The next step in the final stage of the revitalization of downtown Silver Spring was taken today when ground was broken for construction of the Veterans Plaza/Civic Building project at the corner of Fenton St. and Ellsworth Dr.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and County Council member Valerie Ervin participated in the ceremony and were joined by Jon Lourie, chairman of the Urban District Advisory Committee, Darian Unger, chairman of the Citizens Advisory Board, and Jerry Miller, chairman of the Board of Directors, Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce.
Leggett said, “Because Silver Spring has become an arts and entertainment and commercial destination, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that it also is a neighborhood where people live, work and raise families. Veterans Plaza and the Civic Building,” he said, “will provide educational and entertainment opportunities that will enhance all their lives.”
“Veterans Plaza and the Civic Building are much needed and long overdue resources for Silver Spring,” said Ervin, who represents District 5, which includes Silver Spring, Kensington, Takoma Park, and Wheaton. “This area will serve as a dynamic city center for Silver Spring residents, and I am looking forward to attending community-based performances that will be held here for years to come.”
The 1.5 –acre site will contain the Civic Building and Veterans Plaza that will front the Civic Building and be located on about three-quarters of an acre. The Plaza will feature a brick surface, surrounded by open space and trees. It will be the site of a memorial that will honor the memory of veterans of all wars who served and sacrificed.
The plaza will be designed to serve as a year-round public gathering place featuring benches that are tucked in and around the trees, and in season, there will be moveable tables and chairs.
It will be the site of local annual events such as the Silver Spring Swings Summer Concert Series, the Silver Spring Jazz Festival and Magical Montgomery Cultural Fair.
During the fall and winter months, the plaza will also host a Veterans Day ceremony and serve as the site of the reviewing stand for the County’s annual Thanksgiving Parade. Beginning each November, immediately following the parade, ice skating will begin on the rink under the Pavilion. The rink will be available for public skating as well as skating demonstrations and celebrations of cold-weather holidays. The rink will operate through March, then be removed to make way for spring and summer activities.
The 42,000 square-foot Civic Building will host community events, as well as receptions, weddings and similar family celebrations. In keeping with the arts and entertainment character of Silver Spring, the building will house a gallery programmed by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County that will feature rotating art shows. The Civic Building will also be the new home of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center and the Round House Theatre School and administrative offices.
A dedication for Veterans Plaza, the first part of the $19.8 million project to be completed, is planned for November 2009.
For more information about the project, call the Silver Spring Regional Services Center at 301-565-7300.
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Media Contact: Bonnie Ayers, 240-777-6507
Program Details: 301-565-7300
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