Saturday, November 5, 2016

Dear Santa Ike

The city of Takoma Park has sent a letter to the county requesting assistance with its wish for a pool at the Washington Adventist Hospital site.  Although it does acknowledge the inevitability of the Piney Branch pool being replaced by expanded school space, the whole thing is still impractical and reads like a children's letter (Dear Santa, We've been a very naughty municipality this year but would still like to have a brand new pool.  Can you please help us?  You're the best, Santa!  P.S.  Our friends who have demonstrated that they have no interest in maintaining pools would like a new pool, too!).  Among other things, the letter actually states that the county's spiffy new aquatics center won't meet the needs of "Takoma Park/East Silver Spring" residents.  Yeah, because who could be bothered to walk five minutes across downtown Silver Spring?

Anyway, Ike Leggett, unlike most Takoma Park politicos, is a reasonable person, so hopefully the county will just ignore this nonsense.  Then again, the letter mentions bond funding, so perhaps the city will just move ahead on its own then and bill residents.

The reasonable plan would be to trade the Piney Branch pool to allow for school expansion in exchange for Takoma Park residents finally being exempted from the county recreation line item, putting the city on par with Rockville and Gaithersburg after decades of city officials being unable to negotiate a reasonable deal.  An aquatics center could be placed at the recreation center in town, which is slated for demolition and redevelopment, thus facilitating redevelopment of New Hampshire Avenue and providing an amenity for Takoma Park/Langley Park residents, especially apartment residents.  The city and county should wait five years or so for the Purple Line to be ready to open and have a developer build the facility as part of a mixed-use development, similar to what the county has wisely done at the Elizabeth House site just down the road.  The former WAH site should be reserved for much more productive uses. 

Ike Leggett, unlike Takoma Park politicos, actually believes in smart growth.

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