City Scene

Olde Towne Park Plaza Under Construction

Gaithersburg elected officials participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking on May 30 for Olde Towne Park Plaza, a new community gathering space in the city’s historic center. The plaza is adjacent to the original B&O Railroad Station and will feature a playful, interactive fountain, an umbrella forest, new furnishings, water gardens and a railroad allée.

Construction should take approximately six months, and a fall 2017 grand opening is planned. Java Junction and the Community Museum are open during construction, with access along the railroad tracks.

Books Alive! Debuts at Constitution Gardens

The City of Gaithersburg introduces “Books Alive! at Constitution Gardens,” a new preschool program featuring theater, storytelling, music, and crafts that celebrate literacy, the natural world and Gaithersburg’s unique history. Programs take place on Fridays, June 23, July 21 and Aug. 4 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.  This program is recommended for ages seven and younger. Bring a blanket and picnic lunch and stay after the program to enjoy the unique nature play space. Constitution Gardens is located at 112 Brookes Ave. in Olde Towne and admission is free.

Friday, June 23 brings “A Musical Adaption of SPINKY SULKS.” The Shady Grove Middle School Drama Club, in partnership with local author and composer Steven Sellers Lapham, presents “A Musical Adaption of SPINKY SULKS,” based on William Steig’s children’s book. Spinky gets into a super pouty bad mood that goes on and on until finally he’s tired of it but can’t figure out how to reverse it.

QO Boulevard Work to Begin Summer 2018

The Mayor and City Council awarded A. Morton Thomas & Associates the engineering design services contract for roadway and sidewalk rehabilitation of a portion of Quince Orchard Boulevard. Proposed improvements include pavement/sidewalk rehabilitation, removal and replacement of existing street trees, installation of new stormwater management infrastructure and replacement of 29 street lights with a metered LED lighting system, as well as construction of an in-road protected bicycle facility. Work is anticipated to begin next summer.

GPD to Phase-In Body Worn Cameras

The Gaithersburg Police Department will begin outfitting uniformed operational officers with body worn cameras starting with a phased approach in late 2017. Police Chief Mark Sroka presented an overview of the program to the Mayor and City Council at their June 5 meeting. Among the items that will be considered during the evaluation stage are policy issues surrounding activation/deactivation guidelines, data retention, storage and transfer, and responses to Public Information Act requests. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft policy at a community information event being planned for July.

City Works to Preserve Local Control Over Small Cell Sitings

Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman joined eleven mayors from nine states as part of the United States Conference of Mayors to call on Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to preserve local zoning and right-of-way protections with respect to cell towers and small cell sitings. The statement comes as the FCC recently opened two docket proceedings that, if adopted, would deny local governments the authority to manage their rights-of-way and determine where wireless infrastructure is sited.

In the policy resolution, the mayors advocate for local authority in siting decisions for cell towers and small cell facilities so that public safety, community image, property valuations and competitiveness issues can be addressed. They also call upon the FCC to expand the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee to include additional local government representatives.

Additionally, the resolution calls upon Congress, the FCC and state legislatures to reject regulations and legislation that would preempt or limit local jurisdictions from managing their own rights-of-way and other proprietary assets and the ability to demand rental payment for these assets.

Gaithersburg has been deliberating the issue of small cell facilities, seeking to balance advances in technology and federal regulations with the municipal needs, neighborhood integrity and concerns of city residents. At a Work Session on May 22, the Gaithersburg Mayor and City Council approved a 30-day comment period on the preliminary draft documents that address Franchise/Right-of-Way Agreements, Ordinance Changes and Right-of-Way Regulations. For more information please contact Deputy City Manager Dennis Enslinger at dennis.enslinger@gaithersburgmd.gov.information, visit www.gaithersburgmd.gov or call 301.258.6366.

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