To: The Bay Net
Re: Leonardtown Library Discussion
The County Commissioners will need to approve the updated Master Plan for the development district in Lexington Park and the Town Center Master Plan in Charlotte Hall. Master Plans align themselves very closely with Smart Growth policies that advocate growth from the core of an aging district followed by outward expansion. Once the plans are complete, then the private sector developers can make a decision on whether or not to invest within the framework of the recommendations. These Master Plans are very important to the investors because of the 20 year banking commitment that is involved.
It is the role of the elected officials to identify and approve the design of the Master Plans and then the private investors to develop projects to fit within the framework of the plan. The Master Plans can only be effective if the elected officials stand committed to them. This assures private investors that there is a consistent approach to development and that it is not a fleeting trend.
Like Lexington Park, Leonardtown is a development district. However, it is governed by its own elected officials and not by the County Commissioners. The Town of Leonardtown has had a Master Plan in place for many years. I have had the good fortune to play a role in multiple projects in the downtown knowing that this Master Plan was in place. This gave me peace of mind knowing that my projects fit within the framework and aligned with the long-term goals of the Leonardtown Master Plan. Over the past year, I have successfully attracted a large amount of capital for new projects because of the local government’s commitment to this coordinated effort. It was this forward thinking philosophy that drove the decisions to keep the court house and the post office in the downtown area. In the same spirit, the library represents continued execution of this strategy and falls within the Master Plan and Smart Growth. This choice represents an inclusive approach for the benefit of all the citizens in our community within Leonardtown and around St. Mary’s County.
I hope this perspective helps our elected officials to make the right choice in placing the next Leonardtown Library in the downtown district.
Paragon Properties, Inc.