North Potomac Community Recreation Center stalled
Project is not recommended to receive funding for construction this year
After more than a decade of waiting for their own community center, the residents of North Potomac have been asked to wait a little longer.
The North Potomac Community Recreation Center was not recommended by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett to receive funding for construction in proposed amendments to the fiscal 2011-2016 Capital Improvements Plan, effectively stalling construction until at least July 2012, said Jeffrey Bourne, a division chief in the recreation department.
A community meeting in October, and the Planning Board's approval of the project in November, projected that construction of the 33,000-square-foot center could start this summer.
The center's design was funded in the last budget, but it cannot move forward without the addition of construction dollars, Bourne said. The building's design is about 75 percent complete.
Located on Travilah Road near Big Pines Park, the $37 million community center will include a gymnasium, exercise room, social hall, kitchen, lounge, conference room, game room and arts room.
The community has been asking for the center for more than a decade, and the need for the center has increased as the community has grown, said Dan Drazan, president of the North Potomac Citizens Association.
"Certainly, we're very disappointed," he said. "We understand in the economic climate and difficult times that cuts need to be made."
Julie Novick, 50, of North Potomac said she has waited long enough for the center, so waiting another year won't make a difference, especially when the county is stretching every dollar.
"I wouldn't fight about it being the most important fiscal priority," she said.
Novick has lived in North Potomac for 10 years. She thinks the area is sparsely served by the county, and its residents always are expected to go elsewhere. She used to drive her children to the Potomac community center when they were younger.
"I think it would be good if the county would start recognizing this more as an area that's pretty well populated," she said.
County Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg said he would not propose an amendment to fund the center this year.
"My hope, and I will work hard for this, is to see that the North Potomac Community Center construction funding is in full CIP," he said.
Approved every two years, the next full Capital Improvements Plan will be for fiscal 2013.
The Montgomery County Department of Recreation has funded construction for Plum Gar Neighborhood Recreation Center in Germantown, Scotland Neighborhood Recreation Center in Potomac, and the White Oak Community Recreation Center, which is under construction, Bourne said. The Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center in Silver Spring and Ross Boddy Community Center in Sandy Spring are in design development.
The County Executive's recommendations for the fiscal 2011-2016 CIP must be approved by the county council.