College Park - Just Up The Pike's school-year headquarters - won't be found on many Good "College Town" lists. The City Paper hates the place so much they called it a "vile broth of popped-collar thugs and P.G. violence." Nonetheless, there are a few people (including myself) who're seeking out the silver lining.
A couple of years ago, Downtown Silver Spring was considered a "hellhole" of similar regard (save for the riots), but today, I consider Silver Spring an example for what College Park could be. That's the argument I made at Monday night's Housing Forum hosted by the SGA and the Rethink College Park blog. It was an unusual opportunity to bring students, the University, College Park residents and the development community together to talk about housing needs in a town with a 2% vacancy rate and thousands of students seeking places to live.
It was a surprise to see that the developers I spoke to were actually interested in what both students and the community wanted. The Diamondback, the University of Maryland student paper, called the meeting "sparsely attended," but that leaves student apathy more to blame than those of us who went. It's not a surprise that most students don't care about the renewal of College Park - after all, even I may not be here for too long - but the long-term benefit seems to be worth the trouble.