At last, the new White Flint begins.

At last, the new White Flint begins.

I’ve done lots and lots of citizens meeting on the White Flint Plan over the last four years. And after every one, someone asks, “When?” I usually respond, “it’ll take a while.” But finally I can say: “Today. The new White Flint starts taking shape today.”

New NRC Building

Last October we told you about the new building for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. http://blog.friendsofwhiteflint.org/2009/10/27/sigh-even-good-news-neglects-white-flint/ The building broke ground today, in the rain and cold wind. It will be 14 stories tall, and currently has a LEED silver rating, but former NRC Director of Administration Mike Springer (a Board member of Friends of White Flint) told me that they were still trying for a Gold rating.

Shielded by a tent, lots of officials, federal, state, local and private sector, greeted the silver shovels and hard hats of the traditional ceremony. Much discussion of how NRC (a member of Friends of White Flint) was rated the best place to work in the federal government.

Officials at NRC Groundbreaking

Maryland Secretary of Transportation Beverly Swaim-Staley talked about how “transit-oriented development” was “sweeping the state.” She said that Gov. O’Malley had signed an Executive Order directing all government agencies looking for offices to locate in transit-oriented locations. She praised the NRC for having more than half of all its employees take transit to work.

Maryland Transportation Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley

Metro Board Chairman Peter Benjamin pointed out that he was a resident of the Town of Garrett Park: “Many residents of the Town would be concerned by my being here today. They view this as a symbol of major change, and they are worried about congestion and traffic changing their town. But they are wrong. This is a Metro station, and this is the place for this kind of change to happen. This is the beginning of sustainable, transit-oriented growth in the White Flint area.”

WMATA Chairman Peter Benjamin

And County Executive Ike Leggett, who spoke last, said that “most people in Montgomery County appreciate and support the White Flint Sector Plan.” He pointed out that the new NRC building would consolidate NRC employees from around the County into White Flint.

County Executive Ike Leggett

Following the ceremony, Leggett and the other officials trooped out into the rain with silver shovels for the actual groundbreaking.

Barnaby Zall

Barnaby Zall

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