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Looking Back on 2005

Forest conservation, special education draw attention in 2005. Council reins in property taxes; School Board answers concerns on Seven Locks.

Potomac has a new park, a new path and 10 new painted ponies. The metal sculpture in front of Potomac Elementary wasn’t there before. Neither were the boardwalks at Widewater or the educational center at Lockhouse 8 on the C&O Canal.

New houses are still going up on MacArthur Boulevard, Falls Road, and Seven Locks Road to name a few, though residents are warier these days that new development in Montgomery County is on the up and up.

They’re also wary of a new missile launcher that appeared early last year on the Navy property on the Clara Barton Parkway.

But the region has a new center for the arts — Strathmore — which got a better reception.

A few things are gone, too, notably an acre of trees on federally controlled land along the C&O Canal.

The last of the contamination at the Naval Surface Warfare Center is gone — trucked away in 2005.

An alleged plan to stop using Seven Locks Elementary as a school is gone. But the lead in Montgomery County Public Schools’ water — that’s still there.

Gone, too, are beloved residents of Potomac — some old and some young — who died in 2005.

Potomac’s changing landscape was marked by controversies big and small. But residents engaged with local issues were quick to reach out to others in light of national and international tragedies.

Schools, churches and generous individuals helped victims of Hurricane Katrina, which displaced thousands from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region in August.

There were small efforts: scores of children held bake sales, lemonade stands, and other fund-raisers for relief organizations like the Red Cross. And there were monumental efforts: communities that stuffed tractor-trailers with goods, residents who opened their homes to hurricane victims for months, and those who went to the affected region to help people and pets in need.

Nine months earlier, Potomac raised thousands of dollars for victims of the tsunami that struck Indonesia, Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries in December, 2004.

This week, The Almanac takes a look back at 2005 in Potomac.