UMd. Wants Employees to Call College Park Area Home

University of Maryland is conducting a study to learn what would keep its employees closer to campus.

The is conducting a study to find out where its employees live and what they are looking for in a home neighborhood, The Gazette reported.

With just 33 percent of employees living inside Prince George's County, the university wants to know what it can do to keep employees closer, the The Gazette reported.

University Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Robert Specter told The Gazette that the university isn't currently marketing surrounding communities to its employees. The county is also battling a reputation of poor performing schools and higher crime rates, he said.

Read the full Gazette story here.

Editor's Note: In an earlier version of this post, we misidentified the percent of employees living in Prince George's County. We regret this error.

Ken Montville February 10, 2012 at 12:01 PM
It doesn't take a full blown survey costing thousands of dollars to know why people don't live in the County. Just come to the real estate community (raising hand!). When I work with people looking to purchase a home, their concerns are schools, public safety, property taxes and the cost of purchase embedded in the real estate transfer fees. Unfortunately, Prince George's County doesn't have the best reputation for schools and public safety (although it's getting better) and the property taxes and transfer fees are the highest in the State. There is a nice program to assist home buyers with some of these costs when purchasing a home in College Park if they work in College Park but the University really needs to get the word out more...to their employees and to the real estate community who really needs to dig in order to find out about it. This is yet another "busy work" survey or task to find answers that are only too obvious.
Pachacutec February 10, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Well, on the bright side, it's justifying SOMEBODY's job, I guess (said while rolling eyes). If they're doing a survey, how about the people conducting the survey asking where the employees live NOW and what they're getting as opposed to living in PG? If they're living farther out, could be they don't want to live in an area which is becoming more and more congested every day? A lot more people ARE making the long commutes; maybe they feel the trade-off is worth it; a longer ride to and from work, but you aren't living cheek-to-jowl with your neighbors? Just a thought.
Bob Neri February 11, 2012 at 03:37 PM
As a Realtor, I find more and more people asking about College Park. To that end, I have recently SOLD 2 homes in College Park, have 1 listed for sale and have 1 looking.
Michael B. Cron February 11, 2012 at 07:56 PM
What's wrong with University Park? I believe there are a few homes available. By the way, we are home to the best Elementary School (University Park Elementary School) in the county.
Ken Montville February 11, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Nothing is wrong with University Park except that it's not *College Park* which is where the University is actually located, name not withstanding. University Park tends to be a little more expensive and, truth be told, even though the elementary school has a great reputation the high school (Northwestern) has a less-than-stellar reputation. Unfortunately, children tend to grow up and University Park feeds right into Northwestern. Having said all that I would willing help someone buy a house (or sell a house) in University Park and do cartwheels in the process. They wouldn't be able to take advantage of the Workforce credit that's available for people who buy homes in *College Park* and also work in *College Park*. All in all, University Park is a lovely place to live.
Barry February 12, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Ken - Kids that go through UP elem actually go to the tech program at Roosevelt. CP is losing grown to the surrounding cities. You can make your own connections as to why that is.
Ken Montville February 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I know that some of the children whose parents live in University Park can "test into" Roosevelt. If you look at the Prince George's County Public Schools website, though, you will see that *all* of University Park is solidly within boundary for Northwestern. Additionally, the "School Finder" were you can put in a an address and find the schools show: University Park Elementary > Hyattsville Middle > Northwestern I'm not a school expert and this is one reason real estate agents (and me, in particular) don't like to advise our clients on schools as they relate to specific address locations. Boundaries change, teachers leave, die or retire, budget constraints affect quality, populations demographics change, social mores change. Lots of things can happen between the time a kid is 6 and when they're 16. All of the above factors also have an affect on crime (i.e., public safety) which goes back to my very first comment about why people choose to live where they live. I've never had anyone tell me, "I want to live in a dicey neighborhood with low quality schools." Schools and public safety are usually the first concerns followed by price which, as I referred to, include not only the sales price of the house but property taxes and transfer taxes - both extremely high in Prince George's. It doesn't take an expensive survey to figure out why people might want to live in Anne Arundel, Howard or Montgomery and commute to the University of MD.
Chris Larsen February 20, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Local opinion here. Berwyn presents a strong case for serving UMD faculty and staff. It's the closest well defined neighborhood, has low traffic (penned by 1/193/Metro/Paint Branch) and has an active civic association. Many residents walk to campus. Its fantastically convenient. There's one outstanding case however, that I've found - for young couples. The houses are mid century, and average size. Young families need no more. Most lots have at least one side not against a neighbor. There is plenty of privacy and not a ton of traffic from any two lane road. This makes it safe for kids. The daycare and private schools are fantastic. This makes it ideal for newly married couples or those with little kids. See: UMD Center for Young Children, and the USDA Small Wonders daycare; many independent daycare providers, with two at least in the neighborhood. Catholics especially have an easy layup considering the Holy Redeemer School (K-8). These kids are well reared, and the majority feed into Roosevelt, testing well against the Greenbelt Middle kids. For those seeking more secular approaches, the Goddard immersion (French) and the Friends Community School are good offerings that also feed into Roosevelt. Now dont get me wrong, Paint Branch is good (Chinese magnet), but Greenbelt Middle is average at best. It's taken me five years to learn all the education ins and outs, but for new faculty who want to go the private school route, College Park is great.
Chris Larsen February 20, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Edit: I am not catholic, however someone might add to this discussion if they knew more about the DeMatha / Elizabeth Seton schools of Hyattsville, that presumably also take HRS students. I just know that many choose Roosevelt.
Ken Montville February 20, 2012 at 05:42 PM
No question that Berwyn Heights is an excellent choice for people working at the University. I would need to double check the parameters of the College Park Workforce credit to first time home buyers but Berwyn Heights may actually qualify since it shares the 20740 zip code. To your larger point about schools, I refer back to my original comment about home buyers, in general. Schools and public safety (crime) are always at the top of the list. Unfortunately, Prince George's County Public Schools are wanting even through they are getting better and the ones in this area (vs south County) are decent. Young couples and first time home buyers at the lower end of the University pay scale may not be able to send their kids to private schools.
Chris Larsen February 20, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Thanks Ken. We're honing in. 1) Pre-K Schools. You are right about it being a focus. That's why i bring up the private side. On the daycare front, local licensed rates are 125-200 a week (8k per year per child). For Pre K you'd talking about 10k or 11.5k per year for the high end. These are doable for the two income family. 2) For Elementary, I understand that Catholics will meet with the HRS folks, to determine what they can pay, so that's not really something that's public. 3) Importantly though, note the difference on Berwyn vs Berwyn Heights. Berwyn is a neighborhood district in College Park. It qualifies for the city aid program "WORK & LIVE COLLEGE PARK". I do not think Berwyn Heights does. While close and sharing the same zip/PO, it also is separated by the tracks, so walking is not as feasible. Berwyn is east of US1, south of US 193, and west of the Metro/CSX tracks. It borders Lakeland neighborhood to the south, a traditionally black community with a large coop, and the Paint Branch Elementary school, which is decent but improving.
Ken Montville February 20, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Chris, Thanks for the clarification and that all makes sense.
Robert Catlin February 20, 2012 at 08:52 PM
When you live in the Berwyn neighborhood of College Park you need to tell EVERYONE that you live in "Berwyn-not Heights", because when you say Berwyn they hear Berwyn Heights!
jack March 02, 2012 at 07:07 PM
jack March 02, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Youuuuuuuuuuuu Fail!!!!!!!!!!


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