Concerned Residents of Friendship Heights Village

CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS VILLAGE

As of April 15, 2017  about 40 Village residents from different backgrounds and buildings have co-authored or endorsed an Open Letter to Council. Drafters and endorsers intended to use this Open Letter during the 2017 election campaign. However, no open forums or candidates’ nights will be held in advance of the election on May 8. Therefore, this Open Letter, accompanied by the names of endorsers, will be presented to Council on May 15.

Do you wish to add your voice to this statement of issues and expectations?
E-mail, including your address, David Cohen [davidmcohen37@verizon.net]
Do you have questions about the content and purpose of this open letter?
Contact Connie Row [constancerow@comcast.com] or
Clara Lovett [301 654 2629]

An Open Letter to the Village Council from Concerned Residents

TAKING FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS VILLAGE TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Background
Since the 1970s, the government of Friendship Heights Village, a state-chartered Special Taxing District, has done many good things for its residents. But much has changed over the decades, both within the community and the surrounding environment.

Internally, the community has become increasingly diverse. Externally, Friendship Heights faces unprecedented competition as a desirable residential area and a prime location for retail businesses.

Another significant change is the emergence of new models for providing services to residents across generations and income levels. Local governments like our Village enjoy new opportunities to partner with community groups and non-profit organizations to address unmet needs.

A Timely Opportunity to Move to the Next Level

In view of this changed environment and in preparation for development of a new Sector Plan for Friendship Heights, it is urgent that our community move to:
Update its demographic and economic profile and understanding of needs;
Research best practice new models for providing services;
Develop a professionally prepared Strategic and Operating Plan for the Village; Realign operations and annual budgets as required to support strategic priorities.

We Urge Council to Take Advantage of the Opportunity by Taking Key Steps:

Retain the services of an experienced professional to organize the collection of data and insights from residents and business owners and develop an up-to-date profile of the Village community.

Identify priority needs, whether ongoing or new, and relevant new models of service delivery. Implement new services using available staff, community resources and funding sources, including tax district resources.

Assess ongoing recreational and educational programs offered at the Village Center to determine participation levels, relevance, and responsiveness to residents’ needs.

Leverage relationships with County staff, independent urban planners, and developers of residential and commercial properties to understand the larger environment and to advance the interests of the Village within this environment.

Modify existing communication tools and/or introduce new ones to promote interaction between Council and residents and among residents.

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