Limited Community Garden Plots Available

Calling all gardeners!

A few plots are available at the Old Town Community Garden and Hollywood Garden.

Garden plots are $15 and are on a first-come first-serve basis. Submission of an application does not guarantee availability.

The Department of Planning and Community Development will follow up with plot availability and payment options after the application is received. Please apply for plots at collegeparkmd.gov/communitygardenapp. For more information, contact khart@collegeparkmd.gov.

What Do You Think to Make College Park Greener?

The Committee for a Better Environment (CBE) wants to hear from you about making College Park greener! College Park is committed to going green to create a more livable city that has lower impacts on the Earth. CBE is a volunteer committee of residents dedicated to making College Park greener. We would like to hear from you about steps you are taking to be sustainable and any actions the City can take.
Results from this survey will help us understand what residents are doing to go green in their lives, how sustainable College Park is overall, and provide important information about what residents think are priorities for the City.
Please take a few minutes to tell us about your activities and views on sustainability. We want to hear from homeowners, renters, students – everyone who lives in College Park. The survey is also available here. This is a fairly quick survey and should be reflective of your current practices. The survey is anonymous. Please complete the survey by March 25, 2021 at 11:50 p.m. Thanks in advance for your feedback!
[City of College Park]

Community Meeting on Pedestrian and Road Safety

Do you and your family feel safe as you walk, bike, or drive on College Park’s streets? What do you think the City should be doing more to help improve public safety on City streets, sidewalks, and crosswalks? Please join your neighbors, City officials, and our police officers to discuss this important topic at next Monday’s Community Police meeting.

Additionally, we’ll also discuss the latest crime map and the Neighborhood Watch program. Please see below how to join the conversation and share with your neighbors! Thank you!
When: 7:30 pm, Monday, March 8, 2021
Join by Zoom: http://b.link/CPCommunityPolice
Join by phone: (301) 715 – 8592, Meeting ID: 863 9609 7322, Password: 464259

Tonight: District 21 Town Hall on COVID VAccine and More

COVID-19 vaccines are in high demand and short supply. Maryland trails more than 40 states in getting vaccines in people’s arms.
The District 21 delegation is hosting an online Town Hall to talk about the vaccine rollout and how we can improve vaccine distribution.
Most importantly, the Delegation wants to hear from you — your questions and how we can help you.
The expert guests will be Dr. Ligia Peralta (pictured), Associate Profes­sor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology and Director of the Adolescent HIV Program of the De­partment of Pediatrics, UMD School of Medicine and Dr. Boris Lushniak, former US Surgeon General and now Dean of the University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health.
Please join the town hall today, Thursday, March 4, at 7 pm.
District 21 legislators are on the COVID 19 oversight workgroup and are sponsoring legislation to expand testing, tracing, and vaccinations.
Please email 21st Delegations at 21stDistrictDelegation@gmail.com or call at 301-858-3141 to let us know how they can help you.

SMARTLEAF® Compost and Wood Mulch are Available at DPW!

Delivery services have resumed for College Park’s SMARTLEAF® Compost and Wood Mulch products!

We will only be running one truck to start on limited days (Thursday/Friday), so spots will fill up quickly until more trucks become available.

Request a Compost or Wood Mulch Delivery:

You can pickup material year-round at the Department of Public Works, 9217 51st Avenue, College Park, MD 20740. Pickups are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For more information about purchasing Compost or Wood Mulch please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/gardens.

[City of College Park]

Where will the College Park Senior’s Bus Go?

City of College Park Senior Bus

There is no fee for College Park Seniors

The City of College Park Seniors Program offers curb-to-curb bus transportation to City residents aged 62 and older. A minimum 2- business day notice is required. Rides are provided as scheduling allows.

Priority is given for medical appointments and shopping within Prince George’s County, inside a 7- mile radius of the city.

COVID-19 Vaccines
Extended boundary transportation service may be scheduled to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine, within Prince George’s County, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. More limited service may be available for vaccines on Monday, Wednesday and Friday after 3:00 p.m.

Rides are subject to scheduling and capacity restrictions.

Please call the Seniors Program at 301-345-8100 to schedule or for more information.

[City of College Park]

Forum to Discuss School Reopening, Virtual Learning, and More..

Hollywood Elementary School

Prince George’s County Public Schools will begin hybrid learning in April, with families able to opt-in or out. Families can choose to split students’ time between in-person classes two days a week and remote learning or stay all-virtual. For more information, visit https://www.pgcps.org/reopen/.

To give you updates from PGCPS on the 2020-2021 school year, virtual learning, to share collective experiences, and to address concerns about the remainder of the school year, City’s Educational Advisory Committee will be holding a Town Hall with Joshua Thomas, District 2 Board of Education representative on Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Use this link to participate: zoom.us/j/97952972640.

New Multi-family Housing Coming at the Corner of Hartwick and Route 1

The proposed development ( the Terrapin House), at the northeast corner of Route 1 and Hartwick Road is a mixed-use retail/multifamily building with 160-175 units and 10,000-15,000 square feet of retail.

The Applicant, 12300 Carrol Investors, LLC. and Terrapin Main Street, LLC. has submitted a Conceptual Site Plan (CSP) request to rezone lots 9 and 10 on Yale Avenue in the Old Town neighborhood from R-55 to MUI, DDOZ.

The Applicant plans a future redevelopment to include Parcel A and Lots 9-12. The Planning Board hearing date is scheduled for March 25, 2021, and a future District Council hearing will be scheduled to approve the zoning request.

The Council will consider supporting the concept plan.

Council Supports Special Exception Request by the Children Guild’s Preschool

At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, the Council supported Special Exception (SE) request by the Children’s Guild, Inc to allow the replacement of a 50-child daycare center with a 120-child pre-school within the existing College Park United Methodist Church at 9601 Rhode Island Avenue (northeast quadrant of the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and Hollywood Road).

The property is zoned R-55 which allows private schools on property less than 5 acres as a Special Exception. The Planning Board hearing date is scheduled for March 4, 2021.

The traffic and parking issues were two major concerns we heard from the surrounding residents and the members of the NCPCA (who supported the project). As much as we support this wonderful new amenity in the neighborhood, we are also sensitive to the concerns our neighbors have about its potential negative impact.

Our staff and attorneys have worked with the Children Guilds and the Church administration to address these concerns in the best way possible. Regarding the traffic issue, the school said they will consider implementing a staggered drop-off and pick-up plan of the children attending the school, to reduce the volume of traffic during any given time. Here are 2 conditions regarding the traffic and parking in the Declaration of Covenants between the City, the School, and the Church.

CONDITION 3: Prior to issuance of the use and occupancy permit for the pre-school with 120 students, Children’s Guild shall prepare a traffic access plan (“Plan”) that is acceptable to the City for the dropping off and picking up of students. As part of the Plan, Children’s Guild shall provide that all drop off and pick up of students will take place by means of a one-way loop, to be reflected on the Special Exception Site Plan, from 50th Avenue, through the southernmost parking lot. In the event that the Plan is changed, the Applicant will notify the City. Upon request, the Applicant will provide a copy of the Plan to the City. In the event a complaint is received by the City about the operation of the Plan, the Applicant and City agree to meet and confer with respect to an appropriate solution.

CONDITION 4. Prior to issuance of the use and occupancy permit for the pre-school for 120 students, Children’s Guild shall prepare a parking plan (“Parking Plan”) acceptable to the City that accommodates parking on-site for the school and other permissible activities, if any, that may take place during the hours that the school is open. The Parking Plan will include designated spaces for school faculty, staff and visitors, while also accommodating spaces for permissible activities that take place in other parts of the church buildings during school hours. In the event that the Parking Plan is changed, Children’s Guild will notify the City. Upon request, Children’s Guild will provide a copy of the Parking Plan to the City. In the event a complaint is received by the City about the operation of the Parking Plan, Children’s Guild, the Church and the City agree to meet and confer with respect to an appropriate solution.

Extending Council Term May be on this November Ballot Again

At next week’s worksession, the Council will discuss placing this issue of extending Council term from 2 to 4 years on the 2021 ballot and developing a voter education plan.

In early 2018 Mayor and Council adopted priorities that included consideration of a Charter amendment creating four-year staggered terms, transitioning four district seats to four at-large seats, and mid-term redistricting. Subsequently, Council decided to move forward only with the exploration of four-year staggered terms.

In November 2018 Council created a Charter Review Commission to evaluate the pros and cons of lengthening the term for the office of Mayor and Councilmembers to four years; to solicit resident input and conduct other research as deemed appropriate by the Commission, and prepare an information report that discusses the benefits and concerns associated with changing the length of the elected terms. The final report of the Charter Review Commission was submitted to the Mayor and Council on May 31, 2019, and is posted on the City’s website.

In July 2019 the Mayor and Council discussed the report and decided to place advisory questions on the ballot for the November 5, 2019 election. In August 2019 the Mayor and Council approved the advisory ballot questions with respect to whether voters support 1) two- or four-year terms for Mayor and Council and 2) staggered or concurrent terms for Council in the case of four-year terms. 1,027 voters supported 2 Year Term whereas 935 voters supported 4 Year Term. I personally felt that keeping the Council term to the current 2 years was the right thing to do.

[City of College Park]

Metro Proposing to Close College Park Station, Cut Bus Services

College Park – UMD Metro Station

Recently Metro has released its FY 2022 budget, which you can find here on Metro’s website.

According to the proposed budget, Metro is proposing to close the College Park – UMD station. Additionally, it’s planning to eliminate bus route 86, which serves College Park and the Route 1 corridor, and modifying bus route 83 to terminate at Greenbelt Metro station.

Other proposed changes to the Metrorail system are 30-minute service frequencies between trains, currently 12 minutes, and a decrease in parking fees from $5.20 to $4.95 in Prince George’s County.

Metro will be hosting a Public Hearing on the proposed changes on March 8, 2021, at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., March 9, 2021, at 6 p.m., and March 10, 2021, at 6 p.m.

Also, please take this survey on Metro’s budget proposal here.

The City Council will discuss the WMATA budget at our next week’s Council meeting.

County Schools May Start In-Person Classes in April

Hollywood Elementary School

Last week, Chief Executive Officer Dr. Monica Goldson announced plans to reopen Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) for in-person hybrid teaching and learning starting in April while giving families the opportunity to continue distance learning through the end of the school year.

Dr. Goldson emphasized the importance of striking a balance between safety, academics and well-being amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While we have made substantial investments to implement a virtual learning experience for all of our students, we know that nothing can truly replace the experience of interacting with their educators and classmates in a classroom. At the same time, our highest priority from the very beginning of this pandemic and to this day continues to be the safety of our students and staff,” said Dr. Goldson. “In April, we will implement a hybrid learning schedule, where students can split their time between in-person and remote learning, and that families may opt into. We believe this plan prioritizes health, safety, equity and excellence.”

Family Survey

PGCPS will distribute a survey through schools today to all families so they can select to either continue virtual learning for the remainder of the school year or begin hybrid instruction two days a week in April until the end of the school year. Families will have until Sunday, February 28 to complete the survey. The hybrid learning model will include staggered scheduling with students divided into two groups for in-person instruction on back to back days with appropriate social distancing in classrooms and throughout the school building. The remaining three days will be spent in distance learning sessions each week.

Return to Teaching and Learning

Next month, the school system will welcome all educators back into classrooms ahead of students and return central office staff to their assigned work locations. On Thursday, April 8, Phase 1 instruction will begin with a two-day hybrid learning schedule for all special education students in kindergarten through 12th grade and for students in prekindergarten through sixth grade and 12th grade. On Thursday, April 15, Phase 2 instruction will begin for all remaining seventh- through 11th-graders.

Athletics / Key Spring Dates

For students involved in athletic activities, coaches may begin in-person afterschool conditioning and outdoor workouts on Wednesday, March 10. Spring sports season practice will begin Tuesday, April 6. In addition, Spring Break will proceed as scheduled from Monday, March 29 through Monday, April 5. Please note the last day of school for students will be Tuesday, June 15; for teachers, the last day will be Wednesday, June 16.

Academic and Safety Enhancements

Over the last several months, PGCPS has made record investments to help improve distance learning and implement hybrid educational models, focusing on professional development for educators around virtual teaching and learning, and used federal funding to help purchase cutting-edge technology to assist these efforts.

Vaccination clinics will continue in collaboration with the Prince George’s County Health Department and Kaiser Permanente. The Maryland COVID Testing Program will allow PGCPS to offer rapid and diagnostic testing for both symptomatic and asymptomatic students and staff. PGCPS currently conducts contact tracing for staff and will adopt similar protocols for students upon their return. Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be available to all staff and students when in-person learning resumes. Air filters in all schools and office buildings were upgraded to the CDC-recommended Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 13 with appropriate air quality testing conducted in all schools.

The school system’s current cleaning protocols require the PGCPS Environmental Team to respond with thorough cleaning and disinfecting of any facilities or areas within 24 hours of a known case of COVID-19.

“As a school system, we have shown restraint in not rushing to reopen,” said Dr. Goldson, “and we will continue to adhere to metrics for safe school reopening based on COVID-19 indicators.”

[ Source: PGCPS]

City Looking for Members to Serve on Lakeland Restorative Justice Committee

On June 9, 2020, the Mayor and Council passed Resolution 20-R-16 Renouncing Systemic Racism and Declaring Support for Black Lives. The Resolution called for a restorative justice process to address the harms caused to the Lakeland community, particularly during the urban renewal process.
The Resolution stated that the City “acknowledge[s] and apologize[s] for our City’s past history of oppression, particularly with regards to the Lakeland community, and actively seek[s] opportunities for accountability and truth-telling about past injustice, and aggressively seek opportunities for
restorative justice.”
To this end, the Mayor and Council plan to establish a Restorative Justice Commission. As a first step toward this goal, the City is establishing a Steering Committee to help guide the process.
The Steering Committee will be asked to:
•  Draft a proposed purpose, scope of work, and goals for the Restorative Justice Commission.
•  Recommend the composition of the Restorative Justice Commission.
•  Draft a proposed framework and timeline for the Restorative Justice Commission.
•  Identify resources and facilitators that the City Council could consider to help ensure this process will be successful.
The Steering Committee will be asked to complete its work within a short period of time, and its work will be done upon the presentation of its recommendations to the City Council.
Are you interested in serving on the Steering Committee?  Members will be drawn from the Lakeland community (including former Lakeland residents) and the community at large. We are particularly interested in identifying people who have experience with restorative justice processes. For more information, please contact citymanager@collegeparkmd.gov or call 240-487-3501.
If you are interested in serving on the Steering Committee, please complete the application at www.collegeparkmd.gov/boardapp and submit it to Janeen S. Miller, City Clerk, at jsmiller@collegeparkmd.govApplications are due by March 1, 2021.
[City of College Park]

UMD Issues COVID-19 Lockdown Order

University of Maryland

Last Saturday, the University of Maryland announced that it is implementing urgent interventions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on its campus.

The UMD president Darryll J. Pines made the following announcements:

  • All students living in residence halls and on-campus fraternity and sorority houses must sequester-in-place, effective at 12:00 noon (Saturday, February 20, 2021).
  • All students living off-campus in the greater College Park area are strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible and limit your activities.
  • All in-person instruction for undergraduate and graduate courses will transition to online instruction beginning on Monday, February 22.
  • Approved laboratory research activities, already operating at 50% capacity and with strict masking and distancing precautions, may continue as scheduled.

These measures will be in effect for at least one week, through Saturday, February 27.

Earlier this week, we notified you of a rise in COVID-19 cases in our community and took measures to mitigate viral spread. Since then, we have experienced a further increase in such cases. Following this increase, these actions were recommended by university health officials and the Campus Infectious Disease Management Executive Committee.

Under the sequester-in-place directive, all students living in residence halls are instructed to remain in your residence halls and in your rooms as much as possible.  The requirement for all campus citizens to test twice-monthly remains in effect; Stamp Student Union will remain open only for COVID testing and grab-and-go food.  RecWell facilities will be closed. Students may go outside to get fresh air only in the area immediately surrounding their residence hall and to pick-up food from dining halls.

Only those student employees working in Resident Life, Residential Facilities, Dining Services and Testing in Stamp are permitted to report to work – as these are essential operations to keep campus open, all while wearing a properly-fitted mask and maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance from others.

Wicomico Hall has been opened to add isolation capacity for positive cases, and additional space will open as needed.

Remain Vigilant 4 Maryland
We have reached a critical point in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 and we all have a responsibility to to keep our community and our neighbors safe. It is imperative that every campus citizen follow our 4 Maryland protocols and these new interventions.

Failure to abide by these safety protocols will have significant consequences for every member of our community. Students not following these measures will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct and will face serious consequences, which can include suspension and expulsion. We all have a responsibility to keep our community safe. If you witness behavior that could put our community at risk, please notify the University by submitting concerns to the ethics, compliance and integrity website.

We need your help to reverse the uptick in positive cases. Whether you live on or off campus, practice the 4 Maryland Protocols. Avoid gatherings on and off campus. Remain in your room as much as possible. These preventive measures represent our best defense against the virus and our best strategy to protect our friends and colleagues from further spread.

Lastly, we remind you to follow our COVID-19 safety rules at all times. Even if you have recently tested negative, your test is only capturing one moment in time. You may still become infected and spread the virus to others after you leave the testing site, or you may already be infected and it may be too early in the process for the test to detect the infection. Do not let down your guard.

We recognize the distressing impact that COVID-19 is having on the mental health of our community. If you need assistance, the Counseling Center can provide support. In the coming days, we will continue to use data to inform our decisions and evaluation of the status of these new measures. Please remain vigilant!

Remembering the Victims of COVID-19

Yesterday, the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 500,000 — a milestone that underscores the grave threat the virus still poses nationwide even as more Americans get vaccinated.

Tomorrow, the Mayor and Council will make a proclamation to recognize the first Monday in March is “COVID-19 Memorial Day,” in remembrance of those who have lost their lives and in honor of those who are forever marked By COVID and continue to suffer from the impact of this virus.

Also, in case you haven’t had a chance to register with COVID vaccination, please do so at your earliest. You can find a list of sites close to College Park on the State’s website https://www.marylandvax.org/ .

I’ve also put together a list of vaccine provider sites here on my blog. If you or a neighbor needs help with signing up, please reach out to me, and I will help you as best we can. College Park is also providing free rides to seniors who need them to access their vaccine appointments. Please call the Senior Services program at 301-345-8100.

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