Montgomery task force will look for ways to energize county’s night life

Montgomery County, pushing forward in its quest for more hipness, has assembled its Nighttime Economy Task Force, which will study ways to energize the bar, music and after-hours dining scenes.

The task force itself is big enough for a pretty good party. County Executive Isiah Leggett named 21 members with backgrounds in business, entertainment, law, urban planning and transportation. There are also four county staff along with four County Council members and two members of Congress serving as ex-officio members. It will be chaired by Heather Dlhopolsky, a land use and zoning attorney for Linowes and Blocher.

Leggett said in a statement that he wants the panel to look for ways to attract businesses and entertainment offerings to the county that can appeal to residents across all generations. But a major focus will be developing recommendations on how to make Montgomery a more desirable destination for millenials who currently prefer the U Street Corridor, Adams Morgan or Clarendon as places to work and play.

There is concern that the county’s share of residents ages 25 to 34 has lagged behind the District and Arlington County, while it has the highest percentage of seniors in the capital region, according to census data.

The group, which will hold community meetings and forums, will start by looking at Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville, Germantown and Wheaton. It is expected to start making recommendations in six months or so.

“This initiative reflects my vision for a 21st century Montgomery that is innovation-driven, transit-friendly, connected and multi-generational,” Leggett said. “A thriving nighttime economy is an opportunity to enhance Montgomery’s attractiveness to all generations, businesses and visitors.”

Task force members include: Dan Reed, a community activist; Miti Figueredo, a vice president of the Chevy Chase Land Co.; Evan Glass, chair of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Committee; Holly Sears, president of the Montgomery Business Development Corp.; Alice Nappy, executive director of VisArts; and Stephanie Steele, general manager of the Fillmore Silver Spring.

A full list of members is here.

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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