Frederick’s Next Dead Mall

Frederick Gorilla
Matt Edens
Well, that’s settled: We’re getting another Walmart. In July, the Board of Aldermen approved the controversial rezoning that will make way for a new Walmart Supercenter in the middle of what was once Frederick Towne Mall. Opinions varied widely in the often acrimonious debate leading up to the vote. The most outspoken proponents promised that the big box retailer would be the boost the area needs to reclaim its past glory as a shopping destination. Meanwhile, the direst opponents painted the supercenter’s grand opening as a dark day that would bring the Golden Mile — and maybe America — one step closer to oblivion. By and large, I doubt either prediction will come to fruition. In fact, that’s primarily why I opposed the rezoning. Choosing general commercial over the mixed-use model that’s been the key component of at least half a dozen successful shopping center makeovers in the region essentially preserves the status quo. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that in 10 years the Golden Mile will remain what it is today: a struggling retail strip, albeit one with a Walmart. I doubt it will have a Kmart, however.

Changing faces

Frederick News Post
Any resident of Frederick who hasn’t noticed the increasing diversity of the city’s residents must be either a very unobservant person or doesn’t get out much. Everywhere one goes in town — shopping districts, neighborhoods, the workplace, schools, parks — one sees increasingly significant racial and ethnic diversity. According to The News-Post’s Sept. 19 story “New data: Frederick city more diverse,” that diversity continues to increase. We think that’s a good thing that strengthens the community in a number of ways. As we would have expected, during the last five years both Frederick and Frederick County have grown, with the county making the most gains. When it comes to diversity, however, the city is a veritable melting pot compared to the county. The Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey found that in the city of Frederick one of every three residents are a member of a minority group. In the county, only two in 10 are minorities.

New data shows Frederick is growing, city remains more diverse

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson and Kelsi Loos
Moving to Frederick was pure economics for the Hughes family. “Honestly, the rent was a lot cheaper here,” said Shontez Hughes, who moved with his wife and two children to Frederick in January after considering Montgomery County, where he works. The Hugheses, an African-American family, are part of the city’s diversifying population. As more people move into Frederick County, the area is increasingly becoming a melting pot — especially the city, according to data released today in the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. Frederick County’s population grew by 2,837 from 2011 to 2012, to 239,582 people. Frederick city’s population grew 225 residents, to 66,390, according to the data. In the last five years, from 2007 to 2012, nearly 15,000 people have moved into the county and nearly 5,000 people have moved into the city. The community survey data is less accurate than data from the U.S. Census, and the margin of error can be higher than 5 percentage points in some categories. In the city, one in every threeresidents is now a minority, about 33.4 percent of residents, according to the data. Step outside the city limits, however, and the diversity diminishes. About eight in every 10 county residents are white, or about 81.6 percent of residents, the data states.