Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Playground could be named after civic activist - Gazette

Planning Board to consider proposal from Kensington Heights Civic Association

by Jen Beasley | Staff Writer | Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On life's playground, Wayne Goldstein didn't throw sand.

"He was just always very positive and always smiling and friendly even when he was disagreeing with you," said Donna Savage of the late civic activist. "He just had this gift for being able to disagree with you in a very, very, very pleasant way and very few people have that gift."

That's why Savage, the land-use chairwoman of the Kensington Heights Civic Association, and Sean Neary, president of the civic group, have requested that the playground at Kensington Heights Neighborhood Park be named for Goldstein, who was the sitting president of their association when he died of a heart attack on April 27.

Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission staffers are recommending the request be approved by the Planning Board, which will consider it on Thursday. County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring has also endorsed the request.

Savage said their original desire was to name the entire park after Goldstein, a longtime advocate for neighborhood issues and community causes around the county, but she and Neary discovered that was not Parks Department policy.

The playground seemed the next best thing. Goldstein began an annual KHCA picnic there three years ago in an effort to loosen up meetings.

"The playground … is sort of the essence of that park," Savage said. "It's in the middle of the park and it's the thing that gets used the most and it's the place where we have the picnic."

If the request is approved, the KHCA will pay $250 toward the plaque designating the Wayne M. Goldstein Playground and raise the final $100 needed through donations. Savage said she hopes the park rededication can be done at the annual picnic on June 13, where Goldstein will be honored.

"It's quite a blow for us to lose him as far as the county was concerned and as friendship was concerned but also because he was our sitting president."

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