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Planners to hold kickoff meeting to reimagine Main Street in Damascus

Community invited to help Montgomery Planning prepare for upcoming Damascus Placemaking Festival in the fall

Wheaton, Md. – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), invites the Damascus community, businesses, and other stakeholders to collaborate on a placemaking initiative for the Damascus Main Street area. The kickoff meeting will be held on Monday, June 3 at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Damascus High School to launch the Damascus Placemaking Festival Effort. RSVPs are encouraged but not required.

During the kickoff event, community members will be asked for ideas and feedback on how to transform a portion of Main Street into a fun and inviting place for residents and visitors.  Feedback heard at this meeting will inform the design and programming for the Damascus Placemaking Festival in October 2024. Montgomery Planning is exploring both temporary and semi-permanent cost-effective interventions to improve the Main Street core of Damascus while making it more attractive to foot traffic and cyclists and help strengthen communities with local businesses.

About the Damascus Placemaking Festival

The Placemaking Festival will culminate with a free, community-led event this October that will bring together local businesses, residents, visitors, and civic groups to temporarily reimagine the Main Street core of Damascus. Community members will work with the project team through the summer and fall to bring their ideas for Main Street to life. The two-day celebration in October 2024 will include local food, music, arts, and activities in a welcoming place for residents to gather with their family, neighbors, and friends. This initiative will help create a clear vision for a vibrant and welcoming Main Street that embraces and celebrates the community’s small-town charm.

The Damascus Placemaking Festival is modeled on the White Flint Placemaking Festival that took place in 2018, the Burtonsville Placemaking Festival in 2019, and the Fairland and Briggs Chaney Placemaking Festival in 2022. These events have each drawn 1000 to 3000 people over the course of a weekend.

Get involved

In addition to the June 3 kickoff meeting, community members may provide feedback through an online questionnaire on the Placemaking Festival webpage that will be available from June 3 through June 23. There will be several volunteer and engagement opportunities throughout the summer and fall leading up to the festival. Interested parties are encouraged to sign up for the Damascus eletter for news and other information. They may also contact project manager Audrey Vogel at 301-495-2104 or via email.

What is placemaking?

Placemaking inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of the community and strengthen the connection between community and the places they share. Placemaking refers to a collaborative process that shapes our public realm in order to maximize value. 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. Put simply, placemaking incorporates community input and sentiment to make people feel good about where they live, work, or play and imagine the possibilities of their neighborhood.