comprehensive land-use plan that calls for zoning the site for conservation.At the time the partnership was devised, the The Board of Commissioners comprised Reuben Collins, Sam Graves, Edith Patterson, Gary Hodge, with Wayne Cooper as president. How the deal was decided is clouded in mystery. The commissioners misleadingly named the scheme the "Indian Head Science and Technology Park," despite its being in the town of Bryans Road, because they wanted people to believe it was related to the Naval Support Facility in Indian Head (it isn't). These commissioners forged ahead with a zoning change against strong public opposition. Among the objections:
(i) taxpayers assumed all the risk;
(ii) taxpayers had to supply expensive infrastructure amounting to millions of dollars;
(iii) the site is extremely sensitive environmentally;
(iv) the wisdom of producing explosive materials next to schools is questionable.
The project is still being pushed by developers who for years have tried to urbanize the area with public subsidies, even though infrastructure is already available in Waldorf, and the town of Indian Head has boarded-up buildings. In fact, a belated taxpayer-funded market study concluded that the site's location and isolation made it undesirable for commercialization. As a vice-president of one of the developers said before the deal was made too sweet to pass up, the site is "in the middle of nowhere."
The maps below compare a schematic development plan to the site's many important ecological assets. These assets are copied from the Water Resources Registry, a state and federal assessment aimed at locating lands suitable for development and lands better left protected. Clearly, by every measure, this "greenfield" site is inappropriate for development.
An environmentally poor choice
The site is sensitive to an extraordinary degree. The 277 acres:
The site's location next to two schools, J.C. Parks Elementary and Matthew Henson Middle, make it an ideal asset for an outdoor environmental education center. In fact, J.C. Parks was the first school Governor O'Malley visited when he launched Maryland's Explore and Restore Your Schoolshed initiative.
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