Gaithersburg’s Frederick Avenue corridor suffering from ‘stagnation’ -- Gazette.Net


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Gaithersburg’s Frederick Avenue corridor is plagued by a “sense of stagnation,” according to preliminary results of a city study.

The City of Gaithersburg hired Sage Policy Group of Baltimore to conduct a study of Md. 355 within city limits, focusing on the success of businesses and residential developments.

“It’s tough to come up with a coherent vision for this corridor,” Sage Policy Group Chief Executive Officer Anirban Basu said at a Mayor and Council meeting Monday evening.

Basu said businesses have been settling in Rockville and Germantown rather than Gaithersburg, because of the commercial corridor’s lack of vibrancy. A few businesses on Frederick Avenue have hired security guards for their stores over the past year, he said.

According to Basu, the decay of an area presents opportunity to demolish sites and build something of higher value.

“There hasn’t been that necessary level of decay,” Basu said.

Sage Policy Group plans to release further results of the study within the next two to three weeks.

Minor changes made to city budget

City Manager Tony Tomasello announced small changes to the proposed fiscal 2014 budget at the Monday evening meeting.

City employee health insurance, defined by Tomasello as the city’s “largest single purchase each year,” will cost about $100,000 less than staff estimated.

Tomasello also highlighted a new division, Geographic Information Systems, which will be created within the city’s Information Technology department. The division will collect, analyze and visualize geographic information to aid in decision-making.

Tomasello said geographic information services have become “absolutely critical” to police operations, planning staff and other city departments.

Members of the public may submit comments on the proposed budget until the record closes on May 15.

City declares April Arab American Heritage Month

Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz issued a proclamation Monday evening announcing April 2013 as Arab American Heritage Month. Samir Hussein, of the city’s Multicultural Affairs Committee, and former Montgomery County Muslim Foundation President Guled Kassim received the proclamation.

The city celebrated the event with a reception recognizing Arab Americans such as political activist Ralph Nader and Mothers Against Drunk Driving founder Candy Lightner for their work.

scarignan@gazette.net