Lo­cal church wants to help re­vi­tal­ize In­dian Head

New Life shares con­cept plan for mixed use de­vel­op­ment

Maryland Independent - - News - By TIF­FANY WATSON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews

Mem­bers of New Life Chris­tian Min­istries In­ter­na­tional have iden­ti­fied a need in the Town of In­dian Head for var­i­ous ameni­ties, and they be­lieve through eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment they can con­tinue to be an as­set to the town and its res­i­dents.

On April 3, William L. Price, project man­ager at Bryant Mitchell Ar­chi­tects, and New Life Chris­tian Min­istries In­ter­na­tional lo­cated in In­dian Head pre­sented the Gate­way Cen­ter at In­dian Head con­cept plan dur­ing the town meet­ing. The church ex­pressed in­ter­est in de­vel­op­ing re­tail, com­mer­cial and reli­gious fa­cil­i­ties on the Ely prop­erty.

“We were in­vited to do this project by New Life Chris­tian Min­istries In­ter­na­tional and we asked the pas­tors if we could ad­dress the town. We hope the com­mu­nity is fully par­tic­i­pa­tory in what we are try­ing to do. We are look­ing for com­mu­nity in­put, com­ments, par­tic­i­pa­tion and for them to buy into what we are do­ing here, just as the Pas­tors have done,” Price said.

The plans present an op­por­tu­nity for the church to ex­pand its sanc­tu­ary but also make the prop­erty com­mu­nity ori­ented, with a gro­cery store, day­care and com­mu­nity cen­ter. Po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ment will take place at the Ely prop­erty, which is 6.75 acres and one of the largest parcels in the town, lo­cated at 4445-4481 In­dian Head High­way.

“We watch peo­ple go across to Dol­lar Gen­eral for food, and Price said this was con­sid­ered a food desert so we want to sup­ply a gro­cery store to the town,” said Pas­tor Sta­cie V. Hous­ton of New Life. “We re­ally want to be a ben­e­fit to In­dian Head and see change. We’re not here for just reli­gious pur­poses but we’re here for change. We re­ally want the com­mu­nity to be behind us.”

The church has cre­ated two com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment cor­po­ra­tions — one for-profit and one non­profit — and are cur­rently lo­cated where the old Bank of Amer­ica used to op­er­ate in the town. Price said the church has been in con­tact with the Ely fam­ily and po­ten­tial de­vel­op­ers, but first he sought feed­back from the town and coun­cil about the pro­posed project.

“We have looked at the [Ur­ban Land In­sti­tute] Study rec­om­men­da­tions and other town in­for­ma­tion be­cause we’re go­ing to come in and cre­ate some­thing that did not ex­ist be­fore,” Price said.

The pro­posed con­cept plan shows the re­fur­bish­ing and re­pur­pos­ing of the ex­ist­ing struc­ture at the Ely Prop­erty be­ing done in three phases. Phase 1 in­cludes the ren­o­va­tion of the Ely shop­ping cen­ter — adding a gro­cery store (20,000 square feet), re­tail/com­mer­cial space (25,000 square feet), leasable re­tail ten­ant space (12,000 square feet) and then resur­faced, re­striped, paved park­ing space.

Phase 2 in­cludes build­ing a day­care.

Phase 3 is the ren­o­va­tion of cor­po­rate of­fice space (12,000 square feet) and New Life Chris­tian Min­istries In­ter­na­tional wor­ship cen­ter and fel­low­ship/com­mu­nity meet­ing hall and in­door re­cre­ation cen­ter, along with ex­panded paved and sur­face park­ing and com­mu­nity park (13,500 square feet).

“One of the is­sues with at­tract­ing a gro­cery store is that de­vel­op­ers are look­ing for a cer­tain amount of traf­fic to pass the shop be­cause some of the traf­fic will stop and shop. Each of the po­ten­tial gro­cery stores had a min­i­mal re­quire­ment of 20,000 cars. Cur­rently in In­dian Head it ranges from 13,000 to 15,000 cars so we are few cars short but we have come up with a res­o­lu­tion,” Price said.

“We are look­ing for the Town of In­dian Head to help in terms of fi­nanc­ing. This par­tic­u­lar project is go­ing to take a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship. In ad­di­tion to the money, the de­vel­op­ers are look­ing for things to hap­pen on the hu­man side, specif­i­cally com­mu­nity sup­port of the project,” Price said.

Mayor Bran­don Paulin said wanting the com­mu­nity sup­port is some­thing you rarely hear from de­vel­op­ers, but it means they want to be in­vested in the com­mu­nity.

“I think the con­cept plan was great. A gro­cery store, the re­tail/of­fice space, day­care and es­pe­cially the re­cre­ation cen­ter for the kids which is some­thing we dis­cussed at the MYAT [Mayor’s Youth Ad­vi­sory Team] meet­ings. It was good to hear that those things stay on the tax roll as well as work­ing with de­vel­op­ment com­pa­nies,” Paulin said.

“You had us at gro­cery store,” said Town Man­ager Ryan Hicks. “We don’t need a sur­vey to know that we need a gro­cery store.” Hicks added that the ap­pli­cants will need to change the zon­ing des­ig­na­tion of the prop­erty from “gen­eral com­mer­cial” to a “mixed use” des­ig­na­tion from the town.

“I’m ex­cited to see progress mov­ing for­ward,” said Coun­cil­man Curtis Smith. “These are some things that we need in the com­mu­nity. The coun­cil and town staff are cur­rently pre­par­ing a cit­i­zens sur­vey so I think it would be good to add some ques­tions to it about this project. I was also glad to hear they con­sid­ered raz­ing one of the build­ings and I’m glad they are hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with the Ely fam­ily be­cause we do need a gro­cery store. They are us­ing key words like part­ner­ship and what ‘we’ want. Now we have to get be­yond the con­cept phase to start where the rub­ber meets the toad — get doc­u­ments signed and have some more dis­cus­sions with the coun­cil.”

Vice Mayor Ron Si­toula said one of his main con­cerns for the town is rais­ing taxes. “When non-profit en­ti­ties come into the town then the town gets next to noth­ing in terms of rev­enue . ... Out­side of that the plan is ex­cel­lent and we do have other needs in the town but my con­cerns are tax rev­enue down the road,” he said.

The town coun­cil will have a more in-depth dis­cus­sion about the con­cept plan with the key play­ers in­volved dur­ing a fu­ture work ses­sion.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Photo of the va­cant Ely prop­erty lo­cated in the Town of In­dian Head.

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