COVID-19: Planning for Reopening

Planning and preparation to welcome back visitors to Rockville City Hall and some other facilities are still underway, so no definitive date for reopening can be established.

When city facilities do reopen, health and safety will be the city’s first and foremost concern, and will include additional cleaning and physical distancing. City employees who provide in-person service to customers will be present and those able to work from home will continue to do so.

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In Need? A Guide to Finding Food Distribution Locations in Rockville

Updated; 2 p.m. July 2:

Several organizations are providing locations for, or delivery of, food for needy families and individuals throughout Rockville. Check ahead with organizations to ensure the information provided below is up to date.

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Resources and Information on COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

The City of Rockville, in partnership with Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, is continuing to actively and diligently monitor the public health threat in the state and across the United States from the novel (new) coronavirus — COVID-19 — and is actively coordinating with the county, and state health and emergency response agencies, to proactively plan, prepare and, if necessary, respond. 

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Learn About Housing, Assistance Programs at Free Virtual Seminar

The Housing and Community Development Department will host a virtual meeting from noon-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 8 to provide renters, landlords and nonprofits information on housing and other assistance programs.

The meeting will also cover important policies related to eviction, rent increases and court openings.

Topics will include:

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Planning Commission Reschedules 
Public Hearing Dates for Neighborhood-based Planning Areas Volume of Comprehensive Plan Draft

Rockville’s Planning Commission will hold public hearings on Sept. 9 and 23 for the community to provide comments in-person on the initial staff draft of the neighborhood-specific sections of the comprehensive plan update. 

Written comments continue to be accepted leading up and just after the September hearings. Testimony can be submitted online.

Planning staff is available by request via email or virtual meeting to answer questions and talk with community associations, residents, businesses, workers and other organizations, so that community members can learn more about the draft’s contents and how to provide feedback.  

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Mayor and Council Call on State to Slow its Roll on I-270/I-495 Widening

The state should put the brakes on a project to widen interstates 270 and 495, Rockville’s Mayor and Council said in a letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation.

“The City of Rockville requests that MDOT put a pause on the project and process,” the letter states. “It is not responsible to continue spending taxpayers’ money on preliminary design, environmental studies, and hiring a developer while the country is facing significant economic changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also predicted that teleworking will be more acceptable and widely implemented in the future, which will likely lower traffic volumes on I-495 and I-270. Therefore, it only makes sense to hold off on next steps for this project until a new purpose and need is defined.”

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Free Senior Seminars in July Cover Hydration, Bones, Feet and Hearing

The Rockville Senior Center has gone virtual for all its summer classes, including some free classes on how to stay hydrated, strengthen bones and take care of your feet and hearing.

For details, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/recreation.

You can register online, call 240-314-8800 or email seniorcenter@rockvillemd.gov for more information.

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Community Census Challenge: How’s Your Community Responding to the 2020 Census?

Want to know how Rockville rates in responding to the 2020 Census? How do we stack up against other areas? Check out the census rate map.
You can search for response rates for states, counties, cities and census tracts, and compare those to 2010 Census response rates.

  1. Open the census rate map (at 2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html).
  2. In the “State” dropdown menu, select “Maryland.”
  3. When Maryland map appears, select “Rockville” under the “City” dropdown menu.

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Solar Co-op: Affordable Options for Rooftop Panels or Vehicle Chargers

The 4th Rockville Solar Co-op presents an opportunity to harness solar to power your home or business or electricity to charge up your vehicle.

Community members interested in installing solar panels on their home or business, or an electric vehicle charger, can take advantage of group pricing, rebates and tax credits, and receive guidance throughout the process. Participants sign independent contracts with the rooftop solar system installer, but band together with other co-op participants to negotiate a volume discount and reduce the total cost of installation. Leasing options, with no upfront costs, add to the affordability of solar rooftop panels, which pay for themselves in energy savings over time.

Visit www.rockvillemd.gov/solarhomes to learn more.

In-Person Outdoor Camps, Beginning in July, Now Registering

Registration is now open for Park Adventures, Rockville’s in-person camps outdoors, where kids will be able to enjoy sports, games, crafts and nature activities.

Sessions will run 9 a.m.-noon for two weeks, with new sessions each week from July 13-Aug. 3.

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Mayor and Council Help Theater Arts During Tough Times

The Mayor and Council recently issued $15,000 in one-time grants to Rockville’s resident theater companies to help them weather the COVID-19 emergency.

Rockville Little Theatre, Rockville Musical Theatre and the Victorian Lyric Opera Company, which perform seasonally at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, each received $5,000. The resident companies are almost entirely volunteer run.

The grants are included in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, which begins July 1. See the FY 2021 budget at www.rockvillemd.gov/budget.

Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre is closed until further notice. For more information, and for tickets for shows beginning later this year, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/theatre.

Coronavirus Leads to New Ways of Doing Business with City’s Planning Department

With the closure of in-person visits to City Hall, Rockville’s Planning and Development Services Department has adopted a new service approach that allows customers to do business from the convenience of their couch.

Staff members have adopted non-paper-intensive processing of planning documents, permit applications, licenses and plan review via email, phone, online and virtually. Customers can submit materials electronically, saving them a trip to City Hall.

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Don’t Push It: All City Pedestrian Signals Are Now Automated

Nearly 50 pedestrian signals, accounting for all the signals operated by the city on Rockville streets, are now automated as part of the city’s response to the COVID-19 emergency.

City signal technicians automated the 48 signals by revising the timing plan that controls the traffic signal timing and sequence. The traffic signals were reprogrammed to be on automated pedestrian recall, which means that the signal controlling software assumes that a pedestrian is pushing the button at every cycle. This will allow the pedestrian to get a “WALK” signal without the need to push the button.

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