Showing posts with label Rockville Senior Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rockville Senior Center. Show all posts

Friday, May 14, 2021

Rockville time capsule opened (Photos)

The City of Rockville opened a time capsule buried at the Rockville Senior Center in 1995 at a sometimes-emotional ceremony yesterday. Items included a copy of the venerable Rockville Reports city newsletter, a City recreation guide, a 1994 lottery ticket and photographs.

Opening of the capsule was delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. One online attendee of the virtual opening ceremony became emotional as she noted that, were it not for the pandemic, her deceased relative would have alive for the ceremony's original date last year. City Councilmember Mark Pierzchala represented the Council for the ceremony.

Councilmember Mark Pierzchala

Monday, May 3, 2021

Rockville Senior Center time capsule to be exhumed this month

A time capsule buried 26 years ago at the Rockville Senior Center will be unearthed and opened on Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 5:00 PM. The odd-number anniversary wasn't the original plan in 1995; the pandemic forced the unearthing to be delayed for a year. In another nod to the "new abnormal," the time capsule exhumation will be streamed live on the internet. Register for the free Zoom viewing online. 

What objects were donated to be buried in the time capsule? Tune in to find out, and return to the year when Die Hard with a Vengeance and Batman Forever played in theaters, and Radiohead's The Bends and The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness were being snapped up at Tower Records on Rockville Pike!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Rockville cooling centers to open if temperature reaches 95 degrees, or Code Red alert issued

The City of Rockville will open four designated cooling centers should the temperature reach 95 degrees or higher - or if a Code Red air quality alert is issued - today or any other day. Visitors can rest for free in the designated public area inside the cooling center. Those wanting to utilize fitness centers, computer labs or other amenities can upgrade by paying a fee. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Rockville's cooling centers are at the following locations:

  • Lincoln Park Community Center, 357 Frederick Ave.
  • Thomas Farm Community Center, 700 Fallsgrove Drive.
  • Twinbrook Community Recreation Center, 12920 Twinbrook Parkway.
  • Rockville Senior Center, 1150 Carnation Drive.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Reminder: Rockville Villages event at senior center this Saturday

Just a reminder that the Rockville Village Advisory Committee is hosting an event at the Rockville Senior Center this Saturday, October 8, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, regarding the innovative village concept to help seniors aging in place. Learn about the progress of the existing villages in Rockville, or about how your neighborhood can start its own to support seniors in your community.

The senior center is located at 1150 Carnation Drive. Co-sponsors of the event include Community Ministries of Rockville and the City of Rockville.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Panel to outline progress on Rockville Villages program on October 8

The progress of the Rockville Villages program, a concept designed to provide community support for seniors aging in place, will be detailed at a public meeting on Saturday, October 8, 2016 from 10:00 AM to noon in the Carnation Room at the Rockville Senior Center, located at 1150 Carnation Drive. A panel of village leaders from Rockville and elsewhere in Montgomery County will discuss their experiences so far, and answer questions from the audience. They will also be available to speak individually after the event.

Representatives from the six villages forming within Rockville will also be on hand to provide information to those interested in finding out more. A tour of the senior center is planned, as well.

The panel will be moderated by Pazit Aviv, the Villages Coordinator from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Rockville Senior Center patrons: "We are freezing"

Frequent users of the Rockville Senior Center say the popular facility is not being properly heated. Resident Barbara Elish told the Mayor and Council Monday night that the current level of heat during the winter, apparently controlled off-site, is inadequate.

"We are freezing," Elish said, noting that the building's card room is particularly cold. Jill Cornish said she frequently visits the Senior Center, but "I always wear a sweatshirt." Elish said one of the top card players at the center is 99 years old.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mayor and Council candidates debate at Rockville Senior Center (Photos)

The Rockville Senior Citizen Commission hosted a candidate forum Wednesday at the Rockville Senior Center. All candidates for Mayor and Council participated in the forum, which was well-attended.

Incumbents listed their accomplishments on behalf of seniors, and all candidates discussed what they would do to address the concerns of a demographic that now makes up a quarter of all residents in the city.
Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton
delivers her opening statement
Current mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said the city needs to help seniors "not just to age in place, but to live in place." She said she had advocated for funding for the Senior Center's fitness center, bus route and hiring of new staff. Challenger Sima Osdoby assured voters senior services would be a priority, because "I'm one myself, and I want to stay here. That's one of the reasons I'm running."
Mayoral candidate Sima Osdoby
makes opening remarks
Asked what the issue of primary interest to residents over 60 is, Osdoby said it was "making sure we retain the outstanding city services the city is known for, without raising taxes to do it." Newton answered, "affordability." She said she was the biggest opponent of the Cost Allocation Program, that overburdens those on fixed incomes with higher fees on trash collection, and water and sewer services. "Some of our increases are unsustainable," Newton said, arguing those services should be funded from the general fund.

The moderator asked both mayoral candidates what they would do to encourage seniors to stay in Rockville. Newton said she would expand opportunities at the Senior Center, such as adding a coffee shop. She said senior education, cultural, and fitness programs should be expanded. Osdoby said the city needs to remember not all seniors are alike. Some are very active and remain employed, she said. To that end, she said the city needs a variety of housing types to serve a variety of seniors.

What part can the Senior Center play in reaching an increasingly diverse city population, candidates were asked. Osdoby replied that newcomers from some countries may be wary of authority figures from the government, or police. The city needs to make sure those residents "know they are being helped." Newton said the Senior Center Study is critical in reaching seniors. It would include interviews with over 40 stakeholders who serve seniors with non-profits and other organizations, and focus groups. The study would identify areas of overlap in services, and also the gaps, she said.

Osdoby promised to adapt the city to "the new needs for seniors, for kids, and for the millennials," by "thoughtfully re-energizing [Rockville] Pike." Newton said she would advocate for a Circulator bus or trolley, and policies that give seniors "the choice to stay where friends are, where the streets are safe," and where there is easy access to public transportation.
L-R: Beryl Feinberg, Virginia Onley,
David Hill, Brigitta Mullican, and
Patrick Schoof
In a second forum, City Council candidates Beryl Feinberg, Richard Gottfried, Julie Palakovich Carr, Clark Reed, Patrick Schoof, David Hill, Virginia Onley and Mark Pierzchala discussed many of the same issues.
L-R: Richard Gottfried, Mark Pierzchala,
Julie Palakovich Carr, Clark Reed,
Beryl Feinberg, Virginia Onley
Gottfried vowed to help seniors age in place, promising he would vote to limit tax assessments on houses of those 65 and older to 1 or 2%. Knocking on hundreds of doors recently, Gottfried recalled, the "number one complaint from seniors is that [they] cannot afford to live in Rockville anymore."

Pierzchala touted his accomplishments for seniors during his prior service on the Council. "I was the one who got things done," he said. "I funded your fitness center." He also said he helped secure conduit bonds for improvements that helped seniors at the National Lutheran Home. In 2013, he said, he supported expansion of the homeowners tax credit.

Palakovich Carr said a water conservation program she spearheaded is saving fixed-income residents $100 or more a year in savings on water bills. She proposed charging residents for the amount of trash they generate to encourage a reduction in trash versus recycling.

Reed said he would "prepare the city for a future that is quite different from the present."

Feinberg said she "led the charge for the Senior Center Study," and advocated for the generator at the Senior Center.

One reason Onley voted to weaken the city's Adequate Public Facilites Standards on school overcrowding, she said, was to encourage development of affordable housing so "seniors like you and me can afford to live in Rockville. We should be able to stay here throughout our golden years." Onley said she was the first non-senior to ever serve on the Rockville Senior Citizen Commission. With her professional background at IBM, she said, she was an effective advocate for adding a computer lab to the senior center even as many predicted "seniors and computers would never fly."

Hill cited his vast experience on the Rockville Planning Commission, where he has been hands-on in approving and shaping multiple developments that served seniors and the disabled, including the Victory Housing project.

Mullican said her parents had to move out of Rockville due to the cost of living there, saying that personal experience would motivate her policies to help other seniors age in place. "I know what it's like to have income that has not increased," while fees and taxes have, she said.

Schoof said he has worked on programs as a consultant that helped seniors here and abroad. He said Rockville needs to address a senior population that has increased 24.7%, and will double by 2060.

On the question of whether seniors should get a discount on city taxes and fees, Onley answered, "Well, being a senior, I definitely want a discount," to chuckles from the crowd. But realistically, she said, the city should at least try to minimize or avoid increasing those taxes and fees.

Feinberg said, "age is not the issue." Means-testing is the more sensible way of determining who should get a discount.

Gottfried said he wants to increase the amount Parks and Recreation spends on senior programs. He noted that spending for seniors is currently only 8% of that budget, while seniors make up a much larger portion of the population than that. He also proposed giving out more taxi subsidy tickets, and creating a list of volunteer drivers to help seniors run errands and reach medical appointments.

Pierzchala noted that only a fraction of Rockville's seniors are members of the Senior Center. He suggested having satellite programs that would be closer to more seniors across the city.

Reed and Palakovich Carr said seniors could more easily renovate and retrofit their homes for aging in place if the city permitting process was streamlined. They both said their own home improvements made them realize the current permitting system is "onerous." Putting the system online would also help, they said.

Friday, March 20, 2015

New emergency generator, boilers for Rockville Senior Center

The Rockville Senior Center, built in 1960, is getting a facilities upgrade after the Mayor and Council unanimously approved a bid for installation of an emergency generator, two boilers, main branch panels, life safety panel, Current Transfer cabinet and an Uninterruptable Power Supply system.

Limbach Company, LLC of Laurel had the winning bid out of 8 hopeful applicants, which included local giant M.C. Dean. Once a contract is issued by the city, and Limbach meets all bond and insurance requirements, the deal will be final.

The Senior Center currently lacks a backup generator for use during power outages. It previously was an elementary school before being converted to a senior center.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


On Tuesday, October 29, all candidates for Rockville Mayor and Council participated in a debate sponsored by the Rockville Senior Citizens Commission, at the Rockville Senior Center.

The senior center itself is a reminder of the issues at hand in this election. Like several other public sites in Rockville (the Rockville Swim Center and Montgomery College, to name a few) the Senior Center property is designed to give the impression that one is surrounded by woods. What percentage of voters identify with Rockville as a suburban town, and how many want it to take on an urban feel?

The city's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance remains a hot button issue, as does the issue of debt load vs. easy financing of public projects.

Mayoral candidates Bridget Newton and Mark Pierzchala went first.

Both cited their accomplishments in their current terms as city councilmembers. They again clashed on the merits of the Fireside apartments deal.

On the APFO, Pierzchala made very clear that he wants it weakened, calling it "insufficient" for the city's current needs. He also promised to visit every group or organization in Rockville "within a year of being Mayor." "I am the budget guy," he said.

Newton countered: "Mark might be the 'Budget Guy,' but I am the fiscal conservative." Perhaps alluding to contentious exchanges between citizens and councilmembers at recent public hearings, she said "respecting every person is how we do things in Rockville."

In the council debate, most questions related in some way to Rockville's senior population.


Virginia Onley said federal cutbacks, tough economic times and healthcare costs.

Julie Palakovich Carr said it was the ability to stay in one's home.

Don Hadley concurred that remaining at home as long as possible, and the general quality of life, were the largest issues.

Councilmember Tom Moore noted that Social Security will be a worry. He said that senior programs are important because they "do more than anything else we do" to impact and improve seniors' lives.

Beryl Feinberg said "linkage" of seniors to available services would be critical, as well as affordable housing.

Claire Marcuccio Whitaker hoped the city could have a program to train volunteers to work with seniors, and offer a senior rewards program on purchases made in the city.


Feinberg: Yes.

Whitaker called for a better online system to alert residents to Senior Center events "in multiple languages."

Onley advocated for "mandatory English classes."

Moore: "Absolutely."

Carr: "Definitely."

Hadley said the question assumed no other private grant money was available, and that he would want to pursue that option before using taxpayer funds.


Hadley said 5-6 stories were more than enough to allow growth and economic development. He said seniors should be able to stay involved with city activities, not be placed in isolation. "I don't relish being sent off to the farm," he noted. He also argued that there was no justification to give developers so many incentives to build.

Whitaker said the Pike Plan is a developer-driven document, and said that the "leaders of Rockville should take charge - we should develop our own Rockville Pike Plan." When she added that "we could tell the developers what to do," not the other way around, an audience member shouted, "Hear, hear!" in agreement.

Palakovich Carr said mixed-use development, wide sidewalks, and new retail would be advantageous for seniors. She called for a balanced approach and transit-oriented development. On the APFO, she echoed Pierzchala, saying the city must be "realistic evaluating if those laws are working properly." The current APFO will stop Phase II of the Town Center if it is not changed, she argued.

Onley said the APFO should be a "guide tool, not an instrument that we put to bed and come back to in five years." She said the city should do what's best for itself, "not what we see in other jurisdictions." If pedestrian safety is not the top priority on the new Pike, "it's just gonna be like it is today," she warned.

Moore cited the inability of the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department to sell its property under the current APFO restrictions. He predicted the APFO would cause Town Center Phase II to "die on the vine."

"I don't think Town Center II is going to die on the vine," countered Whitaker. "That's a pretty Draconian statement," she added. Whitaker argued that Town Center II is actually in line with the original plan, and that the number of units in the future Duball, Brightview and Kettler buildings will already have exceeded the residential units called for in the master plan.She said she views Brightview's low density, senior residents, and children's playground as positive additions to Town Center.

Feinberg said she favors the Pike Plan, and more dining and "gathering places." She said she is concerned about a potential lack of handicapped parking, and parking that is behind or under buildings, rather than accessible to the businesses' front doors.


"I don't know what our debt is," Onley said. Whitaker used the opportunity to illustrate that she did know the figure, and argued the city should have used its recent surplus to pay down debt. She again cited Gaithersburg's $0 debt, and $65 million in the bank, as a model for Rockville.

Moore diagreed, citing a 5¢ Gaithersburg tax increase. He and Feinberg both said the city's debt was well below the recommended limits.

Carr noted the city's AAA bond rating, and said "there are times when it makes sense to borrow."

Hadley said obligations have to be taken seriously, pointing to a new legal change that could put the city on the hook for $22 million for an employee retirement short fund.


Their are no polls to tell us who's ahead. And, if county elections are an indicator, voters don't seem too concerned about debt and fiscal matters. This election may end up turning on the APFO and development issues.

My thought is, it was a mistake to try to change the APFO in the weeks prior to the election. That stirred up a unneccessary hornet's nest of response among residents, which could be a tremendous weakness for the Team Rockville slate of Pierzchala, Moore, Onley, Palakovich Carr and Feinberg, if turnout is 17% again.

The reason is, there is a large public opposition to weakening the APFO, amply demonstrated at the recent public hearing on the matter.

Newton, Hadley and Whitaker have clearly indicated they want to take a lower-density, more suburban-scale approach to future development. That gives them an electoral base. And one that is energized, as a result of the APFO dispute, and the Pike Plan that citizens overwhelmingly have opposed in public testimony, but keeps lumbering forward anyway toward approval.

The flip side of that is: What is the constituency in Rockville for high-density urbanization of the city, more traffic and more crowded schools? Are there actually significant groups of voters who want tall buildings looming over their homes?

"You can count on me to resist uncontrolled, mindless growth," Whitaker promised in her closing statement. To people stuck in traffic every day, Hadley's observations that "we're busting our belt with schools and traffic" are compelling ones that resonate in reality.

But without polls or intense media coverage, we simply have to wait until Tuesday night to find out which concept of Rockville's future voters want.