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Montgomery County to host two community meetings regarding Arts and Cultural Facility for Wheaton

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 26, 2018

On Monday, April 30, and Tuesday, May 1, residents are invited to share their views with County staff and consultants on a facility that could be another step toward revitalizing Downtown Wheaton

Montgomery County’s Office of Planning and Development and its consultants on Monday, April 30, and Tuesday, May 1, will hold two community meetings as part of a feasibility study regarding the possible creation of a new arts and cultural facility in Wheaton. Although the study will not determine a specific site for a potential facility, it is another step in the County’s efforts toward revitalizing the overall Wheaton community.

The April 30 meeting will be held at the Gilchrist Center in Suite 506 of the Westfield South Building at 11002 Veirs Mill Road in Wheaton. The May 1 meeting will be in the office of WorkSource Montgomery Wheaton in Suite 100, Room 407, of the same building. Both meetings are scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m.

The same information will be presented both nights. Spanish interpretation will be available for each meeting.

The County retained Performing Arts Facilities Planning in March to conduct a comprehensive analysis to assess the vision for a new arts and cultural facility. The study, which will provide recommendations on the type, size and scope of the proposed arts facility, is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Consultants Victor Gotesman and Teresa Koberstein are undertaking a community engagement process to discover the community’s and cultural sector’s arts space needs. The consultants kicked off the process in April with tours of Wheaton and countywide cultural arts facilities, individual interviews and meetings with focus groups. The community meetings are part of their efforts to learn more about how the public views the needs and long-term viability of a possible arts facility.

The consultant’s kickoff presentation is available at https://tinyurl.com/y7quhmef.

Consultants Gotesman and Koberstein have considerable experience across the U.S. in working with large and smaller jurisdictions in helping developing arts centers.

Among the goals of the planning study are to:

  • Assess competitive facilities, programs and services in Montgomery County and the area, and explore strategic program partnership opportunities for facility use.
  • Review and analyze market demographics to determine the level of potential participation in the programs of new arts facilities including commute times, likelihood of and barriers to attendance and other information about the region relative to the arts facilities development.
  • Benchmark comparable projects and successful operating models in similar size communities.
  • Shape the vision for a new arts facility in the context of local and regional community needs.
  • Develop an operating plan for the future facility, with associated pro forma operating estimates based on the anticipated facility configuration and amenities.

In talking about the project with the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee in April, Mr. Gotesman said that it will not be the study’s purpose to determine whether a possible new arts facility is located as part of, or adjacent to, the future Wheaton Revitalization Project’s new government office building and public plaza. 

“I have long recognized that the Wheaton Arts and Entertainment District remains an indispensable component of Wheaton’s strategic goal of becoming a destination for arts, entertainment, business and community life, which is why I spearheaded this initiative to include the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Facility project in the County’s Capital Improvements Program,” said County Councilmember Nancy Navarro, who represents the Council district that includes Wheaton. “One of Wheaton’s extraordinary gifts is its cultural diversity, and I am so excited that we have enlisted the expertise of nationally recognized consultants to undertake this feasibility study and engage our community in this process.”

Mr. Gotesman said a major part of the study will be to determine the size of a facility that would be appropriate.  He said that the long-term success of any arts facility is a direct result of the programming for a completed building—not just having the building itself.

Updates on the facility study will be first available at the Office of Planning and Development website at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DGS/OPD/FacilityPlanningandSiteSelection.html.

In June 2017, the County began construction of the Wheaton Revitalization Project. That is the first step toward transforming Wheaton’s central business district with a mixed-use, transit-oriented development in the Wheaton Triangle area. In addition to the construction of a 14-story government office building, the project—which is scheduled for completion in Spring 2020—will provide 397 belowground parking spaces, first-floor retail space and a new town square. Most significantly impacted during construction is the Wheaton Triangle area between Veirs Mill Road and Georgia Avenue. The local roads that form the Triangle area include Grandview Avenue, Reedie Drive and Triangle Lane.

The main occupant of the new building will be the relocated Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which is now in Downtown Silver Spring. The 308,000 square-foot building is designed to achieve LEED platinum certification. The building also will be home to several County departments including Permitting Services, Environmental Protection, Health and Human Services, Recreation, and Community Use of Public Facilities. In addition, relocating to the new building will be the Wheaton Urban District and the Mid-County Regional Services Center.

Also underway is the construction of a new Wheaton Library and a new Recreation Center located adjacently at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Arcola Avenue. Updated information on those projects can be found at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DGS-BDC/MMC/361202.html.

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Release ID: 18-534
Media Contact: Patrick Lacefield 240-777-6528