Marjorie Hughes: Attacks on Providence Point miss the truth

While following the frequent rants against the proposed development of The Village at Providence Point, the continuing care retirement community by National Lutheran Communities & Services, I thought it was time to hear a positive voice in favor of this development.

Unfortunately the arguments against this development have always stopped a little short of what is really true. Yes, some trees will need to be cleared to make way for the community, but anyone who has taken the time to visit other National Lutheran Communities & Services projects would see beautifully landscaped properties with meticulously cared-for lawns and streets lined with newly planted trees. When completed, The Village at Providence Point will actually be an improvement over the mess of overgrown vines and fallen trees that currently cover the land.

And now we would hear the plea for the displaced wildlife! As evident in my current residential community, wildlife and humans have co-existed happily in spite of houses and streets taking the place of forest land. Deer, raccoons and foxes roam through regularly, numerous birds visit the feeders and an owl serenades the neighborhood every night. Yes, the wildlife does return, and would be welcomed at Providence Point.

Of course the naysayers always complain about the traffic on Forest Drive. Traffic issues are a way of life in Annapolis and sometimes tragedies occur that bring traffic to a halt all over town. Anyone who travels any of the traffic corridors in and around Annapolis will incur traffic, and it is certainly not exclusive to Forest Drive.

Forty years ago, we moved from Eastport hoping to avoid the traffic on Forest Drive, so the rhetoric hasn’t changed since then, and it did not take long to realize that traffic problems are everywhere.

Now that I am retired, I have traveled Forest Drive at least three to four days a week for the past seven years, sometimes multiple times a day, and have never incurred a major traffic backup. Senior citizens no longer need to travel during the peak rush hours, a luxury to look forward to in your retirement years.

Yes, National Lutheran Communities & Services developers are planning to add a new road that will, hopefully, help alleviate some traffic in and around the proposed community, and most employees will probably be hired from the surrounding area, reducing their commute to jobs elsewhere. I consider these to be positive initiatives, not negatives.

It is true there are several senior housing options available in the area, but only two of these facilities follow, to some degree, the continuing care concept that National Lutheran Communities & Services adheres to. Those two facilities are now filled to capacity, with many applicants on waiting lists.

It is also true that continuing care communities appear to be extremely expensive and only affordable for the wealthy. Again, anyone who has bothered to research these properties would learn that a percentage of the initial entrance fee is potentially refundable to your estate, and the monthly fees would compare to the cost of paying rent or mortgage payments in many Annapolis apartments or residential communities.

Those fees also include most utilities, cable and some meals, and provide numerous amenities that promote lifelong learning and opportunities to enrich your golden years. Yes, it costs money to live there, but, comparatively speaking, it would not be much more than you are probably paying to live where you do now in Annapolis, and the opportunity to avoid becoming a burden to your children is priceless.

The debate has gone on long enough. I hope the opportunity to live there will come while I am still able to enjoy it. It is time to move forward with the Village at Providence Point.

Annapolis-area resident Marjorie Hughes is a retired teacher in Anne Arundel County Public Schools.