Connie Belfiore has lived in Riverdale since 1976. She welcomes her new neighbor but is bracing for the inevitable growing pains that come with it.
Whole Foods opened Wednesday off Baltimore Avenue, Route 1, just a few miles from University of Maryland, just north from East-West Highway. She is afraid the opening marks the beginning of a traffic nightmare for her neighborhood and the already busy Route 1 corridor.
“This isn’t just a NIMBY (not in my backyard) issue, I am concerned about the traffic since this is already a heavily homed area. But I do think this is a big win for the county. Prince George’s has always been the poor neighbor and we haven’t had higher end stores so we do need and for that reason I applaud the move, but why here? I’m really concerned this is a bad spot for traffic.”
“We know some people feel that way but we hope once they see the benefit the store will have on the community that will change their minds,” countered Pia DaSilva.
DaSilva is the store manager and a county native. She attended Prince George’s County Public Schools and University of Maryland.
She purchased a house in the area when Whole Foods signed the lease five years ago.
“I think this is a sign of the change in this community. We’ve seen a huge rise in development and growth and it’s a long time coming but it feels like the timing is right,” said daSilva.
The store has incorporated local flavor including desserts from a bakery in Hyattsville and locally brewed coffee.
County leaders expect the development to bring in $5 Million in tax revenue to the state.