2018 has been a busy year for the City of Rockville. The city was recognized as the best place to live in Maryland by “Money” magazine (and if you live here, you already know that, right?), hired a new police chief and planning director, sadly lost a former mayor, and adopted voting by mail for the 2019 Mayor and Council elections. And that’s not all. Here are some of the key events in a retrospective on 2018:
JANUARY: A zoning text amendment was approved at the Jan. 22 Mayor and Council meeting to implement land-use policies of the Rockville Pike Neighborhood Plan. The approval cleared the way for the Rockville Pike Neighborhood Plan to become a reality.
Speed cameras? They’re working. Maryland Avenue drivers were slowing down, approaching Town Center, as shown by a decrease in the number of citations issued along the street.
FEBRUARY: Rockville was named the best place to live in Maryland in a rating from “Money” magazine. “Money” cited Rockville’s “low unemployment and an ultralow crime rate,” as well as its high-ranking schools, shopping and amenities.
Tireless advocate and community leader Fran Hawkins was honored by Rockville’s Mayor and Council with a certificate of recognition for her decades of service to the Lincoln Park community.
MARCH: “Streamlining the Permitting Process” was the topic for a stakeholders’ forum, held by Rockville’s Inspection Services Division, at City Hall.
To see an update on that process, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter and click on the Oct. 29 Mayor and Council work session link.
APRIL: Rockville residents will be able to vote by mail, beginning with the 2019 Mayor and Council elections, under a process approved unanimously by the Mayor and Council. Voting by mail provides more and better options for voters by sending the ballots to voters, as opposed to getting voters to the polls.
A new online map, Rockville Arts in Public Places, was launched, showing the locations of 50 public artworks around the city, alongside details that include the artist’s name and a description of the piece. (Visit www.rockvillemd.gov/AIPP to see the map and learn more about Rockville’s public art.)
MAY: The 30th annual Memorial Day weekend Hometown Holidays Music Fest was a destination for thousands of music lovers and featured performances on four stages across six city blocks.
The Mayor and Council sent a letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation expressing opposition to any widening or addition of lanes to Interstate 270 in Rockville as part of the state’s I-495 & I-270 Public-Private Partnership Program. To learn more and comment on the project, visit https://495-270-p3.com/contact.
The Mayor and Council named the city’s newest park, a 6.4-acre property located at 500 W. Montgomery Ave., “Chestnut Lodge Park.”
JUNE: Victor Brito was sworn in as chief of the Rockville City Police Department. Ricky Barker became the new director of the Community Planning and Development Services Department.
Phyllis Marcuccio, who served as Rockville’s mayor from 2009-2013, died. “Mayor Marcuccio was a deeply devoted public servant throughout her life and career,” Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said in a statement on behalf of the Mayor and Council, and city staff.
JULY: Mayor Newton became president of the Maryland Municipal League, a statewide organization that represents and advocates on behalf of Maryland’s 157 towns and cities.
AUGUST: The city joined towns and cities across the world, Aug. 15, for City Hall Selfie Day. Organized by Engaging Local Government Leaders, City Hall Selfie Day is a way for people and organizations to show their love for local government by snapping a selfie each year.
SEPTEMBER: Mayor Newton and City Manager Rob DiSpirito discussed the state of the City of Rockville in an event hosted by the Rockville Chamber of Commerce at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre. To see video from the event, visit www.youtube.com/cityofrockville and search “2018 state of the city.”
The first day of the 2018-19 school year for Montgomery County Public Schools was the beginning of a new era for public schools in Rockville. Bayard Rustin Elementary School opened on the former site of Hungerford Park Elementary, at 332 W. Edmonston Drive.
OCTOBER: For the second consecutive year, Rockville scored perfect marks on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for its commitment to the health, welfare, safety and equality of its lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
The Mayor and Council named Deputy City Clerk Sara Taylor-Ferrell to the position of city clerk/director of council operations.
The Buchanan Room at VisArts was filled to capacity Oct. 9, for a Mayor and Council town hall to discuss the future of Town Center. “This is an opportunity for all of us,” Mayor Newton explained.
Rockville’s 57th annual Antique and Classic Car Show rolled into Rockville Civic Center Park, featuring more than 500 vehicles, a car-related flea market and live music.
Maryland breweries, bratwurst and bands made for a rollicking time as Rockville hosted the city’s second annual Rocktobierfest.
NOVEMBER: Councilmember Julie Palakovich Carr, newly elected to the Maryland House of Delegates representing District 17, announced her resignation from the Mayor and Council. She will leave her position on the council Jan. 8.