Monday, December 10, 2007

Urban Park Springs to Life

Today I was at a ceremonial tree planting and photo opportunity at a new, much-needed green space in downtown Silver Spring. The park is located at the corner of Burlington (Rt. 410) and Fenton.* Many of you in the area may recall that just a few years ago this site was an unattractive entry to our downtown district. It had a large, ugly billboard and condemned home. The lot was filled with trash and debris. At the urging of the East Silver Spring Citizens Association (ESSCA), the parks department has done a wonderful job in cleaning up, re-grading, and landscaping the property.

Recently, local residents (including yours truly) planted over 200 tulip bulbs there. They were donated by the Takoma Horticultural Club. The planting today was of a Crabapple Tree and Ginkgo Tree -- both chosen for their beauty, longevity, and pollution resistance. The trees were purchased through a grant from the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Fund and matching funds from ESSCA.

It is the goal of ESSCA to see this property joined with the nearby Fenton Street Park by the purchase of the corner property separating the two sections of the park. Once this is accomplished in accordance with Silver Spring CBD Master Plan, we will have a green space that is an anchor to the Fenton Village and appropriate, welcoming gateway to our community. Silver Spring residents, businesses, Montgomery College students, bike path users, and many others, have all expressed a desire to see this gateway to downtown Silver Spring become an attractive asset and restful green space for the entire community to enjoy.

Pictured here is the "before" photo I took of the park site a year ago. This is after the billboard and condemned house were removed -- at which point it became a mud pit and illegal parking lot. The "after" picture here is from today's planting. It gives you just a taste of the future great green space it can soon become.

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