Council Approves Funding for Sewer Improvements at Old Silver Spring Library Site

The County Council yesterday unanimously approved a special appropriation for planning, design, and construction of sewer capacity improvements for the county-owned parcel that formerly housed the Silver Spring Library at 8901 and 8907 Colesville Rd.

The amount, slightly more than $1 million, will pay for upgrades necessary to serve what will become the Martha B. Gudelsky Child Development Center.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission determined during the planning process that began in 2021 that the improvements were needed, as the MGCDC plans to add 11,000 square feet as it renovates the building.

All of the operating and capital expenses related to the renovation and addition are MGCDC’s responsibility under the terms of its agreement with the county. MGCDC has, to date, committed up to $22M for the renovation of this site, according to the council staff report.

The proposal for the library redevelopment was chosen in February 2018. The center will be operated by CentroNia, which runs similar facilities in Takoma Park and Columbia Heights and presented its plan as one of two finalists to the public in October 2017.

The library building will be preserved and renovated under this proposal. In addition, a courtyard and a two-story addition would be added to the back of the building, but would add less then five feet to the overall height.

The center will serve children from 0-5 years old  and expects to add about 50 full and part time jobs. They also will offer after-school activities, and a community space will be available for evening events.

The plan also conserves about 30 percent the green space on the site, not including the required children’s play space. It will be integrated with the existing Ellsworth Urban Park and add opportunities for outdoor learning about science and the environment.

At the time, CentroNia officials promised that the redevelopment would by fully funded by the Homer & Martha Gudelsky Family Foundation, Inc. In addition, the foundation will fund part of the programming (with grants and parents fees also contributing).

The appropriation was made at the request of County Executive Marc Elrich. The vote was 8-0 with Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At Large) temporarily absent.

Site plan for the redevelopment of the library site from MGCDC presentation

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