June 1, 2023

Transforming Lexington Park?

Photo courtesy of duzern.

About 120 people turned out Wednesday evening to hear a new set of planning consultants tell them some old things about Lexington Park:

Small businesses persevere in Lexington Park despite a decade of ravishing business losses.

The losses are tied to the newer more fully franchised MD Route 235 corridor of retail, eateries and defense related offices.

Economic hardship grows increasingly obvious along the Great Mills Road (MD Route 246) corridor which meets Rt. 235 at the original gate to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Along with one other state road, Chancellor’s Run (Md Route 237) these corridors comprise what had been identified in two previous Lexington Park plans the “core” of the Lexington Park Development District.

The LPDD, as its creators have dubbed it, is roughly the 8th Election District of St. Mary’s County. It includes the businesses that provide median salaries approaching six figures and the businesses that provide the minimal waged jobs that allow families to qualify for government aid.

This will be the area’s third plan since the practice began in the opening year of the millennium.

The introductory power point presentations providing the maps and data showed how this familiar story of the haves and have-nots of the 8th District appeared in economic graphs and multicolored maps. Most folks remained through the social break which included cookies and a former county planning director singing in the background. The half who remained after that had a chance to articulate their positive vision for Lexington Park.

You can imagine.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1naEVy8uIg]

We wanted neighborhoods connected to one another with green-ways and thoroughfares, although we didn’t  want those thoroughfares or green-ways going through our particular neighborhoods or yards.

We wanted kid friendly entertainment, an amphitheater, vertical redevelopment of shopping strips, a YMCA, a trolley car transportation system and a sports complex.

We thought Route 235 was doing just fine providing the retail and restaurants and jobs we wanted. We wanted the rest of Lexington Park to feel safer to visit at night.

We liked the idea of urban vibrancy without losing rural character and while embracing the substantial green spaces and “environmental” challenges (which means wetlands) in making Lexington Park a more pedestrian-friendly space.

We thought the spot at the tip of the triangle where the main gate used to be and is currently covered in significantly restrictive zoning was both the historic and future center of town.

And then we all went home.

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