Letter to the Editor: What College Park Needs
College Park resident joins the development discussion.
There's been a lot of talk about development in College Park and the surrounding areas, from what should fill the vacant buildings lining U.S. Route 1 to what it takes to become a top 20 college town. This Patch reader, a 40-year College Park resident, shares his thoughts.
When and where is a GROCERY store coming to a place in COLLEGE PARK? How about a Trader Joe's at the empty Koon's Ford lot on U.S. [Route] 1? The space is big enough for both a TJ's AND a decent sized parking lot.
I've lived in College Park since 1971 and find it disgraceful that we have no REAL grocery store within walking – or at least cycling – distance. There are a lot of people who live in the College Park community who do not own a car – including thousands of students, and even those of us who do have a car greatly resent having to tool all the way over to Beltway or PG Plaza's Giant, to the COOP in Greenbelt, or to Shopper's all the way up near the Beltway.
As for taking local buses to do one's grocery shopping, try it! It is NOT fun and one's shopping is greatly curtailed, to say the least. In fact, there have been times when, out of sheer frustration, I have taken the College Park metro into D.C. in order to shop at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Apropos of the latter, don't even ask me about the present controversy surrounding the proposed Whole Foods store to be built considerably down the road from College Park, which will not do many of us up here much good!
There was a time when there was a grungy grocery store in the Old Town shopping center. It was pretty dingy and limited in goods on the upper end of the food chain, but at least residents of the local community had a place where they could go to buy basic food necessities at reasonable prices. In fact, once upon a time, the shopping center was a nice place with a lot of character, including a wine and cheese shop, a great local bookstore, some real boutiques selling the work of local artisans, etc. It looks like the shopping center itself could do with a bit of an overhaul instead of more fly-by-night hole-in-the-wall establishments that offer very little of interest or quality. However, what we definitely do NOT need in College Park is yet ANOTHER pizza joint! There are so many now that I've lost count.
What does College Park really need? Perhaps an entire new makeover to turn it into a real college town that we can truly be proud of.
Writer/Consultant and former UN Program Officer, MENA and CEE/CIS/Balkan Regions
The introducation to this story has been corrected to reflect the correct number of years that Chris Tennant has lived in College Park. We regret the error.