The City of Takoma Park is a municipality of approximately 17,000 residents in Montgomery County, Maryland. Takoma Park is bordered by Washington, D.C. on the south, the unincorporated communities of Silver Spring and Long Branch in Montgomery County on the west and north, and the unincorporated communities of Langley Park and Chillum in Prince George’s County on the north and east. Takoma Park is densely populated but feels comfortable due to its hills and large trees. Takoma Park is known as “Azalea City” because of the many flowering azalea bushes that brighten the area in the spring. Stream valley parks along Sligo Creek and Long Branch Creek cross the city and, along with other city parks, provide bike trails and play areas for the community.
Takoma Park operates under a Council-Manager form of government. An at-large Mayor and six Councilmembers representing wards comprise the Council. Councilmembers are elected for two-year terms in November of odd-numbered years. The Council sets policy, adopts the annual budget, appoints the City Manager and City Attorney, and appoints members to various boards and commissions. The City Manager directs the day-to-day operations of the city government, hires and manages staff, and proposes an annual budget for consideration by the Council.
The City of Takoma Park provides services through the following departments: Administration, Housing and Community Development, Library, Police, Public Works and Recreation. Social services, schools, courts, and most building inspections and planning and zoning services are provided by Montgomery County.Takoma Park lies within Montgomery County Council District 5, Maryland General Assembly District 20 and U.S. House of Representatives District 8.
Takoma Park is a community of many different cultures and interests. About one-third of the households are families with children, about one-third are single-person households, and about one-third are households of more than one adult. There is no one racial or ethnic category that represents a majority of the population. Over a quarter of the population was born in another country, with the majority of these residents originating from Latin America and Africa.
Takoma Park benefits from being part of the Washington, D.C. metro area. With Washington D.C.’s status as a vibrant world city and the heart of the United States government, cultural and economic opportunities abound. Residents can walk, bike, or take a short Metro or bus ride to many popular destinations. Takoma Park also benefits from being part of Montgomery County, Maryland with one of the best public school systems in the nation.
Takoma Park is largely residential, with a mix of single family homes and small and large apartment buildings. About half of the households rent and about half own their own home or condominium unit. Homes range from historic bungalows and Victorians to modest colonials and ramblers.
The largest commercial district is Takoma-Langley Crossroads, centered at the intersection of University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue. The Old Takoma business area is a neighborhood commercial district near the Takoma Metro station. It spans the Takoma Park/Washington, D.C. border. Other commercial areas stretch along New Hampshire Avenue or are in the Long Branch area near Flower Avenue and Piney Branch Road.
The Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus of Montgomery College (a community college) and the campus of Washington Adventist University are in Takoma Park. Besides the excellent Montgomery County public schools, Takoma Park is served by several private parochial schools.
Washington Adventist Hospital serves the community from its campus in the center of Takoma Park. It has applied to move to a location north of Takoma Park but leave some medical services on its campus. The State of Maryland is considering its application to relocate.
Culture and Politics
Takoma Park has a lively arts community and the community’s calendar of visual and performing arts events offers something for everyone. Public art can be found throughout the community. The Takoma Park Auditorium in the Community Center hosts a variety of events in a beautiful setting.
Takoma Park also has a history of political and civic activism. Efforts by residents have led the city to declare itself a nuclear free zone and a sanctuary city. Non-U.S. citizen residents are permitted to vote in municipal elections. Environmental initiatives have been pursued for decades by the public and the city government. The newly renovated Public Works facility on Oswego Avenue has a fascinating array of “green” features, many private yards are Certified Wildlife Habitats, trees over a certain size may not be removed without a City permit even when on private property, and the City has recently installed solar panels on a number of its facilities.