A sign at Glen Echo Park in October 2013 explains that the facility is closed Credit: Aaron Kraut

As local elected officials rip Republicans in Congress for threatening another federal government shutdown, Montgomery County is asking permission to temporarily take over operations of a federally operated park.

If Congress doesn’t pass a funding bill for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, federal agencies such as the National Parks Service (NPS) could send employees home. That could mean Glen Echo Park would close again, just like it did during the 16-day long federal government shutdown in October 2013.

The Glen Echo Park Partnership, the nonprofit that manages theater companies, art studios and hosts many other events at the park, estimated it lost about $200,000 in revenue as a result of NPS closing the facility on MacArthur Boulevard.

A day before Congress agreed on a budget deal to reopen the government in 2013, County Executive Ike Leggett said county workers would remove parking lot barricades and reopen the park in “an act of civil disobedience.”

This time around, the county has asked for permission to take over operations of Glen Echo before the shutdown, Leggett spokesperson Patrick Lacefield said.

Lacefield said the county must get final authorization to operate the park through the state and is now “waiting for permission.”


He said there’s no cost estimate yet for operating the park during a potential shutdown, but that county police could be used for routine security and the Department of General Services could be used for garbage pick-up. Lacefield said many of the groups that operate out of the park, such as Adventure Theatre MTC, The Puppet Co. and Yellow Barn Studio, are self-supporting.

Meanwhile, District 8 Rep. Chris Van Hollen is set to visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Tuesday in Bethesda to warn of the potential damage from a shutdown to progress on medical research and employee morale.

On Monday, District 17 state Del. Andrew Platt (Gaithersburg) and 45 other state legislators from Maryland and Virginia sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner urging them not to allow another shutdown come Oct. 1.


Hard-line Republicans in Congress are threatening not to pass a funding bill for next fiscal year if it includes funding for women’s health organization Planned Parenthood.

“A Republican-induced government shutdown would wreak economic havoc on federal employees and their middle class families, and it would needlessly stifle much needed economic growth in Maryland,” read the letter, which cited estimates that Maryland lost $5 million a day in income and sales tax revenue during the 2013 shutdown.

The county estimated that from 2012-2013, the federal government paid more than $4.5 billion in wages to about 47,000 Montgomery County workers. It also said Montgomery County companies received about $11.5 billion in federal prime contracts.


Platt and Virginia state Del. Mark Sickles, who represents part of Fairfax County, helped put the letter together.

“A lot of folks willingly signed on to speak up for their constituents, many of whom are federal employees or on federal government contracts,” said Platt, whose district includes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). “This is still pretty fresh in the minds of federal workers and federal contractors. They’re constantly on-guard for: Are John Boehner and Mitch McConnell going to shut down the government over some trivial political issue and put their paychecks at risk? For them to potentially furlough that many federal workers is pretty insane.”