Last week's question: Maryland officials are advising local governments to expect as many as 10,000 new jobs at Fort Meade within seven years as the military consolidates bases and the ranks of the National Security Agency are boosted.
Can Anne Arundel County handle the growth expected to be generated by the shift of jobs to Fort Meade and nearby areas?
Roadways, schools not ready for influx
My opinion regarding Anne Arundel County's readiness for the influx of jobs into Fort Meade is one of surprise. What makes them think they're ready?
With Route 175 being a single-lane road that sits bumper-to-bumper in both the morning and afternoon rush hours, and Route 100 clearly being too small the first week it opened, I'm surprised that the county would believe that it is ready.
At a minimum, these two main thoroughfares need to be immediately widened to handle any additional influx into the area. Then, we may have a chance.
In addition, many of our schools are already overcrowded. Where are we going to put those coming in?
Cindy Thompson Glen Burnie
Anne Arundel area overdeveloped now
The Fort Meade area cannot handle the expected growth from the anticipated new jobs!
I sit in traffic during every morning commute that I make on Route 32 near Fort Meade. I did hear that some improvements or expansion of Route 175 was being considered. However, what about the Route 32 side of NSA? The current traffic mess has yet to be addressed.
I've lived in Anne Arundel County most of my life and have considered the area overdeveloped for quite some time, with the exception of schools and roads, which have not kept up!
Nancy F. DePriest Severn
Officials have poor record on upkeep
Excuse me for being skeptical, but in what way are federal, military, state and local officials going to prepare for a large influx of new employees at Fort Meade?
They have a very poor track record of keeping up with the needs of Fort Meade and the surrounding area.
Item: The narrow, obsolete bridges that carry Route 198 over the Little Patuxent River and into Fort Meade have been a mass of potholes and steel plates for years. No one has replaced them, although it is obviously required.
Item: Route 713, one of the main roads into Fort Meade and NSA, is badly in need of repaving. The shoulders of this road, once wide, smooth pavement, have been allowed to decay almost beyond recovery. Cyclists are afraid to use them on Fort Meade property. The areas of pavement around manholes have been poorly kept. There is bad pavement on 713 near the intersection with State Route 175 that has been there for years.
Item: The Boomtown area of Odenton across from Fort Meade has derelict garages, boarded-up fast food restaurants, a depressing, seemingly unused factory and even an abandoned pawn shop. Nothing of any substance has been done to redevelop this area.
Anne Arundel County, military officials and the state of Maryland have been unable to agree on a timetable for widening and beautifying the main road through Boomtown, Route 175. Developers fear building on some of the Boomtown lots because they may have gasoline or other underground contamination, yet nobody does anything to solve this problem.
Item: Maryland City and other area residents have lobbied for years to have a decaying, depressing and unsafe District of Columbia-owned youth detention facility across from NSA closed. Maryland public officials have not been able to shutter this disgraceful facility, whose detainees should be relocated to the District.
Item: The military is years behind on upgrading housing for military personnel at Fort Meade.
Item: Affordable, safe civilian housing is hard or impossible to find near Fort Meade.
One could go on and on providing instances of decay, neglect, poor planning and unfulfilled promise in the Fort Meade area, but what would be the point? Government and private industry should fix the problems around the facility today before adding thousands more new employees to the already stressed Fort Meade area.
Michael Shylanski Severn
We want your opinions
ISSUE: In preparation for the growth expected for the area around Fort Meade, the Army post's retiring commander last week offered details of a three-decade master plan that includes extending a Washington Metro rail line from Greenbelt to a proposed station at the National Business Park - and perhaps even to Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Baltimore. Col. John W. Ives said the proposal was a formal step to manage growth in and around the 5,300-acre installation in western Anne Arundel County as it solidifies its place as a national center of information and defense technology. The cost of the 10-mile extension, according to experts, would be at least $1 billion, and possibly much more.
YOUR VIEW: Is extending Washington's Metro to Fort Meade - and beyond - worth the cost? Are there better ways to manage Fort Meade's growth? Tell us what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday. Please keep you responses short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be published Sunday.