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Letter to the Editor: What College Park Needs

College Park resident joins the development discussion.

There's been a lot of talk about development in College Park and the surrounding areas, from what should fill the  to what it takes to become a . This Patch reader, a 40-year College Park resident, shares his thoughts.

When and where is a GROCERY store coming to a place in COLLEGE PARK? How about a Trader Joe's at the empty Koon's Ford lot on U.S. [Route] 1? The space is big enough for both a TJ's AND a decent sized parking lot.

I've lived in College Park since 1971 and find it disgraceful that we have no REAL grocery store within walking – or at least cycling – distance. There are a lot of people who live in the College Park community who do not own a car – including thousands of students, and even those of us who do have a car greatly resent having to tool all the way over to Beltway or PG Plaza's Giant, to the COOP in Greenbelt, or to Shopper's all the way up near the Beltway.

As for taking local buses to do one's grocery shopping, try it! It is NOT fun and one's shopping is greatly curtailed, to say the least. In fact, there have been times when, out of sheer frustration, I have taken the College Park metro into D.C. in order to shop at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Apropos of the latter, don't even ask me about the present controversy surrounding the proposed , which will not do many of us up here much good!

There was a time when there was a grungy grocery store in the Old Town shopping center. It was pretty dingy and limited in goods on the upper end of the food chain, but at least residents of the local community had a place where they could go to buy basic food necessities at reasonable prices. In fact, once upon a time, the shopping center was a nice place with a lot of character, including a wine and cheese shop, a great local bookstore, some real boutiques selling the work of local artisans, etc. It looks like the shopping center itself could do with a bit of an overhaul instead of more fly-by-night hole-in-the-wall establishments that offer very little of interest or quality. However, what we definitely do NOT need in College Park is yet ANOTHER pizza joint! There are so many now that I've lost count.

What does College Park really need? Perhaps an entire new makeover to turn it into a real college town that we can truly be proud of.

Chris Tennant

Writer/Consultant and former UN Program Officer, MENA and CEE/CIS/Balkan Regions

The introducation to this story has been corrected to reflect the correct number of years that Chris Tennant has lived in College Park. We regret the error.

morgan gale October 06, 2011 at 09:06 AM
How about a trader joes at the old showcase furniture store?
Stephanie A. Solari October 06, 2011 at 03:46 PM
My understanding is Trader Joe's turned down Showcase because it doesn't have enough parking. My further understanding is that the University bought Koons. An earlier commenter is correct that WaWa left because the students trashed their establishment, stole from them and generally acted like idiots after the bars closed and they were let loose on the street. Unfortunately, the only thing that makes this a college town is the University, not the shops, atmosphere, etc.
Adelphi Sky October 06, 2011 at 06:55 PM
No one shops at the Shoppers Food Warehouse in COLLEGE PARK? lol I mean that IS is College Park right? Or is that not considered a grocery store?
Pamela Torro October 06, 2011 at 07:04 PM
LOL. I think they mean more downtown/accessible as there have been comments on other articles that it's a death wish to cross Rt 1 at the Cherry Hill intersection. But Shoppers is a grocery store. It is in College Park and I do shop there. Honestly, with some much parity in grocery stores lately I feel like I have to rotate which ones I go to for a)better sales and b)everything I need. I would have a hard time doing all of my shopping at just one store.
Kimberly October 12, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Yes College Park needs another grocery store, preferably a Trader Joe's (whole foods, small superfresh) in the more than half boarded up strip mall near the fire house. There is so little in that shopping center that it could easily be refitted to contain a supermarket. And that would be in walking distance to campus, a safe place to cross and easily accessible to metrobus.

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