Pop-Up: TAkoma Park
July 6: Taking on Takoma Park
Our MCEDC summer interns are once again on the go. They get to explore different parts of our welcoming county, and help us tell the great story of Montgomery County from their newcomer’s perspective.
Anna Wright is grad student studying Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Claudia Elzey is a grad student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying City & Regional Planning. They join us through the Montgomery County Council’s new 10-week Summer Associates program, a collaboration among the Council, the Council’s Office of Legislative Oversight, and MCEDC.
On July 6th, they headed to Takoma Park.
Pop-Up #3: Takoma Park, July 6, 2017
Community Spirit and Civic Engagement Enrich Life in Takoma Park
Five quick takes
- Cheaper than the City. Just a couple of blocks walk from the metro, Takoma Park takes on a small-town vibe - and it has the small-town prices to match. We decide to start off our visit with brunch at Mark’s Kitchen, a neighborhood institution that mixes classic American fare with some Asian flare. Anna’s heaping plate of grits, toasted rye, grapefruit and zesty tofu scramble costs less than ten dollars.
- Curvy streets and big porches. A light drizzle gilds the trees as Anna and I stroll along Maple Avenue. The houses here are a mix of sprawling Queen Anne’s and more compact bungalows, but all of them have wide, comfortable porches. Takoma Park was first developed in 1883 as a rail suburb and even as D.C. and Silver Spring have crept up to its borders, it manages to keep a quiet, residential air.
- Community-oriented. The most prominent thing about Takoma Park is a spirit of community. Colorful yard signs reassure passers-by that, no matter your race or religion, the people of Takoma are glad you’re their neighbor. Many residents have also erected “Little Free Libraries” along the sidewalk; you’re encouraged to take a book and leave another in return. Anna delightedly pockets a Richard Russo novel.
- Civic engagement. Our next stop is the Takoma Park Community Center. It’s a stately building with visitor information, computer rooms, the police office, and a library annex where the gleeful sounds of children’s Spanish story hour waft through the stacks. Takoma Park’s diverse youth have every reason to get involved in civic life. In 2013, the city became the first in America to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in municipal elections.
- Pure charm. We finish the morning with a cup of tea at the newly opened Takoma Beverage Company. It’s pleasant to watch the rain fall from inside this beautiful shop, which is cafe by day and craft beer and cocktail spot by night. Along this street there are also some inviting boutiques, a neighborhood hardware store, and a few upscale restaurants - but they’ll have to wait for another day.