WHEATON, Md. – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has amicably resolved a claim by former Montgomery County Planning Department Director Gwen Wright. Montgomery Planning Board Chair Artie Harris has issued the following statement:
“The Montgomery Planning Board regrets the manner in which former Planning Director Gwen Wright separated from the Commission. Although this Planning Board did not get to work with Ms. Wright directly due to her retirement prior to their arrival, her reputation and long-lasting impact on Montgomery County and Montgomery Planning are well known. Ms. Wright served the Montgomery County Planning Board and the public with great distinction for 30 years. She is recognized as one of the top planning directors in the country and her positive impact on the community will be felt for generations.
In recognition of Ms. Wright’s contributions, the current Planning Board is pleased to announce that the top Montgomery County Award for Design Excellence will be renamed the Gwen Marcus Wright Award for Design Excellence. Ms. Wright emphasized design during her tenure and created the Design Excellence Program, which includes an award ceremony that is conducted every other year with the Potomac Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). At the award ceremony a top prize is awarded for a project in the county that reflects exceptional architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism that makes a difference in people’s lives and represents the county’s highest quality of design to the region, state, and nation. Given Ms. Wright’s significant contributions to promoting great design and having previously received the AIA’s Paul H. Kea Medal for Architectural Advocacy, the Planning Board feels that naming the top award for her is an appropriate way of recognizing her work.
Ms. Wright was a consummate professional, one of the longest-tenured Montgomery County Planning Directors in the Commission’s history, and was responsible for or contributed to many of the Commission’s most notable accomplishments including but not limited to:
- Legacy Open Space Program
- Montgomery County Heritage Tourism Program
- Montgomery County’s Historic Preservation Program
- Acquisition of key historic properties such as the Josiah Henson property, Warner Circle, and Darby House and Store
- Completion and Implementation of the 2017 Bethesda Downtown Plan
- Completion and Adoption of Thrive Montgomery 2050
- Creation of the Design Excellence Program
- Initiation of the Commission’s Placemaking Program
The Planning Board thanks her for her work and her legacy of contributions to Montgomery County.”