HABS NO. MD-1216 Page 16
children and adults would temporarily gather at these nodes of activity and then disperse to their apartments or jobs.
Though the complex was initially intended as housing for young families, the growth of the University of Maryland led to an increase of the proportion of college students who rented at Springhill Lake.43 Without an interest in the local school system and being less rooted in the community, many transient residents became less engaged in community affairs. While many Springhill Lake residents remained active in Greenbelt civic life, the community as a whole became less cohesive and engaged. In 1985, Ted Lerner, a part owner of Springhill Lake, bought out his partners and his company began managing the complex. Lerner sold the development to AIMCO, the nation’s largest owner of apartment units, in 1998. 44
Alterations to Springhill Lake have been limited. The most notable modification to the landscape was the redevelopment of the par-3 golf course into a later section of apartment buildings. The street layout has remained unaltered since the inception of the development, and changes to the buildings have been minimal, including several interior renovations. Maintenance of landscaping has also been limited, resulting in a loss of plantings around buildings and sometimes giving them a bare aspect. All residential buildings still function in their original use. Springhill Lake Elementary, which opened in 1966, saw classroom additions in 1970, 1974, and 1998. The Springhill Lake Community Center, located on the west edge of Springhill Lake, was
completed in 1975.45
The retail shopping center retains its original form, as does the Fountain
Lodge, the development’s original community center, though uses for each have changed somewhat.
Subsequent to AIMCO’s purchase of the Springhill Lake development in 1998, the company began pursuing a redevelopment plan for the complex. In 2003, AIMCO engaged the Maryland office of New Urbanist planning and architecture firm Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ), based in Miami, Florida. In August, 2003, DPZ presented a conceptual design for redevelopment of Springhill Lake. The chief feature of this redesign and redevelopment is the reorientation of the complex to the nearby Metro station. The Metro is the Washington, DC, area’s mass transit system, run by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, featuring a network of fixed-rail lines and bus lines. In 1993, after years of negotiation, planning, design and construction, the Greenbelt Metro Station opened approximately one-third of a mile northwest of Springhill Lake, completing the system’s green line. However, because of existing roads, traffic patterns, and parking necessities, the station platform is nearly a mile from the nearest entrance to Springhill Lake. The new plan will include a pedestrian pathway more directly linking Springhill Lake to the Metro.