Alsobrooks on Wednesday underscored the need for the development in testimony to the board outlining what the project could mean for Prince George’s, which she said is uniquely positioned to be the “economic engine” of the state and the region.
“The Blue Line Corridor is the anchor initiative of our vision for economic growth,” she said before the board, listing planned amenities that include a youth sports field house, an amphitheater, and a library and cultural center.
The project fulfills the county executive’s promise to bring economic transformation to Prince Georgians, whom she said have been waiting decades for development and deserve a community that can be walked and biked and that is filled with amenities found in neighboring counties.
“We have to leave to go to these nice places, and now we’re developing it at home,” Alsobrooks said in an interview.
Funding for the project was negotiated last year between state lawmakers and then-Gov. Larry Hogan (R). His newly sworn-in successor, Democrat Wes Moore, said Wednesday that the project will be “an economic game changer” for the county and “a great win” locally and for the state.
Alsobrooks and other local leaders said the investment is a sign that Prince George’s County residents won’t be forgotten as the Washington Commanders weigh whether to abandon Landover in favor of D.C. or Virginia.
“The thing I want residents to know is that they will not be left behind, whether they stay or leave,” Alsobrooks said, noting the team’s commitment to play in Landover ends in 2027. “There’s a lot of anxiety in the county about that. … We don’t want to be held hostage by the Commanders. We’ve got to develop that area and invest in it whether they stay or go.”
Many residents of the county’s 6th District, where at least several developments are slated to rise, have voiced concerns about a lack of restaurants and other amenities close to home, said Wala Blegay (D), who represents the area on the County Council.
“They have nice big houses or nice homes for their families, but they have nowhere to go,” she said. “You can’t say the same thing for places like Montgomery County.”
Building up the Blue Line Corridor will address those concerns and help the county diversify its tax base, which is primarily residential, she said.
Wednesday’s approval will set in motion a County Council assessment of infrastructure needs and requirements to ensure that roads and communities can handle coming attractions while limiting stress on residents, Blegay said.
Council member Krystal Oriadha (D-District 7), whose district also is slated to see development, said she is excited to see investment in parts of the county that have gone overlooked.
Oriadha intends to advocate on behalf of her district to ensure that it receives its “fair share of the pie” when it comes to what amenities will be placed where — “because we’re worthy,” she said.
The county has an opportunity to change the perception that White residents are needed to lure major investment, Blegay said.
“It means a lot for those that study redlining and all of those issues where people pinpoint the lack of development in communities and that quality development shows up when different groups move in,” she said. “Well, we’re trying to show the opposite. This is a majority community of mostly people of color, and it’s thriving with majority people of color.”