In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:
- Our Story, Our Future
- Purple Line in the News
- Features & Highlights
- The Crescent at Chevy Chase Lake
- A Community Beyond the Tracks
- Construction News
- Brief Purple Line Builder Update
- Photos Around the Purple Line Corridor
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WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?
Our Story, Our Future
As we head into the holiday season, we want you to know how grateful we are for your support, some of you for years, some of you new to us – all appreciated and critical to our continued mission of making the Purple Line a reality for our community.
As Thanksgiving approaches, we hope you will take a moment to read our story, the news about our future, and what may be on the horizon for Purple Line NOW.
First, though, we thought we would tell you a little more about ourselves.
The Purple Line itself began as an idea, way back in the 1980s. As Greg Sanders, our current Vice President and our founder Harry Sanders’ son, explained to Bethesda Magazine at the groundbreaking for the project in 2017, his father “first came up with the idea of turning the former CSX right-of-way between Bethesda and Silver Spring into a transit way while he was in the family’s living room in 1986 with other longtime advocates, such as Ross Capon.”
Harry and others decided that an advocacy group, dedicated solely to making sure the Purple Line was built, would be an important part of the process. While our group has been around in one form or another since that idea was born, we formally registered as a nonprofit organization in 2002.
Since that time, (and if we are honest, some days it feels like yesterday, but most days, it feels like decades!), a dedicated group of volunteers has met regularly, each and every month, for years, to share information and tackle hurdles that stood in the way progress.
Sometimes those hurdles were financial – where would the money come from? Can the counties work together to fund a portion of the project? Sometimes those hurdles were political and other county and state (and federal) issues took priority. But, our mission remained steadfast, year in and year out. And, for the majority of that time, all of the work we accomplished was done solely by a large group of dedicated volunteers who gave their time, their elbow grease, and their financial support.
Today, our board of directors meets formally four times a year, and the Purple Line NOW leadership team (our executive committe) meets each and every month, these days by Zoom call, of course!
Left to right, clockwise: Barbara Sanders, At-large Executive Committee Member, Greg Sanders, PLN Vice President, Nancy Soreng, PLN Secretary, Christine Scott, Executive Director, Tina Slater, PLN Treasurer, Ralph Bennett, PLN President
In 2009, I was hired as their part-time executive director to take some of the administrative load off volunteer leadership as the project got closer to ground-breaking. Now, twelve years later, I can report that because of your help, financial and otherwise, this group hasn't lost a beat!
Many of you have worked with us, either as a board member, a committee team-mate, or a sister organization, and it has been inspiring to watch how you, as a member of our wider community of volunteers, continue your tenacious, but gentle approach to problem-solving, with a keen eye on continued community-building as the project gets closer and closer to ribbon-cutting.
For those of you new to us, who support us in big and small ways, please know that we appreciate your help. It all matters. It really does.
As you probably know by now, Purple Line NOW doesn’t do any fundraising events. We don’t have corporate underwriting or large grants to support us.
Progress and Plans
No question, and we are not unique here by any stretch, the past two years have been difficult. The loss of the project’s builder certainly didn’t help.
We have been pleased to watch MDOT MTA pick up the reins and continue work on those difficult utility relocations as they called out for new builders to apply, waded through the submissions, and finally are poised to announce the winning company in the coming weeks. In the background, the new builder will be handed over a cleaner sheet with a lot of the difficult utility relocation work out of the way.
In the meantime, despite that devastating loss, our advocacy group kept moving forward. We continued to offer our very popular forums, focusing first on development happening around the corridor and then a thorough status update with Maryland’s Secretary of Transportation just a few months ago.
Here is a sneak peak for our newsletter readers – we heard you! You want another forum on the Capital Crescent Trail, and we are working to bring that to you early next year!
Our flagship publication, the Purple Line NOW News, continues to be published every other week, and we are working to bring you new features, some of which many of you have requested in our survey earlier this year.
We continue to attend and engage in civic meetings, working on adjacent issues like the environment, other transit opportunities, housing, and pedestrian and biker safety. Most of our board members and volunteers are members of multiple organizations and come to our board meetings armed with knowledge and updates. On your behalf, they testify, they report, and they offer input.
We also have acted as an unofficial liaison between residents (and business owners) and the builders and state. You wrote to us asking for help in getting more trees, for help having graffiti removed, for help in tidying up construction sites, to get more signage, to address dangerous pedestrian crossings, and one time, someone asked us to help remove snakes from their yard! Thankfully, our job description doesn’t include reptile removal, but we know who to contact to help those creatures find a new home! On a serious note, we are happy to provide whatever help we can to make this difficult construction time easier for you.
And now for some tough news
In our quarterly board meeting last Friday, our board treasurer, Tina Slater, gave an update on our bank balance. We always say that we operate on a bare bones budget, but as Tina said in her report to the Board of Directors, “This is a little too bare, and we need a little meat on the bones if we are to continue accomplishing all we need to do.”
Currently, Purple Line NOW is operating with a remaining balance of less than $3,000. Folks are always surprised that when we say “bare bones budget” we actually mean it! But, even with Halloween in our rear-view mirror, that balance is a bit scary.
As we do every year at this time, we ask you to renew or increase your annual giving to us. If you have never given before, we appreciate your consideration of any amount – it all matters. It all counts.
If you have been a loyal donor, please know that we squeeze every cent out of your donation to us and when we say we can’t do it without you, we truly mean it.
Here’s what we would like to accomplish in the next year
Because of the increased attendance at our forums since we went to a virtual format, we think that format may be here to stay! But, we want to do more of them, targeting communities that the Purple Line will impact, and address those hot topics you most want to hear about.
We would like to refresh our newsletter so it is easier to read and easier to share.
Additionally, many of you have told us you use our website as a resource. We need to update the information contained within it and address some of your requests in doing so.
Finally, we will continue to meet as a board and team. We will continue to be an advocate for the project and for the citizens who are affected by construction and continue our role as a champion for making the Purple Line the best it can be.
And now --- the SUPER exciting news!
As you consider helping us move into the new year on more comfortable financial footing, we are thrilled to let you know that last week, an anonymous donor has stepped forward again (how lucky are we?!) with an offer to match all gifts, dollar for dollar -- $25 up to $1,000 -- until the goal of $5,000 is reached!
(For example, if you give a gift of $25, your donation will count as $50. If you give $1,000, your donation will count as $2,000. Any and all donations are welcome, small and large.)
This year, because our need is immediate, the matching campaign will last until the stroke of midnight, December 31, so we hope you will include us in your holiday giving.
Thank you for your consideration. We know it has been a tough year for a lot of people. If you can contribute at this time, please know how much we appreciate your generosity, and if you cannot, know that we will continue to bring you as much news and information as we can. Feel free to share this newsletter with your neighbors and friends who might benefit from staying in the loop.
THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS
New Purple Line contractor should be in place by February (K. Shaver, Washington Post, September 8, 2021)
FEATURES & HIGHLIGHTS
The Crescent at Chevy Chase Lake
The Crescent at Chevy Chase Lake apartment building broke ground on October 21st. The project is across the street from a Purple Line station and will include connections to the Capital Crescent Trail. As Maryland cited, this project is part of $2 billion in transit-oriented development along the Purple Line corridor.
A Community Agenda Beyond the Tracks
If you missed the Purple Line Corridor Coalition's "A community beyond the tracks" event, the video is available online. The event covered housing, employment, and small business concerns along the corridor with a focus on steps being taken in Prince George's county. The Purple Line Corridor Coalition is holding its virtual annual meeting on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
Purple Line Builder Update
The process for choosing the next Purple Line builder has taken an important step forward as bids were submitted in recent weeks. Maryland and the concessionaire will work together to choose the winning competitor and plan to present that choice before the Board of Public Works this December and to have the new builder under contract in late February. We will bring you the news as soon as we hear it.
Photos from Around the Corridor
Crews continue to work hard throughout the corridor. Thanks to MDOT MTA for the photos.