Housing Complex

Housing Market Stagnation Brings Polka Dancing

The caption on this photo is "Polka 'Til You Drop." Wild!

Since progress is clearly not the trend of the day, it seems like the media has taken to celebrating old-timey, traditional habits and comforts, not to mention anything vaguely reminiscent of the Depression.

Washington City Paper's own Tim Carman recently penned a column about diners being recession-proof. And Sacramento's tent city has been covered relentlessly by numerous outlets, even inspiring the Huffington Post to put out a call for more tent city stories. Seriously, the headline reads: "A Tent City Near You? Tell Us About It."

But I think one of my favorite examples comes out of nearby Jessup Maryland, where polka is apparently back!

(Really, who knew it was there in the first place?)

According to a CNN story, locals danced the polka for years at a local biergarten on some farmland in the area. Then in 2007, developers purchased the property—all 400 acres of it—and vowed to build housing there. Thus, the hall closed down.

According to the piece, the land sits right next to Fort Meade, which "is part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program implemented by the Department of Defense in 2005 that will see thousands of new jobs on base." But with the demand for homes slowing, developers put their plans on hold, and the property owner, Max Eggrel, felt a familiar polka itch:

"[He] found himself gazing out his front yard at the facade of a dance hall and all the open space surrounding it.

"The building was sitting there, just inviting someone to jump in and bring it back," Eggrel says. That's exactly what he set out to do.

But it wouldn't be an easy task.

"To open it back up took a sizable financial risk," Eggrel says. "I just had the vision that it could succeed again and be bigger then it was before, and I was just willing to take that risk."

Eggrel took his idea to the developers and a few attorneys. The developers agreed to rent 40 acres of the land back to Eggrel, a small portion compared to the land he grew up on, but it gave Eggrel the right to reopen the doors to Blob's Park.

Eggrel spent five months renovating the hall, and in January 2009 he and his employees reopened the doors to the public

Image by Kris247, Flickr Creative Commons

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