Here in Derwood’s Park Overlook community, we have a lot to be thankful for this season. During the past 18 months, Montgomery County authorities completed several important education, recreation and public safety projects in our area. Each project stands on its own as an investment in our community. Together, they are a testimony to the great county in which we live.
Above all, we give thanks for the relocation of Candlewood Elementary School to the new upcounty holding school at Emory Grove, as we look to the modernization of Candlewood being complete in January 2015. The original plan was to relocate Candlewood to the holding facility at Grosvenor, but a productive dialog between Candlewood’s PTA and Montgomery County Public Schools authorities yielded support to relocate the school closer to the original Candlewood site.
Recent and ongoing improvements to the Emory Grove site will certainly benefit school other populations for years to come as future modernizations and relocations take place.
We also give thanks for the newly renovated recreation area in the county’s Blueberry Hill Park, adjacent to our community [“Derwood neighbors celebrate renovated playground,” Aug. 28]. Complete with a centralized play area that helps parents keep a watchful eye on their children and new landscaping that includes an advanced drainage system for stormwater runoff, it is already a well-used and popular site since its opening in August.
Additionally, we give thanks for the new crosswalk on Needwood Road between our community and Blueberry Hill that is helping to improve pedestrian safety. Speed has been a perennial problem along Needwood, especially during the spring and summer seasons. The road does not qualify for traditional speed reduction measures like speed bumps. But, the county heard community concerns and worked swiftly to install the crosswalk that connects our community with the adjacent park.
Finally, we give thanks for a project completed just beyond Park Overlook — the Shady Grove Access Bike Path, which now provides a safe route to the Shady Grove Metro Station for bicyclists and pedestrians. As part of the overall Shady Grove Sector Plan, the creation of the path was a major step forward in transforming the area into a more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly community.
In partnership with the county, our community anticipates continued involvement in implementing the Sector Plan and ultimately giving thanks for what will be a substantial public investment that will be appreciated by many future generations. The years ahead may also see major private investment in our community: the $50 million arena slated to be built next to the Shady Grove Metro Station. Public thanks for this project will be well-deserved if it is undertaken with careful attention to the existing sector plan, as efficiently and smartly as the community projects recently completed by the county, and with equal if not greater civic engagement.
Derwood residents expect and deserve the smartest possible change and growth that the county and private investors can deliver. If recent projects are any indication of what our future holds, then Derwood will indeed have a bright future as it becomes an even better place to live.
Jeffrey S. Reznick, Derwood