Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Keep College Park Lame

Heaven forbid College Park would be become anything like Silver Spring, but that's apparently the fear of some residents, who are spewing the same garbage as some people who live around here (and who should know better).

Some businesses worry that developer Foulger-Pratt Argo's plans will change the unique character of College Park. They cite the developers' recent Silver Spring revitalization as an example of a town that lost its unique feel as a result of re-development.
I won't go into again what "unique feel" Silver Spring really had ten years ago.

I do appreciate their desire to improve College Park and maybe change its status of one of the lamest college towns in the country, but let's be real people, what local character are you losing? Liquor stores, $5 chairs sold in parking lots, cheap hotels, abandoned buildings, used car lots and traffic? Heck, two of the most unique things in College Park, the right-side drive-through McDonald's and the haunted waterbed store are already history. College Park also suffered a big loss (for me) with the closing of the Record and Tape Exchange.

At least someone has a grasp on reality:
[Foulger-Pratt Argo Principal Richard Perlmutte] also defended his company's Silver Spring project, saying that city "is a combination of historically what it was and what it is today," with a link between old and new downtown. He also said that the new Downtown Silver Spring sparked other area development, which he thinks could also apply to College Park.
It annoys me that Silver Spring keeps being used as some sort of cautionary tale about redevelopment because one block of one street has some chain stores on it. I hate to break it to you, but a lot of those chains, such as Chipotle and Potbelly Sandwich Works are already in College Park.

Oh, and it's cute that they think they're getting OUR money for their Birchmere.

UPDATE: Thanks to the anonymous poster who provided a link to this City Paper article about environment of College Park. It captures all the elements that make CP such a crappy college town. ("It has the locational charm of a highway rest stop.")


DMZ said...

Not a surprise. The College Park residents still seem to think they're in a sleepy suburban town, and hate all those college kids that prop up their economy. The landlords are mostly terrified that new development will ease the crazy rents they can charge.

Thayer Avenue said...

At least we don't burn our sofas on the side of the road. I think that's what really adds a "je ne sais quoi" to the air of College Park, and I don't think that practice will go away any time soon.

Dan Reed said...

I think it's ironic that Silver Spring residents feel they can knock College Park's "character." I say this as someone who grew up in a Downtown Silver Spring apartment building where fires and shootings weren't very uncommon.

College Park isn't not ideal, no, but I chose to go to school and live here, and I understand why some residents are concerned about the changes East Campus will bring. There is, after all, a lot more to College Park than the Route 1 strip that's all most people see.

There also hasn't been any couch-burning here, at least not in the three years I've been at Maryland. Perhaps we are moving forward.

Dan Reed said...

I feel the grammatical errors in my comment negate any points I may have tried to make. Oh, well =(

Sligo said...

That's Duke's fault. They haven't been good enough lately for Maryland to riot about when they win/lose to them.

Sorry, but CP is a pretty crappy college town. I've been to plenty and it ranks at the bottom. It's unfortunate. It's a big school and there's what, 2 or 3 bars total?

It doesn't help that it's surrounded by Greenbelt, Beltsville, Adelphi and Hyattsville, either.

Anonymous said...

I think this old City Paper article captured the ambience of College Park quite well...

Sean said...

College park has some interesting and charming places, but I have to say that Rt. 1 between campus and the beltway is one of the ugliest strips of road you could ever see.

Easley said...

I went to CP from 2001-2005. I agree that despite all its short comings, there is a certain ambiance about the place. I could see residential uproar about the area if it was going to be built overtop old town houses or even over the current downtown, but its not. It's being built between the metro, paint branch, and frat row. The only "character" that's being lost is a bunch of MD facility buildings.

Like I've said before, take the College out of the Park and the residents of CP are living in Hyattsville East.

Silver Springer said...

Dan, I think the real question is why do people from College Park have the audacity to critique Silver Spring like their shit don’t stink? To College Park I say, "look in the mirror lately? Don’t break it!"

I would rather not start a Maryland feud but College Park is getting quite cocky with no reason to be, from certain blogs to certain residents.

Shawn said...

It's true; right now we don't have all the "amenities" that Silver Spring does, but the goal is to develop in such a way that we don't have some mecca of national chains that downtown silver spring turned into.

We are trying to find a pleasant middle in between how we are now downtown (under-served with retail) and how you are now downtown (national chains + AFI silver).

Seriously though, you come across as a real jerk in your post.

"...lamest college towns in the country.."

"Liquor stores" - you have them too, and so do all college towns
"$5 chairs sold in parking lots" - don't know what you're talking about?
"cheap hotels" - ok
"abandoned buildings" - college park has incredibly low commercial and residential vacancy rates .. look them up
"used car lots" - we have regular car dealerships farther up route 1 near the beltway
"traffic" - oh, and silver spring doesn't?

Seriously, where do you get off bashing College Park like this? Yes, we are in a low-to-middle income area/county so we don't have the same retail, but we also have a world class university and all the knowledge, excitement and culture that comes with it.

How would you feel if someone from Bethesda/Chevy Chase decided to put down your city for the same reasons, like bashing you for having a discount shoe store rather than designer boutiques?

A lot of the things that you try to bash about College Park are due to its location, but it is also well situated for students who want to enjoy the campus activities while still enjoying the fun or internships in DC.

Unfortunately, due to your mean-spirited and poorly informed post, my first time reading your blog will also be my last.

Sligo said...

"Mecca of Chains". That was the exact BS claim the post was in response to. Thanks for stopping by!

Da Plumber said...

I went to Maryland in the early 90s. I guess the think I liked most about College Park was its proximity to DC. I loved Record and Tape Exchange. Check out my post on it which links to your blog. Used to go to a good record store in Silver Spring too but I'm totally blanking on the name.

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