Happy New Year from the Mayor!
Happy New Year!
We are a community dedicated to forging stronger relationships and creating out of our myriad differences and experiences one community that stands together. As I reflect on the past year, I realize how much we have accomplished working together.
- As one of our first acts as a new City Council in 2015, we passed a Resolution in support of Welcoming Syrian Refugees and reasserted ourselves as a welcoming and inclusive community. Councilmember Qureshi, Seamens, and Kovar have been working with residents to spearhead several initiatives to make the intentions of the resolution a reality. For an update on the work see the October Newsletter. Since the Presidential election, we have reaffirmed our continued commitment to being a City that upholds the rights of all its residents to live with dignity and respect. Messages from our Police Chief and from me reiterated our commitment to respect the rights of all individuals.
- In September, Unity in the Community was launched to build better relations among residents and police officers, among neighbors of different races and backgrounds, and among elected officials and residents. Our police officers have been visiting local schools and after-school programs to create partnerships with the school staff and students. We held our first dialogue between young people and officers and will be providing more opportunities for workshops and dialogues in the coming year.
Over the past year, we have focused on increasing engagement with residents and building partnerships. In 2016, we held:
- A Community Conversation on Affordable Housing which lead to the creation of our Housing Reserve Fund and soon to be piloted down payment assistance program that will get underway in 2017 and much more on housing!
- A Community Conversation on Youth Success which has resulted in the creation of a number of new programs.
- Two Council meetings at the New Hampshire Recreation Center.
- Eight Friday morning Coffees around the City.
- Several community meetings with the police department.
- And, the City Website is now available in Amharic, Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese, and German.
We worked with:
- Washington Adventist Hospital, Montgomery College and Washington Adventist University to advocate for a feasibility study for an aquatics center on the campus of WAH.
- Montgomery County Collaboration Council to support an after-school program at Essex house.
- Mayors in Rockville and Gaithersburg to advocate on behalf of the public schools.
- And, held the first Takoma Park Joint Priorities meeting with our State Delegates to prepare for the legislative session in Annapolis.
Some other notable accomplishments this year:
- Thanks to the leadership of Councilmember Smith as of December 1st plastic bags at check-out are banned in Takoma Park.
- Due to Councilmember Schultz’s persistence and work we passed a new Noise Ordinance and reestablished the Noise Board.
- We are moving forward with the redesign of the Library. Thanks to the vision of Councilmembers Kovar and Qureshi for having us step back and revisit our plans.
- Thanks to Councilmember Male for helping us finalize plans to move to LED streetlights and advocating for increased hours for the multimedia lab.
- Councilmember Seamens continues his work in the community connecting residents to essential services.
- We finally received the necessary approvals to begin construction of the Dog Park, which commenced in November.
- Great progress made towards finalizing the plans for the Ethan Allen Gateway and Flower Avenue Green Street
- And, more generally, much progress made towards achieving our Council Priorities.
Looking to 2017, we have a great deal coming up, such as:
- Planning for the library renovation.
- More on affordable housing and moving forward with the down payment assistance program.
- Takoma Junction Redevelopment.
- Economic development plans.
- Police-community relations.
- And much, much more…!
Friday morning coffees will continue. Please keep an eye out for future announcements.
For a full look at the upcoming Council agenda you can go here to the City website.
Also if you are looking for an update on a specific project the City website has a section with all current projects. If you do not see something you are looking for, please let us know.
As we enter the new year, I look forward to working with and for all of you!