Published on: Saturday, November 5, 2016 City Council & Mayor Blog

Partners Advocate for an Aquatics Center in Takoma Park

From Kate Stewart, Mayor of Takoma Park

Kate Stewart, Mayor
Kate Stewart, Mayor

In what may be a first in the history of our city, the major institutions in our community are working together to meet a common need. Washington Adventist Hospital, Montgomery College, Washington Adventist University and the City of Takoma Park wish to investigate building an aquatics facility on the campus of Washington Adventist Hospital to serve children, students, seniors, patients, persons with special needs and the general community in the Takoma Park/East Silver Spring area.

The upcoming relocation of the primary hospital facility of Washington Adventist Hospital to White Oak in the next several years presents us with opportunities as well as challenges. City of Takoma Park and Washington Adventist Hospital officials meet regularly to discuss matters that affect both institutions. How the campus will function during and after the hospital move is a major focus of those discussions.

At the same time, access to swimming pools has been a subject of discussion in the community. Montgomery College will be closing its pool in Falcon Hall as it makes facility improvements, and Washington Adventist University closed its pool and was not able to incorporate a pool into its new health and wellness building being built on Maplewood Avenue. The pool in Piney Branch Elementary School needs capital improvements, and as the school goes through a feasibility study to add more classrooms, we will continue to advocate for MCPS to examine options that maintain the pool.

The need for access to aquatics is not being met in our area. Besides needing sufficient room for swimming lessons, recreation and exercise, we need therapeutic pool facilities. Montgomery County is lacking in these facilities and this area of the County is lacking in aquatics facilities in general.

The hospital, both colleges and the City see an aquatics facility on the Washington Adventist Hospital grounds as a real opportunity to help meet the missions of each of the institutions.

And, as we have begun to have the conversations around the possibility of an aquatics facility, we are already learning how much stronger we are together in addressing other mutual goals.

Please read the letter that was recently sent to the County Executive. We look forward to continuing this conversation with you, the residents, and with our community partners as we plan for the future of our city.