With 20 participating restaurants College Park Restaurant Week is back and bigger than ever. Each local business is offering a special menu or discount, so it’s a great opportunity to visit a family favorite or sample a more recent addition.
Restaurant Week runs from Monday, August 18th to Sunday, August 24th.
For visitors choosing Downtown restaurants, the City is offering expanded free parking in the garage at Knox Road and Yale Avenue. While the garage is free on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer, for this week only visitors can also avoid the meters after 5:00pm Monday through Friday.
For a list of participating restaurants and their specials please see this interactive map.
In last night’s Council meeting, the City Council voted 4-4 on the motion to relieve the developer from their escrow obligation to develop and finance an extension of Hollywood Rd west of Route 1. Council members Mitchel, Dennis, Day and Kabir supported the motion, while Council members Wojahn, Brennan, Hew and Stullich opposed it. Mayor Fellows broke the tie by voting against it.
After the motion failed, the Council passed another motion authorizing staff to develop a scope of work on a feasibility study to build the proposed extension Road. Council members Mitchel, Dennis, Day and Kabir opposed the motion, while Council members Wojahn, Brennan, Hew and Stullich supported it. Mayor fellows broke the tie by voting in support of it.
I personally want to thank all the residents who either wrote to us or came out to the meeting and testified on the motion. I truly appreciate your time and valuable comments.
Recently, I met with a number of Autoville residents on the proposed site and found huge opposition from them. About 40 residents and local business owners came to the Council meeting. Those who testified spoke exclusively in support of the motion. Previously, the Council received a petition with 430+ signatures supporting the motion. The North College Park Civic Association (NCPCA) also voted (15-1) in support of a similar motion.
Residents are afraid that if the Hollywood Rd is extended to the west of Route 1, it may make it possible to connect Autoville Dr. with the extended Hollywood Rd one day (please see the map above), causing a large cut through / bypass traffic from Cherry Hill Rd to Route 1 through their neighborhood.
In addition to the fear that the residents have about a future connector road, they’re also concerned about taking properties from the businesses there, most likely though eminent domain. I met a business owner, who lives in the neighborhood and is opposed to selling the property through eminent domain. I am not sure how we can build the road without forcibly taking the property.
The issue of building an extension would have been a lot easier if we were to deal with an abandoned , run-down property that everyone hates to see. Instead what we have here is an issue of potentially negatively impacting a collection of College Park businesses who are serving many College Park residents and bringing customers from outside of the City. This is all we want as part of the campaign that we have been running to make College Park a vibrant place to live and do business with. It appears that there is no way we can build the road without forcibly taking the property from them (most likely through eminent domain). I think we’d like to be sensitive to the fact that we don’t hurt our local businesses negatively.
That said, I don’t think any of colleagues on the Council is against Route 1 development in north College Park. We’re working with the SHA to have contiguous side walks on Route 1, so that our families and children can safely walk on Route 1 and go to the businesses here. Also, the City has been working with grant money to improve interiors and exteriors of these businesses. As options to develop Route 1 in south side of Greenbelt Rd. runs out, we can only hope to see a better business landscape in north College Park. In the end, I think the supply and demand and free market economy will dictate the change in our business landscape. Let’s hope we’ll not need to exercise forceful government intrusion to make that change happen.
City staff has put together this attached College Park New Neighbor Program – August 2014 to highlight the grant program and current listings that fit the guidelines. Staff plan on distributing the information to the real estate agent community and other contacts on a quarterly basis to promote awareness of the program and increase interest in the transformation of rentals and foreclosures into owner-occupied properties.
The City of College Park’s New Neighbor Homeownership Grant Program is designed to increase the number of owneroccupied homes in the community.
On a first-come, first-served basis, buyers of eligible homes receive $5,000 in down payment or closing cost assistance. Funds are provided at settlement for use toward purchase of the property and these funds may be combined with other federal, state, and local homeownership assistance programs.
Anyone purchasing a single-family home that was previously rented for a minimum of two years. Anyone purchasing a single-family home or condominium unit that is in foreclosure or short sale status. In addition, certain police officers, emergency medical technicians, career firefighters, and bonafide volunteer firefighters who can provide certification from their department are eligible for the purchase of any single-family home or condominium unit, regardless of its status.
Requirements & Application Info
Buyers must agree to live in the home for a minimum of five years. If the property is sold during this period, a pro-rated share of the grant is due to the City. If the property ceases to be owneroccupied in that period, the entire grant amount is due to the City. More information and the grant application is available at: collegeparkmd.gov/newneighbor For general information on living in College Park please visit: collegeparkmd.gov/livesmart
The developer of the proposed 4-star “The Hotel” at the corner of Route 1 and Paint Branch Avenue came to last week’s Council worksession to present their plan to the College Park City Council. The highlights of the plan include (1) 329,00 gross sq ft (2) 292 guestrooms (3) 14,700 sf of ballroom space (4) 9,155 sq ft of meeting / conference space (5) 43,283 sq ft of retail space with 3-4 restaurants and a full service spa (6) 7 story parking with 750 spaces (7) 3 additional patios (8)Penthouse level event spaces. Please read more about the plan here on the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun. Here are a renderings I took from the presentation. You can take a look at the entire presentation here.
The second Sunday of August to the following Saturday is designated as Shop Maryland tax-free Week each year. That means qualifying apparel and footwear $100 or less, per item, are exempt from the state sales tax. Accessory items are not included.
The tax-free week for 2014 starts today Sunday, August 10, and will end today, Saturday, August 16.
Additionally, there is a tax-free three-day weekend every February during which the state sales tax will not apply to the sale of any Energy Star Product listed below, or solar water heater.
Energy Star Product means an air conditioner, clothes washer or dryer, furnace, heat pump, standard size refrigerator, compact fluorescent light bulb, dehumidifier, or programmable thermostat that has been designated as meeting or exceeding the applicable Energy Star Efficiency requirements developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
To find more about the tax free week, please check here on this State of Maryland’s website.
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|[8/03/13]||THEFT||01:08||01:09||IKEA, 10100 Baltimore Ave|
Theft from Auto
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|[7/29/13]||THEFTA||16:10||17:09||IKEA, 10100 Baltimore Ave|
|[7/31/13]||THEFTA||13:14||14:33||IKEA, 10100 Baltimore Ave|
Please see below this week’s Hollywood Farmers Market newsletter. See you all tomorrow.
|Continue Reading »|
In last night’s worksession, the City Council discussed the location for a new City Hall and to proceed with the design of the project.
Options available to the City include
1) continue “as-is” with the current City Hall expansion plan;
2) reconsider a previous plan to build an additional building on the City Hall site to be connected by one or two “wings” with a courtyard (or “City Hall Plaza”) in the middle;
3) redesign City Hall to eliminate re-use of the existing building and allow for additional development on the site; and
4) develop a new City Hall plan and design at the Calvert Road site.
Among the four options, the Council decided to look into only options 1 and 4, between the current site and teh Calvert Road site.
The staff was asked to look into in finding more information on teh following site selection criteris:
1. Appropriateness of this use for the location (zoning and land use classification)
2. Development and permitting requirements
3. Ability of site to accommodate building program (28,000-36,000 square feet of office, 60-80 parking spaces and public plaza or green)
4. Visibility and accessibility ,
5. Opportunity for prominent civic presence
6. Estimated revenue-generating capacity of site not selected
7. Total cost
8. Schedule and timing
The Council will discuss these findings in a future worksession.
I want to thank the residents who organized last night’s National Night Out event at Duvall Field. We had a great turnout and our residents, families and kids had a good time with the local police officers, fire fighters and the City officials. We also had a good amount of interest in our local Neighborhood Watch program, something we’ll continue to make stronger in the coming days (please stay tuned!). Here are a few pictures I took. Please enjoy and share!
More than 16,000 communities across the country will host National Night Out events on Tuesday, Aug. 5, hoping to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighborhood camaraderie and to send a message to criminals letting them know that their neighborhoods are organized and are fighting back. In north College Park, National Night Out will take place at Duvall Field at 7 pm- 9 pm.
Council member Wojahn and I have been asking our residents to join tonight’s National Night Out against Crime. Here are top 5 reasons we think you all should join the event:
(1) Meet your local police officers. The event is designed to build bridges between the community and the police. Our officers help protect us and our families from crime. Come bring your questions about recent crime trends and how the police are responding to them and working to prevent crime in the future. Also, learn helpful tips and tricks on how to protect yourself from common types of crime.
(2) Great food! The Boy Scouts will be grilling hot dogs for sale, and we’ll have snacks and soft drinks. It should be a great evening and a great chance to meet your neighbors and get to know your local police officers!
(3) Meet your neighbors and join the Neighborhood Watch Program. According to crime statistics, crime in our area is not limited to nighttime. Not everyone can afford a home security system. Police can’t be everywhere at once and must rely on the active participation of community residents for crime prevention. Since crime is most likely to occur when no one is watching, a Neighborhood Watch team can act as an extra set of “eyes and ears” when police aren’t around. Neighborhood Watch does more than just canvass the community. It also gives residents an opportunity to get to know others in the neighborhood, open the lines of communication with local police and encourage better overall cooperation among residents in crime prevention efforts. Participation in Neighborhood Watch builds confidence and encourages residents to take an active interest in one another’s properties and livelihoods.
(4) Fun activities for kids of all ages! We’ll have a moon bounce, circus performers, and other activities, as well as a visit from our local fire department! And while you’re there, you can find out about how to protect your child with a child identification kit to help the police know who your child is if he or she gets lost.
(5) Take a stand against crime and let criminals know that our neighborhood is organized against crime. National Night Out is all about building support and increasing participation in local anti-crime efforts, strengthening neighborhood spirit and improving relationships between the police department and local residents. To celebrate the nationwide event, you are encouraged to lock your, turn on your porch lights and spend the evening outdoors with your neighbors.
At this week’s Council’s worksesion, the City Council will discuss a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the County about the installation of a 3rd flashing pedestrian crossing signal (RRFB signal) on Rhode Island Avenue near Hollywood Road.
Last year, in May, the City entered into an MOU with Prince George’s County for the installation oftwo (2) RRFBs along Rhode Island Avenue at Muskogee Street and at Cherokee Street. The RRFBs were successfully installed four months later, in September.
In order to obtain the Prince George’s County right-of-way permit for our proposed RRFB installation along Rhode Island A venue at Hollywood Road we must enter into another MOU with the County. The conditions of the MOU are the same as the first MOU.
The City is purchasing the RRFB from the same vendor, Traffic Systems & Technology, as we did last year and for the same price. We are also contracting with the same contractor, Scott Duncan, Inc. to install the RRFB. Scott Duncan’s price increased $200.00 from their original price, provide on May 5, 2012.
The cost of the RRFB is $11 ,721.00, including freight. The installation cost is $5,700.00 The total cost is $17,421.00. The City Council has already approved the cost in this year’s budget.
In addition to the installation off the RRFB, our city engineer is also working with the County’s Public Works to reconfigure the intersection and improve pedestrian safety there. 3 pedestrians were hit last Saturday by a driver at this intersection.
Representatives from WSSC will be at Davis Hall this Thursday (August 7) at 6:30 PM to answer your questions on recent storm / flooding incidents or related repair work. Please see below for details.
Early this morning 3 pedestrians were reportedly struck by a driver on Rhode Island Avenue near the REI / MoM shopping center. Please see above the tweet from Marc Brady, from the County’s Fire Department. From an eye witness, the victims were hit while they were trying to cross Rhode Island near Hollywood Road. It’s possible that they are our local residents. They are in stable condition but one of the victims is having severe bleeding. I saw several police cars and one vehicle being towed away around 9.30 am. Police is trying to get more information about the incident and the victims. We’ll keep you posted.
8/3/2013: The driver is arrested and appears to be a Hollywood resident and is claiming that he had a diabetic attack that triggered the accident. The police is evaluating that claim and his competency for driving. He was involved in another minor accident a few weeks ago. Police is also checking if alcohol was involved in the incident. Police has yet to determine if the three (Hispanic) injured girls are from College Park. They are still in hospital but in stable condition.
Please see below this week’s Hollywood Farmers Market newsletter. See you all tomorrow.
Annual National Farmers’ Market Week Kicks Off
“Farmers’ markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support family farms, and help grow rural economies.They bring communities together, connecting cities with the farms that support them and provide Americans across the country with fresh, healthy food,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack in his announcement kicking off the 15th annual National Farmers Market Week.
Thousands of farmers across the country, including one here in north College Park, provide residents with fresh, affordable, convenient, and healthful produce that comes directly from the farm.
The goal of this special week is to recognize what an important contribution farmers, and farmers’ markets, make in our lives.
Special Guest on Saturday: The Big Chess Set!
Although we hope adults will also come to the market to shop and socialize, everyone is welcome to enjoy a game with friends or soon-to-be friends.
Professor Alfred Schönfelder from Leipzig, Germany, invented big-board chess in 1974. As he says on his website,
“It offers the keen and enterprising player with fighting spirit the possibility to choose his own individual and most favorable setup and plentiful excellent combinations.”
The professor offers rules and tips for playing here
A Big Thanks to Our Sponsors
So far this year we have received contributions from the following north College Park businesses, and we appreciate the services they provide in our neighborhood.• Gailes Violin
This week’s Vendors
1. Upper Crust Bakery
Recipe of the Week: North Indian (Punjabi) Bhurtha
This week’s recipe comes from the website of Three Springs Fruit Farm in Wenksville, PA here
Tip about eggplant from the recipe author: Do not refrigerate the eggplant because it increases the bitterness.
Preheat the oven’s broiler. Rub oil on the outside of the egg plant, or coat with cooking spray. Place under the broiler, and cook until the flesh is soft and the skin is blistering off, about 30 minutes. Turn as needed for even cooking. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and scoop the flesh out of the skin. Discard the skin; chop up the flesh, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds, and let them crackle for a few seconds and turn golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. Add the onion, ginger and garlic; cook and stir until tender. Don’t let the onions get very brown. Stir in the tomato, and season with turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Cook and stir for a few minutes.
Place the eggplant pieces in the skillet, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes so some of the moisture evaporates. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired. Garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve.
Hollywood Farmers Market is located at the Hollywood Shopping Center (near REI) on Saturdays from 9am to 1 pm. Email: Hollywoodmarketcp@gmail.com. Phone: (301) 659 – 6295 Like us on the FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/hollywoodmarket
Today, a group of high school students presented the results of complete street in the College Park Council Chambers. The faculty adviser and the graduate student coordinator introduced the project and students, and the students gave about a 20-minute presentation / PowerPoint of their findings. This was followed by a question and answer session.
The students reviewed the following streets:
1. Edgewood Road to 53rd Avenue
2. Hollywood Road to Narragansett Parkway
3. Fox Street to Indian Lane to 51st Avenue
4. Berwyn Road to the CSX railroad
5. Cherokee Street to Rhode Island Avenue
6. Berwyn House Road to Rhode Island Avenue
Unfortunately, except Edgewood, all 3 streets in north College Park (Hollywood, Fox and Cherokee) got an F grade, mainly because of lack of sidewalks there. On a positive note, we are working with our City engineer and local residents to have sidewalks on Hollywood from Rt 1 to Rhode Island.
I want to send a big THANK to the students who took part in the project. We found the results from the study extremely helpful and will certainly help prioritize repair work on major streets in our neighborhoods.
you can check the student presentation and the study report here on the project’s website here .