As a business owner and employer in Silver Spring since 1968, I watched anxiously the arrival of Metro in the 1970s, and was, like everyone else, disappointed when Metro did not appear to rejuvenate the downtown area right away as expected. Instead, we witnessed more deterioration of the business district, resulting in increased threats to the safety of my clients, employees and their property.
In 1983, my lease was up for a renewal, and I had to decide whether to stay in Silver Spring or to move to a more "prestigious" location. Encouraged by the recent spirit of new construction and the vision of a revitalized, vibrant retail and business area promised by Montgomery County's 1975 Silver Spring Sector Plan, my wife and I and another couple purchased a small office building in downtown Silver Spring. In doing so, we made a strong financial and professional commitment to Silver Spring.
Now it's time for the county to honor its part of the deal. Revitalization of Silver Spring can happen only with major retail and residential emphasis. The Moore/Rouse proposal for a major shopping mall represents a rare opportunity for the county to obtain high-quality retail, on a scale large enough to draw consumers and employers back to Silver Spring. This retail, which is absolutely critical to the continued revitalization of Silver Spring, is backed by the outstanding reputations and expertise of the Moore and Rouse companies. They will make it succeed if given this chance.
The county council will soon vote on proposals that will determine whether this revitalization of Silver Spring can proceed. I urge the members to honor the county's commitment. If they fail, business owners like myself will gradually leave Silver Spring, and it will once again become an economic ghost town.
JOSEPH E. GODBOUT Silver Spring
Silver Spring is being given a second chance to shine and become in the next decade an urban retail showcase with attractive public amenities from which the entire community will benefit.
The county council soon will determine the fate of our hometown for the past 17 years when it decides how many new jobs it will permit in the central business district. Both the county executive and the majority of the planning board agree on 13,500 jobs, though planning board chairman Norman Christeller says he supports 10,000.
We applaud the enlightened council members who are clearly focused on revitalization and the positive impact it will make on citizens and the economy. And we urge their more reticent colleagues to bring Silver Spring squarely into the next century as an equal partner in progress and prosperity.
LINDA and HERSHEL KATZ Silver Spring