Fenton Village: How to Preserve & Revive a Struggling Small Business District in Already Developing Downtown Silver Spring
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Urban Studies and Planning
Fenton Village, downtown Silver Spring, Maryland’s small business district, is experiencing a marked decline since the once-struggling downtown began its revival. The competition from new development and lack of government action are hurting Fenton Village, forcing small businesses to close, contributing to the decline of its physical infrastructure, and preventing its redevelopment. This study utilizes five different methods to determine Fenton Village’s overall state of affairs and to ascertain what course of action would be best for the district. The study: 1) examines Fenton Village’s physical infrastructure by studying photographs of Fenton Village and other downtown Silver Spring districts; 2) observes the amount foot traffic in Fenton Village as compared with the rest of downtown Silver Spring; 3) researches retail rents by consulting real estate agents as well as online listings to compare with other area shopping districts; 4) interviews area leaders and business owners to determine viewpoints, opinions, and priorities concerning Fenton Village; and 5) considers zoning regulations to in the end recommend options that may be considered for its future. By applying zoning that will allow developers to easily put together properties, while at the same time requiring them to include ground-floor retail for small, independently-owned businesses, the government can put in place the tools for Fenton Village’s redevelopment and help preserve its distinctive small business flavor and small-scale urban fabric.