Monday, December 31, 2018

Closing out 2018 and looking ahead to 2019

By Mike Rauck

New Year’s Eve is the day that I usually publish the annual “Bowie Living Most Popular Facebook Posts of the Year” article.  The shooting at the Capital Gazette office in Annapolis and the death of my friend John McNamara defined 2018 more than anything, and the term “popular posts” isn’t appropriate this year.  Along with many tributes to John and his colleagues, the Bowie City Council dedicated a plaque in John's memory in the council chambers at City Hall in October.

In city politics, Dufour Woolfley was elected in a special election to fill the District 2 seat on the Bowie City Council that was left vacant after Councilmember Diane Polangin was recalled in late 2017.  Councilmember Courtney Glass resigned her District 3 seat in November.  The council will be appointing someone to temporarily fill the District 3 seat, and a regular election for all council seats will take place next November.

At the county level, Angela Alsobrooks became the first woman to be elected county executive in Prince George's County, and Todd Turner, Bowie's representative on the county council, was reelected and became the chair of the council.

Maryland Senator Doug Peters retained his seat, as did Maryland House of Delegates members Geraldine Valentino-Smith and Marvin Holmes.  Ron Watson was elected to one of the 23B delegate seats formerly occupied by Joe Vallario.

Development continues to be a hot topic in the city.  Plans for the Aspen luxury apartments at Melford and a small retail space were approved, and plans for the Karrington (South Lake) development continue to move forward.  A proposed Maglev line that would cut through the Old Bowie section of the city were removed in favor of alternate routes, and Walmart canceled plans to build a Supercenter on Route 301 across from Collington Plaza.  Plans for the proposed Pecan Ridge development were discussed but not finalized, and the 80 houses will never be built if neighbors have their say.

Look for progress to be made on the new ice arena in 2019 as well as discussions about additional indoor basketball courts in the city.

The county presented proposed changes to Race Track Road with area residents, and options for the future of Governors Bridge were presented at an open meeting in October.

A reconstructed Tulip Grove Elementary School opened in September, although area schools continue to have heating, cooling, and other maintenance issues.  Voters approved a state-wide referendum in November that will force state casino revenue to be funneled to schools, and the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (the Kirwan Commission) started to put a price tag on a proposal to make Maryland schools more competitive.

The following were opened or completed in 2018.

The following closed or are in the process of closing.

Look for the following changes in 2019 and beyond.

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