Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Clarksburg Town Center residents celebrate

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Tom Roff⁄Special to The Gazette
Mark Lieberman leads a conga line around the pool during the Independence Day celebration in Clarksburg Town Center.
Residents of Clarksburg Town Center joined together to celebrate Independence Day on Friday, and in doing so celebrated the sense of community that is growing in the neighborhood.

Parents stretched out on lawn chairs as their children splashed in the water in the pool outside the Residents Club. High Point Farm in Clarksburg provided hot dogs and hamburgers and a disc jockey supplied music. Children participated in pie-eating, Hula Hoop and dance contests.

More than 175 residents attended the second annual celebration.

Ted Kiviat, who has lived in Clarksburg Town Center since 2005, said he was impressed with the event.

‘‘It is a slice of Americana,” he said.

Kiviat attended the celebration with his wife, Alana, and his sons Jacob, 6, and Matthew, 3.

The celebration was sponsored by the development’s homeowners association, which is controlled by the developer until 80 percent of the community moves in, said Peggy Molloy, a marketing director for developer Newland Communities of McLean, Va.

Stephen Jackson, 15, moved to Town Center with his family from San Diego, Calif., less than two weeks ago. He said it was great to meet new residents. He also recognized the significance of the Fourth of July.

‘‘We are lucky we are free,” Jackson said. ‘‘It is an important day to celebrate.”

Elizabeth Garofalo, a Town Center resident and an organizer of the event, said she was impressed with the turnout and showcase of racial and ethnic diversity.

Garofalo works as the intranet content administrator for Community Association Services Inc. of Gaithersburg, the property management company for the development. She helped a group of volunteers plan the celebration.

Clarksburg Town Center is about 270 acres located between Frederick, Clarksburg and Stringtown roads and Snowden Farm Parkway. The development will have about 1,200 homes, including single-family houses, townhouses and apartments, when it is completed. Seven hundred fifty-three have already been constructed.

Site plan violations found by residents in 2005 have caused delays in constructing the remainder of the community, as well as the retail core.

The delay has set back construction of the community’s 265,000-square-foot retail center until 2009 at the earliest.

Thomas Joseph lives in Town Center with his wife, Karen, said it is a very close-knit community. However, he is looking forward to the completion of the retail center.

‘‘We are eagerly waiting,” Joseph said. ‘‘We have been here for five years. We love being in Clarksburg.”

Kiviat said the ‘‘community has fantastic potential. It is only going to get better. That is what’s frustrating — you see all of this delay and all of this non-construction.”

Deborah Turner has lived in Town Center for over three years and attended the celebration with her daughters Alexandra, 6, and Lauren, 3, who swam in the pool.

Turner said she would also like to see the retail center built soon, but feels residents are optimistic about the future.

‘‘The community is still a wonderful place to live,” she said.