Friday, April 9, 2021

Benches proposed for Chestnut Lodge Park in Rockville

Two benches would be installed in Chestnut Lodge Park at 500 W. Montgomery Avenue in Rockville under a proposal to be reviewed by the Historic District Commission. The park is one of the few physical remnants of the world-famous Chestnut Lodge sanitarium, which burnt down under very suspicious circumstances in 2009.

Aerial view of Chestnut Lodge Park;
orange arrows indicate proposed
bench locations

The "Madison" bench model proposed for use is made out of recycled plastic bottles. Planning staff has concluded the proposal meets the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation #9, and is recommending approval of the bench plan. The HDC will take up the matter at its April 15 virtual meeting.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Outdoor dining returns at TGI Friday's in Rockville

Spring is finally here, and that means the return of outdoor dining. That includes this covered outdoor seating area for TGI Friday's at Pike Center on Rockville Pike that we saw during the warmer months last year.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Goodwill Store coming to Rockville Pike

A Goodwill Store will be opening soon in the most convenient Rockville location yet. It will be in the Marlo furniture building at 725 Rockville Pike. You may recall this space was formerly home to Italo Ceramica.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Rockville to look at comprehensive rebranding in effort to boost struggling Town Center

Rockville's Mayor and Council voted unanimously last night to pursue a comprehensive rebranding for the city, rather than focus only on developing new branding for the struggling Rockville Town Center area. After a discussion on three possible rebranding strategies, Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton expressed concern that no decisive action would be taken last night. She said many stakeholders were watching the meeting, and were expecting officials to take some substantive action to move the Town Center effort forward.

Councilmember Beryl Feinberg suggested waiting a week until the Mayor and Council take up other spending issues for the next fiscal year. Ultimately, Councilmember Mark Pierzchala made a motion to adopt both the first and third proposals - "communitywide rebranding," to replace the aging "Rockville: Get Into It" branding campaign, and "branding and promotion of Rockville's commercial districts," including but not just limited to Rockville Town Center.

After a friendly amendment by Councilmember Monique Ashton to clarify that an integrated marketing approach would link the two proposals, Pierzchala's motion passed unanimously. Following the vote, Feinberg urged her colleagues to remember that parking is the top complaint of Town Center patrons and businesses. Namely, it's not free, while competitors like Rio Lakefront, Downtown Crown and Pike & Rose offer free parking, free parking and 2 hours of free parking, respectively. 

Ashton also called for regular updates on what progress, if any, the city is making toward meeting the goals proposed by an Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Panel to improve the economic health of Town Center. Several officials expressed concern about appropriating funds for a separate Town Center revival effort on last night's agenda - development of a broader economic development strategy for the Town Center area - until the market recovers from the current pandemic. Pierzchala noted, however, that the Town Center's struggles long predate the pandemic.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Assault at Rockville Metro station

City of Rockville police responded to a report of an aggravated assault at the Rockville Metro station Friday night. The victim was assaulted in the parking lot of the station around 6:06 PM, according to crime data.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Rockville construction update: Ansel Apartments (Photos)

There's been a tremendous amount of progress on developer Duball, LLC's Ansel Apartments in front of the Regal Rockville cineplex in Rockville Town Center since my last update. A significant amount of glass has been installed on the lower floors. The building will offer an 18th floor clubroom with a bar and game area, a fitness center and yoga room, a 24-hour concierge, and - of particular note in the current global crisis - there will be semi-private work pods. Ansel appears to be on-schedule for its expected Fall 2021 delivery date.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Rockville seeks public input on future of RedGate Park

The City of Rockville is seeking public feedback on the future use of RedGate Park, which was designated as parkland by the Mayor and Council when the golf course on the site at 14500 Avery Road closed. An online survey has been set up for this purpose. Respondents are being asked to weigh in on what features and amenities the park should have. You do not have to be a City resident to participate, but you do have to register to take the survey.