Commercial Strip Makeovers in Burtonsville Continue
Two additional properties on the Northern side of Route 198 are part of Montgomery County's facade improvement plan, a county official said.
Two years after a cluster of small businesses in Burtonsville's commercial district received a major facelift as part of a government program to update the look of the neighborhood, more changes are in the pipeline.
The building at 15420 Old Columbia Pike, which houses Old Hickory Grille, is in the construction phase of a facade improvement as part of Montgomery County's Department of Housing and Community Affairs plan to financially assist property owners in Burtonsville with updating the look of their buildings.
Another building just down the road, Pike Center, which houses Cuba de Ayer and Williams Beer and Wine, has signed on to the program, but construction has not started.
The facade improvements are part of a set of recommendations proposed by the Burtonsville Community Legacy Plan, which calls for a number of upgrades in the neighborhood, including adorning the perimeters of the businesses with streetscapes, many of which are on hold because of a lack of funds on the state level, said Cathy Mahmud, senior planning specialist for the department.
"We’re kind of constrained because the state has potential plans to realign [Route] 198," Mahmud told Patch. There's also a plan to put in a ring road behind the commercial properties along the road, but neither of those projects are funded.
"For budget reasons, they've been pushed back," she said.
Mahmud's department is moving forward on a retail signage easment program, which will update the business signs for three of the properties. The two properties that already completed the facade improvement plan—15500 Old Columbia Pike, the building with Subway restaurant, and 15530 Old Columbia Pike, the building with Chapala restaurant—along with the Cuba de Ayer building are the first to sign on.
For both the facade and retail signage programs, property owners must contribute at least 50 percent to the total cost of the improvements. Once construction is complete, and if the final result is up to county standards, owners are reimbursed for up to half of the cost.
Participation hasn't been 100 percent, according to Mahmud, but there's still a possibility that more property owners will agree to the changes.
"We’ve gotten in touch with all of the property owners on the north side of the street and these are the ones who’ve chosen to participate with us," Mahmud said.
So far, Mahmud said, community members are pleased with the progress.
"Everyone’s been very supportive of the program, so we’re really pleased with that," she said.