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Seesaw: PGCo Goes Up, Down, and Middle

By Ceemac126 @PGCBlogging

Hooraaay!!! Konterra development in Laurel poised to be on par with Tyson’s Corner.   Oh noooooo! Prince George’s County is losing middle class families.  Seesaw stuck in the middle as Prince George’s County Council votes to approve a tax district for the Cafritz/Whole Foods District.

What I like about the thought behind the Konterra Development in the Beltsville Laurel Area is that there is a MARC station, and infrastructure planning for  ICC ramps and stormwater drainoff  to support the shiny stuff on top, i.e. big mall, condos, townhomes. 

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" target="_blank">NBC4 reported, “A $500 million mixed-use development in Laurel, Md. could rival Tyson’s Corner in Virginia once completed. The Brick Yard development is located on Muirkirk Road between Laurel and Beltsville.  Konterra Realty‘s development will include 12 million square feet of residential units, townhouses, condos, apartments and massive high-end retail and business space.  “Fortune 500 companies are looking at this area because of the transformational road improvements and infrastructure that’s currently underway and will be finished in a year,” Tate Armstrong with Konterra Realty told News4. “This is a city just waiting to happen.”Konterra Town Center East, the larger half of the project, is already undergoing storm water construction, as well as construction of a county road interchange that will connect the area to the I.C.C.  Long-time citizens of northern Prince George’s County say they are excited to see the development gain ground.  “I can’t wait until the job is done,” Beltsville resident Thomas Jones said.”You expect change in a place like this and Laurel is an excellent place to live,” Betty Gutierrez of Laurel said.

Video of story is below but it’s invisible if you have an iPad.  Spooky.

The Washington Post article ignites the fire of panic over the PGCo school system.  A decrease in school population plus an increase in the amount of children who qualify for free meals is being fueled by the flight of lower incomes from DC to Prince George’s County, according to the article. ““Those high property rates and high rents in D.C. have caused people to look for a place with affordable housing. That place is Prince George’s County,” says Odis D. Johnson Jr., a member of the African American studies department at the University of Maryland in College Park. “As a result, the sc

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hool system has more and more students who have higher needs. You can replicate successful programs, but ultimately that will not meet the needs of most students enrolled.”

Ten years ago, in the 2003-04 school year, 137,285 students attended public schools in Prince George’s. Of those, 50.8 percent were eligible for free or reduced-price meals, according to the Maryland Report Card. In 2012, enrollment had dropped to 123,833. And 66.3 percent of those students were eligible for free or reduced-price meals.  In 2000, the poverty rate in Prince George’s County was about 4 percent. Now, it is more than 8 percent.

It’s true, the County Executive, his education liaison, Christian Rhodes, et. al. have few details on the long-term plan of overhauling the school system.  The first step has been taken with enacting legislation giving the County Exec. the power, now we need to know how he’s going to follow through with it.  Most of the best school systems are supported by tax bases not as heavily reliant on property taxes as Prince George’s.  It would seem that money answereth all things.  More high-end, transit oriented development, more businesses, and more money are what’s needed.  The article is a good read, albeit depressing.  

Prince George’s County Council passed a measure that allows for the creation of a special tax district to fund the school, road, and infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate the behemoth Cafritz Whole Foods development coming to the already congested Riverdale community.  Essentially this means that these new boundaries will be where home values and property taxes will go up, as will the popularity and exclusivity of that area.  The seesaw is stuck in the middle because I really feel for the people of Riverdale Park, a beautiful community.  The people don’t seem to want this and have major concerns with how the schools and roads will be supported once this development is in place.  You’ll see below that the Riverdale Park Council voted AGAINST this plan.

See here from Upper Marlboro Patch, “Prince George’s County Council voted 6-2 on Tuesday to approve the boundaries for what will become a special taxing district to fund infrastructure improvements on the proposed Cafritz development in Riverdale Park. The measure was passed over the objections of the University Park Town Council, which voted against supporting the preliminary plan of subdivision for the new Cafritz development on Monday evening.  The exact nature of the tax, and the methodology by which it will be collected, have not yet been determined. Those details will be worked out in a separate measure which must be approved by the Prince George’s County Council at a later date.

County Council Chairwoman Andrea Harrison (D-District 5), Vice-Chairman Obie Patterson (D-District 8), and Councilwoman Karen Toles (D-District 7), Councilman Mel Franklin (D-District 9), Councilman Will Campos (D-District 2) and Councilman Derrick Davis voted in favor of the measure.  Eric Olson (D-District 3) and Mary Lehman (D-District 1) voted against it.  Councilwoman Ingrid Turner (D-District 4) was absent.  The measure sets the boundaries for properties within the Cafritz tract which will be subject to a new tax designed primarily to fund the construction of a new railroad overpass which can carry traffic over the CSX tracks to the east of the proposed development. Securing the location and developing a funding mechanism for the bridge is one of the requirements imposed by county planners on the development before it can proceed.”

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