Bounce house safety check before the neighborhood kids arrive at the last East Rockville Neighborhood cookout.

On a late night walk home from the Pump House where we, the East Rockville Civic Association, had to work through some complicated issues regarding our neighborhood plan, I was really feeling the weight of it all, and questioning everything.

Bounce house safety check before the neighborhood kids arrive for the last East Rockville neighborhood cookout.

Were we doing the right thing? Was the process right and inclusive? Were we forgetting anything? Were we ensuring that the neighborhood maintained and even grew a more diverse housing stock? Were our (very few) historic and public places adequately protected? Was one of our neighborhood babies teething or did he have a cold? Did my neighbors around the corner order enough tile for their new bathroom? Did our “junior member” of ERCA get that scholarship to UPenn? I had all the worries.

Then I got to the corner about a half a block from my house and heard one of the most unmistakable sounds on the planet–one of my favorite neighbors laughing. I had to stop and smile at this deep, heart-felt sound that is so recognized and loved within our four-block radius and, as I stood there, I picked up the sound of children playing, and underlying that the low hum of adults deeply engaged with one another in conversation.

I remembered something in that moment–it’s not about the buildings, it’s about the people inside the buildings, and I don’t get up every morning looking forward to more meetings and firing off more e-mails to the City, I get up every morning because the community that the people of Rockville have built is worth working and fighting for.

By the time I walked the half a block to my house, I knew I was going to call the Mayor, who had been waiting patiently for an answer, and tell her yes, that I would run with her in the 2019 election. Everyone in Rockville deserves to have someone at City Hall who finds them inspiring, and I’m grateful for the reminder and the opportunity.

Here’s what we’ll do:

  • Commit to a community-based, people-centered approach to development.
  • Be better partners to our school community through creating and supporting an Education Commission that gives Rockville a stronger, unified presence within MCPS, and extends a hand to MCC.
  • Foster community through a sustained, focused effort to preserve and develop public and private “third places,” or places where all are encouraged to gather and interact.
  • Preserve and grow our green spaces and tree canopy for our connectedness and well-being.

What I’m Reading:

Butler, Stuart M, and Carmen Diaz. “‘Third Places’ as Community Builders.” Brookings, Brookings, 22 Aug. 2017, www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2016/09/14/third-places-as-community-builders/.

Jacobs, Tom, and Tom Jacobs. “Living Near Trees, Not Just Green Space, Improves Wellbeing.” CityLab, 31 July 2019, www.citylab.com/environment/2019/07/urban-tree-canopy-green-space-wellbeing-research/595060/.

Oldenburg, Ray. The Great Good Place: cafés, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. Da Capo Press, 2005.

Recommendations for Building a New Model for Community-Centered Development, Partnership for Working Families, www.forworkingfamilies.org/resource-toolkit/recommendations-building-new-model-community-centered-development.

Gonzales, Ron. “The New York Times > College > College Specials > Mayors On Education | San José: 10 Ways A Mayor Can Help Improve Public Education”. Archive.Nytimes.Com, 2019, https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/ref/college/collegespecial3/coll_opinion_gonz.html?8bl.