Prince George's County Council member Jolene Ivey hosted her first town hall of the year at Palmer Park Community Center on Feb. 8. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
Prince George's County Council member Jolene Ivey hosted her first town hall of the year at Palmer Park Community Center on Feb. 8. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

Barbara Roberts has resided in Palmer Park for more than 50 years and remains pleased her area renovated and expanded the now-20,000-square-foot community center and plans to construct affordable townhouses.

The retiree, who worked as a machine operator and held other duties for Omni Print Inc., wants a library so her 11 great-grandchildren and other children can keep themselves occupied. The Glenarden Branch Library is less than two miles away from the Palmer Park Community Center.

“We could really use a library nearby,” Roberts said. “Children need to be exposed to the outside world and not just sitting on the sidelines looking at their cellphones.”

A new 20,000-square-foot library more than four miles away from Palmer Park could open in Bladensburg in 2022, according to a newsletter from Prince George’s County Council member Jolene Ivey (D-District 5) of Cheverly.

Roberts joined dozens of other residents to either compliment, complain or hear updates about certain projects during a District 5 community session Saturday, Feb. 8 at the community center. It marked the first town hall event Ivey hosted this year.

District 5 comprises municipalities including Colmar Manor, Fairmount Heights and Glenarden and unincorporated communities such as Springdale and portions of Lanham and Mitchellville.

The area also comprises of two of the county’s most well-known landmarks, FedEx Field and the Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.

Across from both properties on the other side of Landover Road, Lerner Enterprises continues to seek buyers at the 80-acre Landover Mall site once sought as a possible destination for the FBI headquarters. The Lerner family also owns the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals.

Before residents had the opportunity to ask questions, Ivey and other county and state officials summarized ongoing projects and proposed legislation taken place.

One of the most discussed pieces of state legislation is The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, an estimated $4 billion plan to revamp the state’s public education system by 2030.

The recommendations from the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education include raising annual teacher salaries to average $60,000, expanding early childhood opportunities for low-income families and incorporating college and career readiness programs in middle and high school.

Although the state would provide about $2.8 billion, the 23 counties and Baltimore City would chip in the remaining $1.2 billion.

A funding formula allocated Prince George’s contribute the highest amount at about $360 million. State lawmakers continue to work out lowering that figure and mechanisms on how to pay for the plan.

“It’s a plan that the state came up with and is such a huge price tag for Prince George’s County,” Ivey said. “[State legislators must] pass it in a way that doesn’t break the bank.”

Meanwhile, some District 5 residents such as Kenny Miles of Bladensburg had other concerns.

He printed a few pictures of large trucks driving in his neighborhood and a truck parking in front of a house.

According to a county Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE) booklet, residents are asked to report “commercial vehicles parked in residential communities in driveways, on the public streets or rights-of-way, unless a vehicle operator is performing work on the property.”

“I call about this, but you have to go through so many channels,” said Miles, a retired educator who substitute teaches at Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary in Cheverly. “Just have the police there [to] monitor what’s going on. Those big trucks are tearing up the neighborhood.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.