smart growth project. The session will be televised live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM).
You may also be interested in some recent articles about Wheaton Redevelopment:
Officials push Wheaton residents to support redevelopment
By Aaron Kraut
In a Feb. 13 memo to councilmembers, Navarro detailed how the $40 million for Wheaton's project would be spent, aiming to address questions some had about the cost of the project. She said the project is about equity for Wheaton.
"Wheaton has waited far too long for redevelopment," Navarro wrote. "The community has patiently sat by watching the County invest hundreds of millions of dollars in redevelopment projects, asking, "When will it be our turn?'"
Read the complete article.
Redevelopment Supporters Fear Funds Will Not Materialize
By Esther French
"I don't want to sound the alarm, but it is not a done deal," Ana Lopez van Balen, director of the Mid-County Regional Services Center, said at a Feb. 14 meeting of the Wheaton and Kensington Chamber of Commerce, which supports redevelopment. "It is a critical moment for this project."
Council Vice President Nancy Navarro, in a Feb. 13 letter to other councilmembers, said that she is "prepared to support the County Executive's proposal as the best way to move forward for the residents of Wheaton and the surrounding area."
"This injection of public funds is well below several previous County-financed redevelopment projects," Navarro wrote, referring to redevelopment in White Flint and Silver Spring.
Without a significant public investment in redevelopment, there is not much confidence that Wheaton would see any economic growth in the near future.
"The economy's not picking up any time soon," Councilmember Valerie Ervin said at the PHED Committee meeting on Feb. 7. "[With no County investment, Wheaton] will be just sitting there languishing for another 15 to 20 years."
Read the complete article.
Helping Our Small Businesses Prepare for Redevelopment
While I continue fighting for the Wheaton Redevelopment Program, I am also aware of the stress and uncertainty redevelopment brings to small business owners. I believe the County has an obligation to mitigate the negative impacts of redevelopment for our small businesses. That's why I introduced Bill 6-12: Small Business Assistance Program.
Bill 6-12 would create a program that provides needed capital and technical assistance for small businesses impacted by County-financed redevelopment projects. If you are a small business owner or you know a small business owner who could be helped by this program, you can tell your story at a public hearing on February 28th at 7:30 p.m. (please note time-change). To sign up, call (240) 777-7803.
A recent article in the Gazette shows how this bill is can make a big difference to small businesses:
Assistance bill provides some hope for Wheaton business owners
By Aaron Kraut
Navarro's bill would differ from previously enacted small business assistance in two key ways. It would allow for businesses to apply for aid two years before construction starts and grants or loans would not be capped at $20,000.
"We want to do whatever we can, within our limitations, to lend a hand to those small businesses that have been such a core of the character of Wheaton," Navarro said. "[The bill] is not a panacea. Some businesses may not survive regardless of redevelopment. I think that's why it's important to have very clear-cut criteria for this program."
Derrick Richardson, owner of Derrick & Darren's Barber Shop, said he hasn't applied for government assistance in his 16 years in Wheaton Triangle, but that might change if financial assistance from Navarro's bill becomes an option. Richardson estimated he would lose 85 percent of his business without parking in Lot 13. B.F. Saul's plan for the area includes parking to go along with residential, retail and office space.
Read the complete article.
Wheaton Library and Recreation Center Work Session Scheduled
On March 5th at 1:30 p.m., the Health and Human Services Committee (HHS) and the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee (PHED) will take up the issue of the much-anticipated Wheaton Library and Recreation Center.
Although the County Executive included this project in his recommended Capital Improvements Program (CIP), I believe the time timeframe for completion is much too slow. Under the Executive's plan, there is no funding for the project in Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) or FY14, which I find unacceptable. There is also a gap in funding between FY15 and FY17-this gap must be eliminated. I will work with my colleagues to move the project forward, so Wheaton's Library and Recreation Center will finally live up the standard our community deserves.
Stop the Shift Campaign
In January, the 90-day session of the Maryland General Assembly began. Governor O'Malley's budget includes a provision that would shift the state-obligation of teacher pensions to the counties. If enacted, this shift would cost Montgomery County nearly $50 million in FY13 and more than $70 million by FY17.
If the pension costs are shifted to Montgomery County, we will have to make difficult choices to fill the budget gap. The cost of our FY13 pension payment would equal the salaries of:
- 624 teachers, or
- 360 principals, or
- 825 police officers, or
- 921 career fire fighters, or
- 938 correctional officers
Please visit the Stop the Shift Campaign website to find out how you can help Montgomery County avoid cutting these essential positions in our public schools and County Government.
Glenmont Visioning Update
Last week, the Planning Department held a second "visioning workshop" to solicit community input as they begin work on updating the Glenmont Sector Plan. A third workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21st at 7:30 p.m. at the Saddlebrook/Park Police Headquarters (12751 Layhill Road Silver Spring, MD 20906). If you cannot make it to the workshop, but still want to provide input about what you would like to see in a revitalized Glenmont, please send your thoughts to my office and we will pass them along to the Planning Department.
Olney Safeway Opening
I was pleased to attend the Grand Opening of the new Safeway in Olney. This state-of-the-art, LEED-certified grocery store is a wonderful new amenity for the Olney community. The store features an on-site dry cleaner, Starbucks Coffee, and provides ample outdoor seating. This new Safeway will be more than simply another grocery store in Olney-it is a new destination. Last Thursday morning, Olney residents filled the parking lot and lined up before 8 a.m. to be the first ones to experience the new Safeway. I congratulate Safeway on this new store and am happy the residents of Olney will have another great option to do their grocery shopping and more. For more pictures from this event, please visit my Facebook page.
Community Bulletin Board
Superintendent's Leadership Program
All rising seniors with a 3.2 grade point average are invited to apply for the Superintendent's Leadership Program, an honors leadership and career development program. Students earn two honors credits per semester by participating in a 15 hour per week internship and community service project. The deadline to apply is March 15. For more information and an application visit the website at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/superintendent/leadership.
County Board and Commission Vacancies
Current vacancies include:
- Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board
- Cable and Communications Advisory Board
- Cable Compliance Commission
- Western Montgomery Citizens Advisory Board
- Workforce Investment Board
More information at:
County Seeks Volunteers to Work With Victims of Sexual Assault
Volunteers are needed to assist sexual assault victims and their families through the Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. Interviews are currently being conducted for the March 2012 training session.
Volunteers provide 24-hour crisis counseling and companion services at Montgomery County hospitals and police stations for victims of rape and sexual assault. Bi-lingual volunteers are encouraged to apply.
All potential volunteers must attend a training program, which covers crisis intervention skills and the specialized knowledge of the emotional, medical and legal issues that victims face. Volunteers must commit to serve for one year, in an on-call capacity, for one 12-hour shift or two six-hour shifts per week. All volunteers must be at least 21 years of age, have a valid driver's license and immediate access to transportation.
For more information or to arrange an interview, call the Montgomery County Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program at 240-777-1355 or go to
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. To get the latest news and updates in real-time, "like" me on Facebook or "follow" me on Twitter.
As always, if you ever need anything, please don't hesitate to call my office at (240) 777-7968 or e-mail me.
Council Vice President
Councilmember, District 4
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Councilmember Nancy Navarro | 100 Maryland Avenue | Rockville | MD | 20904