by Alex Nnabue ‘18
Final proposals are due in April for the development of a 5,000 seat, multipurpose community arena in downtown Silver Spring. Al Roshdieh, the director of Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation, expects the arena to open in the early 2020s as the design and development process would last two years and construction would be “anywhere from 18 months to two or three years.”
The arena would host high school, professional, and college sporting events as well as exhibits, conventions, graduations, and live entertainment. The county’s special projects director, Tina Benjamin, refers to the arena as a “marketing dream” since it is right next to the Red and Purple Lines. The ideal site for the project is the current two parking garages in downtown Silver Spring next to the Transit Center on Bonifant Drive. The 2.2 acre property is county-owned and the garages contain a total of 1,772 parking spaces. When a similar project was requested a decade ago, the site was not considered.
Supporters of the project claim that the arena would draw customers to the growing stores and restaurants in downtown Silver Spring. According to Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, the project would “increase the economic vitality of Silver Spring and the county as a whole, while providing much needed diverse, public venues for residents and visitors to enjoy”.