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For Immediate Release: Friday, August 18, 2023

The Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) has launched a unique, three-pronged approach to neighborhood revitalization by combining State and County funding, along with a financial commitment from local businesses and property owners, to kick-off a community improvement initiative in White Oak. The White Oak Façade Improvement Initiative is public-private partnership that will combine an estimated $3.7 million to enhance and modernize an aging commercial area along a stretch of Lockwood Drive at New Hampshire Avenue.

White Oak Facade Improvement Initiative

The goal of the project is to make highly visible improvements that will address physical and economic decline in the area to attract more consumers and foster economic growth.

The façade improvement program will benefit approximately 10 businesses. The initiative will help fund improvements to the exteriors of the façades, new signage, new lighting, possible streetscape enhancement, installation of new planting materials and site work including parking lot resurfacing and striping.

“Many of these small businesses don’t have the resources to make improvements, so this money will help people upgrade their properties and try to create more positive image for the area,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “We have been really clear about our willingness to reinvest. I know the East County region has long felt neglected, but they are the site of the BRT lines and Montgomery College is planning to open a campus over there, beginning with an education center which will open in the spring of 2024. Three commercial developments that were stalled—Burtonsville Crossing, the Hillandale Gateway on New Hampshire and the White Oak Town Center—are moving now. So, we have demonstrated we are willing to put money in. We are willing to work with partners to get these projects moving, and we are going to continue to do that.”

DHCA Director Scott Bruton said the façade project will continue the efforts to improve economic development in the White Oak area.

“This is the first time we have enacted a three-pronged approach utilizing investments from County, State and property owners to facilitate community improvements,” said DHCA Director Bruton. “Once construction is complete, the County will require an easement to be placed on the property for a term to ensure that all improvements are maintained for the duration of the easement. The neighborhood revitalization section under DHCA is delighted to use our façade improvement program to improve the physical structures and economic potential of this East County community and other East County communities in the future.”

State Senator Will Smith and District 20 Delegates Lorig Charkoudian, David Moon and Jheanelle Wilkins presented a check for the White Oak Façade Improvement Initiative on Aug. 13, marking a $500,000 commitment from the State.

 “This represents an opportunity that we’ve seized upon to invest in East County and District 20, a historically under invested portion not only of our district but in the county at large,” said Senator Smith. “What this will do and what we will continue to do is unleash economic opportunity, create a safer and more welcoming environment, and infuse new energy, new money and new people into this portion of the district. So, it’s a delight that we’ve been able to do this, bringing State money home.”

Delegate Wilkins was instrumental in securing the $500,000 State Legislative Bond Initiative for the White Oak project.

"The District 20 Team is proud to secure record investments in the White Oak area,” said Delegate Wilkins. “This $500,000 investment reflects our commitment to this vital area of our district and the partnerships necessary to bring additional growth to White Oak.”

Delegate Lorig Charkoudian said the initiative will fund enhancements to reinvigorate a community.

"Our team is so excited to help the White Oak Facade Improvement Initiative come to fruition. These funds will breathe new life into the area and create an inviting space for community members and visitors alike," said Delegate Charkoudian.

Delegate Moon said the initiative extends beyond the façade improvements slated for the White Oak commercial area with more investment projects for East County on the horizon.

“We do have annual bond funding that is available to the District 20 legislative team, and we are making a specific proactive and concerted effort that you will start to see a larger share of this money moving into the East County and the northern part of our district which I think is entirely appropriate for the need,” said Delegate Moon.

Montgomery County Councilmember Kristin Mink said the funding will create newfound attention and spirit in East County.

“All of that is coming in thanks to our D20 team, the County Executive and his team,” said Councilmember Mink. “We are truly on the cusp of exciting things happening here in East County, and we are seeing it in these tangible investments. We want to make sure that the whole County and beyond is seeing that this is a place where things are happening, where people are investing.”

The $3.7 million in public-private partnership contributions include: 

  • County: $1,983,333 (53 percent)
  • State Legislative Bond: $500,000 (14 percent)
  • Property/Business Owners: $1,244,667 (33 percent)

White Oak Facades

Eligibility for participation extends to property and business owners on the south side of Lockwood Drive, ranging from an Exxon gas station located at 11177 Lockwood Drive to the Public Storage Property at 11315 Lockwood Drive.

Click here to watch highlights from the Aug. 13 check presentation event.

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Release ID: 23-365
Media Contact: Mark Roper 240-777-6531
Categories: Business, Executive Office