This is the third in our series sharing the Friends of White Flint questionnaire responses from the candidates for County Executive. (You can read the first article focusing on top infrastructure projects for the White Flint area here and the second article on alcohol privatization here.) We continue to vary the order of the answers to be fair to all.
The June 26th primary is a critical one, and we want voters to be as educated as possible about the candidates’ views on issues that matter to the White Flint/Pike District area. Find out about the candidates and don’t forget to vote in next month’s primary.
We asked the candidates, “Placemaking is the art of creating public spaces that promote people’s health and happiness. Placemaking connect us to one another and creates a sense of community. The White Flint/Pike District/North Bethesda area lacks a sense of place. How would you do placemaking, in our neighborhood?
We reached out to Bill Frick twice but he did not respond to our questionnaire.
Given that North Bethesda was recently named as one of the best places to live in Maryland, White Flint is doing a great job creating a community with a great sense of place. As County Executive, I would like to further the success of this area by focusing on strengthening relationships with the business community, ensuring our schools are properly funded, and addressing our traffic issues.
To promote a sense of community, we should support our restaurant and business community. I’ve met with several business owners in the food industry and it’s clear we need to make it easier to sustainably “buy local” here. We need to invest in our county’s unique agricultural sector. I’ll conduct an aggressive marketing campaign to encourage businesses to procure more goods and services from businesses in the County. Des Moines, Iowa embarked on a similar initiative and discovered shifting 5% of spending to local vendors could generate more than $1 billion in economic benefit and as many as 6,500 jobs. If they can do it, so can we.
The Planning Board has to hold future development to providing the amenities envisioned in the plan. The pretty pictures only materialize if the developers build as the community envisioned. Design and placemaking are under the Planning Board’s control. The county government has to deliver the promised infrastructure, including elements that are our responsibility in the creation of these spaces.
This is occurring already, with the emergence of restaurants, entertainment, improved pedestrian and bicycle access. A second White Flint Metro entrance, closer to Pike and Rose would also be important. I will work to realize the vision propounded in the White Flint I and II master plans, for a walkable, livable, mixed use community with employment, entertainment, housing and shopping.
This has been the overarching goal of the plan from Day 1. During my tenure, we have not had a Plan come before the Council that had such a cohesive group of community leaders with a shared vision – a vision of a revitalized White Flint that would become a desirable place to work, live, and play.
To create a sense of place you need mixed use development – commercial and residential coexisting; pedestrian and bike friendly infrastructure; great retail, restaurants and entertainment venues; transit access; active parks where people can gather and play; and streets that can be closed for special events. Placemaking can also be enhanced by utilization of a common logo, consistent streetscaping, wayfinding signage, and a strong Business Improvement District. As county executive, I would invest in the Pike District and ensure essential components of the 2010 Sector Plan are realized. I would work with all the stakeholders to ensure the potential of this area is maximized for the betterment of the community and the county.
Placemaking is a people-centered approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Ideally, it is a collaborative process that strengthens the connection between people and the places they share and maximizes a particular community’s assets. When done well, placemaking can promote the health and well-being of residents.
The White Flint Plan recognized that, as densities increase, placemaking becomes ever more important. Relocating the surface parking lot in front of the aquatic center so that Wall Park can truly become a park, and building a new recreation center on the site, are important placemaking components. A sizable civic green in the heart of White Flint will provide a gathering space for activities and celebrations. As stated earlier, the ultimate design of this space should be determined through a collaborative process with residents. Individual developments will need to include well-designed plazas, pocket parks, and green streets, similar to those provided in Pike and Rose. Finally, the recreation loop will provide connectivity among these amenities, further enhancing placemaking in the area.