Updated: Nov 5, 2022
What is Smart Growth for TakomaPark?
First, how do we define Takoma Park?
Do residents of Ward 1 describe it the same way as those in other wards? We first need need to come to a consensus of what is essential to living a healthy, quality life and then determine what are the myriad ways that needs to happen for all of our residents.
Twenty-five percent of Ward 1 residents are over sixty-five years of age. While canvassing over the past couple of weeks. I've had the opportunity to meet many of the young families who've moved here recently. And I've had the privilege to meet senior neighbors who curated exhibits at the National Air and Space Museum or designed some of our first satellites and young adults who are learning to fly planes or navigate robots on Mars. There is an amazing wealth of experience which I hope we can learn to share more purposefully so as to inspire the current generation of students and to build a more cohesive community. And that brings us to our homes.
Just what is "affordable"? It means something different to different people. To one it might mean 30% of the net income. To another it means a home that's paid off but with a fixed income, it's the taxes that make it hard to maintain the home. To another, it's being able to live alone on one's own salary and another it means sharing with a roommate.
I look forward to discovering new options for Takoma Park. That might mean
Rezoning so that reasonably sized duplexes will stand where once a single family home did, its architecture complementary to those around it
Multi family apartments with retail stores on the first floor, whose architecture and landscaping is, again, complementary.
Senior living apartments for those whose homes are too much to care for anymore but who don't want to leave Takoma Park and their friends.
Furnished apartents for temporary stays (a few months) for those who are coming to the DMV for short-term, months-long residencies, internships or training. They could not only arrive car-less but also could frequent local restaurants for dining
But land is another challenge entirely.
Where to build?
The land at the Metro is not "ours," neither is that at the former Adventist Hospital grounds. The land at the Junction could use a rest so we can regroup and rethink. And an RFP for the NH Ave Rec Center has just been announced. Takoma Langley has perhaps the most potential of all.
We could also take another look the problem of vacant homes that are derelict and unoccupied and renovate or rebuild them into group homes for some of our Special Needs residents.
This is going to require a lot of due diligence, research, community engagement and in some cases, peace-making.
I don't have any answers yet. It would be negligent of me to take a firm stand without seeing proposals and asking questions, questions, questions.
I hope that you will elect me so that I can get answers to your questions and allay your fears as well.
However, I have been impressed by the young families moving in, as many want to see equitable lifestyles here and I look forward to learning from them so their children will grow up safe and sound here.
Let's put on a shared values lens and reimagine Takoma Park for the 21st century.