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Gaithersburg receives survey results

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Gaithersburg SealGAITHERSBURG — The Gaithersburg Planning Commission joined Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council at Monday night’s City Hall meeting to hear the results of a public survey on how to best utilize a stretch of land along Route 355.

The Corridor Development (CD) Zone was originally created to implement the 2001 Frederick Avenue Corridor Land Use Plan. A 2013 study by the city determined that the 355 Corridor did not need a new zone to foster development; instead, the study found that the CD Zone should to be refined and made the primary zone in the Corridor.

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Gaithersburg considers code changes

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Gaithersburg logoMembers of the Gaithersburg Planning Commission joined Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council at Monday night’s meeting to discuss a proposed amendment to the city code to clarify the types of businesses allowed to operate in the city’s Central Business District (CBD). The CBD includes all of Olde Towne, a historic neighborhood on Gaithersburg’s east side. The economic revitalization of Olde Towne has long been cited as a priority by city officials. 

Tom Lonergan, Gaithersburg’s economic development director, and Laura Howell of the city’s Planning and Code Administration discussed the proposed change to Chapter 24 of the Code.

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Gaithersburg Council Responds to Olde Towne Concerns

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — At Monday night’s meeting at City Hall, Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council responded to public concerns about the economic condition of Olde Towne. The revitalization of this neighborhood on Gaithersburg’s east side, which includes City Hall, has long been cited as a priority by the city’s elected officials and staff.

During the public comment period, Monica Lozada, a resident of the Deer Park neighborhood, addressed Ashman and the Council.

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G-Burg authorizes Kelley Park negotiation

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Gaithersburg SealGAITHERSBURG — The Gaithersburg City Council voted unanimously to grant City Manager Tony Tomasello the authority to negotiate with Montgomery County Public Schools over the proposed construction of a new elementary school on Kelley Park.

On March 22, the Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the superintendent’s recommendation for the construction of a new elementary school on the grounds of Kelley Park, a city-owned property on the east side of Gaithersburg, which features a playground, walking trails, a tennis court, and baseball fields that are used in the summer by the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. The school is intended to reduce overcrowding in the Gaithersburg cluster, where several of the elementary schools that serve city residents are operating well over capacity.

The vote and the prospect of the new school have been divisive issues in Gaithersburg. Some residents feel that the school would provide much-needed relief to the city’s elementary schools, whereas others have argued that the construction and operation of the school would deprive residents of a valued community gathering and recreational area, negatively impact property values, worsen traffic congestion as a result of parents picking up and dropping students off, and provide negligible relief to the schools.

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Gaithersburg residents discuss pros and cons of closing Kelley Park

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — On March 22, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the recommendation from the Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith to construct a new elementary school on the grounds of Kelley Park which abuts the Saybrooke neighborhood of Gaithersburg.

As the park is city-owned property, Mayor Jud Ashman and the Gaithersburg City Council will have to give final approval for the school construction.

The proposal has provoked mixed reactions from city residents. While some feel that the school would benefit the city and relieve overcrowding, others fear that it would deprive the surrounding neighborhoods of a valuable community space and negatively impact their quality of life.

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Gaithersburg Book Festival draws large crowd despite rain showers

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — Thousands of people braved Saturday’s drizzle to attend the ninth annual Gaithersburg Book Festival. 

Mayor Jud Ashman, then a member of the City Council, founded the festival in 2010. Held every May on the grounds of Gaithersburg City Hall, the festival invites several fiction and non-fiction authors to read from their works and meet their readers.

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Proposed elementary school could mean the end for G-Burg’s Kelley Park

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — A proposed elementary school on the grounds of Kelley Park is causing concern for thousands of residents here.

On March 22, The Montgomery County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the superintendent’s recommendation for the construction of a new elementary school in the Gaithersburg Cluster, where several elementary schools are operating well over capacity. The proposed site is on the grounds of Kelley Park in the Saybrooke neighborhood of Gaithersburg. The city-owned park features playgrounds, a stream, walking trails and baseball diamonds which host games for the Cal Ripken Collegiate League in the summer months. As the park is city property, the City Council has final approval over any construction plans.

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Immigrants plead case to Gaithersburg government

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Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — Several immigrants and their advocates came to City Hall Monday night to ask Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council to pass a “restoring community trust” ordinance to provide protection to immigrant communities and assuage their fears of interacting with government agencies.

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Gaithersburg Presents Environmental Awards

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GAITHERSBURG — Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council presented the city’s annual Environmental Awards at City Hall Monday Night. First given in 2002, the awards ceremony recognize businesses, nonprofits, individuals, schools, and other organizations for their environmental conservation efforts.

Ashman described Brown Station Elementary School, one of the honorees, as near to his heart, as his own children attended the school.

“Brown Station Elementary recently reopened and its students are enjoying the eco-friendly design features of the new campus,” Ashman said. “The school involves its students in many environmentally-responsible activities, including the recycling efforts led by the green team of fourth- and fifth-graders. Students have also been studying pollution in watersheds. In the fall, they took a field trip to learn about food production, waste, and the water cycle and the implications for the Chesapeake Bay.”

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BOE approves Gaithersburg school plans

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ROCKVILLE — On March 22, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the superintendent’s recommendation for the construction of a new elementary school in the Gaithersburg cluster as well as an amendment to expedite the boundary study to accommodate the concerns of area residents.

The proposal calls for the construction of an elementary school on the grounds of Kelley Park, a city property in the Saybrooke neighborhood. Construction is projected to be complete in fall of 2022.  School construction has long been a top priority in Gaithersburg, where several of the extant county elementary schools are operating well over capacity.

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