St. Mary's Announces Consolidated Priorities for Community Support of the Navy

The St. Mary's County Board of Commissioners is pleased to announce a consolidated list of community priorities to support the Navy. "We continue to work with the community in focusing on the issues that are important to the future of St. Mary's County," said Thomas F. McKay, President, St. Mary's County Commissioners.

The list responds to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) related needs and also looks beyond to the community support necessary for ongoing, planned and potential activity at NAS Patuxent River, such as the Joint Strike Fighter Program. The consolidated list of priorities provides a greater focus on key community issues and was derived from the seven priorities that the Board of County Commissioners adopted one year ago.

1. Education. Support all levels of education to ensure local employers can meet their workforce needs. Maintain class sizes which are among the lowest in the state and expand full day kindergarten. Implement a long-range approach to provide public school capacity to meet increased enrollment. Continue to expand higher education opportunities. Support programs and partnerships that increase access to higher education. Support service sector workforce development, including repair, trades, healthcare and transportation.

- Develop a long-term inventory of potential school sites to meet projected demand

- Submit one elementary school site for state planning approval each year through 2006.

- Construct kindergarten additions at elementary schools at Ridge (Fall 2004), Oakville (Fall 2005), Piney Point (Fall 2007) and Town Creek (Fall 2007).

- Complete new George Washington Carver Elementary at a site outside of the AICUZ (Fall 2006).

- Complete renovation and expansion of the Forrest Career and Technology Center.

- Support Southern Maryland Higher Education Center proposal to accelerate architecture and engineering funding for third classroom building.

2. Transportation. Support continuous improvement of transportation infrastructure within the County and regionally for access to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and effective cross-county travel for residents.

- Complete county-wide transportation plan.

- Maintain support for construction of funded projects: Chancellor's Run Road expansion, 1.4 mile reconstruction of MD Route 246, and Hughesville Bypass.

- Continue to seek funding for Route 5 corridor improvements.

- Explore funding opportunities for widening of MD Route 712 from Gate 3 to Route 235.

- Support initial steps such as the planning and evaluation to address long-range replacement or reconstruction of the Thomas Johnson Bridge.

- Begin Pegg Road Extension NEPA study for alternative base access.

- Complete Environmental Assessment of county airport, proceed with identified infrastructure improvements.

3. Housing. Continue to ensure an adequate supply of housing for all ranges of affordability that will serve new employees (e.g., for the JSF program) and the existing county workforce. Assist in the process of Navy housing privatization. Support increased homeownership opportunities.

- Implement new impact fee waiver and deferral program.

- Develop funding sources to extend water and sewer service to enable development within development districts.

- Support increased homeownership opportunities for households with modest incomes.

4. Lexington Park Revitalization. Revitalize the physical and economic infrastructure of Lexington Park.

- Complete the Lexington Manor Redevelopment projects.

- Proceed with Patuxent River Naval Air Museum.

- Adopt the Lexington Park Development District Plan.

- Continue to implement the adopted Lexington Park Plan.

5. Quality of Life. Employ local government regulations and investment to preserve rural character, enhance development districts, increase cultural opportunities and support economic growth and diversification.

- Support projects and initiatives developed under the Southern Maryland Heritage Tourism Management Plan whose objective is to preserve heritage resources while increasing the economic impact of Tourism.

- Support development and expansion of conference facilities.

- Implement the goals and objectives of the County's Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan which is being updated in 2004-05.

- Support state designation of new St. Mary's River Watershed rural legacy area.

For more information, contact the Department of Economic and Community Development at 301-475-4200 x 1400.

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