City’s New Resident Guide is Beautiful, and Useful. Check it Out Today

The City has recently published the Resident Information Guide. All City’s homeowners should be receiving the guide by mail. In case you haven’t received it , you can check it out here on City’s website:

The guide is online and visible on City’s homepage.  There’s a button that says “Resident Guide”

This handy booklet gives us the most pertinent information about City Services and how we can play a role in making our community a better place for everyone.

Some residents asked why it took a while to get the guide. The delay was somewhat related to City’s new website which went out recently. Staff wanted the Resident Guide to better reflect what was on the City’s website and to direct residents looking for further information or reference to the correct links (which couldn’t have been done until the new website was completely finished).  City’s new website launched in late October but tweaks were still happening through December/January.  Staff began creating the new resident guide in-house in December which included a lot of revisions to structure, layout, and information provided. Printing and mailing took about a month.   

I also got a few questions on the budget for the guide. Printing and mailing 5,500 copies (including some extras to provide for those who need another copy) costs about $10,200, plus about $1,700 to translate it into Spanish (which is currently being done).

Going forward, Council May decide to send it out twice a year.  There could be a Spring/Summer edition and a Fall/Winter edition mailed to residents.  That way the City can better tailor the information to the season, events, and highlight what’s going on in the City in the very near future.

Tracking Down City Hall’s Rising Project Cost

If built on the latest design, the City Hall project is the most expensive project that the City has undertaken since its incorporation back in 1945. What started out as a less than a $4 million project back in 2011, is now estimated to cost nearly $19 million to complete, according to the FY 2020 draft budget, which was published last week.

City Hall project cost from 2011 to 2019 (Estimated, cumulative)

Need for a Larger City Hall

For many years, there have been many discussions about the future of the existing building on Knox Road to accommodate the space need of our City staff. The existing Building on Knox Road is 12,498 SF. Back in 1990, a consultant analysis projected that 18,000 SF deficit by 2005, to meet the growing need of a larger City Hall.

In 1996, the current building was extensively renovated. In 2003, the City issued an RFP (Request for Proposals) to real estate developers for a downtown parking garage and the City Hall redevelopment project. At that time, several sites were evaluated for the relocation of City Hall but ultimately the proposed private sector development on the site failed to move forward and only the downtown parking garage was built.

Expanding Current City Hall

In May 2011, City staff decided that the most expedient and cost-effective solution to address the space need is for the City Hall to remain at its present location and be expanded. Accordingly, the City secured Frederick based construction and architectural company Profitt & Associates P.C. to look into this expansion and renovation work. According to the project proposal, it was estimated to take about 12 to 16 months to complete the project. In February 2012, the City Council discussed the project further. The idea was to keep the current 16,670 square foot building and add an extension of 25,460 programmed square feet and 2,900 square feet for future expansion and storage. Please see above a rendering of the proposed design. The recommendations included: (1) Remodel the basement and first floor and leave the Council chambers largely intact, but replace the windows and the air conditioning to allow for greater efficiency; (2) Build a three-story addition with a green roof for a new lobby, office space, and meeting rooms. Out of the $3.68 million total expenses, $2.72M was expected to be spent on the new construction of the addition and the remaining (.96M) was to be spent on the renovation of the existing building.

Redevelopment Options at Knox and Calvert Sites

Later in 2012, the renovation/addition plan was put on hold. The decision was driven by two reasons (a) Possible availability of Route 1 frontage and opportunity to work with the UM Foundation on other options and (b) Availability of 4601 Calvert Road site, where our current Public Services office is located.

On October 28, 2014, the City held a public forum on the future City Hall options. The two site options include:
(1) The current Knox Road site: This includes tearing down the site and rebuilding a new building there.
(2) Rebuilding at the 4601 Calvert Road site

City staff made a presentation about two options. The cost to rebuild the City Hall at the Knox Road site was estimated at $7.9 million. Please see the slide comparing the costs in two options. The cost figures include the costs for site and building demolition, site work, renovation and construction.

Stone IndustrialSite

On November 17, 2014, the City Council discussed briefly another possible site – the Stone Industrial site, located just south of the Public Works building. The site came to the market around that time.  The assessed value of the Stone Industrial site was about $5.65 million. The site (please see below) had 3 buildings in 17 acres of land ( compared to 1.23 acres of Knox Rd site and 3.73 acres of the old Calvert Rd school site).

Knox Rd Site Selected

On November 24, 2014, the City Council selected the current Knox Road site to build a new City Hall there. A motion to table the vote to consider all possible sites (including the Stone Industrial site) was defeated by 5-3.

Joint Development with the University

In 2015, City staff and the University of Maryland held a meeting to review design options for a joint development on the City Hall block between Baltimore Avenue and Yale Avenue (please see below).

A conceptual design was presented before the City Council worksession in August 2015. Please see that design below. According to the concept plan,
two buildings joined by a common atrium. A single building with a 30,000 SF City Hall and a separate 45,000 SF of university offices would be built next to the new City Hall. A significant public plaza would occupy the Route 1 frontage and approximately 10,000 SF of retail could be accommodated initially on the ground floor of the university offices. A small amount of surface parking would be provided on site with most of the parking provided in the existing garage.

City Acquires Route 1 Properties

At a November 2017 meeting, the City Council introduced an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of properties located at 7409 and 7411 Baltimore Avenue (Route 1) using eminent domain. These properties were owned by Mrs. Margaret Jeanne Kurz Byrd of Melbourne Beach, FL. City Staff had been in discussions with Mrs. Byrd and her son, William Byrd, since October 2016 concerning the City’s interest in acquiring these two key parcels of land. Unfortunately, these discussions had not resulted in an understanding between the City and the Byrd family. In the end, the City did not need to use the eminent domain option. The City and the seller (Mrs. Byrd) entered into a purchase agreement. Businesses on the block were affected by the acquisition.

At the March 2018 meeting, the City Council approved an agreement of sale to purchase property located at 7409 and 7411 Baltimore Avenue for a total price of $1,600,000. The sale would allow the City to move forward with redevelopment of the current City Hall block.

In the summer of 2018, Staff estimated the total cumulative cost of the City Hall project at $12.8 million, with an estimated end date in FY 2013. Please see below the details of that estimate:

City Hall Project funding and expenditure sheet, according to the FY 2019 draft Budget

One City Hall Building with UMD Offices in It

At the November 2018 Council meeting, the new City Hall architecture team presented a concept plan of the new City Hall building that will include University of Maryland offices in it. Please see below a model of the proposed 3-D model the architecture team presented at the meeting. According to the new design, there will be retail on the lower levels and University office space on the third and fourth levels.

At the February 18, 2019 meeting, the staff and the City’s financial advisors from Davenport and Company provided information on how the City can finance the City Hall project, along with possible financing options for other significant capital projects that are in process. Two financing options were presented (a) Option to finance $12 million for the City Hall project (b) $16 million for City Hall and other capital projects

Financing $12 million for the City Hall project will be in addition to nearly $6 million City has accumulated in the project’s account over the years, since 2012, as shown below:

FY 12  $ 400,000
FY 13 $ 1,500,000
FY 16 $ 228,000
FY 17 $ 902,410
FY 18 $ 1,000,000
FY 19 $ 1,000,000
Total $5,530,410

Additionally, as of February 2019, the City accumulated a total of $315,900 through other funding sources. These sources include State Bond, Community legacy grant, inter-project transfer, and rents from the stores on the Route 1 property acquired.

With these additional funding sources, the current total figure for the cumulative funding sources is $5,846,310.

With the proposed borrowing of $12 million, the estimated total cost may hit at $18 million mark.

In the draft FY 2020 budget published in March 2019, the total figures are estimated at nearly $19 million. Please see below the details of that estimate .

City Hall Project funding and expenditure sheet, according to the FY 2020 draft Budget

The Borrowing Effect on Future Projects

What does the borrowing a large sum of money for the City Hall project mean? Financing $12 million and $16 million will increase City’s debt service to operating expenditures ratio from the current level of 3% to nearly 8% and 10% respectively. The current 3% debt service ratio reflects the debts the City is carrying for the downtown garage project. Please see below the graph presented by the financial advisers at the Council meeting.

It’s recommended to keep this ratio under the 10% level, thus financing a large amount now will severely limit other potential major capital projects in the near future.

Summer jobs for ages 14-22 – Deadline March 22

The Prince George’s County Youth@Work/Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP) provides an opportunity for young people to participate in career development, life-skills training and summer employment opportunities. The deadline to apply is March 22, and employment runs from June 24 – August 2. Ages 14-17 earn $9.80/hour and ages 18-22 earn $11.50/hour. 

Please see below for more information. Visit YouthAtWork.mypgc.us or call 301-883-6200 to learn how to apply. 

[Source: MD District 21 Delegation]

Council Delays Public Hearing on Bulk Trash Collection

On Tuesday, March 12, 2019, the Mayor and Council decided to delay the Public Hearing on Ordinance 19-O-05 (Bulky Trash) in order to allow additional time to consider the legislation.

A new Public Hearing date has not been scheduled at this time. A notice will be posted once the date has been determined.

The Council will most likely discuss the ordinance one more time in another future worksession, before it schedules the new public hearing and vote.

Recently, I asked staff how jurisdictions around College Park address the issue of bulk trash abuse . They all do it somewhat differently.

For example, Montgomery County does not have a limit on item amount per collection , but has a limit on number of collections per year. Montgomery County also has a transfer station which accepts items and will charge residents for drop off materials that weigh over 500 pounds. The DC DPW currently has a 7-item limit. For more than 7 items, customers need to make additional appointments. Another advantage factor for DC is that they have a transfer stations that customers can drop off bulk items daily. The City of Laurel have a base minimum fee of $10.00 and a fee chart below for every item. https://www.cityoflaurel.org/dpw/collections/bulky-items Berwyn Heights charges for special trash that is more than 3 cubic yards and charges for appliances containing freon and tires. Additional information is listed in the SCS Bulk Trash report.

The SCS report and recommendations (http://bit.ly/2UAUkxn) are based on data provided by City’s Public Works Department (DPW). The data include the number of requested collections and their tonnage throughout the year. Unfortunately, the data does not include the number of items per each collection from residences, as the DPW does not keep track of the item counts per collection now.

Electric Line Relocation May Cause Traffic Congestion on Route 1

From Maryland State Highway Administration:

US 1 (Baltimore Avenue) from College Avenue to MD 193 (University Boulevard)


Beginning this March, utility crews will be working along US 1 within the project limits specified above performing electricity infrastructure work and will intermittently close traffic lanes during the following weekday hours:

• Northbound: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Southbound 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Drivers should add extra commute time and use alternate routes during this work. The work may require temporary work zone sidewalk closures. Pedestrians will be directed via signage to the safest crossing in the work zone—including those on the opposite side of the road. Additional work hours and lane closures may be necessary to complete all phases of work and keep the project on schedule.

Progress permitting, this electricity infrastructure relocation work should be complete by early fall. Equipment used for this work may be disruptive. For more information about this US 1 electricity infrastructure relocation work, please contact Mr. John Gover, Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) District 3 Area Construction Engineer at 301-513-7336 or wgover@sha.state.md.us.

Tonight’s NCPCA Meeting

Agenda Times & Topics are subject to change.  Draft minutes of the February 14, 2019 NCPCA meeting will be distributed at the meeting and may also be posted at www.myncpca.org
7:30  Call to Order and urgent announcements regarding conduct of meeting, followed by motion to approve the agenda with any changes this evening.
7:35  Recognition of Arthur Eaton.  Arthur was a long-time resident of our community, and previously served as President and Vice President of NCPCA.  He passed away on February 17.
7:45  NCPCA Letter – Community Center in North College Park.  A letter developed by Mary Cook (NCPCA Community Center Committee) from NCPCA to Sen. Rosapepe with many cc’s will be read for approval.
8:00  NCPCA Letter – Hollywood Streetscape, Exercise Path and Narragansett Run.  A letter developed by Mary Cook (from NCPCA to Prince George’s Councilmember Tom Dernoga) will be read for approval.
8:10 NCPCA Bylaws & Membership Dues.  The four items below were discussed on Jan. 10, and formal motions were introduced on Feb. 14.  NCPCA Bylaws are at https://myncpca.org/legal .  Today, we will vote on all four of the following:
1.  Bylaws Change to Article 1 Name.  The following text is proposed for addition to the Bylaws, after the current text:  NCPCA is incorporated in the State of Maryland as North College Park Citizens Association, and uses that name for all tax and legal purposes.
2.  Bylaws Change to Article IV Membership Section 3.  The following text is proposed for deletion:  The Association may, in addition to dues, assess an annual mailing fee to cover the cost of sending the newsletter and other communications by postal mail.
3.  Bylaws Change to Article V Meeting Section 5 Quorum.  A quorum at a meeting shall be at least seven NCPCA members.
4.  Dues Increase.  Dues of NCPCA shall be $10 per year, starting on June 1 and ending on May 31, 2020.  Note:  Dues must be paid before the NCPCA officer elections on June 9, 2019.
8:25  NCPCA City Budget Priorities.  The list of priorities was developed with input of members on February 14, but due to very low attendance on that date the priorities were notsent to City Council.  The priorities will be quickly reviewed, and a motion to allow members who were not present on February 14 to add their priorities will be considered.
8:30  Break & Refreshments.  Members are always welcome to bring something to share while all of us enjoy a quick break and complete the budget priorities exercise.
 8:35  Tax Update.  Larry Bleau will present some highlights of recent tax changes.
8:45  NCPCA Picnic Update.  News about planning for the Hollywood Heritage Picnic event in Spring will be presented. 
8:55  Approval of Minutes, Officers Reports.  Minutes of our February 14 meeting will be approved, and NCPCA Officers will provide reports. 
9:00  NCPCA Officer Election Nominating Committee.  Elections will be June 13, and all offices will be selected by vote on that date.  Members are needed to develop a list of candidates for each office and to create ballots.

Bike to Work Day is Back!

On Friday, May 17, 2019, join new riders and veteran bicycle commuters in a celebration of biking as a fun, healthy way to get to work. Drop by the City Hall pit stop on your way to work for food, beverages, fun, and prizes!

Be sure to register early – the first 20,000 to sign up across the region will be guaranteed a free t-shirt.

For more information and to register, please click here


Save the Date: Spring Cleanup Events

April is spring cleanup month. The Department of Public Works, 9217 51st Avenue, will be open each Saturday from 7:30 a.m. – noon for City residents to drop-off bulky trash, electronics for recycling, brush, and yard trim. You must be a resident of the City of College Park and bring proof of City residency in order to participate.
Document shredding. Onsite document shredding services will be available on Saturday, April 20, during the Cleanup event from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Bring your paperwork to be shredded while you wait. Residency is required.

For any information related to refuse, recycling, or other Public Works related items, contact the Department at: 240-487-3590 or publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov.

The Department is located at 9217 51st Ave.

Illegal Dumping May Cost More in College Park

At tomorrow’s meeting, the City Council will discuss and possibly introduce ordinance 19-O-07 amending City Code, to increase the fine for the initial and each subsequent violation of illegal dumping to $1,000.

Currently, the fines for the initial violation is $50, the subsequent violation in 6 months is $100. State law allows the City to increase its fines to a maximum $1,000 per violation.

State law allows the City to increase its fines to a maximum $1,000 per violation. In order to create a greater disincentive to littering, staff recommends that the Council considers increasing the fine for the initial and each subsequent violation to the maximum allowed of $1,000 per occurrence.

Once and if fine amounts are increased, staff anticipates posting signage such as “No Dumping, Maximum
Penalty $1,000 Fine” and “Warning, This Property is Under Video Surveillance. No Dumping. Violators Will
Be Prosecuted” in areas prone to illegal dumping along with necessary surveillance equipment.
If introduced, the public hearing for Ordinance 19-O-07 could be scheduled for March 26, 2019. After
further review of Chapter 132, additions to this draft Ordinance may be provided to Mayor and Council at the
beginning of next week for their consideration.

City Releases FY 2020 Draft Budget

The FY2020 City of College Park Proposed Operating Budget with 5-Year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is available here: http://bit.ly/2ENB1KR

Copies will be available for inspection in the City Hall lobby; Davis Hall reception; and Youth, Family & Senior Services building lobby beginning Monday, March 11. Copies are also available by contacting the Department of Finance. FY2020 Proposed Budget Summary brochures are also available at those locations.

To view the FY2020 budget schedule, the current proposed budget or past budgets, please visit collegeparkmd.gov/budget.

Public City Council budget worksession meetings are scheduled for March 23 and 30, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

[City of College Park]

College Park February 2019 PGPD Crime Map

The College Park February 2019 PGPD crime map was generated from the PGPD crime data for the period of February 2- March 2, 2019 (Beat 7) and January 31 – March 4, 2019 (Beat 6). The interactive map can be seen here: https://www.easymapmaker.com/map/283e94560160f0db68ad2d24a6746b3e.

Here is the summary of crime incidents by major neighborhoods:

North College Park – 12

Mid-town (Berwyn/Lakeland) – 8

Old town / Calvert Hill- 3

West College Park – 0

Yarrow and Estates – 2

Additional crime incidents inside the UMD campus and the surrounding areas can be found here on the UMPD website: https://www.umpd.umd.edu/stats/incident_logs.cfm?year=2019&month=2

Feedback Needed! College Park Preschool Parents Survey and Focus Groups

Please see below an exciting opportunity for the parents looking for quality daycare in College Park. For the community parents, there will be a focus group meeting, next Tuesday, at 6:30 pm, at Davis Hall. Please see below for more details about the event and the survey you can take to give your feedback. Thank you! ======================= Dear friends, The Children’s Guild, in response to an identified need for more opportunities for quality preschool education in the College Park community, will be opening a preschool in 2020 off Rhode Island Ave. for children ages 3-5. The Children’s Guild has been running schools in Maryland for more than 65 years. They would very much appreciate you being a part of a focus group and/or filling out a survey so that they can ensure that we will be providing an academic preschool education that meets the needs of parents in the community. Focus group dates and times: (1) For College Park Community Parents When: Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m.(light dinner will be served) Where: Davis Hall 9317 51st Avenue, College Park, MD 20740 (2) For University of Maryland College Park Parents When: Tuesday, March 12 at noon (lunch will be served) Where: WeWork 7761 Diamondback Drive, Suite 1A College Park, MD 20740 If you have a child in preschool or who will be starting preschool in the future, please complete this short survey and, if available, sign-up for a focus group session! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZSPQWZB Thank you, Valerie Woodall, Senior Program Associate College Park City-University Partnership vwoodall@collegeparkpartnership.org, 845-649-2477 =====================

Gateway Park Construction Begins


In case you’re wondering what is going on at the corner of Route 1 and Edgewood Rd, it’s the construction of the Gateway Park, that just started this week (Finally!!!) As you’ve noticed, the area on 47th Place along the site’s frontage is cordoned off and no parking will be allowed here during the construction phase. Construction is slated to be completed by September 1. Staff will meet with the contractor (McDonnell Landscaping) on a regular basis and relevant news and information will be shared going forward.

Council May Change Certain Noise Code

At the Council Worksession on December 4, 2018, the Mayor and Council discussed legislation in other jurisdictions, such as Baltimore County, Maryland, Arlington County Virginia, and Prince George’s County that is used to control noise in their communities.

In response to the Council discussions, Staff is proposing the following changes to our noise code:

(i) Define “DAY” as a period between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday; and, 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Define “NIGHT” as the period between 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on Monday through Friday; and, 9:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

(ii) Certain construction activities producing noise which exceeds the noise limits shall be permitted only during the “Day”. Continuous noise originating from construction sites should not exceed ninety (90) dBA at the construction site property line.

(iii) Allow some noise from certain special Events, as long as Short-term or seasonal activities may not exceed ninety (90) dBA at the event property line

(iv) The following activities or sources of noise shall be exempt from the noise Code, and shall not require a permit: (a) Certain athletic contests and activities (b) Religious facility bells or carillons; (c) Religious or political gatherings and other activities protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; (d) Activities for which the regulation of noise has been preempted by Maryland or federal law; ( e ) Audible signal devices which are employed as warning or alarm signals in case of fire, emergency, collision, theft, or burglary, or imminent danger, etc (f) Noise that is emitted in conjunction with a duly-authorized parade; (g) Electricity-generating systems used to provide emergency backup electric power. (h) Certain athletic contests and other scheduled events if held between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. (i) A sound resulting from the operation of an aircraft. (j) Certain outdoor event on a private property 

Community Police Meeting – This Thursday, March 7, 7 pm, at MoM’s Cafe

Please come meet with the police officers who work hard to keep our neighborhoods safe in College Park. This is an excellent opportunity to bring your crime-related concerns directly to the police officers. We’ll share crime maps and discuss incidents and how to make our homes and neighborhoods safer.

My Organic Market (MoMs) has graciously offered to host the meeting. MoMs is located in the Hollywood Shopping Center near the intersection of Rhode Island Ave. and Edgewood Rd. Feel free to grab a snack or a meal and sit, relax, and enjoy the meeting.

The month’s meeting will be held on Thursday, March 7, 7-8 pm. Hope to see many of you. Everyone is invited. Bring a friend! Please contact Carol Macknis (macknis@verizon.net) or me (fkabir@collegeparkmd.gov)

My Organic Market (MoMs) has graciously offered to host the meeting. MoMs is located in the Hollywood Shopping Center near the intersection of Rhode Island Ave. and Edgewood Rd. Feel free to grab a snack or a meal and sit, relax, and enjoy the meeting.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 7, 7-8 pm. Hope to see many of you.

Everyone is invited. Bring a friend! Please contact Carol Macknis (macknis@verizon.net) or me (fkabir@collegeparkmd.gov)

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