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Year 2013 in Review: City Wide Accomplishments

On the last day of year 2013, I thought I should give a summary of what the City Council accomplished over the past year. Some of the items below continued from the year 2012. Thanks to my colleagues on the Council, City manager and staff for working on these items

(1) Strategic Plan 2010 – 2015

The Council continued its work on the 5 year long Strategic Plan .Worksessions and Public Forums were held for FY 2013 and FY 2014 Action Plan. The Council updated the status on FY 2013 Action Plan and Year-End Summary. It also held worksessions and Public Meeting for FY 2014 Action Plan

(2) Senior Survey

The City conducted Senior survey with surveys given to all seniors in Attick Towers and Spellman House in 201. The results tabulated then presented and discussed with City Council. This process has been made into an annual process. City staff met with Attick Towers Residents to discuss the survey and other issues

(3) Technology

Year 2013 saw a number of improvements in the area of technology. City staff addressed issues related to parking payment system. The City also made an upgrade on the infrastructure and A/V Upgrades. Staff also perfected presentation panel in Council Chambers for public meeting. It is in the middle of finalizing contract for the secondary internet connection from Davis Hall. It also evaluated an applicant tracking system. Finally, it worked on City’s  website Redesign initiative. This included (a) Created community group to participate in the process; received input from group about website. (b) Worked with consultant to design homepage; presented homepage to Council for input. (c) Created a sitemap; received input from community group and Council about how to better organize the sitemap; continuing to refine it. (d) Created a website and social policy to help clarify staff roles and responsibilities for content updates. (e) Preparing materials to implement a City Facebook page to be rolled out with or after the live date of the new website. (f) Took photos at community events and in different neighborhoods around the City.

(4) Energy and the Environment

The Council continued to Purchase Renewable Energy Credits. It accepted as an EPA Green Power Community (in partnership with the University of Maryland). It celebrated the GPC accomplishment at College Park Day and published a press release. The City is still listed as a member of the EPA Green Power Leadership Club. It achieves membership in Maryland Green Registry. The staff prepared a 3-year action plan for the Sustainable Maryland Certified program  . The Council put together the Sustainable Maryland Certified Green Team. It continued to seek ways to reduce energy consumption for general operations. The current plan is to consolidate printers in certain departments.. The staff also collected staff survey responses about work commutes and public transportation. They created a survey through CBE subgroup to find out ways to increase business participation in recycling and added questions to the bi-annual resident survey about sustainability efforts. The City partnered with the Chesapeake Conservancy. It maintained Green Power webpage which explains how residents and businesses can pursue clean energy. The City applied for and received a grant through the Maryland Energy Administration for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects

(5) Partnership with University of Maryland

The City has a number of joint initiatives with the University of Maryland. The City negotiated for renewal of Shuttle-UM MOU for resident ridership. The ridership of Shuttle-UM has been increased . The City has worked with the UMD for expanded concurrent jurisdiction. It has also worked with the University to get them to expand the Student Code of Conduct beyond campus. The City has worked with the UMd for the ITGA-UMD-College Park video. It has also implemented the Bike Share program together. The City – UMD’s joint initiative CPCUP (College Park City University partnership) worked hard for the University District 2020 Vision. Aftr opening the College Park Academy, it is now doing the location search for the College Park Academy.

(6) Economic Redevelopment

The City has been supporting the College Park Neighborhood Business Alliance (CPNBA). It has expanded support for the College Park Farmer’s Market at City Hall. It continued working on the grant funds to local businesses through the City’s Commercial Sign Grant Program. The City has created the Commercial Tenant Improvement program to help businesses make necessary site improvements. It advertised and promoted “Free Parking Saturdays” effort Downtown. The City hired a consultant to conduct research for the Marketing Plan. Worked with the consultant to conduct focus groups and interviews for project to create the new tagline and logo. It began marketing campaign displaying the new tagline and logo with information to encourage people to move to College Park. Campaign promoted in the Washington Post Express, the Diamondback, on Google, Pandora Online Radio, as well as on a general webpage through the City’s website. The City also finished Trolley Trail in Old Town

 

 

Bag Bill Comes Back To County Council

Skip bag, Save the riverPrince George’s County Council is considering to vote on the disposable bag fee in their upcoming legislative session.

The bill will allow retailers in the County to charge consumers 5 cents a bag (plastic or paper) as part of their retail sales.

The bill failed 3 times in the past, but Council Woman Mary Lehamn (Dist 1), who is sponsoring the bill,  thinks, the bill may have a better luck this year, as the support for the bill has grown. College Park City Council also supported the bill last year.

The Montgomery County and the D.C. allow their retailers similar fees.

North College Park Crime Report – December 18-24, 2013

Please see below last week’s crime report and let me know if you have any questions.
[mappress mapid=”154″]

Assault

Event

Type

From

To

Location

12/22/13 FIGHT 21:25 23:26 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD

 

Breaking and Entering

Event

Type

From

To

Location

12/22/13 BREAK 16:24 17:36 9600 Blk BALTIMORE AVE

 

Theft

Event

Type

From

To

Location

12/19/13 THEFTA 04:27 05:39 DELAWARE ST/NB BALTIMORE AVE,
12/21/13 THEFTA 07:43 09:19 HAMPTON INN COLLEGE PARK,
12/23/13 THEFTA 11:32 11:32 HOME DEPOT – COLLEGE PARK,

 

City Prepares 23rd Annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration Event

The City of College Park will celebrate its 23rd Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, January 18, 2014 in the Kay Theatre of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, on the campus of the University of Maryland at College Park from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m.

The theme for the 2014 tribute is “The Man (Dr. King, Jr.), Their Mission (those who were with him), and Our Legacy (the responsibility of those who have come after)”.

As in past commemorations, there will be reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr. dream of peace and unity. This grass-roots, community-based event highlights the extraordinary talent in our collective school, church, and community. Please come out, see, and support your neighbor’s artistic abilities!

The Planning Committee invites you to join us on behalf of the City of College Park, the University of Maryland, and the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. If you are intereted, please contact Sharon Fletcher, Office Manager of Public Services Department at Ext. 3573

Restaurant Week Returns Next Month

College Park restaurant week

College Park restaurant week

Following the success of the inaugural restaurant week in August, the City is again working with local restaurants to offer a variety of specials for diners.

The City is anticipating for more than 20 participants, but a full list of restaurants will be available in early January on the
Shop College Park site (shopcollegepark.org). The last year’s participants included Aroy Thai Asian Fusion Restaurant, Azteca Restaurant and Cantina, Big Play Sports Grill, Calvert House Inn (Riverdale Park), The Common (Marriott Inn and Conference Center), Cornerstone Grill & Loft, Fishnet, Hanami Japanese Restaurant, The Jerk Pit, Ledo Restaurant, Looney’s Pub, The Maryland Smokehouse (deals TBA), Ovo Simply Veggie (deals TBA), Pho D’Lite and RJ Bentley’s.

Help Keep College Park a Green Power Community

Green Power Partnership Certificate

Green Power Partnership Certificate

College Park is now a EPA-recognized Green Power Community. But the City needs help from its businesses and residents to maintain the eligibility for the Green Power Community Program with our collaboration with the University of Maryland.

In order to ensure that College Park can obtain and maintain the GPC designation after the first year, the University and the City actively encourage resident and business participation in green power purchases.

Maintaining the GPC designation after the first year requires our community to continue to meet and exceed the GPC’s renewable energy purchase requirements each year.

Businesses and residents can buy clean green energy from the vendors listed here on our website.

Concerns Raised About Starbucks Drive Through in College Park Marketplace

Starbucks College Park

Starbucks College Park

Several residents have raised concerns to me about the drive through of the Starbucks at the College Park Marketplace.

It appears that the drive through was not designed in the best manner for that location. The line at the drive through is backing up onto the service road leading into the shopping center. It looks like the driveway is not long enough to take all the cars that line up during the busiest hours.

One resident told me that this is the 3rd time that he turned off of Cherry Hill Rd. into the shopping center and almost rear end another car. A few other residents expressed a similar concern.

Speaking with the store manager, it appeared to me that they were aware of the issue and assured me to escalate to their upper management. We’ve also asked our engineering and planning staff to take a look at this and come up suggestions. It’s truly is a public safety issue and we hope it’s resolved soon.

City Taps Former Hyattsville Mayor as Assistant City Manager

Bill Gardiner

The City has recently hired the former Hyattsville Mayor, Bill Gardiner as the Assistant City Manager. He will begin work on January 13, 2014.

The City Council decided to create the post of Assistant City manager and set aside salary for this new position in its 2014 budget. The City currently has a City manager, but the new position will help supplement the City manager’s work and some other administrative task.

Bill grew up in LaPlata, Maryland and attended Wake Forest University (B.A., Politics) and the University of Maryland (M.A., Urban Planning). He started his local government career as a planning / economic development intern for Terry Schum in the late 1990s! Bill has more than 10 years of experience in economic development at the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation, where he was Director for Business Resource and Project Analysis. Bill was responsible for new business development, project management, research, and collaboration with M-NCPPC and the federal government.

In 2003, Bill was elected to the first of two four-year terms as Mayor of the City of Hyattsville. As chief executive of the City, he worked closely with City Council, staff, community organizations, and other government entities to modernize services and policies and increase investment. Bill has completed the MML Academy of Leadership, and has been a member of ICMA.

After completing his second term in 2011, Bill relocated to Santiago, Chile, where his wife, Anita, had accepted a faculty position in the School of Education of Catholic University. In Chile, Bill worked as a grant writer and editor for an international non-profit, and completed academic editing and translations for professors. Bill and Anita are looking forward to returning to the area.

We are excited to have Bill joining the City’s executive team. With all his experience he will be able to hit the ground running. We’ll formally welcome him at our Council meeting on January 14, 2014.

College Park Academy’s Search for its New Home Comes to North College Park

The current Alhuda school in north College Park may soon be the new home College Park Academy

The current Alhuda school in north College Park may soon be the new home of the College Park Academy

The Middle to High charter school College Park Academy is considering to locate to north College Park as part of its search for a new location inside College Park.

The Academy opened last year but had to locate in St. Mark’s Church in Adelphi, Hyattsville.

The Academy has been looking into a number of locations inside College Park. They include Old Friends Community school on Calvert Road, Terrapin Traders on Paint Branch Avenue and very recently the Al-Huda school in north College Park.

The AlHuda school has been for sale for several months after it decided to move to a new 66-acre location in Cookesville, Howard county.

The Academy will be free to all Prince George’s County students. There may possibly be some guaranteed seats for the College Park students. The school is a joint initiative of the City of College Park, the University of Maryland, the County and the State of Maryland.

College Park Academy aims to be in the list of  top 25 College preparatory schools in the entire country. Qualified students will be able to earn college credits while in high school, including up to 60 college credits, with up to 25 University of Maryland credits.

With the complete build-out, the Academy is expected to have 700 students. The Al-Huda School currently has about 650 students.

Members of the North College Park Civic Association (NCPCA) discussed academy’s proposed move to Al-Huda school at its December meeting. The Academy board member, former Council member Bob Catlin updated the residents about the latest development about Academy’s search.

The local residents generally expressed strong interest in the acquisition proposal of Al-Huda school. The north College Park has a good elementary school (Hollywood Elementary), however because of the lack of a quality middle and high school, many families leave the neighborhood after their children come out of Hollywood. A quality middle and high school will help keep these families stay inside the city.

Due to the fact that the school is located inside a residential neighborhood (please see the map below), traffic is a major concern for residents who live in the immediate vicinity of the school. The Academy may consider multiple ways to mitigate those concerns. They include having a shuttle bus service to transport students from a staging area to the school, car pooling and encouraging students to take Greenbelt Metro, which is located only a few minutes walking distance from the school. There have been discussion to improve Edgewood road, which is fairly narrow at the entrance of the school.

[mappress mapid=”152″]

The Academy has made a few visits to the AlHuda school recently and will meet again with the residents next month.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Council Sets its 2014 Schedule

College Park City Hall

College Park City Hall

As you know the Council is currently in recess and will be back on January 7 next year.

Before it went to recess, the Council voted on the meeting schedule for the next year, to conduct worksessions on the first and third Tuesdays of every month and regular Council meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month, with the exception of June, July, August and December, when worksessions will be held only on the first Tuesday of the month and regular meetings only on the second Tuesday.

On the following weeks, due to City and Federal events and holidays, the usual Tuesday meeting will be switched to Wednesday: August 6 (National Night Out), and November 5 (General Election Day), November 11 (Veterans Day).

The Council budget worksessions will be held on Saturday, April 5 and Saturday, April 12.

Also, the July meetings will be shifted back one week due to the Fourth of July holiday and the June meetings will be held on the first and third Tuesdays due to the Maryland Municipal League convention.

City’s Parking Zones

The City has 12 parking zones. Combined, they cover 13.3 miles, or 25% of the City’s 52 miles of streets. See them below in details.

Parking zone map

Parking zone map

Parking zones

Parking zones

Safety Tips During Winter Break

I received these safety tips from UMD’s Campus Housing Services. Most of them apply to our non-student residents as well.

At your home and your UMD home away from home:
• Keep doors and windows locked, regardless of whether they are upper or lower level windows/entrances.
• Before you leave your home, check to be sure that all windows and doors locked.
• Require identification from all strangers (includes delivery/repair persons and police officers). If you’re not sure of a person’s ID, call the person’s company/agency to verify.
• Never leave notes/messages on your door since they advertise that you’re away and when you plan to return.
• Don’t ever tell anyone that you are home alone.
• Use blinds and drapes for privacy.
• Ensure bushes are trimmed back to remove hiding places for potential criminals.
• Ensure your home has good interior and exterior lighting for safety and protection.
• Always have car/house keys in hand before exiting secured areas.
• Keep hands free of excessive packages/bulky items when you’re travelling to/from your home.
• Never enter your home if you see that a door or window has been forced. Get to the nearest space place and contact the local police immediately.
• Never place a key over your doorway or under a flower pot, etc. If you think you may need access to a spare key, consider leaving a key with a trusted friend or neighbor.
• Don’t display presents under the tree if they can be seen from a window.

If you will be away for all / part of the winter break:
• Stop mail and newspaper deliveries.
• Place lights on a timer to give the appearance of someone being home.
• Take valuable items such as jewelry, money, laptops, iPods, TVs, etc., with you to avoid potential theft.
• Double-check to be sure all windows and doors are locked and secured before you leave.
• Ask a friend or a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your residence while you are away.

When Out Shopping:
• Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
• Walk in well-lit, populated areas; avoid cut-through paths and short-cuts.
• Try to park in busy, well-lit areas and avoid parking beside large vehicles which can obstruct views.
• Lock your car doors and place all valuables in the trunk or under the seats.
• Avoid carrying large sums of cash. Pay with a check, debit card, or credit cards.
• Keep your purse closed and close to your body and/or carry your wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.

Important Safety Resources (Program these numbers into your mobile phone)
Prince George’s County Police
911 from mobile phone
301-352-1200 (non-emergency)
www.co.pg.md.us/Government/PublicSafety/Police/

North College Park Crime Report: December 9-17, 2013

Please see below last week’s crime report and let me know if you have any questions.
[mappress mapid=”151″]

Theft

Event

 

Type

From

To

Location

[12/09/13] Theft 16:39 17:08 4700 CHERRY HILL RD,
[12/13/13] THEFT 16:33 17:23 9530 BALTIMORE AVE

Theft from Auto

Event

 

Type

From

To

Location

#L13343 THEFTA 17:17 18:13 9300 Block CHERRY HILL RD

 

MD Congressional Delegation Voices Support for FBI Move to Greenbelt

The FBI Headquarters in D.C.

The FBI Headquarters in D.C.

The entire Maryland Congressional Delegation has voiced support for Prince George’s location; Sent joint letter to FBI Director and GSA Administrator.

Yesterday, U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin along with Representatives Steny Hoyer and Donna F. Edwards (all D-Md.) voiced their continued strong support for a proposed site in Greenbelt, Maryland to serve as the future home of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

As a leading candidate for the new location for the FBI headquarters, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker submitted a proposal yesterday to meet the GSA’s December 17 deadline.

“We stand firmly behind Prince George’s County as the right choice for the new headquarters of the FBI and support County Executive Baker’s proposal for the Greenbelt site. Prince George’s County has the ability to donate, at no cost to the federal government, the proposed location that meets the size requirements and is located directly adjacent to a Metro station,” Team Maryland said.

The Delegation said “An honest analysis of the cost of operations, security, convenience of location for staff, transportation options, and the promotion of regional equity in federal facility distribution should make the proposed Greenbelt, Maryland site the choice location for FBI. This project would bring thousands of jobs to the County, boost our local economy and generate additional revenues for our community. As GSA continues to move forward with the process of selecting a site, we will be working closely together to advocate for bringing this project, and the new economic opportunities that will accompany it, to Prince George’s County.

Earlier this year, Senators Mikulski and Cardin along with the entire Maryland Congressional delegation, including Representatives Steny H. Hoyer, Elijah E. Cummings, Chris Van Hollen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John P. Sarbanes, Donna F. Edwards, Andy Harri and John Delaney, sent a letter to the heads of the FBI and GSA that strongly support a site in Prince George’s County, Maryland, for the future home of the FBI. Their letter notes a Maryland state report that found 43 percent of FBI employees call Maryland home, more than any other jurisdiction. A copy of that letter is available here.

December Leaf Collection Schedule

December Leaf Collection Schedule

December Leaf Collection Schedule

The City has updated the December leaf collection schedule.

According to the schedule, the leaf collection will happen tomorrow and Thursday on the west side of Rhode Island Avenue. Public Works will come to the east of Rhode Island next week, on next Monday and Tuesday.

The final leaf collection will happen next month, on January 6th and 7th , in west and east side of Rhode Island.

Also, please consider the following information and adhere to the rules of leaf collection season:

  • Rake leaves to the curb. Pile leaves away from cars and storm drains. The leaf vacuum cannot reach around cars.
  • Remove tree limbs, rocks, trash, and other debris from leaves to be collected. They can damage the equipment and cause delays.
  • Noise and dust may be noticeable. Dry conditions generate more dust. We apologize for any inconvenience.
  • If you bag leaves, please put them out when the leaf vacuum is scheduled. Yard waste trucks will not be collecting bagged yard waste during your regular trash and recycling day during this time.
  • Use paper yard waste bags or approved reusable containers.
  • Do not put them out with regular trash.
  • No bagging is necessary in the fall.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

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