Wheaton redevelopment is on the cusp of becoming a reality and, now more than ever, residents must make their voices heard to ensure that proposed funding for a long overdue revitalization of our community is passed.
On March 12, the County Council is set to deliberate on a $42 million construction project to build a platform vital to the development of a new downtown area. Failure to pass this project will delay or, at worse, halt redevelopment—and Wheaton will continue to lag behind its neighboring communities. Now is the time for our local elected officials to hear from Wheaton residents and see that there is strong support for redevelopment in our community.
Our community can ill afford to sit idle on this very important matter. Wheaton residents have waited more than 20 years for redevelopment, and the $42 million project faces an uphill battle for funding by the county. During the past 12 years, designs for new office and retail space have been finalized and developers such as B.F. Saul have submitted proposals for a new walkable downtown Wheaton around the Metro station.
Additional projects, such as the new Safeway, are also currently under construction. All of these projects aim to revitalize Wheaton, attract new business and residents, and have an immediate economic impact on both Wheaton and the county as a whole. All of these economic benefits are in grave danger if the Council does not support the Wheaton redevelopment project.
Unfortunately, some councilmembers believe that Wheaton redevelopment can be delayed and approved at a later time. Some of them even believe that an $80 million project to construct a new entrance at the Bethesda Metro station for the yet-to-be-approved Purple Line takes precedence over the revitalization of an entire community.
The $42 million Wheaton redevelopment project is not only less expensive than that elevator project; it will also costs less than the amount funded in previous years to redevelop neighboring communities such as downtown Silver Spring and Rockville. Wheaton residents cannot accept this, and it is important that our voices are heard.
I encourage Wheaton residents to write to the County Council and urge them to approve the Wheaton redevelopment project. I also encourage individuals to attend the March 12 Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) hearing, scheduled for 2 p.m. in Rockville, as a show of support for redevelopment. The Council must see that Wheaton residents fully support redevelopment; our silence is not an option. We must show our support by contacting the County Council, appearing at hearings, or both. The future of Wheaton depends on it.
Letters to the County Council can be sent to the following address. This is also the address for the March 12 hearing on the Wheaton redevelopment project:
The Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850