Will early endorsement pay off for Prince George’s Co. as legislative session begins?
Though Christmas may have been a few weeks ago, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks still brought a wish list of budget priorities she hopes will get filled before lawmakers adjourn in April.
Prince George’s County, Maryland, Executive Angela Alsobrooks arrived in Annapolis Wednesday morning, hours before the legislative session got underway.
Though Christmas may have been a few weeks ago, she still brought a wish list of budget priorities she hopes will get filled before lawmakers adjourn in April.
Alsobrooks also came to Annapolis with good reason to be optimistic. Her early endorsement of Governor-elect Wes Moore is considered one of the reasons he advanced through a crowded and competitive Democratic primary campaign last year.
“I’m excited about the new governor, excited about the new leadership,” she said during a meeting with reporters Wednesday morning.
Alsobrooks hopes to secure tens of millions of dollars in economic development aid this year. That includes over $56 million for projects to help with redevelopment around the New Carrollton Metro station, which she calls the new gateway to the Mid-Atlantic region. She’s also hoping to secure over $42 million for projects around the Central Avenue-Blue Line corridor.
“We have seen residents in Seat Pleasant, District Heights, Capitol Heights (and) Landover who have seen very little investment … well, we’re coming there,” said Alsobrooks.
The funding would continue to help build up the area around FedEx Field into a sports and entertainment destination, including a sports hall and amphitheater. It’s all going there with or without a football team playing there in the future.
“We have lots of plans for that area to grow the jobs, to bring entertainment and amenities all along that corridor near Metro stations,” Alsobrooks said.
Making that area friendlier and more accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists is also part of the plan. In addition, the county asks for $18 million to help demolish the old Cheverly hospital, arguing that investment will lead to more than a billion dollars’ worth of new development in the future.
The budget priorities the county is hoping to bring back from Annapolis this year also focus on children not just in the classroom, but outside of it.
“Our kids thrive by making investments in them not only in the classroom, but we have to make those investments outside the classroom,” Alsobrooks said.
She hopes state lawmakers can secure $3.5 million for school telehealth grants, which includes mental health support, to go with the millions more she seeks for mobile crisis teams. Grants for nonprofit programs that provide out-of-school support for students is also a priority.
“We’ll continue to focus not only on enriching our kids in the classroom. If we stopped there, we would fall short,” said Alsobrooks. “Helping their families succeed, supporting their parents and truly being partners with their parents is really the best long-term investment we make in our youth.”
Most of the programs that grant money would support focus on mentoring and homework support, to go along with arts and athletic programs.
Other priorities include money for flood and storm water mitigation throughout the county, which has seen an increase in devastating flooding — not just in the southern end, but also inside the Capital Beltway in places like College Park and Riverdale, which she ties to climate change.
The county also hopes to receive tens of millions for workforce housing production and preservation.
Alsobrooks also highlighted a request from Bowie State University to help fund a student center and campus library to replace one built in the 70s. Bowie State is Maryland’s oldest HBCU and has seen increased enrollment, growth and interest in recent years.
“Building our economy is a major issue on our agenda,” said Alsobrooks. “Prince George’s County has the designation of having created more jobs than any jurisdiction in the state of Maryland for about six years in a row. We want to make sure that we continue to build on those successes there.
“We talk about the economy, but we’re also concerned about the people who are there,” she added. “I’ve often talked about investing in buildings but more importantly investing in people. So you’ll see a lot of those pieces here also… making sure that we have the kind of investments that help us to grow our families and help us to grow our county.”
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