PGCo Business Developments Keep Coming (Demo)

More than 120 Apply for Board of Education Appointed Positions, Two Superintendent Search Committee Members named,  PGCo Planning Board Approves Cafritz Plan for Wholefoods Riverdale Development but Controversy Still Plagues Process, Joint Base Andrews plan would extend Green Line and widening the Capital Beltway.
Say what you want about County Executive Rushern Baker, but the man is set on the emergence and development of Prince George’s County.  Even if you don’t support his school takeover, you have to admit that his motivation for the move in question is not questionable; he wants the county school system to excel.  Baker is on the move again with plans to develop the area near Joint Base Andrews and the county is getting closer and closer to having its own Wholefoods.  
The Washington Examiner reported, “Prince George’s County officials are turning to the area around Joint Base Andrews in their next step in redeveloping the county.  The Andrews Working Group, established two years ago by County Executive Rushern Baker, announced a preliminary action plan aimed at bringing more county residents to the area and giving those who live and work on the base more places to eat and shop.  Facets of the plan range from relatively short-term improvements — like widening the Capital Beltway ramp at Forestville Road, a project that is already being funded by the state — to more long-term projects like extending the Metro Green Line past the Branch Avenue station to add a stop at the base’s main gate.
 “This is the first time I can recall the county government putting a major focus on Joint Base Andrews,” said Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable President M.H. Jim Estepp, a member of the working group. “This is the initial effort to recognize Andrews not only for what it does for national defense but also for the economic development opportunities that exist in and around the base.  Council members pushed the group to focus on two major areas near the base — Andrews Manor, a community with a 20-store shopping center, and Westphalia, where the county is planning 6,000 acres of new development.
Whole Foods in Soap BubbleThe soap opera saga that is the Cafritz development of a Wholefoods continues.  The Planning Committee has approved the preliminary plan but  University Park Ward 3 Council Member Arlene Christiansen said she is NOT convinced the letter from UMD came from the appropriate university official.  The Patch is the only way I’ve been able to keep up with this saga and they are saying that “a report dated May 9—the Prince George’s County planning staff recommended approval with conditions of the preliminary plan of the Cafritz property. The approval comes after a recent agreement between UMD and Calvert Tract LLC, in which the University of Maryland granted developers right-of-way to build a CSX bridge, now referred to as the J-crossing, across its property.  Developers reached an agreement with UMD early last week and released drawings of the proposed J-crossing.
The proposed “T” intersection at Layfette and Rivertech Court is concerning to some residents, according to Ward 2 Council Member Alan Thompson. Thompson said that people, who had previously supported the development have become lukewarm at the prospect of the intersection as planned, and he was hoping that an alternative plan could be put into place.  Not everyone is convinced that the letter from UMD brings developers into compliance with the CSX crossing condition. University Park Ward 3 Council Member Arlene Christiansen told Patch on Saturday that she was not convinced the letter from UMD came from the appropriate university official.  Christiansen also said the University Park Town Council will likely vote to disapprove the Cafritz property preliminary plan during a special session on Monday.
There are two upcoming Cafritz meetings this week. University Park is meeting in special session at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the University Park Elementary School library, and Riverdale Park is holding a public meeting specifically on the J-crossing at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the Town Hall.  The planning board will vote on the Cafritz property preliminary plan during its May 16 meeting. The meeting will be live-streamed on Riverdale Park-University Park Patch.
schoolhouseAccording to Prince George’s County officials, almost 130 people have applied for the 4 appointed Board of Education positions.  Christian Rhodes, Baker’s education liaison, told the Washington Post that the applicants have a wide variety of experience.  “It’s a mixed bag,” Rhodes said. “There are activist parents, CEOs, vice presidents of large organizations, university professors.”  There is no firm date on when the appointments will be made, though Rhodes said Baker would like to make them “as close to June 1 as possible.” “The volume [of applicants] is pretty large,” he said. “He’s going to go through and make sure it’s the right people.”  Also from The Washington Post, Charlene Dukes, the president of Prince George’s Community College; Ken Johnson, a lawyer, and Orlan Johnson, an attorney and business consultant, were selected by the governor and the state school superintendent last week to serve on the search committee that will offer recommendations to Baker for the chief executive officer’s position. Dukes, who is also the president of the state Board of Education, will chair the committee.   All three served on Baker’s transition team in 2010.

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