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Applications Being Accepted for Community Development Block Grants

Money Can Benefit Low- and Moderate-Income Household or Neighborhood Projects

Rockville is accepting applications for an anticipated $263,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds it will receive this fall.
CDBG money can be used to provide grants to applicants for housing and community development projects that benefit low- and moderate-income households or neighborhoods.

Grant applications for housing providers will be released in July. Applications will be reviewed and prioritized by city staff and forwarded, with recommendations, to the Mayor and Council for review and approval for submission to Montgomery County in late fall. Rockville receives CDBG funds through Montgomery County.

Visit the city’s website at www.rockvillemd.gov/2181 for more information, or contact rehabilitation specialist Martin Dasler at 240-314-8208 or mdasler@rockvillemd.gov.

Mayor and Council Approve Ban on Plastic Drinking Straws

Ban Includes Exceptions Based on Needs of Customers and Businesses

The Mayor and Council voted June 17 to simplify a ban on plastic drinking straws by including exceptions for certain businesses and customers.

The goal of the ban, which is part of a ban on polystyrene in food plates, trays, containers and packing materials that took effect Jan. 1, is to significantly reduce the number of plastic straws that are used once and thrown away. It would eliminate the practice of food establishments giving customers plastic straws before determining whether they want one.

Exceptions to the ban avoid the need for businesses to determine a customer’s physical need for a straw or the customer having to show proof of such a need. The ban would not apply if:

  • A customer requests a straw. Customers will not be required to show proof of a physical need for the straw.
  • Businesses recycle or compost straws.
  • A food service establishment has demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the chief of the city’s Environmental Management Division, that straws are integral to the nature of the hot or cold beverage being served. A business must show that the beverage is so viscous that it requires a straw to consume. Certain beverages, such as bubble tea, could be eligible for this exception.


For more information, contact Mark Charles, chief of environmental management, at mcharles@rockvillemd.gov or 240-314-8871.

Rockville’s Mayor and Council Adopt $138.9 Million Budget

Rockville residents will pay the same property tax rate as they have for the last 11 fiscal years, under the budget for Fiscal Year 2020 that the Mayor and Council approved May 6.

The FY 2020 operating budget of $138.9 million is an increase of 2% over the FY 2019 operating budget. The city’s current tax rates of $0.292 per $100 of assessed valuation for real property and $0.805 per $100 of assessed valuation for personal property will remain the same. The adopted budget includes increases to average residential bills for water and sewer. These rate increases are necessary to repair and replace aging water and sewer pipes and other infrastructure vital to providing these services.

The FY 2020-FY 2024 Capital Improvements Program, the five-year plan for funding new construction and infrastructure maintenance, totals $77.6 million, an increase of 14.7% from FY19, to support 43 projects during the fiscal year.

For more details, visit https://rockvillereports.com/rockvilles-mayor-and-council-adopt-138-9-million-budget.

City Wants Federal Help for Homes Near I-270, Infrastructure, School Safety

The city took the following requests for federal support to a June 4 meeting with the city’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.:

  • Protecting community interests in the proposed project to widen interstates 270 and 495: The Mayor and Council are vigorously advocating with the state Department of Transportation and the governor to protect homes, businesses, and infrastructure from being taken from the nine Rockville neighborhoods that abut I-270. Read more about Rockville’s efforts on behalf of the community at https://rockvillereports.com/?s=I-270.
  • National infrastructure program funding: The Mayor and Council support a potential $2 trillion federal program to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and submitted a list of several shovel-ready Rockville projects, including sanitary sewer improvements, stormwater system renovations, bridge rehabilitations, and asphalt repair and replacement.
  • Advocacy for school safety: Calling public safety one of their highest priorities, the Mayor and Council said the city is ready to partner with the city’s congressional delegation to support federal gun control legislation, including new background checks and firearms safety research. Additional federal aid and technical support would also benefit students attending public schools in Rockville and could be used to provide additional school resource officers and advanced security measures.


Find more information, including video of the Mayor and Council’s June 3 discussion of the federal priorities at www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter. For more on Rockville’s federal priorities, contact Linda Moran at lmoran@rockvillemd.gov or 240-314-8115.

Pre-Order Your New Rockville Rewards Cards

Save money while supporting your community with Rockville Rewards discount cards.

Nonprofits sell Rockville Rewards cards and keep 100 percent of the proceeds to support scholarships, homeless shelters and free medical clinics.

The cards cost $25 and can be purchased directly from a nonprofit partner or at www.rockvillerewards.com/buy, where pre-orders are now being accepted for 2019-2020 cards. Current cards are good through Saturday, Aug. 31 for discounts at nearly 150 local businesses. The new cards will go on sale beginning Thursday, Aug. 1 and will offer savings through August 2020.

Launched in 2009, Rockville Rewards is a program of the Rockville Chamber of Commerce, with grant funding from the City of Rockville.

Businesses, which participate by offering discounts to cardholders, receive free marketing and connect with customers while giving back to local nonprofits. Businesses interested in taking part should visit www.rockvillerewards.com/join-us/business.

Four Pickleball Courts Coming to Stepanek Park

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America, and to accommodate a burgeoning population of players in Rockville, the city is constructing four lighted, dedicated pickleball courts at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park at 1800 Piccard Drive.

Two of four basketball courts at the park will be converted and are expected to be ready for pickleball play in August, depending on weather.
A cross between tennis, badminton and ping pong, pickleball players use an oversize paddle to hit a Whiffle Ball across a badminton-sized court in singles or doubles play. The game was invented in 1965.

Rockville has tennis courts with pickleball lines, as well as drop-in play at its community centers. For opportunities to play the sport, see Recreation and Parks’ summer activity guide, “Life in Rockville,” at www.rockvillemd.gov/life and find and register for classes at www.rockvillemd.gov/registration.

Urban Land Institute Experts to Conduct Two-Day Study of Town Center

Will Present Recommendations to the Public July 10

A panel of Urban Land Institute (ULI) experts will visit Rockville for two days in July to explore and offer recommendations for enhancing the vibrancy of the city’s Town Center.

The ULI panel will conduct a work session during their two-day visit called a technical assistance panel, or TAP.

TAPs are part of the ULI advisory program, in which several panelists from varying backgrounds and areas of expertise collaborate to tour the study area, conduct interviews and work on recommendations related to land use and economic development.

Areas the institute may investigate include actions for the city to take to create a successful retail environment, profiles of successful downtowns, recommended development densities, obstacles to retail success and opportunities that the city should pursue to create a successful downtown.

Seeking analysis from an outside consultant was one of 11 potential approaches presented to the Mayor and Council to address opportunities and challenges facing the mixed-use activity center at the heart of Rockville.

The TAP will culminate in a public presentation of ULI’s findings and specific recommendations for Town Center, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 10 in the second-floor Buchanan Room at VisArts, 155 Gibbs St.

Those who can’t attend in person will be able to view the presentation of recommendations via Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/CityofRockville.

Pedestrian Advocacy Committee Welcomes All to Future Meetings

A newly created Pedestrian Advocacy Committee is working to address concerns about pedestrian safety and walkability in Rockville.

About 30 residents attended the committee’s first meeting at City Hall on June 13, including city civic association leaders and Richard Montgomery high’s cluster coordinator, a representative from the city’s Traffic and Transportation Commission and the chief of the city’s Traffic and Transportation Division.

The committee heard a report from city staff, including an overview of Rockville’s ongoing pedestrian advocacy efforts, projects and resources such as the city’s sidewalk prioritization policy. The committee also discussed the role, function and organization of the committee and held an open forum on pedestrian issues across the city, including specific intersections, sidewalks and roads.

Eric Fulton and Corinne Abramson were selected as the committee’s chair and vice chair, respectively.

The next steps are to finalize the committee’s mission statement, vision and work plan, continue discussing pedestrian safety concerns and walkability, and develop suggestions and recommendations for general and specific improvements.

The committee will meet on the second Thursday of each month. The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 11 at City Hall. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact Oleg Kotov, senior transportation planner, at okotov@rockvillemd.gov or 240-314-8527.

Summer Celebration: Fun on the Fourth with Fireworks in King Farm

A Rockville tradition, the city’s annual Independence Day celebration, returns to King Farm on Thursday, July 4.

Hosted by the Mayor and Council, the celebration is held at the 26-acre Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park, 1800 Piccard Drive, in King Farm, which offers easy access and ample free parking, with convenient exits within a short walk of fireworks viewing areas.

The celebration, now in its fifth year at Stepanek Park, includes live music by The Nighthawks at 7 p.m. and a fabulous 20-minute-long fireworks display at 9:15 p.m. There is no rain date.

The entertainment and fireworks can be viewed from the park grounds. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, food and beverage. Parking will be available in lots on Shady Grove and Gaither roads and Piccard Drive, near the park. Rockville police will guide traffic to and from the designated lots before and after the event.

To prepare for the celebration, the Rockville Dog Park at Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park will be closed from 7 a.m. Tuesday, July 2 until 11 a.m. Friday, July 5. The fireworks safety zone, which includes the football fields, tennis courts, playground and parking lots, will be closed from 7 a.m. Wednesday, July 3 through 11 a.m. Friday, July 5. There will be limited access to other parts of the park from Tuesday, July 2 through Friday, July 5.

For additional parking and general information, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/independenceday, email specialevents@rockvillemd.gov or call 240-314-8620.

A Flashier Way to Walk

Photo of crosswalk and pedestrian-activated flashing device at East Middle Lane and Helen Heneghan Way in Rockville Town Center.

The city in May installed a pedestrian-activated flashing device at the crosswalk at East Middle Lane and Helen Heneghan Way in Rockville Town Center. Similar devices are scheduled to be installed this summer along Beall Avenue at Gibbs Street and at Maryland Avenue.

Learn more about recent Town Center pedestrian safety upgrades.

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