Tag Archives: Montgomery County

Good Works in Bethesda/ MoCo

Hi friends, I wanted to take a moment to post some info on a terrific group called Rebuilding Together Montgomery County.  RTMC is doing wonderful and important work by providing safe, warm and healthy homes to some of the most vulnerable residents in Montgomery county.
A colleague just let me know about a fun fundraising event that is coming up for RTMC called “The Playhouse Project.” The essence is that 8 amazing one-of-a-kind playhouses (built and donated by local custom home builders) will be auctioned live on June 11.
My colleague forwarded the info and the link below:

Reflections on the Planning Process

Hi folks, just wanted to pop in and share a couple of thoughts about the County planning process and how it impacts our little town of Bethesda.

First, and most significantly, our little town is growing up (literally!) very fast. If you walk from Battery Lane in Old Bethesda to Barnes and Nobles in New Bethesda you will see 6-7 new apartment buildings that have either just been completed or are about to be completed. Each building means new, and more residents, more density of people and traffic and likely more, and new services, drawn to this emerging group. Each Bethesda resident will have their own take on this growth but it is real and (second point coming up) it is continuing! At the planning session last week it was interesting to see how the bulk of the time seemed to be spent with developers pushing for more density or trying to ensure the proposed increases would be set in stone. The number of large apartment buildings that have been proposed and that developers are advocating for, is astonishing.

Third, the new housing stock is high end and expensive. The MPDU rental program does not work effectively and people making decent money are being priced out of Bethesda – it is remarkable that young professionals making $40-50K can barely find housing that meets their needs.

Moving away from housing it is also worth noting that there is a lack of imagination at the county level when it comes to greening the community and making it more livable. That is a surprise for a place as progressive as Bethesda but a point worth noting.

The last point regarding the planning meeting is that it is crucial that the citizenry engage much more than they are currently doing. There are still opportunities to influence the Bethesda plan and if we don’t want to wake up and look like Northern Virginia the time to engage is now.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts below – these are important discussions that need to be had in public.


Update on Proposed Road Through Battery Park

As you know the County is looking to put a road through Battery Park. The community is rallying to urge them to reconsider and the story is picking up press attention. The online petition has topped a 100 signatures and various groups from day care center (parents and staff), cross fit athletes, dog walking club members etc. are all registering their disapproval with the plan.

The road is not needed to connect the community with the rest of Bethesda as there are bike and foot paths to do so.

Further, the damage to one of the few places in Bethesda where kids can run free would be immense.

The County leadership needs to think long and hard – is this really the best use of tax payer dollars?

Winter Storm Warning for Montgomery County this Evening

Folks – take care, it looks like freezing rain is on the way and therefore lots of ice!

bethesda ice path is lovely

Maryland Schools: Increasing Class Sizes vs Not Enough Teachers

The Washington Post ran this article today about problems of overcrowding in Maryland schools – with Montgomery County bearing the brunt as the state’s largest school system.  As 200,000 Maryland students headed back to school, growth in classroom size has been pitched against funding difficulties meaning school’s have been unable to hire more teachers, leaving parents understandably anxious.

Concerning Bethesda:

At Ashburton Elementary School in Bethesda, enrollment has grown to 770 this year from 650 last year, mostly in kindergarten and first grade. Principal Charlene Eroh Garran said that she had hired two veteran teachers and two rookies in the past month and had to find new space in the school to accommodate all the students, but she was optimistic that things would work out. Any more and she’ll have to call in the trailers, she said.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, who is retiring in June, undertook a “back-to-school-tour” yesterday marking the final of his 12 years as Superintendent.  He began the day at Bethesda’s Walter Johnson High School.

Read the full article here.

Historic Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Open to Visitors

Image by Kmf164

(Image by Kmf164, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin on Old Georgetown Road will open to visitors for the first time over the weekend of June 24-25 (limited hours).

The cabin in Bethesda, which is the former home of slave Josiah Henson, whose autobiography was the model for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, was recently purchased by Montgomery County Planning Board.  It will be opened to provide the public with a rare view of the cabin during the county’s Heritage Days event.

Historian CR Gibbs told 9 News: “We have a chance to bring together the strands of farming, of slavery, to tell the interconnected and complex story that has long since been desired to be told.”

Should be a fascinating event!  More here from the Washington Post.