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Old 01-11-2012, 07:04 PM
 
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Examiner Local Editorial: Prince George's slowly becoming more business friendly
By: Examiner Editorial | 01/11/12 8:05 PM
On the verge of dramatically increasing its commercial tax base by luring more high-end retailers to locate within its confines, Prince George's County now appears poised to catch up economically to its sister suburban jurisdictions - if it doesn't blow the opportunity.
The nation's most affluent African-American majority county has had its share of setbacks in recent years. Some were self-inflicted, such as the recent conviction of former County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife Leslie, a former County Council member, on federal bribery charges. During his eight years in office, Johnson's corrupt pay-to-play system enriched him, but scared off honest developers.

Actions have consequences. Johnson's inability to create a healthier balance between commercial and residential property meant that the bursting of the housing bubble hurt the county particularly hard. Prince George's residential real estate market remains troubled, with 80 percent of home sales last year either foreclosures or short sales and housing prices dropping another 36.5 percent - the worst slide in Maryland.

A surge of 15 homicides last January - including seven murders in the first six days of 2011 - provided a portent of decline that was only reinforced when both Disney and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declined the county's overtures to move there last year.

Dealt a bad hand, newly elected County Executive Rushern Baker wisely made economic growth his top priority, successfully lobbying the County Council for a $50 million Economic Development Incentive Fund - unrivaled in the Washington region. Baker promised that the fund would be totally transparent and held to "the highest degree of financial integrity." With the Johnsons' recent scandal firmly in mind, Baker must scrupulously keep that promise.

Knowing that future investment will evaporate if crime is not under control, Baker took an aggressive approach to quell the violence that plagues low-income neighborhoods bordering the District. Nightly police patrols in troubled areas are working -- and should continue.

The good news is that two of Prince George's Metro stations are on the General Services Administration's short list for a new FBI building and two new major commercial developments are also on the drawing board -- a Whole Foods grocery store in Riverdale and an 80-store Tanger Factory Outlet Center in Oxon Hill. However, local disagreements with developers over details threaten to stall or derail these needed projects. It's Baker's job to mediate any disputes and then roll out the welcome mat.



Read more at the Washington Examiner: Examiner Local Editorial: Prince George's slowly becoming more business friendly | Examiner Editorial | Local | Washington Examiner (http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/editorials/local/2012/01/examiner-local-editorial-prince-georges-slowly-becoming-more-busine#ixzz1jCNCp4MH - broken link)
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:01 PM
 
Location: Maryland
18,633 posts, read 18,676,030 times
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Well I guess it's good to be positive but there seems to be a dearth of facts and figures to support this improvement.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:21 PM
 
2,429 posts, read 3,412,440 times
Reputation: 395
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwardA View Post
Well I guess it's good to be positive but there seems to be a dearth of facts and figures to support this improvement.
I agree. I just thought that it was in interesting editorial from the Washington Examiner. I do believe that PG County/Baker are trying to turn it around but it is going to to be a long road to induce the "powerhouse" businesses to consider pg on a broad scale due to its past reputation. We will see how things look in the next 8 years. That will be the true tell.
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