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Trail Talk 4: The North South Divide – A Tale of Two Towns

Vacant building across Route 1 in north College Park (courtesy: Lauren Evans)

Does College Park have two towns within one – one on north of Rt 193 (north College Park), and another in the south that includes old town and the University of Maryland?

That is the impression I got yesterday after talking to one of my neighbors on my campaign trail.

This neighbor has been living in north College Park for more than 25 years, not very far from Route 1. She has served in various City sponsored committees, and despite the insistence from her husband to leave College Park, she decided to stay within this city.

She thinks the north College Park has been traditionally ignored for some time, when it comes to Rt 1 development, business development and public safety.

She may be right. In fact she is not the first one from whom I’ve heard such a complaint for the first time.

And there are incidents that may back up what she and other neighbors are saying..

Take Route 1 development for example. Route 1 in north College Park seems to be the long forgotten main street of the city and, unfortunately, is not getting sufficient attention from the city, local and state governments. Route 1 in north College Park needs smart development with more quality mixed-use businesses in place of the abandoned and vacant stores. It also needs walk-able sidewalks so businesses are accessible to residents.

The City will soon spend $8.8 million in the redevelopment of Route 1 in the south, but residents question why this couldn’t’ be spent in the north.

The same applies to public safety. Early last year, the City decided to spend $500,000 on a bunch of CCTV cameras in the downtown. Unfortunately none of these cameras were installed in the north. Yet we are getting constant armed robberies in the Hollywood commercial district. One of the reasons for installing these cameras was the issue of monitoring them by the UMd Police, which has an existing monitoring center. But the camera vendor is saying that their CCTV system can cover a lot larger geographical areas (up to 30 miles) than the entire College Park.

It’s the view of many north College Park residents that the area does not need the best share of the city’s budget or grants from other local and State agencies, but it should at least receive the fare share of these resources. There is nothing in the City Charter that says all development activities must start from the south.


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1 Comment

  1. David

    The city council and staff have approved several quality developments in North CP only to see them stymied in Upper Marlboro and local NIMBYs. North CP residents cannot seriously expect SHA to invest in Route 1 north of 193 when all the development is taking place to the south.

    The retail portion of Mazza should begin construction relatively soon. It would be great to track down the renderings for that.

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