WALDORF, Md. – Last Friday night at the Regency Furniture Stadium, the home of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, Senator Arthur Ellis[D] called a presentation to clarify some details about the community projects that are currently in the midst of development.
He shared that they are exponentially ahead of the agenda that Commissioner Gilbert “BJ” Bowling[D] and Amanda Stewart[D] originally announced.
The three projects at the forefront of the evening were the Boys and Girls Club in Indian Head, the Charles County Sports and Wellness Center, and the updating and maintenance of the stadium they were inside.
Commissioner Thomasina Coates[D] took to the podium, saying “About a week ago, a lot of you were gathered when the Waldorf amphitheater was introduced and Sen. Ellis[D] dedicated the $3.1 million check for its funding. I made a comment that there was more to come, well tonight is that “more to come.” I’ve had the great pleasure of working with the Senator and some of our great leaders. I asked the Senator what he could do to help the community. I know most of our community isn’t going to want an X4B strip club. I know some of us remember that nightmare,” Coates takes a moment to laugh, “Our families were complaining because their children didn’t have enough to do in the area. Well, it didn’t take long for the Senator to say ‘Write it up and send it to my office.’ I did exactly what he asked and quickly after we started putting our heads together.”
Coates shares that she went to Annapolis to testify about the need for the facilities in Charles County and the rest was history.
Commissioner Coates has worked with Mark Picarelli and Joy Hill to bring a Boys and Girls Club to the Bryans Road area, around Indian Head as soon as January 2023. Ellis presented a check for $75,000 from the state budget for the initial funding of the vital community organization.
In the beginning, the Club will be bringing in staff from other local Clubs that will help to get everything started on the right foot. They will then transition to a fully independent program. The Club will offer after-school programs, STEM programs, and summer camps.
Local Club staff member Joy Hill shared, “It helps to lower crime rates because the kids aren’t out getting into mischief, but instead are doing positive things. This leads to positive citizens when they grow up.”
Last year, funding was given to all of the minor league baseball teams of Maryland, but Charles County was noticeably left out. The Stadium’s leadership reached out to Ellis about it, and they met with Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson[D] the day before Thanksgiving of 2021.
$1.5 million was allocated for the Blue Crabs’ home stadium to pay for the necessary updates and level of maintenance that the minor and major leagues now require.
Senator Ellis shared, “This facility is very important. It hosted the mass vaccination clinic for Southern Maryland, amongst so many other activities for our community.”
The stadium also hosts the annual Toys for Tots, a haunted house for the community, Christmas with Santa and an outdoor lights display, and so much more. It is used year-round, including for every Charles County high school graduation. The Maryland State Baseball Championship games are hosted there annually, where every division plays over a week.
The final project of the presentation was the Charles County Sports and Wellness Center, which will be situated beside the stadium, and received $1 million in funding.
St. James currently has a sprawling location in Springfield, Virginia, that holds a multitude of amenities ranging from ice skating rinks to a medispa. It is now coming to Charles County through this project. The hope is for this new facility to make everything central and more convenient for families.
Commissioner Coates pointed out that one of the other projects that the Senator worked on was the Riverboat. It’s the first completely minority-owned gambling establishment in the country and is located in Virginia. However, since the building hovers over the Potomac River, which is owned by Maryland, Charles County has jurisdiction over it.
Ellis closed with this sentiment, “All of us in Charles County are taxpayers. We pay Maryland taxes, people say ‘oh, you’re taking it away from other projects.’ Wait a minute, no, these are our tax dollars that we’re bringing home. It’s your tax dollars. It’s not a favor anyone is doing for us. That’s my philosophy – to fight for every dollar that I can get for our county.”
“We haven’t had to raise taxes in order to get all of these new projects brought to Charles County,” he adds with an earnest smile, “Pretty much everything I ask for, I get. And I ask for a lot, including these projects. I didn’t go to Annapolis to sit on my hands. I went to secure resources for the people of Charles County.”
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