Council Discusses Incentive Programs to Attract Tech Businesses to College Park

At last night’s worksession, the City Council discussed incentive programs in the form of property tax credits to attract businesses to College Park.  The new incentives will be only eligible to businesses in innovation district (or RISE zone) in College Park.

For some time, the City has been working with the University, the County, the CPCUP, and Riverdale Park on a joint RISE Zone application. The Prince George’s County Council has introduced a resolution in support of the RISE Zone with a five-year, 75 percent County tax credit for high-technology new investment.

The RISE Zone application has been amended in response to Council comments during the February 16 Worksession discussion. The application specifies that anywhere in the entire RISE Zone, new commercial and industrial buildings will be eligible for the minimum real property tax credit of 50 percent first year, 10 percent following four years (same from the County) on the increased value of the property due to new investment (a new building or the expansion / major renovation of an existing building). Hotels, motels, grocery stores, and retail are NOT included in this category of commercial and industrial.

Additionally, the application proposes that within the Innovation District and the Research Park areas of the RISE Zone, new investment for high technology businesses in the fields of engineering, data analytics, earth sciences, virtual reality, cybersecurity, quantum computing, linguistics, additive manufacturing, e-commerce, robotics, aerospace, biotechnology and similar industries will be eligible for the real property tax credits of 50 percent for five years (75 percent from the County for five years ) on the increase to the property assessment. According to staff, after the 300,000 sf of development is completed at the same time, at the minimum required level (50% credit year 1, and 10% credit years 2-5), the RISE Zone tax credit total over five years would be $162,810.

The City new tax revenue would be $741,690. At the higher credit level for high technology development, the City RISE Zone tax credit of 50% for five years results in new City tax revenue of $452,250.


Council Mulls More Scholarships to College Park Students

At today’s Council meeting, the City Council will continue to discuss how to effectively use funds to support education in College Park.

In the previous worksession, many of the Council members expressed an interest in using a portion of this year’s additional $80,000 Educational Improvement monies for additional scholarships to this year’s applicants who didn’t receive a scholarship to attend Summer camp at the University of Maryland because the requests far exceeded the resources.

According to staff, the deadline less than ½ of the 90+ applicants received scholarships. If that is the case, then Council action would be required and the cost to provide for all of this year’s applicants would be just under $20,000.

In addition to spending more on College Park’s students, we’ll also discuss the idea of supporting our local County schools collaboratively at the upcoming meeting of the Four Cities Coalition, which includes College Park, Greenbelt, Berwyn Heights and New Carrollton.


FY 17 Budget – What is New for North College Park?

We attended the second and the final fiscal year 2017 budget worksession this past Saturday. The new budget will have a few items specifically assigned to north College Park residents. They include:

  • A pedestrian crossing (RRFB) signal on Rhode Island Avenue (potentially at the Indian / Fox intersection)
  • oney for the construction of the streetscape project at the Hollywood commercial district
  • Funds for beautification and additional streetlights
  • Two community bulletin boards, one at the end of Lackawanna street near the Metro, and another elsewhere in our district
  • Additional funds for our senior programs based in Youth and Family Services building on Nantucket Road and
  • Funds for the Duvall Field renovation and reconstruction project.

Additionally, we’ve put aside some funds for a Police Services evaluation and feasibility study.

The FY17 budget ordinance is expected to be introduced on Monday, March 25. The budget public hearing will take place on Tuesday, May 10. The Mayor and Council are scheduled to adopt the FY 2017 budget ordinance on Tuesday, May 24. The effective date of the FY 2017 adopted budget is July 1, 2016.

Also, please do not forget to attend our Budget Town Hall meeting on Friday, April 29 at 7:00 pm at the Youth and Family Services building at 4912 Nantucket Road. It’s important that we hear from you about how we should be spending your tax dollars in the coming fiscal year.


Local Community Service Hours Opportunity

Do you need additional Community Service Hours to graduate?

The Hollywood Farmers Market may be able to help you! The market will be open starting Saturday, April 23rd from 9AM – 1:00PM through November 2016 and is located in the Hollywood Shopping Center, 9801 Rhode Island Avenue next to REI in north College Park. The market is open on Saturdays only.

The market is looking for students who have demonstrated an interest in the arts. We will offer the opportunity for you to showcase your musical, vocal or other artistic talents in a relaxed community setting that will allow the general public to share in your works and provide you with wider exposure for future success.

If interested, please email Julie Beavers, Market Master by email julbeavers@gmail.com to apply.


Maryland Primary Election Information – You Can Now Vote Early!

The Maryland Primaries will take place on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., however, you can vote early at the Primaries now through Thursday, April 21, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. In College Park, you can vote early at the College Park Community Center. Here is the address:

College Park Community Center
5051 Pierce Avenue, College Park, MD 20740

Please check City’s website here to find other early voting stations in the County.

Thank you!


Take Challenge for Water Conservation

The Mayor’s Water Challenge (Challenge) is an environmental conservation outreach program. This educational effort consists of a series of online pledges that City residents can complete at www.mywaterpledge.com.

The Challenge is run by the Wyland Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s oceans, waterways, and marine life. The Challenge is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National League of Cities. It runs from April 1 to April 31.

The City has participated in the challenge annually since 2014. Last year, the City finished 16th in our category (“30,000 – 99,999” population).

City staff is advertising the Challenge during the month of April in the City’s media channels such as the website and the City Manager’s Weekly Bulletin.


Tonight’s NCPCA Meeting – Bikeshare Stations, Election and More..

NCPCA - It's Your Neighborhood Association

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

Today is the second Thursday of the months and the day when the North College Park Civic Association (NCPCA) will be hosting their April monthly meeting.

The meeting will start with a presentation about the Bike Share Locations in North College Park. College Park Planning Department staff will share proposed/potential locations for bike share stations in North College Park.

Members will also discuss about Elections, Nominating Committee. Per the bylaws, we will seek volunteers for a nominating committee for the election of officers in June.

Meeting will start at 7:30pm, however, meetings have been temporarily relocated to 4912 Nantucket Road in the drop-in space next to the Youth and Family Services building. (Davis Hall is going through a renovation). There is a small parking lot across from the shopping center entrance on Nantucket Road. Look for directional signs or NCPCA members/officers to help.


City Okayed New Housing Development in Old Town

The Owners (Kidwell Trust and John Hardisty) have undeveloped land at the intersection of Dartmouth Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue in the Old Town section of College Park. The Owners need to construct a roadway, currently named Randolph-Macon Road (to be renamed Howard Road) and install water and sewer before selling 7 lots for single family home construction. The owners have requested that the City of College Park construct the roadway. The City has applied for and received $127,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding that will be used Improvement at this property. This grant will expire this summer if not encumbered. The City has an existing bid contract with NZI that includes this type of work. The work can be added to the existing contract at the agreed unit prices without a bid process, which would expedite construction. The work will not proceed until a Declaration of Covenants is finalized with the current owners.

At last night’s Council meeting, the City Council approved an amendment to the contract with NZI for construction of Randolph Macon Avenue.

The Council will also approved an amendment to the Declaration of Covenants with Robert Kidwell, the current owner of the property. According to the amendment, Mr. Kidwell will get upto $250,000 loan from the City which he will pay back within 3 years. The loan is tied against the property deeds as security.

Finally, the Council approved an amendment to the City’s Homeownership Grant program. The amendment will qualify the purchasers of the homes developed on the Randolph-Macon property to receive the City’s homeownership grant ($5,000). The City adopted the Home Ownership Grant Program to encourage owner occupant housing. The terms of the grant require a recipient to reside in the residence for five years with the ability to rent to up to two other persons, and prohibits rental to anyone when the owner is not in residence. Including purchasers of new construction detached single family homes in the City’s Homeownership Grant Program encourages owner occupant housing.


Budget Town Hall Meeting – April 29

Please mark your calendar, Council members from District 1,2 and 4 will be hosting a budget town hall meeting on Friday, April 29 to discuss proposed changes in FY 17 budget. Please see below for detailsFY17 budget town hall flyer


North College Park Crime Map: April 2-10, 2016

Please see below last week’s crime map and let me know if you have any questions. Thanks.


Date Time Address Type
4/10/2016 4:39 AM 9600 Blk BALTIMORE AVE Recovered Stolen Vehicle
4/9/2016 5:43 PM 5000 Blk BRANCHVILLE RD Theft
4/7/2016 6:07 PM 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD Theft
4/2/2016 11:32 PM 5100 Blk ODESSA RD Theft from Auto

Tips to Prevent Theft from Autos

Polcie has advised resident to adopt the following tips to prevent thefts from autos.

  • Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle.
  • Place items out of sight BEFORE reaching your destination. So place those items in a safe place before you get to the park, beach, baseball game, etc. Valuable items that thieves target are GPS units, MP3 players, credit cards, money, packages and so forth.
  • Avoid leaving packages or shopping bags out in the open.
  • Lock ALL of your vehicle’s doors. Also, make sure car windows aren’t left open.
  • Park in busy, well lit areas. Make sure your neighborhood is well lit if not notify Public Works/Pepco.
  • Don’t leave any sign that there might be valuables “out of sight” in your vehicle. For example: the suction cup on your dashboard, might tell thieves, that you have a GPS system in your vehicle.
  • Alarms or anti-theft devices work.
  • Don’t leave spare keys in your vehicle.
  • Copy your license plate and vehicle information (VIN) numbers on a card and keep them with you. If your vehicle is stolen, the police will need this information to take a report.
  • When walking into store (gas station or retail store) lock doors and windows.
  • Always report suspicious activity. Prince Georges County Non Emergency (301)352-1200 or for Emergency 911

Highlights of Changes to FY 2017 Budget

We had our first day long FY 2017 budget worksession today. Here is the highlights of the changes the Mayor and Council discussed

  • Additional RRFB (street crossing light)  at a future location: $25,000
  • Additional streetlights: $6,000
  • CPCUP funding request for Homeownership grants: $5,000
  • Removal of Old noise meter calibration: ($900)
  • Interpretation service $1,000
  • Additional Adobe InDesign software license $240
  • Additional Adobe Illustrator software license $250
  • Hollywood commercial district beautification / landscaping project: $10,000
  • Contribution to UMD’s IFC tailgate event: $7,000

We plan to meet again next Saturday for a brief session to continue the budget discussion. I’ll keep you posted.


Public Meeting on the College Park Bicycle Boulevard Study



School Seeks Community Input about Student Safety

The PGCPS Student Safety Task Force is undertaking a thorough and comprehensive review of policies, processes, and practices that impact the safety of our children enrolled in the Prince George’s County Public Schools. As an independent body, we are examining and assessing current standards of operation related to the protection of school children. In the final report, we will provide recommendations to enhance current procedures and incorporate best practices to ensure student safety.

If you are a current or former student, parent/guardian, community member, current or former employee, or interested stakeholder who would like to submit comments to the Task Force, you can do so below. The survey will be available from April 6 to April 15, 2016. This is a survey to solicit comments and does not replace your responsibility to report suspected abuse. To report suspected abuse and neglect, please call the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services at 301-909-2450.

The Task Force appreciates your assistance and respects your commitment to student safety in our schools. We will read every comment and review each carefully as we develop recommendations for submission to CEO, Dr. Kevin Maxwell. The findings and recommendations will be released in a public document at the conclusion of the Task Force’s review.

  • What is your primary affiliation with Prince George’s County Public Schools? (Required)
    Choose Parent/Guardian, Community Member, Current Student, Former Student, Current Employee, Former Employee, News/Media, Other
  • Share Your Comments
    [You may comment on any of the categories below. Please limit your responses to 500 characters each.]
  • Reporting of Abuse and Staff Training
    [Type here]
  • School Culture and Climate
    [Type here]
  • Screening of Employees/Volunteers
    [Type here]
  • Curriculum and Counseling (Awareness and Prevention)
    [Type here]
  • What are the strengths of student safety policies and practices in the school system?
    [Type here]
  • What are the weaknesses of student safety policies and practices in the school system?
    [Type here]
  • What recommendations do you have to improve student safety policies and practices in the school system?
    [Type here]

[courtesy of Dr. Charlene M. Dukes, Chair, Student Safety Task Force]


City Set to Adopt “Complete Street” Policy

At last night’s Council meeting, the City council discussed the complete street policies for College Park.

“Complete Street” means a street or roadway that allows safe and convenient travel by all of the following categories of users: pedestrians, bicyclists, persons with disabilities, motorists, seniors and children and that creates a shared space for all users to the extent practicable.

“Complete streets” should not be confused with the “Green Streets”’, which mean a roadway that incorporates plantings or other vegetative practices along the ROW that are designed to reduce the amount of pollutants in storm water runoff. Curb or storm drain modifications are usually necessary to divert the storm water into these practices. Runoff that has traversed through these practices enters the storm drain system with fewer pollutants.

Complete Streets include “Pedestrian Infrastructure”, which in turn includes sidewalks, paths, bus shelters, benches and other street furniture and pedestrian lighting within the public ROW. In it, aslo included “Bicycle Infrastructure” including bicycle racks, bike share stations and equipment, bicycle trails, lanes, sharrows, and signage within the public ROW.

Here is a list of policies that the City is proposing to adopt at next week’s meeting:

1. Every transportation project, and phase of that project (including planning, scoping, funding, design, approval, implementation), by the City shall strive to provide for Complete and Green Streets for all categories of users identified in Section A.1. of this policy recognizing the need for flexibility in balancing user needs.

2. Wherever possible, transportation projects shall strive to create a network of continuous bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly streets including streets that connect with transit and provide convenient access to residential areas, commercial areas and schools. Streets shall include provisions for trees and strive to incorporate green streets techniques where appropriate.

3. All Complete and Green Streets shall be designed to be context sensitive taking into consideration the character of the surrounding neighborhood. It is recognized that the City has ROW’s with variable widths and other conditions that may affect the design of a roadway.

4. The Planning Department and City Engineer shall coordinate with all stakeholders including residents, neighborhood associations and County and State agencies to create Complete and Green Streets on all roadways serving the City.

5. The Planning Department and City Engineer shall coordinate with adjacent jurisdictions and other public agencies to enable, wherever possible, connections to bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly routes beyond the City’s boundaries.

6. The City shall rely upon the current editions of street design standards and green streets guidelines that promote and support Complete and Green Streets including but not limited to the following:
• Urban Street Design Guide and Urban Bikeway Design Guide (National Association of City Transportation Officials – NACTO) • Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A context sensitive approach (Institute of Transportation Engineers/Congress for the New Urbanism) • Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System (U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration) • Bicycle Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System (U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration) • Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide (U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration)
• Municipal Handbook: Green Streets (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

The next steps for implementation include the following:
1. Compile an inventory of all City Streets in a database that includes ROW width, pavement width, curb and gutter, parking facilities, transit accommodations, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and storm water management facilities. 2. Identify incomplete City streets particularly where the conditions are conducive to the construction of bicycle and pedestrian features to take advantage of funding available for this purpose. 3. Evaluate Capital Improvement Program projects, including the Pavement Management Plan, for the potential to include complete and green streets practices. 4. Seek supplemental sources of funding, including public and private sources, to assist in the implementation of this policy. 5. Examine Complete and Green Streets design standards and practices during the development review process for all new development in the City and make every effort to implement them. 6. Utilize interdepartmental coordination and provide appropriate staff training to promote the efficient and responsible implementation of this policy. 7. Include implementation of this policy in the City’s strategic action plan.
This section recognizes that there may be limiting factors to implementation of this policy. A specific category of user may be excluded if one or more of the following conditions apply: 1. Use of the roadway is prohibited by law for the category of user (e.g., pedestrians on an interstate freeway). In this case, efforts shall be made to accommodate the excluded category of user on a parallel route. 2. There is an absence of both a current and future need to accommodate the category of user shown via demographic, school, employment, and public transportation route data that demonstrate a low likelihood of bicycle, pedestrian or transit activity in an area over the next 20 years. 3. The cost would be excessively disproportionate to the current need or future need over the next 20 years.
4. There is less than 35 feet of ROW width available and the City is unable to acquire additional ROW or obtain easements for the accommodations.
5. There are site-specific constraints such as topography (steep slopes) or mature vegetation.
6. There is no community support for the proposed project.
In order to evaluate whether the City transportation network is adequately serving each category of user, The Planning Department and City Engineer shall collect baseline and annual data on matters relevant to this Policy, including the following information: 1. Linear feet of pedestrian infrastructure 2. Number and type of other pedestrian infrastructure 3. Miles of bike lanes and sharrows 4. Number and type of other bicycle infrastructure improvements 5. Number of curb ramps 6. Square feet of green street infrastructure 7. Number of street trees 8. Total funding allocated to Complete and Green Streets projects
One year from the effective date of this Policy, and annually thereafter, the Planning Department and City Engineer shall submit a report to the City Council on the progress made in implementing this Policy that shall include the following:
1. Baseline and updated performance measures as described in Section (E)
2. A summary of all Transportation Projects planned or undertaken and their status
3. Any recommendations for improving implementation of this Policy

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