February 21, 2024

New Wheaton Community Access Program Offers $75,000 Toward Fee Reductions for Community Groups Reserving Public Facilities

The Montgomery County Government launched a Community Access Program (WCAP) on Feb. 16 that offers a total of $75,000 of in-kind assistance to community groups seeking to host events at Wheaton facilities managed by Montgomery County’s Office of Community Use of Public Facilities (CUPF).

Modeled after successful initiatives like the Silver Spring Community Access Program and the Facility Fee Assistance Program (FFAP), the WCAP will lower reservation costs for community groups using local government facilities and venues in Wheaton. This initiative aims to foster equity by making it possible for groups that might face financial constraints to afford renting these venues.

“We want to support organizations doing business in Wheaton, and the creation of the Wheaton Community Access Program underscores our commitment to that,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Reducing facility fees will help community-based groups defray costs so they can focus on developing and funding programs that impact our community and residents.”

WCAP aims to offer user groups financial help toward reservation costs for Wheaton Urban District facilities, which include Marian Fryer Town Plaza located at 2424 Reedie Drive; Wheaton Veterans Park, located at 11200 Amherst Ave.; and a community meeting room inside the M-NCPPC Wheaton Headquarters building, located at 2425 Reedie Drive. More information about the select facilities can be found on the CUPF blog.

“The Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee appreciates the support for the new Wheaton Community Access fund to help enliven our community with events and meeting spaces,” said Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee Chair Jim Epstein. “We encourage a wide variety of arts, humanities and community groups to apply for funds to reduce the costs of your events and outreach efforts. Thanks to the Wheaton Urban District and Community Use of Public Facilities teams.”

Community groups that are working to improve or positively impact the community are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to organizations and groups that also contribute to the growth of the Wheaton Arts and Entertainment district.

“We have outstanding and beautiful public spaces in Wheaton, and lack of funds should never be an obstacle for our local organizations to use those spaces to move Wheaton forward and more vibrant for all,” said County Councilmember Natali Fani-Gonz├ílez. “That’s why I’m thrilled to see the Wheaton Community Access Program becoming a reality to close the financial gap.”

The WCAP review committee, which will be composed of a CUPF representative, a Mid-County Regional Services Office representative and a WUDAC board member, will review and evaluate applications on a rolling basis as they are submitted. Consideration for financial need will be given to user groups that can demonstrate their event positively impacts the community.

For more information about the program and to submit a short application, visit the Montgomery County Office of Grants Management portal. Applications must be received at least 14 days in advance of the event and users should have their CUPF reservation number ready when starting a WCAP application.

For questions about the event spaces available through this program, and how to reserve please contact Marta Martinez at CUPF by calling 240-777-2709 or via email at marta.martinez@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Applicants with questions about the WCAP application process should contact Olga Kravets in the Office of Grants Management by calling 240-773-3344 or by email at grants@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Visit www.wheatonmd.org to learn more about events happening in Wheaton.