Roads and schools big focus for Prince George’s County District 23 -- Gazette.Net



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Bowie residents and officials are looking for a new high school, fixed up roads and increased highway money to combat traffic congestion — and they hope new delegates can deliver those goods after the Nov. 4 elections.

District 23 is split into A and B sections, which encompass parts of unincorporated Laurel, Bowie and Upper Marlboro, and those areas need money for roads and public school space, residents and officials said.

Residents will vote in primary elections, deciding who will represent Democrats and Republicans, on June 24 with the general election taking place on Nov. 4. District 23A has two candidates, a Democrat and an independent competing for one seat, while District 23B has seven candidates — five Democrats, one Republican and one independent — competing for two seats.

Al Weaver of Upper Marlboro said the county needs money, but delegates from both districts would do better to communicate with residents. Most delegates show up during election season and then they go away save for a few sparse events, Weaver said.

Weaver said residents need to show up as well if delegates make the effort.

“A monthly meeting with residents would be helpful,” Weaver said. “That might get people more interested in participating.”

Bowie City Councilwoman Diane Polangin said the city also needs money for city road repairs, such as potholes, from the highway user fund, money that was normally assigned to city’s but has since fallen away after the 2008 recession.

The city also needs a new high school, as Bowie High has split its students into two buildings, with ninth-graders using a separate building, Polangin said.

The high school’s annex building, which houses the ninth-graders, just recently had its repairs put on hold due to funding needs. Tulip Grove Elementary did receive $22.9 million for renovations that begin after this school year.

“I would like to see the delegates work hard for a new high school and to restore all of our highway user funds and to repair the pot holes in state roads in and around Bowie,” Polangin said.

Bowie officials also said highways in the city need expansion, especially Collington Road as it approaches Annapolis Road, which has been approved for engineering, but still needs construction funds.

Martha Ainsworth of Bowie said the focus on the district should be on the 2012 redistricting. Upcoming elections will be the first time residents have voted in their new districts, and Ainsworth has concerns that both incoming delegates and residents won’t understand the issues of the new areas.

“A lot of people don’t realize that their district has changed,” Ainsworth said. “For example, I’ve always been in 23A, represented by [Geraldine] Valentino-Smith and James W. Hubbard, but just found out that in the next election I’ll be voting for people in 23B, represented by Marvin Holmes.”

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