20 March 2013

March Message from the Chair

Dear Friends,

A few weeks ago I attended The State of the County Address and listened to County Executive Leggett discuss the great strides Montgomery County has made in the past year.  Leggett discussed the strength of our local economy, successes in education, and the growing diversity of the County. He also laid out a vision for the future and discussed the growth and redevelopment happening in areas such as White Flint, Bethesda, and Gaithersburg to name a few. Overall, the speech was well received and many in attendance felt good about the direction the County was heading on many economic fronts.

What struck me most about the speech was that there was no mention of Wheaton, especially during the discussion of areas in the County going through redevelopment. I took this omission as a challenge for WUDAC to work harder in ensuring that Wheaton is not ignored when it comes to communities working towards developing into their own unique and individual locales for families, small businesses, and visitors.
As Chair, it is important that WUDAC strive to promote and highlight the great things happening in and around the Wheaton Urban District. WUDAC is working hard to address issues such as lighting, greening, walkability, economic development, and arts and entertainment.  Our Economic and Design subcommittees are staying on top of current issues affecting the area, as well as taking the lead on other matters before they arise. All these steps are done by design, and I am happy to report that they are yielding positive results.

The Wheaton website and WUDAC blog sites receive steady traffic and are updated regularly with community news, events, and other pertinent information. WUDAC has also invited County officials and community groups to speak at our monthly meetings and provide input and guidance on ways to improve the Urban District. Finally, WUDAC sent a letter to the County Executive seeking transparency on the progress of Wheaton Redevelopment and full funding in the FY14 budget for Bill 6-12. It is imperative that there are no delays in redevelopment as WUDAC works on other issues of the Urban District.

Looking forward, WUDAC looks to seek continued support for priorities of the Urban District and Wheaton Redevelopment. Some of our priorities in the next few months include:
  • Recommending that the County Executive and County Council endorse the Urban District’s FY14 budget requests for gateway signs and seasonal banners, greening projects, and promotional materials to boost advertising for current and new events around Wheaton.
  • Continued outreach to the community seeking their input on matters important to them. WUDAC members will continue to attend community events and report on any relevant issues that come from these gatherings.
  • Continuing to stay on top of redevelopment and collaborating with our colleagues at the Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee (WRAC) to ensure that there is no delay in funding for any aspect of redevelopment.

Great things are happening in and around Wheaton and the Urban District. WUDAC’s aim is to highlight these accomplishments and champion issues and causes important to the community. We are working diligently to achieve this goal and are making sure County officials are aware of this progress and that Wheaton Redevelopment is an open and transparent process. In the next few months, WUDAC will work towards seeking our FY14 budget priorities and ensuring that Wheaton Redevelopment moves forward with no delay. The input and support of the community is vital towards this goal and we hope you can lend your voice to the cause.

Henriot St. Gerard
Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee