Things have certainly been changing rapidly in the Odenton and Severn area. While not everyone is comfortable with the pace of change, there's a lot to be thankful for as well.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let's reflect on a few things that residents of Odenton and Severn can appreciate.
New Eateries - There’s been a clamoring for new places to eat in the area, and we’re starting to see some arrive. We lost the Daily Diner in Odenton, but it’s been replaced by a new Mexican restaurant, which is now open. The New Orleans Kitchen and French Market has been a delightful addition to Severn. And there are a host of new restaurants at the nearby Waugh Chapel Towne Centre, including The Greene Turtle, Panera, Nando’s Peri Peri and Coal Fire Pizza. We’d love a couple more options in the Odenton Town Center, but those could be on their way in the next year as the area starts to take shape. (Side note: You can’t eat in there, but you can still get fresh, local food at the new Bear’s Honeypot.)
Solid Schools - Everyone looks at school performance closely, but it’s hard to deny that student performance in the area is very good and getting even better. Only a handful of schools fell short of their Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) targets, and in most cases it was only in one category. Arundel High School recently saw one of its strongest marking periods on record, with every segment of the school population averaging a 3.0 grade point average or higher. Crowded classrooms remain a concern, but the academic performance speaks for itself.
Great Local Sports Teams - All three of the high schools that serve students in the Odenton and Severn area reached the football playoffs. (Meade plays in the state semifinal Saturday.) We had the Arundel volleyball team make the state final. The local baseball teams all fared well, and we had winning soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, wrestling and track teams. (And while we're at it, let's give a shout out to the Arundel High marching band, which secured a state championship last month.)
Apartment Leases - OK, not everyone is thrilled with all the new people moving in, but property managers are giddy that they’ve been able to fill most of the apartments entering the market this year. The Village at Odenton Station and Haven at Odenton Gateway projects are well on their way to being fully leased, and the rent isn't cheap. We’ll see if this trend continues as the Flats170 and other apartment projects come out of the ground in 2013.
Insulation from Deep Government Cuts - Talk of major cuts to government spending has a lot of people nervous, and this area would certainly be impacted by reductions in defense expenditures. But Fort Meade is uniquely positioned to be insulated from much of those cuts due to the presence of U.S. Cyber Command and its related agencies. Cyber warfare will be a centerpiece of America’s defense strategy moving forward, and that sector will be growing, not shrinking. The National Security Agency, also based at Fort Meade, is also not expected to see deep cuts.
Our Service Members - This can't be repeated often enough. In this area, we are fortunate to have men and women of the Armed Forces working and living among us. They set a great example for our community and are a source of strength on so many levels.
What else should the people of Odenton and Severn be thankful for?