Katz praises Gaithersburg’s accomplishments, future projects in State of the City address -- Gazette.Net


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Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz reflected on the past year’s accomplishments and talked about the anticipation of upcoming projects in his annual State of the City address, which was delivered Thursday at the Rosborough Cultural Arts and Wellness Center in Asbury Methodist Village.

During his nearly 20-minute speech, Katz highlighted the fiscal 2015 proposed Capital Improvements Plan, which primarily focuses on three specific projects to accelerate their completion.

“Efforts are underway to identify a location and develop plans for a new police station within the next four to five years,” he said. “The proposed CIP also supports efforts to convert the former Consumer Product Safety Commission property off of Route 28 to a recreational area, and to develop the Crown Farm Park into a passive site that retains some of its historic buildings.”

Two mixed-use developments, Crown and Spectrum at Watkins Mill, opened their doors to residents and businesses in 2013. Katz said discussions on development and redevelopment of several parcels are underway, including Washingtonian North, the IBM property on Route 355 and Lakeforest mall.

Katz mentioned the 25th anniversary of the Kentlands community, which is hosting 25 events to celebrate the milestone over the next few years.

“Twenty-five years ago it became a vision for a re-imagined way to live,” he said. “Today it is a mature yet ever-changing community, standing as a testament to Gaithersburg’s commitment to preserving its history while innovating for the future.”

With an increase in development, Katz said staff are looking into a possible city circulator bus and rapid transit options.

“Plans continue for the Corridor Cities Transitway...and we are participating in regional meetings to discuss a possible bus or rapid transit vehicle system along Route 355,” he said.

Katz eagerly pointed out the recent unveiling of the city’s new website, which offers a more user-friendly experience.

“With a much more pleasing design and easier navigation, everything you need to know is just a few clicks away,” he said.

In the last year, Katz said the city saw several changes in upper level management positions, including the retirement of two long time department directors - Jim Arnoult with Public Works and Harold Belton with Finance and Administration.

“They served this city for decades, and their influence will be felt long after they have left,” he said.

On the other hand, Kim Yocklin was promoted to the position of director of Human Resources, Dennis Enslinger was brought on as the city’s new assistant city manager, and Michael Johnson was just hired as the new director of Public Works, Katz said.

jedavis@gazette.net