June 19, 2024

Halt Blight Now

After 25 years of skepticism, I finally see planning and economic advantages to the FDR Boulevard dream of connecting the subdivision cul-de-sacs stubbed off southbound Route 235 to one another.

But it is even clearer to me that investing in that segment of FDR Boulevard before connecting those subdivisions to Great Mills Road will prove self-defeating.

If more of the money greasing Route 235 doesn’t soon start flowing toward downtown Lexington Park, the plague of failing businesses, plummeting property values and financially sinking residents won’t stop at Great Mills Road. It will continue its spread up Route 235. If you look, you will see this has already begun.

Some segments of FDR address this directly.

Expansion of the funded FDR Boulevard from Shangri-La Drive (the library) to Great Mills Road should continue along the back of Millison Plaza and up to Ledo’s. The entire segment  should be top priority.

There are also strong planning and economic arguments to thread some semblance of the FDR dream from Ledo’s to Pegg Road.

But as for the rest of the re-concocting of the original, long overtaken pipe-dream  a frontage road along Route 235 – slip that dream now to the back of the list of short road connections promoting greater safety and investment in downtown Lexington Park.

These smaller road investments will have far greater and broader impact in the district. Let’s make that simpler: These will be cheaper to build and deliver a bigger bang.

Manys of these connections successfully answer the biggest question facing this region today:  “Will it deter blight from Lexington Park?” Every investment, as far as the Pax River economic engine reaches, should address this question first and foremost.  If it does not, it is a short-term investment at best.

Affirming this question must become our first priority or it will soon become our only priority. The time has passed to begin re-prioritizing the economic and planning challenges facing the heart of the Pax River-Bay District area. We are already quite late to the table.

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