- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 23, 2002

Roughly five hundred people attended the second annual Metro Festival on the grounds of Forest Heights Baptist Church in Oxon Hill yesterday under sunny skies and soaring temperatures to show their desire for a Metro station in downtown Oxon Hill.
The festival, sponsored by the Campaign to Reinvest in the Heart of Oxon Hill, included face painting, an eagle show sponsored by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and a craft fair. While adults shopped for eclectic gifts with funnel cake in hand under a bright-yellow-and-white canopy, children hopped aboard a miniature train to take rides around the church's premises or bounced to their heart's content in the inflated Moonbounce tent.
Members of the volunteer organization hoped to drive the point home to local elected officials about the need for a Metro Purple Line station in their community and a revitalized downtown Oxon Hill.
"Southern Prince George's County needs three things: Metro rail transportation, reinvestment of our tax dollars in the existing commercial district of downtown Oxon Hill and living-wage jobs," said Donna Edwards, spokeswoman for the Campaign to Reinvest.
Residents say they have been left out of the regional 25-year transportation plan and the proposed Metro Purple Line.
Ms. Edwards, 44, who has lived in Fort Washington for 18 years, said she had grown weary of driving 15 miles just to go to a bookstore or 10 miles for a hot cup of coffee.
"I think it's time for us as citizens to demand these things in exchange for our taxpayer dollars. And, I think what we've proven over the last three years is that our community will support Metrorail. Instead of building a multimillion-dollar Woodrow Wilson Bridge, we need to build a Metro and link downtown Oxon Hill," she said.
"The bottom line is we want to know when our elected officials will listen to residents of Oxon Hill. As for the retailers, we want them to know we have resources we don't have to drive miles around the Beltway for a cup of coffee," Ms. Edwards said.
Residents of Oxon Hill and Fort Washington decorated a life-size cardboard replica of a Nordstrom, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and Crate & Barrel some of the retailers and businesses they would like to see come to their downtown commercial district while the songs of the Temptations, Marvin Gaye and Jagged Edge's "Where the Party At?" resonated through the grassy area, thanks to Maurice Haskins, a k a DJ Spank.
Ms. Edwards defined Oxon Hill's commercial district as between Exit 3 and Exit 4 on the Beltway and Indian Head Highway and St. Barnabas Road.
Right now, the commercial corridor contains a Kmart, Old Navy, Home Depot and Staples. Residents said they want their community revitalized in the same fashion Montgomery County has revitalized downtown Silver Spring and the Bethesda and Rockville areas.
Jean Burgess, a resident of Oxon Hill for 18 years, said she hoped the festival would bring much-needed attention to Oxon Hill's plight.
"If Metro comes here it would be convenient not only for residents, but for others as well. People could park their cars and jump on the Metro, especially those coming from Charles County and Accokeek," she said.
Bonnie Bick, a member of the Campaign to Reinvest, grew up in Oxon Hill, moved to New York, lived in Connecticut and came back home several years ago. "Given a choice, people will chose the right thing. The choice is between the Metro in downtown Oxon Hill or an entertainment destination for tourists. Given that choice, people will chose the right thing," she said. The entertainment center is the proposed National Harbor.
Plans are under way to begin clearing land this summer for the billion-dollar National Harbor hotel-and-entertainment complex in Prince George's County on the Potomac River just south of the Capital Beltway. National Harbor would be one of the largest developments in the region, and many Prince George's County leaders consider the project vital to the county's economic development.

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