Implementing Our Mission
The CHARM Gateway
Capitol Heights-Addison Road Metro
The Capitol Heights–Addison Road Metro (“CHARM”) Regional Activity Center lies at heart of GCHIC’s focus area and is envisioned to be the premier economic, housing, and commerce engine of this community. It is one of 144 areas designated by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to accommodate the majority of the region’s future growth and play a central role in achieving the metropolitan area’s prosperity, sustainability, accessibility, and livability goals. While Prince George’s County is fortunate to have 15 Metrorail stations, Capitol Heights and Addison Road–Seat Pleasant are the only two within walking distance of each other, with acres of developable land at and in between them.
With the right attention and public investment, the CHARM gateway could be transformed into a dynamic and exciting regional walkable urban destination rivaling familiar Metro-accessible neighborhoods like Petworth, Columbia Heights, Woodley Park, Clarendon, or Downtown Silver Spring. Unfortunately, this socioeconomically challenged community bordering the District of Columbia has all too often been disregarded (and even shunned) by the Prince George’s County government, whose attentions are focused on more affluent Inner Beltway areas in the northern part of the county, or on far-flung suburban centers outside of the Beltway and away from transit.
GCHIC will be working to change that dynamic by developing a specific economic development and public infrastructure investment plan for the area and engaging directly with public officials and the business community to advance its implementation as early as possible. This plan will apply the principles of transformative placemaking to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, increase the supply of market rate and affordable multifamily housing, and create an inviting, amenity-rich community that will be attractive to a diverse array of young professionals, seniors, and working families.
Connected and Engaged Communities
Knowledge is Power
Unlike their neighbors in DC, who have Advisory Neighborhood Commissions to keep them regularly informed about and engaged around issues of the concern to the community, the residents of GCHIC’s focus area lack that kind of formalized information network—or even a comparably effective informal network. This often leaves neighbors in the dark about important issues impacting the community, and ill-prepared to organize around issues when necessary.
GCHIC is working to eliminate this information gap by strengthening the communications infrastructure within the Community. This will help to enhance public awareness and civic participation and to facilitate collective discussion, decisionmaking, and action regarding issues of concern to the Community. Over time, our volunteers will help us develop website content and newsletters that will become a clearinghouse of information relating to development, land use, and government accountability, among other areas. We will build our contacts database to facilitate outreach and collective action. And we will explore the feasibility and desirability of creating a council of neighborhood representatives akin to DC’s ANCs.
Obviously, GCHIC cannot accomplish these things without you—so please get involved!
One City, One Future
Strength in Unity
If GCHIC’s 24-square-mile geographic focus area were incorporated into one municipality, it would already likely be the second largest populated place in Maryland, behind Baltimore City and ahead of Columbia, Germantown, Silver Spring, and Waldorf. If developed to its full potential, through densifying around its Metro stations and other underutilized gateway areas, the combined city’s population could easily exceed 200,000, making it one of the most urbanized areas in Maryland—larger than 16 of the state’s 23 counties and similar in size and density to Arlington County, Virginia.
Presently, the existing five small municipalities of Capitol Heights, Seat Pleasant, Fairmount Heights, Glenarden, and District Heights are geographically and politically disjointed, have an inadequate tax base to support the delivery of quality services to their residents, and do not include pockets of currently unincorporated land that are essential to unified planning and governing efforts in this important gateway between the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County.
GCHIC will engage with the community and the existing municipalities in an effort to find ways to unify this geographic area so that it thinks and acts as a stronger, larger, and more cohesive citizenry. This could include fostering shared municipal services and planning, more formalized planning and coordination among the municipalities and the unincorporated areas, or a broader consideration of annexation and merger issues.