City Scene

Mayor and City Council Receive Legislative Briefing

The City of Gaithersburg is closely following legislation in the Maryland General Assembly on a number of fronts, including school construction funding, the Watkins Mill Interchange at I-270, requirements for state and county entities to pay stormwater fees to local municipalities, the restoration of Highway User Revenue, and a bond bill that will help with park construction at the former Consumer Production Safety Commission site.

At the March 6 Mayor and City Council meeting, Rob Garagiola from the lobbying firm Alexander and Cleaver reported that the Watkins Mill Interchange appears to be moving forward. The State Highway (SHA) released a request for construction proposals for the project in late February. Still, “there’s a lot of back and forth between the governor and the legislature,” Garagiola said, over the possible impact of the Maryland Open Transportation Investment Decision Act of 2016, which Governor Larry Hogan calls the “Road-Kill Bill,” because it prioritizes transportation projects based on 31 different factors. According to the governor, the law would kill the Watkins Mill Interchange if the law remains intact. State Del. Kirill Reznik, who introduced the bill, disagrees because the interchange was previously approved and therefore not subject to scoring under the legislation.

Also at the March 6 meeting, Mayor and City Council were briefed on the status of the “Forgiveness Bill,” designed to forgive the debt of local municipalities resulting from the state comptroller’s misallocation of income taxes. Gaithersburg was one of the municipalities affected by this, receiving an estimated $2.5 million in error. The bill, introduced by state Senator George Edwards of Garrett County, would forgive the debt.

High-Flying Plan Approved

At their March 1 meeting, the City of Gaithersburg Planning Commission approved the concept plan for an iFLY Indoor Skydiving facility at 9318 Gaither Road. The experiential entertainment company makes skydiving safe and reliable by creating a stable, wall-to-wall cushion of air in a flight chamber. There are 37 locations of iFLY in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.

Crime Decreases in City

The City of Gaithersburg saw an overall decrease of 8.9 percent in Part I crimes in 2016. These include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft. “Through the efforts of each member of the Gaithersburg Police Department (GPD), working in conjunction with the residents of our community, the city is a safer place,” said Police Chief Mark Sroka in his introductory letter to the 2016 Police Annual Report. The publication also includes a summary of police initiatives, overviews of each division, and a list of awards received by GPD officers.  You can read the full report here:

Youth Invited to ‘¡Óyeme!, the Beautiful’

Students in grades 6 through 12 are invited to join Student Union and Gaithersburg Youth Club members for a special performance of “¡Óyeme!, the Beautiful” on March 17 at 4:15 p.m. at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park, 506 South Frederick Ave.

Presented by Imagination Stage, “¡Óyeme!, the Beautiful” follows several young refugees from Central America. The performance brings to light the courage and beautiful spirit that fuels these young people, and teaches us the power of friendship, family, and hope.

Student Service Learning hours are available for students who help with setup at 3 p.m. before the performance and cleanup until 5:30 p.m. following the performance. Email to register as a volunteer.

The performance is free, but reservations are requested. Please email or call the Activity Center at Bohrer Park by March 15.

City Holds Immigration Workshop

More than 70 local nonprofit providers attended the city’s Immigration Workshop coordinated by the Community Services Division at the Activity Center on March 9. Representatives from the Office of Community Partnerships, Montgomery County Public Schools, Catholic Charities, the International Cultural Center, the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Culture and the Gaithersburg Police Department provided information and resources. The city’s website,, provides links to a variety of resources and is updated regularly.

Chipotle Fundraiser for CHARACTER COUNTS!

Plan to dine at the Chipotle in Fallsgrove Village Center, 14925 Shady Grove Road, on Tuesday, March 28, and help the City of Gaithersburg raise funds to support the W. Edward Bohrer Jr. Memorial Scholarship Program. The restaurant is generously donating 50 percent of the proceeds from qualified sales between 5 and 9 p.m. to the City of Gaithersburg for this very worthwhile cause. You must show this flyer for your purchase to go toward the fundraiser:

Established in memory of former Gaithersburg Mayor Ed Bohrer, the CHARACTER COUNTS! scholarship program provides financial support to high school seniors. Since its inception, more than $150,000 has been awarded to 85 deserving young people.

GBF Brings George Lucas Biographer

Brian Jay Jones will discuss his latest book, “George Lucas: A Life,” which is the first comprehensive biography of the influential creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, on Wednesday, April 19, 7 to 9 p.m. at Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, Gilchrist Hall Auditorium, 9601 Medical Center Drive, Rockville. The book was named one of Kirkus’s Best Books of 2016 and has been praised as “definitive” (New York Times), “whiz-bang” (People), a “must-read” (Parade) and deemed by Rolling Stone as “the one biography for casual and die-hard (Star Wars) fans alike.”

This Gaithersburg Book Festival (GBF) event co-hosted by Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus and Politics & Prose is free. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.