Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills sponsored a community charrette in June and we wanted to provide an update on some exciting developments since then.
First off, thanks to everyone who come to the charrette and helped make it a huge success. About 80 people came to the charrette and brought with them all kinds of wonderful ideas for how to improve Montgomery Hills. We are working on a summary report, which will be presented to the community and the county’s Planning Department in the next month.
Building on momentum from the charrette, we have subsequently met with dozens of elected officials, business owners, county government staff, and state officials to talk about how to create a better future for Montgomery Hills.
One of our top priorities is to get the State Highway Administration to finalize plans for revitalizing Georgia Avenue. The entire vision for improving Montgomery Hills hinges on making Georgia Avenue itself a safer, more walkable/bikable, more attractive, greener, less car-centric stretch of road, so we need to SHA to step up and put a comprehensive plan on the table.
One of the alternative plans developed by SHA in 2015 fits the bill, but they have spent years tweaking the plan and still have not released a final version. In an effort to move things along, we recently met with SHA Administrator Gregory Slater.
Administrator Slater was quick to acknowledge that Georgia Avenue is not serving the community well right now and there changes SHA can implement that would make entire streetscape and roadway much better. He thought that SHA’s preferred plan would be publicly released by the end of the year, and said the agency is already engaged in preliminary engineering work on that plan.
The fact that SHA’s plan for Georgia Avenue is almost ready is good news, but it won’t have much impact unless construction funds to build it are secured. The first step in getting funding is for Montgomery County leaders to make rebuilding Georgia Avenue the county’s top roadway priority for SHA. The next step will be getting the state to allocate construction funds for the project.
We’ll need the community’s help to achieve these goals, so more details about how you can get involved will be forthcoming.
Rebuilding Georgia Avenue is a long-term project, but at the charrette many people said they were looking for more immediate ways to bring the communities around Montgomery Hills together.
We totally agree, which is why we are putting together the inaugural Montgomery Hills Street Fest, which will take place on Saturday, September 29th from 3:00-7:00. The Street Fest, which will take place on Columbia Blvd from Seminary Rd to 16th Street, will feature food from local restaurants, live music, yard games, a touch truck from the local fire house, and much more.
We hope that you will join us at the Street Fest on September 29th and encourage your friends and neighbors to come as well. We also need volunteers, so if you are interested in helping out with the event, please sign up at this link.
Thanks for supporting efforts to #FixMontgoneryHills! We are excited about working together to make Montgomery Hills a place we are all proud to call home.