- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Robin Finnacom’s job since 2000 has been to channel revitalization to Great Mills Road in Lexington Park.
But in recent months she has taken on the broader role general role of acting director of economic and community development for St. Mary’s County government, and so her job as executive director of the Community Development Corp. is coming to an end.
Finnacom became executive director of the nonprofit corporation in 2004. She became the acting director of the St. Mary’s County Department of Economic and Community Development after the abrupt departure of the last director, Steve Anderson, who resigned in August after less than a year on the job.
The board of directors of the Community Development Corp. will be taking on the duties of the executive director.
Under an agreement with St. Mary’s County government, the nonprofit corporation had been paying 15 percent of Finnacom’s salary, but that billing ended at Tuesday’s commissioner meeting.
The shift was made also “to avoid the appearance of any conflicts of interest for either the county or the corporation during her tenure as acting director,” wrote Bill Higgs, chairman of the Community Development Corp.’s board of directors.
The corporation was paying $17,582 toward Finnacom’s $95,305 annual salary and fringe benefits. The Community Development Corp.’s budget this year is $240,979, with funding from St. Mary’s County government to pay for its portion of the director’s salary and rental income from a building it owns in Lexington Park, Higgs said.
Besides Higgs, the nonprofit corporation’s members are Karen Garner, president of Research and Engineering Development LLC; Ray Dodson, vice president of Old Line Bank; Charles Roach, chief financial officer of Cedar Point Federal Credit Union; Ella May Russell, director of St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services (nonvoting); Joan Gelrud, member of the St. Mary’s County Housing Authority (nonvoting); Capt. Ben Shevcuk, commanding officer of Patuxent River Naval Air Station (nonvoting); Philip Riehl, owner of an insurance agency; Mike Kibler, a division manager for Northrop Grumman; Carl Franzen, broker of Franzen Realtors; Susan Fowler, principal of Lexington Park Elementary School; Sharon McLeod-Hare, general manager of Comfort Inn and Suites; Mark Dillow of Dean Lumber and Supply; and Tracy Harris of the College of Southern Maryland. The Community Development Corp. selects its members. They are not appointed by the county commissioners.
Finnacom said Thursday the efforts to revitalize Lexington Park are not ending. “It’s just that now I have a broader responsibility in the county” as acting director of economic and community development. “Revitalization is economic development for Lexington Park,” she said.
Millions of dollars have been spent in public infrastructure in Lexington Park in recent years. A new post office, library and elementary school were built, Great Mills Road was improved and resurfaced, and the roads and water and sewer lines in the Patuxent Park neighborhood are being replaced. There are now four sheriff’s deputies dedicated to patroling Lexington Park. A small section of FDR Boulevard is being connected from Great Mills Road to South Shangri-La Drive to open up access to the Bay District Volunteer Fire Department and Lexington Park library. There is a Lexington Park Business Association that meets regularly.
“All the pieces are now coming into place,” Finnacom said.
Now the updated Lexington Park Development District Plan is seeking “how to trigger private reinvestment. We are almost at that point with the assets put in place,” she said.
“When I first came there was a general sense of abandonment in the community, and now that’s not the conversation,” she said. However, “there’s still work to be done, no doubt.”