GRANOLAPARK: The best exotic Takoma Junction proposal


Dear Readers,

Now there are three! One of the four finalists in the Takoma Junction development competition has dropped out!

Maybe Community Three Partnership caught a hint, or maybe they finally got fed up with the constant stream of questions and requests for revisions – work-time they had only 1 in 4 chances of getting paid for.

They’ve been the grumpiest and most stubborn of the four when asked for revisions. They’ve said “no” to changes – reducing the number of residences, for example – when the other three went back to the drawing board. Early on, when asked to include more park-like elements their response was something along the lines of “There’s a park across the street.”

When asked how they planned to deal with designing the co-op’s loading dock (a particularly difficult problem, and one that keeps co-op supporters from sleeping at night), they basically said “Oh, we’ll deal with that when we’ve won the contract.”

They were the ones who kept saying how they were going to make Takoma Park look like their Bethesda Row development – as though we were hicks who’d be impressed by that. Yet, “Bethesda-isation” was one of the first negative remarks made when the public gave feedback. That, said many, was NOT what they wanted for Takoma Park.

So, Community Three was NOT in private, closed door negotiations with the city council this week, as the others were.

The session was “closed so as not to compromise the competitive proposal process by revealing the financial capacity and financing structure of each of the proposals to the other finalist developers,” says the city announcement.

The best plan

Since we have no public meeting to dissect with our rusty scalpels for your amusement, Dear Readers, this would be a good time to present our own Takoma Junction proposal.

Why not? Everyone else is submitting plans. Who cares if the submission deadline was sometime last year, and the finalists have been picked?

WE submitted a plan (ok, a suggestion) YEARS before those other developers ever heard of the Takoma Junction!

Gilbert Tower

Our 2012 proposal – Gilbert Tower.

We’ve been advocating a tower (with a revolving restaurant on top) on that piece of city-owned land since 2012. We were first! Get in line, all you other so-called developers.

You’ll note, Dear Readers, that we have revised the tower idea. Like all the other developers we are responding to community and council feedback.

We’ve met the co-op’s “big three” needs: loading dock access, continuity of business through the construction, and co-op expansion.


Go no further, Takoma Park! This is the plan for YOU! Click on the image or here for larger size.

The key landmark piece is the windmill (1),  a functioning mill with an observation deck, room for retail or the Ability Project and a rotating restaurant/bar on top. Customers can patronize the restaurant/bar as they wait for their flour to be ground.

Traffic and parking issues are solved by the canal (2). We propose a canal/lock system for the length of Carroll Avenue. There will be no need to drive to the Junction, and the co-op’s goods will be delivered by the horse-drawn, sustainable canal-boats. Individuals can use the canal with non-motorized craft such as kayaks, canoes, rubber rafts and so forth. Kayak-share stations will be installed at several points on Carroll Avenue.

If winter ice forms on the canal, horse-drawn sleighs will be used and residents can skate.

The horses and other livestock will be housed in the stable (3). The stable has a green roof, growing hay for animal feed. Stable employees will live in the affordable-housing bunkhouse (4).

During construction, especially of the canal which will limit access to the lot, co-op customers will order online, and delivery will be by drone.

The co-op expansion will be a number of nomadic tents (5). This gets back to a traditional, local and sustainable method of commerce. It will encourage a regional, artisanal nomadic herding and agricultural lifestyle. The co-op will provide an outlet for their goods, and a stopping point on their nomadic wanderings. The grounds behind the windmill and barn (6) will be fenced to hold the nomadic herds, and can be used for slaughtering.

This ends the discussion. All you finalist and rogue developers can all go home now.

– Gilbert

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About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.