Trammell Crow to Build Medical Office Building

Trammell Crow Co. plans to build a 93,000-square-foot medical office building at National Harbor to be completed by the fall of 2018.

The company has about 1 acre under contract from National Harbor developer Peterson Cos., said Trammell Crow Senior Vice President Trevor Vietor. The Medical Pavilion at National Harbor will be located at the intersection of St. George and National Harbor boulevards, next to the The Esplanade apartment complex.

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Piscataway Hills Day

Please join the honorable Rushern L Baker, III for Piscataway Hills Day at Lot 39 -Waterfront Park.  This event will happen on May 2nd at 1PM.  

Guest Speaker: Congressmen Steny Hoyer

The event will include the Proclamation of Piscataway Hills Day, a Piscataway Drive re-opening ceremony, and the recondition of a reconnected, restored and unified community.

RSVP to Paulette Jones at (301) 883-5600 or pljones@co.pg.md.us.

Trail advocates push for bridge in Fort Washington

Walkers following the Piscataway Creek Trail to the Fort Washington Marina often get discouraged by a swath of wetlands that inhibits travel and trail use, residents say.

“It’s divided,” said Mark Holt, the co-founder of the coalition. “Without going all the way through it’s much less usable by the public. It doesn’t connect to anything.”

To boost interest in the trail, members of the coalition are pushing for the construction of a wetland bridge, a project that’s been funded since 2010, but has yet to get off the ground.

Continue reading “Trail advocates push for bridge in Fort Washington”

Old Fort Road Casino Plan Raises Concern

parx_casino
Proposed Parx Casino

A proposal to build an $800 million casino-hotel-entertainment complex next to Livingston Square shopping center in Fort Washington has sparked considerable concern among Piscataway Hills residents.

The Parx Casino Hotel & Spa, proposed by Greenwood Racing in May 2013, would be constructed on 22 acres of mostly wooded land at the intersection of Indian Head Highway (MD 210) and Old Fort Road North (across from the Giant supermarket). According to the developer, the facility, if approved, would include 4,750 slot machines, 170 table games, a 250 room hotel and a 5,000-space parking garage.

The Parx proposal is one of three that are competing for the right to build and operate one casino in Prince George’s County, as authorized by Maryland voters in 2012. The other two proposed casinos are at Rosecroft Raceway, sponsored by Penn National Gaming, and at National Harbor, sponsored by MGM Resorts.

At a community meeting held in Tantallon in response to the Parx plan, area residents, including several from Piscataway Hills, noted that the Old Fort Road location has the worst highway access of the three sites, with congested Indian Head Highway providing the primary access to the Beltway. Participants at the meeting also contended that the Parx casino would create unacceptable environmental damage, such as the destruction of woodland and heightened stormwater runoff in the Broad Creek Historic District.

Casino supporters cite jobs and tax benefits. “The proposed development is expected to create more than 5,000 jobs and $1 billion of annual economic benefit to the state upon completion, along with approximately 5,000 construction jobs and more than $600 million of economic benefit during the construction phase of the project,” according to a press release from Greenwood Racing. “In addition, the casino operation is projected to generate more than $400 million of gaming tax rev- enue for the state and local communities.”

A public hearing on the Parx proposal will be held Wednesday, October 23, at 6 p.m. at Friendly High School. (Hearings on the Rosecroft proposal will be October 21 and the MGM plan on October 25.) The hearings will be conducted by the Maryland Video Lottery Facility Location Commission (VLFLC), which will select the proposal to be constructed. Before each public hearing, the Commission will tour the proposed site at 2 p.m. and hear a presentation from the sponsor at 3:30 p.m.

“The purpose of each of the site visits and public hearings is for the Commissioners to view the proposed location, observe the surrounding community, get a sense of the size and scope of the proposed facilities, to hear directly from the applicants, and to listen to the public support and public concerns about the proposed project” said Commission Chairman Donald C. Fry.

For more information on the hearings and how to testify or submit a statement, see the Commission web site.

Long-Awaited Community Center Opens with Gym, Dance Studio, Computers

After years of construction delays, the Fort Washington Forest Community Center officially opened September 27.

New Fort Washington Forest Fitness Center
New Fort Washington Forest Fitness Center

The new community center includes a full-sized gymnasium, a weight room, a dance studio, a computer lab, an arts and crafts room, multipurpose rooms, and a teen lounge. Attached to Fort Washington Forest Elementary School, the community center is within easy walking distance of Piscataway Hills, directly across Indian Head Highway (MD 210) at 1200 Fillmore Road.

Basketball players enjoy new gym after grand opening
Basketball players enjoy new gym after grand opening

Classes currently being offered at the center include basketball, zumba, sewing, jewelry, computers, senior fitness, tae kwon do, spin, and a wide variety of dance.

The center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Xtreme Teens only from 7-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 301-292-4300 or see the center’s web site.

Boy Scout Troop 1572

By Ian Wilmoth

Boy Scout Troop 1572, located nearby in Clinton, is a very active organization. The Boy Scouts welcome boys from 11 to 17 years old to join in camping, hiking, biking, backpacking, serving the community, and becoming prepared for anything life can throw at them. Last year, Scouts from Troop 1572 went whitewater rafting, kayaking, and camping at Solomon’s Island, placed luminaries at Antietam National Battlefield, and camped in the snow at Harper’s Ferry! Very recently, many members of Troop 1572 who were 14 or older made the trip to the Philmont High Adventure Base in New Mexico for a week of backpacking in the Sangre de Cristo foothills. Past high adventure trips include canoeing in Maine, biking the C&O Canal towpath, and scuba diving at Florida Sea Base.

Cub Scout Pack 1572 is a very active Pack located in the same place as Troop 1572. Cub Scouting allows boys from 7 to 10 years old to participate in family camping, pinewood derby races, and learning about the outdoors. Each age group has its own Den. Recent pack activities include snow tubing at Liberty Mountain Resort, family camping at Solomon’s Island Naval Recreation Center, and cleaning up the biking trail at National Harbor with the help of the Troop.
Boy Scouting and Cub Scouting hold plenty of adventure!

Come to one of Troop 1572’s meetings! They are held every Wednesday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., except the last one of the month, at St. Mary’s Church Hall, 13407 Piscataway Road, Clinton, MD 20735
Troop 1572’s website: http://bsatroop1572.scoutlander.com/

Come to one of Pack 1572’s meetings! The entire Pack meets once a month at St. Mary’s Church Hall, 13407 Piscataway Road, Clinton, MD 20735.
Each Cub Scout Den holds 2 additional meetings a month.
Pack 1572’s website: http://pack1572.scoutlander.com/

New Manager at Fort Washington Describes Planned Improvements

Early 20th century view of Fort Washington (NPS photo)
Early 20th century view of Fort Washington (NPS photo)

After about a year on the job, the new manager of Fort Washington Park and other local units of the National Park Service described the status of the parks under her jurisdiction and plans for improvements at the PHCA quarterly meeting on September 25, 2012. PHCA mem- bers also reelected President Gwynn Roberson and other officers and board members, as well as approving a budget for the 2013 fiscal year.

The guest speaker at the meeting was Brandi Bradford, Southern District Manager for the National Capital Parks-East Region of the National Park Service. She explained that the Southern District includes Fort Foote, Harmony Hall, Fort Washington Park, and Piscataway Park.

Fort Washington Park is the primary unit in the Southern District. Dating back to 1809, the fort is located at the end of Fort Washington Road overlooking the Potomac. Bradford reported that the visitors center is being repainted, and fences and roads will also be repaired. Restoration of the Fort Washington structures is a continual project because of weather and shifting grounds. Restoration of the main fort is complete and the drawbridge is scheduled for restoration.

Fort Foote, constructed in 1863 as part of the Civil War defenses around Washington, is located along the Potomac River on Fort Foote Road. Bradford reported that the welcoming station is scheduled for repair.
The Harmony Hall red brick mansion was built in 1769 and is surrounded by 65 acres of land on Broad Creek. It is separate from the adjacent Harmony Hall Regional Center, which hosts local arts activities. Bradford noted that currently the Mansion is not open to the public and “historical documentation” is required before the site can be further developed.

Bradford provided business cards and urged PHCA members to contact her with question and comments at brandi_bradford@nps.gov or 301-763-4601.

In approving the fiscal year 2013 budget, PHCA members discussed the planned purchase of lia- bility insurance. Firm cost estimates had not yet been developed. President Roberson noted that liability insurance is a “safeguard” to protect association and board members from the liabil- ity of an accident at the Piscataway Hills Waterfront Park.

Several attendees expressed opinions on the moral and legal merits of purchasing liability insurance. Others expressed a concern that liability insurance would attract litigation. To pay for the added expense, Roberson proposed a $10 increase in annual dues. A motion was raised and seconded to omit liability insurance from the budget. By a show of hands the motion was not passed by meeting attendees.

Editor’s note: Thanks to PHCA Secretary Deb- bie Kutzleb for the detailed minutes of this meeting. 

Piscataway Hills Among First Affected by Huge Sewer Project

WSSC Construction
Sewer line replacement on Piscataway Drive

As residents have undoubtedly noticed, Piscataway Hills was among the first neighborhoods to be affected by a huge sewer life extension project now being implemented by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

Called the Piscataway Creek Basin Sanitary Sewer Repair, Replacement, and Rehabilitation Program (or “SR3” in WSSC jargon), the project started at the beginning of 2013 and is to be completed by the end of 2015. The first phase will replace or repair sewer lines along public streets, such as the work recent- ly completed on Piscataway Drive. Sewer work in environmentally sensi- tive areas, such as in Piscataway Park between Piscataway Drive and Fort Washington Marina, is now in the planning stages and is expected to start this fall.

Several Piscataway Hills residents attended a public meeting about the sewer project with WSSC officials and contractors at the Surratts-Clinton Memorial Library on February 27. WSSC told the meeting that the project would repair, rehabilitate, or replace 16.5 miles of sewer lines and 476 manholes at 88 sites throughout the 44,000 acre Piscataway Creek basin. About 85% of the work is expected to be carried out without trenching or other excavation, with liners installed within existing pipes, sealing of joints, and other repair methods.

The sewer refurbishment is required by a 2005 consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations to prevent sewage from leaking into local waterways. Not only can sewage leak from broken pipes and manholes, but a leaky system allows rainwater to infiltrate and overwhelm the entire system, causing large overflows during storms. WSSC officials noted that parts of the current system are more than 90 years old and need refurbishment. The refurbishment project is intended to extend the life of the system by at least 50 years.

One issue raised by meeting participants was the repair of streets and driveways after sewer work is completed. WSSC officials said that temporary surface repairs would be in place until all work on a street was finished, which may include water line replacement and other projects. Once everything is done, permanent street repairs, including complete repaving of the affected area, is supposed to be finished within 60 to 90 days.

Residents who are not satisfied with work done on or near their property were urged to contact the WSSC Customer Advocate for southern Prince George’s County, Kevin Woolbright, at 240-205-3684, or kwoolbr@wsscwater.com. For dangerous situations, such as leaks or collapsing pavement, residents were told to call the WSSC 24-hour hotline at 301-206-4002.

Recent water and sewer rate increases of 7-9%, plus another planned increase next year, will pay for the sewer repair work, according to WSSC officials. Repair work is also underway on the water supply system, including water mains, meters, and water towers. However, water mains in Piscataway Hills were already completely replaced within the last seven years and so are not included in that project.

Fort Washington Community Center Nearly Ready To Open

community center
Fort Washington Community Center
Fort Washington Community Center
Fort Washington Community Center
Fort Washington Community Center
Fort Washington Community Center

 

The Fort Washington Forest Community Center, which had sat unfinished for several years because of a contract dispute, is finally nearing completion. Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Department Senior Planner Don Herring wrote in a Sept. 6 email, “The contractor is in the process of completing interior finish work, and has minor landscaping items to address. We expect to start staff move-in and furniture installation on September 30th. Staff will announce a facility opening date, once this activity has been completed.” The 22,000-square-foot facility is attached to Fort Washington Forest Elementary School, across Indian Head Highway from Piscataway Hills. It includes a gym, community meeting rooms, and other facilities.

Forum Focuses On Piscataway Creek Watershed Protection

Piscataway Hills residents are participating in a major initiative by the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources to protect and improve the Piscataway Creek watershed.

Citizens from throughout the watershed area, which at 43,000 acres is the third-largest in the county, provided their ideas at a public forum at the Accokeek Library July 18. The session followed up a May public forum, where PHCA Vice President Dave Lishin had described dumping along Old Fort Road that was polluting the watershed. The situation was investigatedby county officials, who then displayed pictures of the trash at the July meeting.

County officials said the water quality of Piscataway Creek is considered “impaired” and that major goals of the watershed improvement project are to remove pollutants that exceed allowed levels, to restore the stream to its natural state, and to reduce stormwater runoff. Excessive pollutants in the free-flowing section of the creek are fecal coliform and other biological contaminants. The tidal portion, which includes the section near Piscataway Hills, is polluted by suspended sediments, nitrogen, and phosphorus, according to the DER presentation.

Officials at the July meeting estimated that about a third of the fecal coliform in Piscataway Creek comes from wildlife, such as deer, and another third comes from domestic animals, including farm animals and pets. The remaining third is from human waste, either from sewage or septic systems. Suspended sediments come from soil erosion caused by excessive runoff, while nitrogen and phosphorus often come from fertilizers.

Potential solutions discussed at the meeting include improvements to existing stormwater management systems to reduce runoff, streambed repair, reforestation, wetlands restoration and creation, new controls on pollution sources, public education, and better enforcement against illegal dumping. Another meeting is planned for the fall but has not been scheduled yet.