Residents in Fort Washington, Maryland, are fighting against the location of a new K-8 school. They fear clearing trees along East Swann Creek and building anything could add to flooding issues they already endure.
When residents saw trees being cleared along Swann Creek Road, they quickly gathered for an impromptu protest and stopped workers.
“It’s a disaster for the community, we feel,” neighbor Nany Bhargava said.
The area has an issue with flooding after hard rain.
“We had 2 1/2 feet of water in the street,” neighbor Ada Walthour said. “Prince George’s County knows it. They came and they measured it. They left. They did nothing.”
“I've had 30 something years of promises of nothing,” Walthour said.
In a meeting with County Executive Angela Alsobrooks this week, community leaders asked that all construction be delayed until they could meet in person and discuss alternative locations, like building on nearby land already developed by the school system.
“Let me see if I can delay it until after the meeting,” Alsobrooks said.
So residents were shocked Friday to see their request to wait was not granted.
“The community voices have been ignored time and time again, and I’m very proud for their advocacy and sticking with the fight,” school board member Ed Burroughs said.
“They have legitimate concerns,” Prince George's County Council Chair Calvin Hawkins said.
He made a call and stopped the tree clearing.
“Instead of keeping this heightened tension, let's stop for the day now and discuss over the weekend how we move forward,” Hawkins said.
A Prince George's County Public Schools spokesperson says the work to clear the area is paused and it is not clear when it might begin again.