The environmental community in College Park has been on the edge of its seat since it was brought to light that the University of Maryland had made a bid for the abandoned Washington Post Plant in College Park. The point of the purchase was for UMD to relocate its facilities from East Campus to the plant, so they could do their East Campus development. This move would mean that the fight to save the Wooded Hillock, 9 acres of forest, would be won by the environmental activists advocating for its preservation. However, the City is upset about this decision because of the lack of transparency that led up to it, along with the fact that College Park would lose tax revenue from UMD owning the plan since they’re a state institution, and thus tax exempt. The Maryland Board of Public Works has to approve the purchase, and the approval is likely contingent on the support of the city.
So the question is, can UMD and the city agree to a PILOT(payment in lieu of taxes) where the university would compensate the city for some of all of its lost revenue? I think that answer is yes because both parties badly want to see the East Campus development completed, and they won’t let something as petty as a few hundred thousand dollars get in the way of a 900 million dollar development that would generate a lot of tax revenue for the city, and graduate housing for the university.
The following is the letter the city council sent to the university after their meeting on Tuesday, and the response the university recently sent back. It looks like they’re moving towards an agreement.