December 7, 2023

Salvation Lies in Investment

By Viki Volk

Those working to redevelop Lexington Park see the community at its tipping point.

Government investment has been scattershot and slow. Those projects that are accomplished aren’t well connected. Never having its own legislative voice, Lexington Park remains short on continuity.

In large part, the loudest single voice speaking for Lexington Park remains the U.S. Navy. This produces both good and bad results.

The original Lexington Park was little more than a strip of Navy-required commerce that, well into the 1960s, consisted of little more than basic housing (very basic in some cases), basic clothing, grocery and liquor stores and some churches. Restaurants were small, local and sometimes far short of quaint. And of course there were the bars and the obligatory strip joint.

When the Navy morphed into a magnet for high-tech, franchise-savvy engineers, the new market spawned a new strip of national chain retailers and restaurants. No mayor, no council, no one stood up for old Lexington Park. It withered. It could fail. It could take us all with it.

What can we do to spur investment in Lexington Park?

Give it back a piece of the market.

Eat lunch at locally owned restaurants operating off Great Mills Road. Eat dinner there too. Use those dog groomers, manicurists, beauticians and barbers. Shop at the locally owned grocery store. Drop off your dry cleaning, pick up the box of nails and even the lumber you need for your home projects.

Lexington Park is not innately more dangerous than your neighborhood. It is more densely populated and poorer than surrounding neighborhoods. This doesn’t make you a more likely crime victim by shopping or eating or meeting there.

Volunteer in Lexington Park. There are civic, social and faith-based initiatives by the dozen. And they need your help and donations. There is a live theater, business and merchant associations, an active library branch, fire department, and rescue squad. Join the literacy council. It’s hard not to be poor if  you can’t read.

In a recent editorial, The Enterprise nailed it. Don’t even for one moment believe a plan full of zoning rules can save a town. We have to save Lexington Park. It needs investment, ours.

2 Responses to “Salvation Lies in Investment”
  1. Jeff says:

    Lunch downtown – it was a late lunch on a Saturday in October, about 3:00 p.m. I ordered a roast beef sub at Subway. Waited a long time in line. Couldn’t get my favorite bread because there wasn’t any left. The line got longer as I stood there. By the time I picked up my sub at the end of the counter, the door had been locked and customers were being turned away because all bread types were depleted. A fresh batch was in the oven, but there was a wait. I am not complaining. I am gleefully observing that I am not the only one eating lunch in downtown Lexington Park.

  2. Donnie says:

    Right on Vicki! It pains me when I hear people say they are scared to go to ‘the Park’ after dark. It is no more or less safe than any other developed town in St. Mary’s. As a resident of the southern part of SMC, I relish the fact that in less than 15 minutes and in some cases only one traffic light, I have a plethora of local business options – Raleys for my furniture needs, Clarks for my flooring, St. Mary’s Lighting for my electrical supplies, Dr. Hawkins for my teeth, McKays for my groceries, Nikos for my dining enjoyment, Sign Designs for my business advertising, and Curtis Tire to keep my vehicles running. I have proudly used every one of the above named businesses in the last 6 months and have received excellent service. My time is valuable, and the more errands I can accomplish on GMR, the better my quality of life is. As traffic worsens north of Lexington Park, I am delighted to keep the majority of my loyalty in ‘the Park’!

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