The future just keeps on coming. In 2018 library refreshes will be finished at Bethesda and White Oak. Work will be completed on the Good Hope Recreation Center, the 6th District Police Station, and Kensington Fire Station #25. And, starting in 2019, Wheaton wins big. Construction is underway on a new combination Wheaton Library & Recreation Center, as well as the completion of the Wheaton office tower project to house Park & Planning plus County agencies and including a town square.
The best community college system in America got even better. New College facilities include Rockville’s Science Center and Parking Garage, Takoma Park/Silver Spring’s Cultural Arts Center, and Germantown’s Bioscience Education Center. Renovations include: Rockville’s Science West and Science East buildings. The County also funded a parking garage for the Universities at Shady Grove to leverage significant State investment for a new Biomedical/Engineering building.
Keeping Montgomery moving, four new Transit Centers were opened (Silver Spring, Montgomery Mall, White Oak, and Takoma/Langley). The Silver Spring Transit Center alone handles 10 million trips annually. There are 629 New Buses and 7 new or expanded RideOn bus routes. The County has provided initial funding for a Bus Rapid Transit system, beginning with Route 29 in East County. The County has completed 3,083 Bus Stop improvements. The Purple Line, which will connect Bethesda with Silver Spring and College Park, has broken ground.
County residents can visit 2 new libraries in Silver Spring & Germantown. Renovations were completed at Olney and Gaithersburg. Six more libraries were “refreshed” (Twinbrook, Kensington Park, Davis, Little Falls, Aspen Hill, and Quince Orchard). Leggett’s innovative approach means 12 branches can be refreshed for the cost of two renovations. Under the Refresh program, branches are closed only 4-6 months compared with 2-3 years for full renovations.
Projects include a new Public Safety headquarters (co-locating Police and Fire & Rescue) and a new Public Safety Training Academy. Add to that 3 New County Police District Stations, with a fourth on the way. The County is one of the first large jurisdictions to equip our entire police force with body cameras, to enhance public trust, evidence, and accountability. And the County opened a state-of-the-art Animal Services and Adoption Center to replace previous dilapidated facility. Nearly 2,000 pets are adopted from the center each year.
The Smart Growth Initiative of County Executive Leggett moved County agency industrial uses from valuable land located around the Shady Grove Metro Station and within the heart of our biotech corridor. These moves made these properties available for more appropriate transit-oriented mixed-use development with thousands of housing units and high-tech job creation. The Initiative enhances the County’s tax base, builds new, needed County facilities instead of pouring monies into updating obsolete ones, and gets the County out of expensive leased space.
Leggett has opened 5 new fire stations – to respond to population growth in the UpCounty and improve response times everywhere. That compares to only 1 new station opened in the 12 years before Leggett took office. Another 5 stations have been renovated. And Leggett’s five-year fight to win the Emergency Medical Services Reimbursement program has generated $82.2 million from insurance carriers for equipment and apparatus maintenance, facility improvements, and support for Local Fire Departments – at no cost to taxpayers.
Montgomery County has increased capital funding for the Montgomery County Public Schools by nearly 50 percent the past 12 years. That has added 21,043 classroom seats. That’s 6 New Schools – 4 Elementary (Arcola, William B. Gibbs Jr., Flora M. Singer, and Wilson Wims), 2 Middle (Hallie Wells & Silver Creek); 44 School Additions, 27 School Renovations/Expansions and 12 gym renovations. The County won $476 million in State Money for County School Construction over the last 12 years.