Frederick’s Next Dead Mall

Frederick Gorilla
Matt Edens
09/30/2013
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.

Mayor: City has done more with less

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
07/30/2013
Mayor Randy McClement characterized his administration Monday as one that has managed to do more with less. McClement used his State of the City address as an opportunity to highlight his administration’s work on maintaining Frederick’s fiscal health, pushing forward road and public work projects, and helping spur commercial development — all during the recession. The mayor, whose first term ends this year, focused on the city’s current state, rather than giving specifics for what should happen in the future. “It was important to me that we not reduce service levels or increase taxes, but be more creative and do more with less,” he said. “I feel that with the passage of the fiscal year 2014 budget, the aldermen and I have done just that.” In the speech at City Hall, McClement addressed ongoing issues such as the second phase of Carroll Creek Linear Park, the city’s unfunded pension and other post-employment benefits, the downtown hotel and conference center project, and blighted and vacant properties.

Something vs. nothing

Frederick News Post
07/30/2013
Without any context to help sort this quote out, some readers would assume it came from the recent debate about whether to permit Wal-Mart to occupy the deserted Frederick Towne Mall space. In this case, however, the comment came from downtown Frederick resident Truby LaGarde, and the “something” she was referring is a chain establishment. As with the Golden Mile Wal-Mart, the big question is whether more chains would, on balance, be a good or bad thing for downtown Frederick’s central business district. Many residents and business owners appear to be somewhat conflicted about additional chains setting up shop downtown.

Wal-Mart, zoning and blight among topics pondered by city officials

Frederick News Post
Ed Waters Jr.
06/15/2013
ssues ranging from a proposed downtown hotel to a Wal-Mart on the Golden Mile were informally discussed Friday by Frederick's mayor and aldermen at a meeting with the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce. "If the same plan came in without the Wal-Mart name, people would support it," said Alderwoman Shelley Aloi of a proposal to put the big-box store at the former Frederick Towne Mall site on the west side of the city. "It is not our decision to say who goes into a property, it is up to the property owner and the market," Aloi said. "Is the best use for the property residential? No. There is already dense residential use in that area." Alderman Michael O'Connor and others moved to dispel the notion that all businesses on the Golden Mile stretch of U.S. 40 are hurting."Just go out there and see the traffic and the businesses," O'Connor said.

Governor: State won't fund sprawl

Frederick News Post
Julia Robb
12/07/1998
Local government is free to make its own decisions, but state government will not pay for the developmental sprawl it allows, Gov. Parris Glendening warned Saturday in a speech at Hood College. State government means to invest in existing communities, Mr. Glendening said at the Monocacy Watershed Conference, sponsored by Hood College and Community Commons, a local environmental group. Local governments that allow development beyond their present boundaries will be forced to pay for the development’s infrastructure themselves, he said. But he said local governments that prevent sprawl will be given tax credits, low interest loans and other incentives.

Governor: State won’t fund sprawl

Frederick News Post
Julia Robb
12/07/1998
Local government is free to make its own decisions, but state government will not pay for the developmental sprawl it allows, Gov. Parris Glendening warned Saturday in a speech at Hood College. State government means to invest in existing communities, Mr. Glendening said at the Monocacy Watershed Conference, sponsored by Hood College and Community Commons, a local environmental group. Local governments that allow development beyond their present boundaries will be forced to pay for the development’s infrastructure themselves, he said. But he said local governments that prevent sprawl will be given tax credits, low interest loans and other incentives.