Months after the launch of a Prince George’s County program to clean up her neighborhood, Diane McGlone of Palmer Park has seen some positive changes but said the county’s work is far from complete.
McGlone’s neighborhood, paired with Kentland, is one of six areas targeted in the county’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative. TNI, which began in April, provides more police, code enforcement and social services in communities identified through 2011 crime statistics as having many of the perpetrators of county crimes. The other five areas involved are East Riverdale/Bladensburg, Glassmanor, Hillcrest Heights/Marlow Heights, Langley Park and Suitland/Coral Hills
McGlone said she has seen results regarding properties that belong to agencies such as the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission along Barlowe Road and needed a regular grass trimming, but individual homes still have junk or debris in the yard.
“I just don’t see where they’re enforcing and making these people keep their properties up,” McGlone said.
County Department of Environmental Resources officials inspected properties that Kentland and Palmer Park residents complained about once per month with re-inspections that took place three times per week, said Linda Lowe, a DER spokeswoman. Occupied homes require a court order to clean the home if the owner does not comply within 10 days, Lowe said. The county will put a tax lien on an owner of a vacant home it has to clean, Lowe said.
Carla Reid, the county’s deputy chief administrative officer, said she is seeing a pickup in momentum with the Kentland/Palmer Park area and that officials are reaching their goal of bringing government to the community.
As of Sept. 6, the Department of Environmental Resources completed 87 inspections, 66 of which were performed since June 11, according to data from Lavinia Baxter, special assistant to the county’s deputy chief administrative officer. A total of 64 of those inspections were of vacant properties, and 52 were cleaned up by the owners while 12 received follow-up violation notices, Baxter said. There are about 2,800 homes in the Kentland-Palmer Park area.
Reid said the county will work to accommodate community initiatives, such as one resident’s idea for a Columbia Park street cleanup, which took place Aug. 21.
Reid said the DER provided the Dumpster and the county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation provided gloves and trash bags to about 12 volunteers. County officials also knocked on doors and handed out free smoke detectors to residents who needed new ones, Reid said.
“It’s doing what we had hoped it would be doing at this stage, which is bringing our neighborhood partners in to help us help them,” Reid said.
There is no official end date to the TNI program, according to Scott Peterson, a spokesman for County Executive Rushern L. Baker III.
A TNI progress meeting for residents will be at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Palmer Park Community Center, 7720 Barlowe Road.