GREATER PRINCE GEORGE’S BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE
Laurel Area Regional Forum Summary
June 10 , 2004
The Laurel Area Community Forum, sponsored by the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable and hosted by the City of Laurel , was held on Thursday, June 10, 2004 , from 7-9:20 P.M. Representatives from the following communities were invited to participate: Adelphi, Beltsville, College Park , Laurel and surrounding communities.
The second in a continuing series of “Zone” community mini-forums to be scheduled by the Roundtable, the Laurel event was convened in the City Council Chambers.
Introduced by GPGBR President and CEO Jim Estepp , Laurel Mayor Craig Moe welcomed the attendees and offered a brief update on the current Laurel Municipal scene.
In contrast, following Mayor Moe’s remarks, Joseph Robison provided a glimpse into the history of Laurel and the surrounding area. A noted local historian and former mayor, Mr. Robison spoke on behalf of The Laurel Museum. Depicting significant and poignant scenes from the city’s past, charting the municipality’s economic and cultural evolution over the years; Former Mayor Robison painted a landscape altered by dramatic changes both at the local and county levels. At the conclusion, the Forum attendees expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to share in the Laurel history lesson.
Jim Estepp introduced Roundtable Member, Reginald G. Daniel , President & Founder of AIMSE, Inc., who shared his ideas as to the overall mission of the Roundtable and his own organization. He also mentioned that he had Founded SES Corporation, Scientific, and Engineering Solutions, Inc. He later sold the large technology company and now devotes his full time to helping young people receive a complete education and assimilation into the larger community. Departing from the images of “Laurel Past,” Mr. Estepp invited the Forum participants to consider “ Prince George ’s County’s Future.” Focusing on the objectives of the Business Roundtable’s Regional Forum Series, he explained both the concept and goals of VisionFramework ® 2004 . Addressing the major categories that will serve as guideposts in the actual creation of the Roundtable’s document, GPGBR VisionFramework ®2004, Mr. Estepp identified the following:
“MARKERS” (or Signatures) which will help in the creation of a VISION”
- Transportation/Infrastructure Systems
- Employment/Business Opportunities
- Quality Health Care
- Safe Communities
Acknowledging the significance of each of the categories, the participants, individually and collectively, resoundingly agreed as to the appropriateness of the “markers.” Further, they expressed their opinions as to specific areas which they considered essential to shaping a successful future for Prince George’s County. The result of the group’s open exchange of ideas was the formulation of a “Need To’s” list as follows:
“Need To’s” For County Success :
--What Prince George ’s County needs to provide
to ensure success
- Reflect a prosperous environment
- Create reasons to move into the County, not out
- Enhance Public safety
- Create a Business friendly government
- Promote “Smart” marketing
- Support actual efforts to erase an “underserved” perception of the county that often prevails regionally and beyond
- Ensure Government accountability – especially with education funding, ethics and general fiscal responsibility
- Make better use and allocation of resources
- Increasing the tax base to enable funding that allows services to be competitive with other regional jurisdictions
- Streamline existing slow-paced, multi-leveled bureaucracy, especially when it deals with zoning, development and property standards
Concerning the critical issue of transportation, the Forum attendees were divided as to support for such projects as the ICC, but unified regarding the need for:
- Support a bi-county, co-op approach / integrated transportation plan to be developed and implemented which achieves a balanced system that includes multi-modal, mass transit alternatives
- Foster more “clout” within the regional transportation authority (Transportation Planning Board; TPB) which seems to “favor” Virginia suburbs as opposed to Prince George ’s County and the State of Maryland
- Convince both the Federal Government and State of Maryland (both major employers) to appropriately compensate our region for: roads and highway usage, etc., for the impact of its policies and facilities.
A spirited discussion centered on the issues of community safety and the county and community’s efforts to improve the situation.
- Services not adequate for a county of our size and population
- Insufficient number of police officers, firefighters and other public safety officers
- Crime is a major deterrent to new residents, business enhancement and a good quality of life
Law enforcement seems to have chosen not to focus on this problem in the past. The number of incidents and gang formation has increased
- Need public safety standards for “Vision” which specify levels of service for each of the disciplines (staffing, facilities, response, etc.)
- Improve response times overall
ZONE TWO ATTENDEES PRIORITY LIST: This listing was an actual polling of the participants in respect to the challenges we face in the county.
||EFFICIENT GOVERNMENT WHICH FOSTERS
QUALITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The discussion was cut short due to the lateness of the hour and the fact that a severe storm, producing damage and power outages had occurred prior to the start of the meeting. This obviously produced a deleterious effect on attendance. Nevertheless, the participation and results were excellent and all agreed that this process should continue and be available to the entire county.
Mr. Estepp also welcomed the participation of Delegate Barbara Frush and Councilman Tom Dernoga. They both talked about initiatives underway in their respective legislative bodies and gave their perspectives on the limitations to the way they must operate. Both agreed that improvements to education, community safety and infrastructure must be forthcoming.
GREATER PRINCE GEORGE’S BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE
LAUREL AREA REGIONAL FORUM
Zone Two, Thursday, June 10 th, 2004
- Mayor Craig Moe, City of Laurel
- Delegate Barbara Frush , Maryland House of Delegates
- Councilman Thomas Dernoga, District 1, Prince George’s County Council
- Marquis Brown, Representing Delegate Justin Ross
- Reginald Daniel, GPGBR Board Member and President of AIMES, Inc.
- M.H. Jim Estepp , President & CEO, GPGBR
- Wilson Aldunate, President, Prince George ’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Dale Anderson, Chair, Prince George ’s Republic Central Committee
- Brian Barge, President, Golden Barge Enterprises
- Karen Barge “
- Robert Barge “
- Karen Coakley, President, Beltsville Citizens’s Association
- Carmen Camacho
- Joseph Camacho
- Liz Casto, GPGBR, Director of Research
- Robert Day, College Park Estate’s Citizens’s Association
- Nancy Estepp, Volunteer, GPGBR
- Anne K. Harter, Director of Communications, GPGBR
- Alegra Hassam, Women Walking in Wisdom
- Judy Lau, Auxiliary, Laurel VFD
- Robert Manzi, Manzi, Nussbaum & LaPlaca, City Attorney, Laurel
- Kevin McGhee, Laurel Clergy Association
- Patricia Metz, Hillandale Gardens Citizens Association
- Mora Rankin, Powder Mill Estates Civic Association
- Joseph Robison, Former Mayor of Laurel , Laurel Museum
- JoAnn Robison, Laurel Resident
- Claire Sale, City of College Park
- Frederick Smalls, Laurel City Council
- Linda Snowbridge, Reporter, Laurel News-Leader
- Aaron Warren, District 6/Prince George’s County Police