Montgomery County Council chats with Bethesda, Chevy Chase residents
At least 150 turn out for town hall meeting
At its second town hall meeting this year, the Montgomery County Council addressed resident concerns that ranged from well-documented grievances, such as the proposed Purple Line, to block-specific neighborhood problems.
More than 150 people gathered March 2 at Westland Middle School in Bethesda to speak directly to council members at a meeting that took a tone markedly different from the council's first town hall meeting, which focused on the county budget and was characterized a strong turnout of unionized county employees.
"This proved most certainly why it's beneficial to come out to the communities," said Neil Greenberger, a spokesman for the county council.
Bailey Condrey, who represents the Parkwood Residents Association, a neighborhood near the National Naval Medical Hospital, said he attended the March 2 meeting to ask council members to reaffirm their dedication to securing funding for traffic projects planned for roads near the hospital's campus, which will merge with Walter Reed Army Medical Center in September.
The council has included those projects at the top of its traffic priority requests to the state and has been working closely with the state's Congressional delegation to seek federal funding.
"I'm satisfied with the answer to the question; I'm completely dissatisfied with the level of funding all the players in this project have dedicated," said Condrey.
Not all residents were accepting of the board's response to their questions. Among those was Ajay Bhatt, of Chevy Chase, who asked the board to abandon support for the proposed Purple Line light rail project.
"I knew they weren't going to respond in the affirmative to ask the governor to scrap the Purple Line," he said. "But we had to ask. And you could tell by the response in the room people were happy I asked."
The meeting was as much an opportunity to share his concerns with other residents in attendance, as it was a pitch to the board to change its stance, said Bhatt, who is the president of Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail.
Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Potomac said the town hall meeting served as a chance for other council members to learn more about the issues in his district.
"It allows me to be more effective on their behalf," Berliner said.
The town hall meeting will air at 11 a.m. March 16 on County Cable Montgomery.