Today I got the chance to go behind the scenes at the Parks Department. I spent the day touring a number of parks and maintenance facilities in the up-county area with Mary Bradford, our exceptionally pleasant and highly accomplished Parks Director, and a number of her staffers.
I particularly appreciated learning how the parks connect in the various communities around Clarksburg and how the Parks Department thinks about expanding park land. I always enjoy a stop at Black Hill Regional Park, where I am intent on taking a boating trip soon, and Little Bennett Regional Park, where I about ready to get the family out for a camping trip. The East Germantown Recreational Park — aka SoccerPlex — is astounding, as anyone who has spent time there knows. Some say its the best soccer facility in the country.
With Mary or one of her colleagues at the wheel, I took the chance to assess the state of roads and other infrastructure in the Clarksburg area. I am voting soon on a proposal to provide additional public subsidies into Clarksburg to get various road projects going.
Today was jam-packed with tough policy issues. First, a conversation
with the Fire Chief as a follow up to our committee meeting last week
on vehicle policy issues. Then a Gov Ops committee meeting where we
debated the level of borrowing we can afford to finance construction
of capital projects like schools, libraries, etc. I recommended, as
did Council president Valerie Ervin, that we should not reduce our
spending in this area because it will shrink our local economy. The
Count Executive is recommending $50 million in cuts to these projects
over the next 2 years.
Then a meeting with community advocates in the BCC cluster who are
opposed to the site that has been chosen for the middle school. I have
to give a shout out here to Cathy Fink, a local musician whose album
Pillow Full of Wishes is absolutely one of our family favorites. It’s
tough getting lobbied by the lady who sings your kids to sleep!
Then to T/E committee to discuss the issue of artificial turf fields.
There have been a lot of concerns raised about them. My conclusion is
that the science certainly raises enough concern to implement testing
but not enough to warrant a moratorium. I am pleased that the parks
department is implementing a rigorous test on runoff and environmental
impacts. That will tell us a lot. I requested lead tests for all our
existing fields and that we explore alternatives to tire crumb for
filler for these fields.
Now I’m prepping for a vigorous discussion tomorrow on the CR family
of zones. We are working to bring new plans to life for communities in
Wheaton, Kensington and Takoma/Langley but we need to get the zones
right or the investment will not come.
I love this job!