WASHINGTON – The Wheaton Youth Center is headed for the wrecking ball after the Montgomery County Council declined to protect the aging building with a historic preservation designation.
The council unanimously voted Tuesday to reject preserving the center, which is slated to become open space adjacent to a new library and youth center planned at the site on Georgia Avenue.
At a public hearing held earlier in the year, residents wanted to preserve the building’s design, which includes a pagoda-style roof. Others argued that building’s useful life had ended and a new, modern center and library would better serve the community, says Neil Greenberger, legislative information officer for the council.
Sentimentality also entered into the debate, Greenberger says: The center served as a live concert venue in the late 1960s and early 1970s and is rumored to have hosted the legendary rock band Led Zeppelin.
Ultimately the council decided that rehabbing the building or preserving the shape or facade would cost more than constructing a brand-new building, Greenberger says.
In an interview with WTOP last year, documentary filmmaker Jeff Krulik says that proof is hard to come by that Led Zeppelin played at the center.