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Growing Need to Grow Larger

Legislators work to raise funds for Scotland.

Over 300 youth and children live in the Scotland community, but only nine can fit in the basketball gymnasium at one time.

"With youth league basketball, the maximum number is three on three. Officials and timekeepers have to stand in the hall to watch games. In situations where a player's foot comes in contact with the sideline, his shoulder is already touching the wall," said Jeffrey A. Bourne, division chief of the Department of Recreation.

Sen. Jean Roesser (R-15) and Del. Jean Cryor (R-15) sponsored legislation — House Bill 1121 and Senate Bill 673 — which would authorize the state to sell bonds for $500,000 to be a grant to Montgomery County and matched with county funds, to build an addition to the gymnasium in Scotland, a historic African-American community in Potomac.

Bourne, Tony Edgehill, director of the Scotland Community Center, Jay Dove and Bette Thompson, residents of Scotland testified before the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, March 18. Del. Marilyn Goldwater (D-16) and Del. Bill Bronrott (D-16) of Bethesda also testified to show support for the bill.

"THE SCOTLAND COMMUNITY CENTER is the focal point of this historic neighborhood," said Roesser. "My real concern is for kids to have a place to play basketball and to use a gym that is adequate in size."

The neighborhood community center, operated by the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, was built in the early 1970s. Over 30 programs are offered in the community, located off Seven Locks Road near Bells Mill Road.

"I'm appalled to see how little space there is," said Cryor.

MATCHING STATE and county grants would be sufficient to renovate and expand the gym, said Bourne.

Such a renovation of the gym would provide an opportunity to expand health and fitness programs, particularly in the area of after-school activities and instructional fitness programs, clubs, hobby groups, community meetings and family support programs, according to Roesser.

The Appropriations Subcommittee, which hears a number of bond bills during the General Assembly, will make its decision later in the spring.

"We'll see what the committee decides," said Cryor. "If we don't get the full amount this year, we will be back. Whatever we can get is a plus."

To get support for the bills, Cryor said it is crucial to show why this is the most important.

"A great number of bond bills are reduced or turned down," said Cryor.

The Potomac Master Plan, approved by the County Council on March 5, endorses a full renovation and expansion of the center.

"This is a work in progress. We plan to continue with this," said Roesser.