As part of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker’s Transforming Neighborhood Initiative program, county leaders and community residents celebrated the groundbreaking of Columbia Run Townhomes in the Glassmanor area of Oxon Hill, Md., on Nov. 18.

There were several county, business and community officials attending the groundbreaking, included Councilmember Obie Patterson (D); along with Rev. Anthony Young, pastor of New Creation AME Church in Fort Washington, Md.; Sandy Marenberg, president of Marenberg Enterprises, the developer; Jacoline Key, a community resident of Oxon Hill; and Nicholas A. Majett, chief administrative officer for Baker’s administration among others.

Prince George’s County leaders and residents responsible for bringing the Columbia Run Townhomes project to fruition stand on ground zero with gold shelves to commemorate the beginning of construction. (Photo by LaTrina Antoine)
Prince George’s County leaders and residents responsible for bringing the Columbia Run Townhomes project to fruition stand on ground zero with gold shelves to commemorate the beginning of construction. (Photo by LaTrina Antoine)

“This project has taken over 10 years to get to the point – next week – where we will physically begin building houses,” Marenberg told the AFRO. “It’s an arduous process and it takes a lot of people, a lot of skills and a lot of talent to get to this point, because, in the end, we know that our target was to sell houses to people who worked for a living – policemen, firemen, teachers [and] people who work in food stores.”

The town homes will be located at 714 Maury Ave. in Oxon Hill. Development and construction financing was handled by Revere Bank.

According to the press release, the homes, ranging from $249,990, will provide first-time homebuyers with housing that is affordable compared to other houses in the county. During the celebration, Marenberg said that an estimated gross monthly payment for families buying new homes at Columbia Run would have a mortgage that would cost about $1,775 a month. But, with aid from the federal government, monthly mortgages could run about $1,200.

“It’s going to improve the quality of the area. It’s going to improve the value of our homes. Of course, that’s going to bring in more taxes, but I think we deserve better than what was here before which was actually just mess,” Paulette Gordon, a resident of the area, told the AFRO. “It was a dilapidated building where any and everybody hung out and all kinds of illegal things were going on.”

However, not all shared her sentiment.

“Eminent domain means property was kind of [taken] from residents,” Teresa Beaucamp said on the AFRO’s Facebook page.

According to the release, homes will be equipped with amenities including energy efficient designs, hardwood flooring, energy star stainless steel kitchen appliances, upgraded kitchen countertops and other amenities that are similar to designs of homes and apartments in the National Harbor area.

Watch a video of the groundbreaking ceremony on the AFRO’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/AfroAmericanNews/