After five years of work by the City of Rockville and Federal Realty Investment Trust, Dawson’s Market held its grand opening tonight in Rockville’s Town Square. A grocery store had been slated as an anchor for the Town Square since its inception, but an initial tenant’s bankruptcy and threatened lawsuits by a competing liquor store caused delays, as well as finding a grocery willing to move into space smaller than is typical today. Fortunately, Rick Hood, president of Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market in Richmond, was looking to expand and found an ideal location in Rockville. The Richmond store is named for the two streets that intersect at that store’s location; the Rockville store is named for longtime residents of Rockville (e.g., Beall-Dawson House, Dawson Farm Park).
Dawson’s Market is now open and customers will find it emphasizes local and organic food, and discover such nice amenities as beer and wine departments, juice bar, and a cafe. Many people have compared it to Roots or a small version of Whole Foods. Parking in Town Square is available free for two hours with validation and you’ll find the store at the corner of Washington and Beall, near the modernist Suburban Trust Bank building.
At the April 5 meeting of the Rockville Community Coalition, Andrea Jolly shared that the Chamber of Commerce is becoming more active in local advocacy and that the Chamber cares as much about the community as it does business. She’s the executive director of the Rockville Chamber of Commerce, an organization that now claims 185 members, a dramatic turnaround from its nearly lifeless condition just a few years ago. As examples of their reinvigorated stature, she noted the public stand they’ve taken on behalf of Pumphrey’s; the support for environmental causes that affect the community as a whole (such as the bag tax and storm water management fees); and the sponsorship of the Rockville Economic Summit. She expressed her concerns that the community seems to be artificially divided between businesses and residents and while the Council claims to be business-friendly, their actions have indicated otherwise. Most members of the Chamber are small businesses that are locally owned and operated and rely heavily on local residents as both customers and employees. She also voiced a desire that there be good relationships throughout the community rather than irreconcilable differences–we may disagree at times, but we should always be willing to work together to solve shared issues.
During the discussion:
- she clarified the relationship with the Rockville Economic Development, Inc. (they attract and retain businesses but cannot advocate; Chamber provides ongoing services to its members and the current business community, can advocate for a business-friendly atmosphere). She also mentioned that REDI may have a new executive director in place in May.
- she was unaware that the City didn’t collect Continue reading →
At its August 15, 2011 meeting, in 35 minutes the Mayor and Council of the City of Rockville unanimously approved a fifty-year lease of the three Town Square parking garages to Street Retail, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT)). As Rockville Patch and the Gazette have reported, the lease provides the City with $300,000 in annual rent plus 30 percent of net income and FRIT manages and maintains the garages 24/7 as a “first class public parking garage.” The wayfinding system (red/green lights for each parking space) will stay but FRIT will remove the paying system where you enter your parking space number at a station. FRIT sets all the parking rates (including monthly passes and prepaid cards) and can establish a validated parking system beginning September 1, 2011 for fifty years.
That’s an incredibly long time, especially when I, all the current council members, and perhaps even you won’t be living when this agreement comes to an end. I guess you don’t always get to see things in life to their natural conclusion (my home mortgage?) but in major situations like this, I’d like to consider the impact not only on the next City Council but the next generation of city residents. Although we’re all familiar with time and we measure it precisely down to the second, it’s surprisingly fungible. An hour waiting at the DMV seems so much longer than an hour watching a good movie. So we know that this lease will end in 2061, but what would that look like? To explore this idea, I’ve assembled a timeline looking both forward and back fifty years: Continue reading →