Ballet superstar Amanda McKerrow, who brought a gold medal to the United States and worldwide attention to her hometown of Rockville, will soon be honored by the city.
City Council member Steve Abrams suggested earlier this week that Rockville pay tribute to the 17-year-old Washington Ballet dancer, who won the gold by tying for first place in the women's junior division of the Moscow International Ballet Competition last week.
Abrams first suggested naming McKerrow an "honorary Rockville citizen" because her home is outside the city limits. Then he and other city officials agreed to invite her to the city's July 4th festivities and to present her with a key to the city.
McKerrow, who attended Rockville High School through the 10th grade, began her ballet studies at age 6 in a county-sponsored program at Lucy Barnsley Elementary School in Rockville. She began training the following year at Twinbrook School of Ballet in Rockville under the direction of Phyllis Blake. Blake, who said she was "absolutely delighted" with McKerrow's success, still teaches ballet in the city.
McKerrow said of the city's plan to honor her, "I think it's just fabulous, really incredible!"
She said she was not sure she could accept the city's offer of its 500-seat Civic Center Auditorium for a performance because of prior commitments, but she added, "I think it is very sweet of them to offer. All of this is so incredible I don't believe it."
The city's July 4 program begins at 6:30 p.m. at Richard Montgomery High School. City spokeswoman Sue Patterson said the presentation to McKerrow will begin at 8:30 and fireworks will follow at 9:30.
In other city business, the council voted unanimous approval of a $189,000 plan for construction of Woottons Mill Park adjacent to the Rockshire subdivision. Plans for the park, which have received enthusiastic support from the surrounding community, include tennis courts, bike paths, a fitness trail, trees and other landscaping. Work is expected to be completed in about six months.
The council also was briefed by the city's chief planner, James M. Davis, on the county school system's 15-year plan for school closings.
City officials have long been frustrated by county refusal to let them participate in policy making decisions regarding schools in Rockville.
A number of Rockville schools are among those that might be closed by the board. City officials say they are determined to have more voice in board decisions, since school closings often radically affect the character of neighborhoods.
Without some city control, council member John Freeland said, "we are numbering the years of this city. As the schools go so will the population."