Click on the link below to read the August 12, 2015 Enquirer-Gazette article by Kirsten Peterson . . .
“Residents Mixed Reactions” Enquirer-Gazette article
Upper Marlboro residents offer mixed reactions to administrative move
Property owners say possible county office relocation could help, hurt business
by Kirsten Petersen Staff writer
As Prince George’s County considers relocating some of its administrative offices to Largo, some Upper Marlboro residents and property owners say the move could complicate their efforts to attract businesses and revitalize the downtown area.
The county purchased a building at 1301 McCormick Drive in Largo to house administrative functions, but Scott Peterson, spokesman for County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), said no final decisions have been made regarding which offices currently located in the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro would move to the Largo building.
Steve Sonnett, president of Upper Marlboro’s board of commissioners, said he was informed by senior administration executives last week that the County Administration Building would remain occupied by county employees even if offices are vacated.
“We’re a sustainable community, we have a facade improvement program working,” Sonnett said. “Businesses shouldn’t worry if they’re looking at the town of Upper Marlboro that the street count is going to drop drastically in any way.”
However, property owner Angela Vallario, who owns five buildings downtown, said she worries the move conflicts with the state’s investment in the town through the facade improvement program — the Maryland Community Legacy grant program awarded the town $35,000 to improve the town’s storefronts last year.
“I think that’s a very sad thing and certainly not good for the town of Upper Marlboro, the business industry in Upper Marlboro,” Vallario said. “It seems to be a disconnect between ‘Let’s fix up the town of Upper Marlboro’ and the county government relocating. It seems to be inconsistent with the state’s efforts to improve the town.”
Peterson said the purchase of 1301 McCormick Drive is part of an effort to move county offices out of leased buildings and consolidate government services in Largo, which is Metro-accessible and already home to several county agencies.
“No matter what happens, the county government is in need of more office space in Largo,” Peterson said. He added that the county does not intend to abandon Upper Marlboro and employees of the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office or the sheriff’s office need space.
Jeff Wyvill, president of Ledo Pizza in Upper Marlboro, said business should go as usual if the County Administration Building remains occupied. If the sheriff’s office moved in it could even improve business, Wyvill said.
“That would bring more employees than we get out of there now,” Wyvill said. “They support us pretty good. If they’re in the town they would probably support us more than they do now.”
Regardless of the county’s decision, Sonnett said the town will not be phased and will continue to work toward its goals.
“The town is going to improve and survive no matter what the county does,” Sonnett said.