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There’s controversy brewing in Silver Spring. According to a press release forwarded to the Shepherd Park message board—-I know City Desk is doing some real high-enterprise digging here—-a recent online survey showed that the proposed ice-skating rink ranked dead last as an option to replace the patch of Astroturf nestled downtown among the chain-store pile up. Seventy-five percent highly preferred “more passive recreation like ‘lounging, reading, eating,'” the release says.

More than 700 responses have been gathered so far by the survey takers. Despite their strong feelings against winter sports, a lot of people polled admitted they didn’t know what the fuck was being proposed.

So to help us understand what’s going on in Silver Sprung, we decided to make a phone call to our correspondent in the land of the pedestrian walkway.

“If they’re gonna have green space, they should have real green space and not a carpet, you know?” says our Silver Spring correspondent, former arts editor Leonard Roberge.

Roberge went on to explain that the skate rink isn’t just going to be a skate rink but a faux Town Hall with the promise of performance spaces. He notes those spaces will probably turn into community meeting rooms where residents will debate zoning.

To hear Roberge explains this debate, you’d think Takoma Parkers had invaded its grittier neighbor. The Astroturf proponents see the fake green as a natural phenomena. Once it was put down, residents put it to use in whatever way they desired—-pick-up football games, lounging, reading, etc. Roberge says the consensus from the pro-Astroturfers is that it’s an “organic development.”

To build a skate rink means: “We are going to be forcing some kind of rigidity on the community.”