David Rapp said there’s little reason why Cheverly cannot have the type of development as the nearby Hyattsville Arts District.
With a Metro station averaging more than 1,500 daily riders, an industrial park and hospital within reach, more than 20 residents including Rapp attended an “Envision Cheverly” forum Saturday to discuss how to turn those underdeveloped assets into economic opportunities.
“I totally encourage this,” said Rapp, a resident since 1985. “The [Cheverly] Metro is one of our best assets, why don’t we exploit it?”
The forum, organized by the Cheverly Planning Board with help from Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, was meant to build on the momentum of “Envision Prince George’s,” a Park and Planning initiative that surveyed residents about Prince George’s County’s future growth, said Cheverly Mayor Michael Callahan.
Envision Cheverly is independent of Envision Prince George’s, said Abel Olivo, a Cheverly Planning Board member.
Cheverly Planning Board member Jeremy Coon said they will compile all the information at Saturday’s forum, display it at the July 14 Cheverly Community Market, and ask for additional feedback before displaying it on the town website.
Resident suggestions included having an office incubator space or condominium housing at the current site of Prince George’s Hospital Center, whose future existence is in question as county, state and University of Maryland Medical Center officials plan to break ground as early as 2014 on a $600 million regional medical center at a to be determined county location, according to the county government.
Jeanne Heller George, a Cheverly resident since 1978, said she was for anything that helped residents lead healthier lives. Residents wrote suggestions on paperboards such as creating bike paths to the Anacostia Tributary Trails System, having a community health facility or assisted-living nursing care.
County Councilwoman Andrea Harrison (D-Dist. 5) of Springdale, whose district includes Cheverly, announced at the forum she put $250,000 in the fiscal 2013 budget for an unnamed Cheverly sector plan study to evaluate possibilities for redevelopment in the town and just outside of its borders in areas such as Prince George’s Hospital Center. A start date is yet to be determined but would include resident feedback given at the Envision Cheverly forum, Harrison said.
“This could be a first piece to help kick that off,” Coon said.
Crystal Lal, a 20-year resident, agreed with suggestions to use the Judith P. Hoyer building for community activities and to market the town for young families.
Lal said she wished the crowd that came was more diverse, noting the participants already are active residents and more input should come from newer residents.
Coon said about 60 people stopped by an information table at Saturday’s Cheverly Community Market to provide their input, which he thought was a good cross section of residents but said he realized that isn’t all of Cheverly. He said he still is reaching out to residents in Cheverly Ward 4 and communities in Landover on the Md. 202 corridor. There are 6,173 residents in Cheverly, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
“That’s part of what the job is,” Coon said. “We’re trying to see whether it makes sense to hold an event at a different time of day.”
Callahan said no other area has a “richness of transportation” with access to U.S. 50, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Metro. One of his focal points is expanding the housing stock in the town to include condominiums, even if they started out as rentals, Callahan said.
“I can be in Tysons Corner, I can be in Annapolis and the Pentagon,” Callahan said of the proximity. “If you’re a two-income family and you have that, you can be home at night.”