Tag: silver spring

Dog Park Coming to Silver Spring

Dog Park Coming to Silver Spring

Get your chew toys and Frisbees ready — Montgomery County’s first dog park inside the Capital Beltway is nearing completion.

Montgomery County currently operates five dog parks, but all are north of the Capital Beltway. The new Silver Spring dog park, which takes up a portion of Ellsworth Urban Park, is being built as a pilot park to test urban dog park designs. This will be the first constructed as part of a county plan to add 11 more dog parks by 2022.

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The popularity and demand for dog parks is not surprising — There are now more households with dogs than with kids! The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates there are nearly 80 million pet dogs in the United States. Dogs motivate people to get outside, exercise, and connect with others, and dog parks are one of the fastest-growing park amenities in the country.

The Silver Spring dog park will feature a smaller area for “timid dogs” and a large area for “well-socialized” dogs. Each area is surrounded by a 5-foot-high fence that includes a double-gated entry system. The half-acre dog is scheduled for completion in May.

Abandoned Homes: A Growing Problem in Our Community

Abandoned Homes: A Growing Problem in Our Community

The Great Recession may be over, but the aftermath is still being felt in communities all across the country. Here in Montgomery County, we have more than 400 abandoned properties that continue to drive down nearby home values and attract neighborhood crime.

Abandoned homes are a magnet for dangerous criminal activities, such as squatting, arson and defacement. Unused houses are nearly twice as likely than occupied houses to generate calls for fire or police service, and they lower neighboring property values by as much as 10%. Not only are abandoned houses an eyesore, they pose a serious public safety risk and deter new families from purchasing homes in our county.

I am introducing legislation to reduce the number of abandoned homes and make our community safer. My bill will require unoccupied homeowners to register with the county, and will increase inspections and implement graduated fees for unmaintained homes. Enacting this bill could deter homeowners from leaving properties unused and unkempt for long periods of time, and gives absentee owners incentives to repair and then to sell, rent, or occupy their property.

Here are the basic guidelines of my proposal:

      • Establish a vacant property registration
      • Require an initial inspection within a month of registering.
      • Allow homeowners 30 days to fix any code violations.
      • Charge any subsequent inspections performed by the Department of Housing and Community Affairs(DHCA) to the homeowner using a graduated fee schedule (similar to the False Alarm Response Fee Schedule).

Properties that are no longer in use are more than just a symptom of macroeconomic forces  — their links to crime and sinking property values  make them unique problems in and of themselves.  In order to stave off community decline and disinvestment, we have to act now.

If you know of any abandoned properties in your community, I am asking you to please send your photos and locations to councilmember.hucker@mongtomerycountymd.gov. Together, we will keep our community safe and strong.

County Delegation Supports Student Loan Refinancing

County Delegation Supports Student Loan Refinancing

Many of us know how hard it can be to keep up with student loans. With national student loan debt soaring over one trillion dollars, this issue has become a crisis for those wishing to purchase a home or start a family. Student loan refinancing is a critically important public policy challenge, and we now have the chance to implement a program that could allow teachers, nurses, attorneys and others to save thousands of dollars each year.

Many of our local business leaders, including Julie Verratti – Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Denizens Brewing Company in Silver Spring – have  a unique experience with student loan debt. According to Julie,  having the ability to refinance loans at lower rates may have helped free up  more cash to start her business. We need to make it easier for our young entrepreneurs to thrive.

Last week, the Montgomery County Delegation in Annapolis unanimously supported the creation of a Montgomery County Student Loan Refinancing Authority (bill MC 27-16). Enacting this legislation would mean that Montgomery County could provide student loan refinancing for residents that would substantially reduce the financial burden on our young people and working-families, free up funds that will be reinvested in our economy, and improve our county’s regional competitiveness to attract new talent (following the example of Las Vegas business loans by Credit Professor and similar organisations). We all want to lessen the economic burden on our neighbors and provide incentives for young workers to live in Montgomery County, as well as encourage businesses to start and grow here.

The House version of the bill (HB1079) will have a public Ways & Means Committee hearing on March 7th at 1:00 p.m. Please contact your local officials and ask them to support HB1079!

Park Wayne Apartment Fire in Silver Spring

Park Wayne Apartment Fire in Silver Spring

We’re still working with A Wider Circle to assist our Silver Spring neighbors displaced by the fire in the Park Wayne Apartment. They are accepting online donations here: https://awidercircle.networkforgood.com/…/7355-a-wider-circ…. Checks can be sent to A Wider Circle, 4808 Moorland Lane, Suite 802, Bethesda, MD 20814. Please write “Park Wayne apartments” in the memo. The point of contact is Erin Fiaschetti, erin@awidercircle.org; 301-608-3504.

“One family is in need of two twin beds and some chairs. Donations of food, water, or other large items can drop them off at A Wider Circle, 9159 Brookville Road, from 9am – 6 pm Monday -Saturday, and 12 to 6 pm on Sunday. Contact Anne Thompson annethompson@awidercircle.org; 301-608-3504.”