- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Charles County commissioners voted Tuesday to move forward with designating three separate priority funding areas in Hughesville, including for the fourth College of Southern Maryland campus and the adjacent Hughesville Station commercial park.
The third PFA would be assigned to a redevelopment project aimed at renovating the Barns of Hughesville along Old Leonardtown Road so they could host entertainment events, farmers markets, studio arts, a museum or the carousel long-sought by the La Plata-based Southern Maryland Carousel Group, county Planning Director Stephen Ball said.
The college needs the PFA designation in order to qualify for state funding. To establish a PFA, the county must designate it as a growth area in the comprehensive plan, develop a master water and sewer plan for the area, and submit an application with the Maryland Department of Planning.
Ball said that the three projects would need to be built on interim well and septic systems while public water and sewer for the area is planned and eventually built, by 2020 at the earliest. He said the goal is to have the designations completed by this time next year.
“The good news is we are confident we can do this work,” Ball said. “The bad news is it’s going to take a little bit longer than we anticipated.”
Ball recommended bundling the three projects into one PFA encompassing much of downtown Hughesville, but the commissioners opted to simultaneously apply for separate PFAs in order to protect the college should any concerns arise with the other projects.
The college’s plans for the new campus include four possible future buildings or uses — first, the Center for Trade and Energy Training, which would move from its current Waldorf location, and then potentially a health sciences building, fine arts center and new athletic fields or even a fieldhouse.
Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) seemed particularly excited about the prospect of a fieldhouse and potentially holding all of the county’s public high school graduations there. Currently, five of the six high schools hold their graduations at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. North Point High School hosts its own graduation.
“I think this is a great opportunity for the Hughesville area,” commissioners’ Vice President Reuben B. Collins II (D) said.
Commissioners’ President Candice Quinn Kelly (D) did not attend the meeting.