What’s Going On?
The proposed University of Maryland (UMD) Golf Course development includes 3 “Big Box” stores and high density housing units on a huge section of the green space. For this retail development to work, a new spur from I-495/I-95 would also need to be built into our surrounding communities along the PEPCO right-of-way. It would draw large volumes of customers from 10 to 15 miles away, bringing even more traffic and pollution to already crowded road ways. Further, it is a very a poor use of state assets.
The process underway also lacks transparency and appropriate public input. It is very disappointing that President Loh is calling this an “unsolicited” proposal, as it appears he is taking it around to the highest elected officials jointly in meetings with the developer. A proposal of this nature needs to have more scrutiny, debate and oversight, not be approved as a done deal by just the 2 or 3 high level state officials comprising the MD Board of Public Works.
All of the surrounding communities and their political leaders, as well as many friends of the University and environmental organizations across the state, are opposed to the proposed development.
This proposal by developer Greenberg Gibbons is not in the best interests of the University, State of Maryland, nor surrounding communities. It is a really bad idea. As the editors of the UMD independent student newspaper, The Diamondback, said in their article October 14th:
“Redeveloping the golf course into yet another desert of concrete and commerce would be great for suburban car-drivers looking for big box stores — but not for the university community.”
What Can You Do?
Please add your voice and email now—UMD President Loh, UMD Chancellor Kirwan, Governor O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller, House Speaker Thomas Busch, Congressman Steny Hoyer, state Treasurer Nancy Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot, County Executive Rushern Baker, and your other state, local, federal elected representatives. These people need to hear from you! Get their email addresses here.
Tell them why you think that this is a bad idea — in your own words. If you already wrote one letter, write another. Tell your friends to please raise their voices, too. Many voices are needed over time to offset the other pressures being felt by your representatives.
Urge President Loh to drop this proposal now.
Urge Governor O’Malley, Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot to vote the so-called “unsolicited” proposal down. These three elected officials are the Maryland Board of Public Works (MBPW) and they will decide the proposal in this fast track process.
Urge County Executive and your councilmembers to stand firm. Ask they not change land use zoning laws to accommodate this kind of grab for what little green space is left on the University campus and surrounding area.
Why Do You Think it is a Bad Idea? (Please put in your own words)
Key points you could make in your letter, in addition to those noted above:
- The University of Maryland Golf Course is a critical element of the green space providing attractive walking trails, important wildlife habitat, and much needed natural filtering systems for urban storm water runoff and air pollution.
- The proposed development would include 3 big box retailers and high density housing units, with a new spur from I-495/I-95 along the PEPCO right-of-way into the adjacent communities. This would draw large volumes of customers from 10 to 15 miles away, bringing even more intolerable traffic and pollution to already crowded road ways.
- This proposed development would draw resources away from the long standing need, and plan, for rehabilitation of Route 1, downtown College Park and Hyattsville.
- Maintain the UMD Golf Course as the highly regarded amenity it is of the University and its athletic program. It is used by students of all levels, alumni and the public to recreate, and raises much needed University funds.
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The October 14, 2013 Editorial Staff article of The Diamondback, UMD’s independent student newspaper.