Montgomery County asks U.S. to reopen shuttered Glen Echo Park

October 14, 2013

Montgomery County has asked the U.S. Department of the Interior to reopen Glen Echo Park, where a community of nonprofit arts groups that take no federal money have sustained heavy losses as a result of the 14-day government shutdown.

While Glen Echo is on federal park land, it is operated by the Glen Echo Partnership, a nonprofit created by the county. Among the activities it sponsors are two childrens’ theater companies, arts workshops and the 1921 Dentzel Carousel.

“A shutdown at the federal level should not result in the shutdown of a community asset that, in fact, receives no federal funding,” council member Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) said in a letter Monday to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. It is an example, Berliner said, of “how unnecessarily disruptive the shutdown has been.”

The partnership has been able to move some activities to other locations. But Berliner said revenue losses over a two-day weekend total about $67,000, a significant sum for an organization that runs on a shoestring budget.

“We cannot allow this to continue,” Berliner said.

County Executive Isiah Leggett will join Berliner and members of the Glen Echo Partnership on Tuesday morning at the park entrance on MacArthur Boulevard to formally call for the reopening.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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