A $1.5 million public library in Olney and a new highway that would run from Gaithersburg to Clopper Road in Germantown are just two of the projects that Montgomery County Executive James P. Gleason has recommended in the six-year Capital Improvements Program (CPI) for 1979 through 1984.
This year's proposed CIP contains 870 projects with a total cost of $1.759 billion, 40 projects more than the number approved in last year's program. The Capital Improvements Program is revised every year, with new construction projects being added and other projects changed or taken off the list as they are completed.
The projects include all construction that Montgomery County as well as federal and state agencies plan to undertake or are currently working on in the county. Eighty to 90 per cent of the projects in the program are the same from one year to the next, according to Dale Thoma, the county planning program corrdinator for the CIP.
The Olney library probably will be discussed at length in forthcoming hearings on the program because it is new and expensive, said Thoma.
The biggest project to be paid for by the county is the $41.6 million County Government Center, which will include a new 17-story county office building and a 10-story courthouse in central Rockville less than a block away from the present county office building. This project has been listed in the CIP for several years and the money for it has already been appropriated. Construction is scheduled to begin in April, according to a spokesman in Gleason's office.
Gleason has recommended construction of the Great Seneca Highway which would run through the western part of the county's to relieve the congestion on Interstate Highway 270 and to encourage development in the western section of the 270 corridor. This highway has been in the CIP for seven years as a federal project but now Gleason has suggested that it be built with local funds. He also recommended that construction start in 1981.
Plans for another previously listed project, a central processing facility for recycling trash, have been altered. County officials recently decided to seek a private firm that would build and operate rather than construct it with county funds. Gleason said he hopes to have a trash recycling facility built and operating by 1981. The county is now totally dependent on landfills for waste disposal.
Gleason has also recommended conversion of a surplus school into a multi-purpose senior citizen center and has proposed a project that would modify all exixting county facilties to improve access for handicapped people.
Among recreation projects, the county executive has suggested purchase of the Corby mansion on Rockville Pike and Strathmore Avenue for a county performing arts and civic center. Swimming pools in Bethesda, Colesville, and the Muncaster-Red land area have been recommended.
Gleason proposed a joint fire and rescue project to speed the dispatching of fire and police vehicles, as well as establishment of a full-service, countywide crisis center.
The county executive endorsed the school board's requests for state funds to help build elementary school gymnasiums as long as they are in areas "least likely to have declining enrollments and closures." Gleason concurred with the board's requests for money to pay for equipment at Germantown Elementary, Seneca Valley High and Takoma Park Elementary and for the modernization of Stephen Knolls. But Gleason said their fifth request, for an aduitorium at Woodward High, should be deferred.
"Woodwards is on two closure options; funding may influence board options and decisions," Gleason said. He added that the request for an auditorium at Walt Whitman High should also be dererred until the board makes decisions on "grade reorganization and closure."
All capital projects are financed with bonds, and the interest and principal on the bonds (debt service) is paid out of each year's operating budget. Bonds totaling $226.7 million are needed to finance this year's CIP. That amount is $26.7 million less than last year's total. Gleason said this year's CIP can be financed without exceeding the portion of the current property tax rate - 62 cents per $100 of assessed value - allotted to pay the debt service.
The county council has scheduled public hearings on the recommended CIP at 8 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room in Rockville on Jan. 30, Feb. 1, and Feb. 2. Copies of the CIP are available for reference in all public libraries.