Volume 25, Issue 1 | Download
Silver: Brilliant & Radiant, or is it?
by Jay Winer
Many aspects of the Odenton Town Center Plan have come to fruition since the passage of the first, future-looking Odenton Town Center Plan twenty-five years ago. So is this “silver“ anniversary celebration shiny or dull?
With the opening of Town Center Boulevard some months ago connecting the MARC train station with many developed parts of Odenton Town Center and beyond, one major piece of the transportation plan to support the buildout of the plan for this community was completed.
However, the most significant aspect of the Plan, the Transit Oriented Development of the MARC station still languishes. The original development team selected by the State and County to develop the site in conjunction with the construction of the parking garage dropped out of the agreement last year. The County had budgeted funds to support garage construction, but there has been no movement to reinvigorate the project by a request for proposals from other development teams.
The full development of the core of the Town Center, visible to all who live, work or just pass through the area remains in limbo. Disparate developments that have been built as in accordance with the Plan now lack the connectivity that was promised.
Instead, most new projects consist of gas station and convenience retail, a fate the Town Center didn’t envision and does not deserve.
So the shine on the twenty-fifth “silver“ anniversary of the Odenton Town Center Plan appears pretty dull to me.
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by Stuart Title
With a new administration taking charge in Anne Arundel County it makes me think back to all of the County Executives before Steuart Pittman during my professional career in this County.
Democrat or Republican, man or woman, career politician or “civic duty“, one thing remains the same each time around, there is a small window of opportunity to effectuate minimal change if any to tangible issues. Every new administration seems to need a year to become up to speed on where the County is, and where the new “powers that be“ want it to go. They have maybe a year and a half for implementation of committee recommendations and election “promises“ before there seems to be a disconnect from governing while gearing up at running for re-election. There are also some issues that can only be addressed based on their own individual cycle (i.e. re-zoning or master plan updates) that may not match up with the cycle of the then-current administration.
The reality is that effectuating change in most issues that local government deals with is like turning a battleship: the opioid crisis; crime; newer and better schools; improving infrastructure; retaining first responders and teachers ALL take more time than the term the administration might have.
However, an administration change can be both good and let’s say not so good. It can be positive with new ideas and fresh perspective, but it can also be debilitating with valuable time wasted in undoing positive changes from the past rather than to continue an encouraging path forward for the sake of ____ (you fill in the blank).
The fact of the matter is that enough people (51.8%) decided that they wanted a change from the previous administration. However, it would be preposterous to think that even those supporting change think everything done the previous four years was wrong. There are also 48.1% who think the previous administration did a good enough job to get re-elected and its just as preposterous to think they believe everything that was done was right.
It is important for any new administration to balance issues they feel they need to change or accomplish vs. what they need to continue to support from the past given that ever so small window of opportunity to move that battleship. So support, contribute and be balanced because before you know it that “window of opportunity“ will shut and once again change will be at your doorstep!