Montgomery Planning, Discover Long Branch and Montgomery Housing Partnership Launch Long Branch Festival Week

June 11, 2019

long branch placemaking festival
Community members and volunteers met on May 31 to reimagine a livelier downtown Long Branch through a pop-up park and gathering space

SILVER SPRING, MD ‚ÄďThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of¬†The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), is collaborating with Discover Long Branch, an initiative of the Long Branch Business League, and the Montgomery Housing Partnership on Long Branch Festival Week.

This event will be held from September 21 through September 28, 2019 and involve the community in a collaborative planning effort to reimagine a livelier and friendlier downtown Long Branch. With the help of volunteers, a temporary civic green for gatherings, as proposed in the 2013 Long Branch Sector Plan, will be created for the festival.

Learn more about the Long Branch Festival Week.

In preparation for this event, the Montgomery Housing Partnership in collaboration with Discover Long Branch and Montgomery Planning held a kick-off meeting on Friday, May 31, 2019 at El Golfo Restaurant (8739 Flower Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) to launch the planning effort. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness about the September festival week and gather volunteers to organize and build the temporary gathering space in the community.

Montgomery County Planning Board Member Natali Fani-Gonzalez gave a rousing overview of the impact of placemaking to build community. She introduced a video of the White Flint Placemaking Festival held in October 2018 that drew about 1,000 people to Rockville’s Randolph Hills Shopping Center.

The Long Branch meeting participants group took a walk around potential sites and gave valuable input on alternative locations. Everyone engaged in a visioning exercise and placed dots on posters illustrating activities and elements that could take place during the festival week in the pop-up park. Next steps include organizing volunteers to plan the event and gathering more interest and participation.

 What is Placemaking?

Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of the community. It strengthens the connections between community members and the places they share. Placemaking refers to a collaborative process that shapes our public realm in order to maximize value. This concept goes beyond just promoting better urban design principles. Placemaking facilitates creative thinking, capitalizes on community assets and contributes to the community’s health, happiness and well-being. More than livable, these places are loved.

Purpose of the Long Branch Festival Week:

  • Realize the public space recommendation in the 2012 Long Branch Sector Plan.
  • Demonstrate ways of achieving plan recommendations through short-term solutions before major investments are made.
  • Embrace placemaking as a means of capturing shared values and generating ideas for public spaces.
  • Engage local businesses, schools and community members in a dialogue about the role of public spaces and streetscape designs within their community.
  • Encourage property owners to plan for the long-term transformation of their properties.
  • Use temporary placemaking as a tool to gather data and help inform permanent designs for successful public spaces and streetscapes in Long Branch.
  • Make a positive impact on the community with a public space that can be used for gatherings and events after the festival and was underutilized before the event.

For more information, contact John Marcolin at john.marcolin@montgomeryplanning.org or 301-495-4547.