Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2007

Birchmere: A good investment for Silver Spring

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Silver Spring is investing in the Birchmere; not paying for it (‘‘Use private funds not taxes on Birchmere,” Feb. 7 letter).

The facts: Montgomery County has proposed to spend $4 million to develop the site, provided there are matching donors to invest an additional $4 million. Montgomery County will own the site and lease it back to the Birchmere.

The choices: Leave the site an unoccupied eyesore in the center of our redeveloped downtown. The site will continue to generate property taxes only and remain a waste for both the county and its residents.

Conversely, the site can be developed bringing not only a cultural explosion to downtown Silver Spring, but also a significant generator of tax and rent revenue for the county.

The Birchmere is a project that may never happen. If the project dies, it will be due to an irresponsible lack of vision. I know a good investment when I see one, and this taxpayer is on board.

Todd Stone, Silver Spring