With the Maryland General Assembly completing its 90-day legislative session, one major plan approved seeks to boost transit-oriented development in Prince George’s County.
Lawmakers approved a $400 million economic development plan, to spruce up the vicinity along Metro’s Blue Line corridor in the county that includes the area around FedEx Field in Landover, home of the Washington Commanders. Morgan Boulevard serves as the closest Metrorail station to the stadium.
The money, which would come from the Maryland Stadium Authority through the state lottery, wouldn’t be used to help build a new stadium that remains under contract through 2027.
Gov. Larry Hogan touted the state’s commitment to a project that would not only improve economic development but also create jobs.
“All of this great progress for Prince George’s County is another example that together we are changing Maryland and changing lives for the better,” the Republican governor said on April 7 during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new cancer center in Largo.
The stadium property situated inside the Beltway in the 24th Legislative District includes the municipalities and neighborhoods of Glenarden, Capitol Heights and Lake Arbor.
The county has already secured nearly $46 million for the Blue Line corridor project around the four Metrorail stations – Largo Town Center, Morgan Boulevard, Addison Road-Seat Pleasant and Capitol Heights.
Some of the work focuses on widening of streets, a possible amphitheater and public art installed at each station. Another goal for the county would be to increase the county’s commercial tax base by $100 million per year
According to the legislation, proposed events include a parade, carnival, festival and concert.
However, a major sporting event doesn’t include a “professional football game except for the Super Bowl, or an exhibition or championship game for an organization other than the National Football League.”
“We don’t want the Commanders to leave but the residents in the 24th district deserve something like this,” said Del. Faye Martin Howell (D-District 24) of Landover. “This venture is a big deal. I think it will give the inner Beltway people a sense of pride and that’s what we need.”
Eliminating Housing Bias
Maryland lawmakers unanimously approved legislation to create a task force to improve the appraisal process, especially devaluing property owned by minority homeowners.
According to the legislation, nearly two dozen people will be chosen to analyze five key strategies:
- Ensure governmental oversight, industry standards and best practices pushes for equity when valuing a home.
- Increase training of appraisers to combat valuation bias.
- Remove barriers to enter the appraisal profession by minorities.
- Develop a meaningful evaluation process.
- Reduce or eliminate bias related to automated valuation models and alternative property valuation methods.
Prince George’s leads the state with the highest percentage of homes undervalued.
Del. Marvin Holmes (D-District 23B) of Upper Marlboro, lead sponsor of the task force legislation and a real estate professional for about 35 years, said part of the problem with the appraisal process deals with racism and a simple lack of education among appraisers.
Holmes said the legislation mirrors a proposal from the Biden administration with two main goals.
“It confirms and establishes that there is in fact appraisal bias within the state of Maryland and throughout the entire United States,” he said during an interview in Annapolis. “It makes the state of Maryland look at the processes of appraisals that are taking place.”