The Star Democrat

Budding families in North Bethesda’s Old Georgetown Village

- BY CONNIE DUFNER

NORTH BETHESDA (AP) — According to Alana Lasover, the best thing about Old Georgetown Village, a townhouse community near Pike & Rose, the White Flint Metro station and the Capital Beltway, starts at her kitchen window. There she views the zelkova and sycamore trees, knowing that each of the four streets in the North Bethesda, Md., neighborho­od has a mix of trees — dogwoods the next street over, cherry two streets north, and dogwoods and crape myrtles to the south.

It’s also the perch from which she watches the changes in the neighborho­od. She sees more children playing as young families move into this wooded enclave of 198 townhouses, built in 1979 and ‘80 by Richmarr Constructi­on, as original owners move out.

Also outside her kitchen window is the driveway, which figured in her decision to buy into the neighborho­od in 1982. She had been renting a townhouse three doors down, and when she was ready to buy, she eyed a house with a driveway so that her two teenage sons would have extra room to park.

Lasover, a real estate agent with Long & Foster’s Bethesda Gateway office, said her neighbors are what has kept her here all these years. “I just want to talk to everyone,” she said.

The homes in Old Georgetown Village are mostly three to four bedrooms, with four bathrooms, and ranging from 1,900 to 2,100 square feet.The developmen­t is next to a larger, sister community, Georgetown Village Condominiu­ms, which owns the tennis court, pool and community center. Membership­s to use those amenities are available to residents of Old Georgetown Village. About 15 years ago, the two communitie­s built a playground.

“As the years have passed by, it’s more walkable to places that have popped up around here,” said Shelley Sadowsky, a 20-year resident and attorney who works from home. “We’ve also got this little protected open area adjacent to a very built-up area. I feel like it’s the best of both worlds.”

Barbara Wise, president of the homeowners associatio­n and a resident since 1995, noted that the approximat­ely 1,000 mature trees are a source of pride.

She and Lasover frequently walk the neighborho­od together and exchange greetings with neighbors while keeping tabs on HOA business such as maintenanc­e and upkeep. Lasover chairs the architectu­ral control committee.

Some residents are concerned about a proposal by Montgomery County Public Schools to build a stadium at nearby Woodward High School, which is being rebuilt and is scheduled to open in 2025. The proposal would eliminate most of the trees in a wooded 1½-acre area at the southern end of the neighborho­od. The plans are under discussion.

“We are still hopeful that we are being heard and that the plans could change to pull the stadium closer on the site to the school building and sport fields,” Wise said.

Lori and Raj Singaraju moved to neighborho­od in 2016 and have been part of its evolving identity as a hot spot for young families. With two young daughters, ages 3 and 5, they were part of a Friday night pandemic pop-up gathering, in which residents of about 10 houses met outside in their cul-de-sac.

The kids would play together and the neighbors got to know one another, Raj said. He says the neighborho­od’s multiethni­c makeup is a plus. He has neighbors who are of Chinese, Colombian and South African descent, as well as various U.S. regions.

“Our oldest daughter is super extroverte­d,” said Raj, a former U.S. Navy physician and now a student at the National War College. “It has been neat for young kids to have exposure to different cultures. A family that’s Chinese may be speaking in Mandarin and eating dumplings. My daughters love dumplings from China.”

For Lori, the neighborho­od has brought a sense of community that the family has not had for a while because of frequent moves for Raj’s career.

“The dinners gave us all something to look forward to, a structure for the week, especially when you’re not working outside the house,” she said.

The Friday night gatherings are less frequent now, and have morphed into events such as a recent Halloween party. But the camaraderi­e has not ended.

“Now we all know each other ... everyone feels comfortabl­e saying, ‘hey, does anybody have an onion’ or ‘I need to borrow a saw,’“Lori said.

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