Tying together an ongoing trend of new and pending bird murals in downtown Bethesda, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to appoint the crane as Bethesda’s official mascot.  County councilmember Sidney Katz noted that it “wasn’t just a coincidence that the construction cranes dotting the skyline happened to share the same word as the tall wading birds from the family Gruidae.”

“We thought long and hard about rebranding from the maligned big red Bs,” said Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) director Jeff Burton.  “And it’s a way to bring nature in to the city,” added Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson.  He also noted, “we recognize that there may be more bird strike deaths from all of the shiny, beautiful and new tall glass buildings in downtown Bethesda, so we felt it fitting to honor our fallen avian friends in a deeply meaningful way.”

The decision was signed off by the Design Advisory Panel as a symbol of the heights to which downtown Bethesda can soar. A very important DAP member who preferred to remain anonymous noted that “it’s not just the literal heights of the new towers, but moreso our hopes and dreams for where Bethesda can economically carry Montgomery County into the future.” Additional design points will be granted for public art that includes statues or other artistic representations of birds. “It’s a perfect complement to the numerous art installations of trees crafted of metal to symbolize our commitment to nature and green spaces in the built environment.”

In furtherance of stated efforts to increase affordable housing in the County and promote transit oriented development, the Planning Board approved a 12-story condo building on Edgemoor Lane. The new building will feature a car elevator and a 90 foot tall mural of a parrot. The approval indicated that the mural counts as green space, noting “wildlife is commonly found in parks and green spaces, so we decided to let the side of the building count as park space.”

In addition, while reviewing the project, the Planning Board suggested the bird face the other direction. “We thought it would present much more of a statement if we flipped the bird towards Bethesda.”

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