Apr
8
2014

North College Park Crime Map: March 30 – April 7, 2014

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

Breaking and Entering Commercial

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/06/14] BREAKR 10:11 13:55 9500 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,
[3/06/14] BREAKR 10:25 12:44 9600 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,

Breaking and Entering Residential

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/05/14] BREAK 21:39 05:16 3400 Blk DUKE ST,

 

Apr
7
2014

Council Reviews FY 2015 Budget

The City has published the FY 2015 draft budget which is now available here on our website

Despite the challenging fiscal times we’re going through, the City Manager has proposed a few cuts. We’are also expecting the an increase in both income tax revenue and admissions and amusement tax (because of the UMD joining the Big 10). These will allow us to get through this year without any increase in the property tax rate.

The budget includes a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of 1.75% plus merit increases. With the elimination of the Assistant to the City Manager position and the half-time Public Safety Officer position, the requested budget limits the increase in personnel costs to 3.3%.

The City Council reviewed the FY 2015 in a long marathon meeting this Saturday and added a few changes to the City manager’s requested budget. In the end we’ll be supporting these changes by drawing some $130,000 from City’s reserve funds. Please see them below and let me know if you have any questions. The numbers in braces show the way the Council voted.

City Lobbyist (7-1-0) $30,000
Animal Shelter Feasibility Study (5-2-1) $25,000
CCTV Camera near College Park Metro (8-0-0) $20,000
Marketing /  sponsorship event (8-0-0) $10,000
Public Works contract snow pre-treatment (8-0-0) $ 6,600
Hollywood Farmers Market (7-0-1) $ 6,000
Dues – US Conference of Mayors (8-0-0) $ 3,489
Council retreat (8-0-0) $ 1,500
Downtown business district promotion (flags by SGA) (8-0-0) $ 550
Mayor and Council – Other Dues (8-0-0) $ 300
Apr
6
2014

Budget Town Hall Meeting: April 23, 2014

Please mark your calendar. Council members from District 1 and 4 will be hosting a public forum on the FY15 budget on April 23, Wednesday, 7-9 pm at Davis Hall. Please mark your calendar. See you all there.

Budget Town Hall meeting, 2014

Budget Town Hall meeting, 2014

Apr
5
2014

SHA Begins Resurfacing Work on MD 193

Repair work at MD 193 and Rhode Island Avenue

Repair work at MD 193 and Rhode Island Avenue

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has begun the resurfacing phase of a project on MD 193 (Greenbelt Road) from Rhode Island Avenue to Southway in Greenbelt, Prince George’s County. The work is part of a $4.5 million safety and resurfacing project, which began last spring and should be complete by late summer, weather permitting.

Work this spring involves removal and replacement of the top layer of asphalt, adding new asphalt and placing final pavement markings. Crews will mill and resurface westbound MD 193 first, then proceed to the eastbound side of the road. The resurfacing work will improve the road quality on MD 193.

Through April 1, crews have completed portions of guardrail installation, driveway construction and sidewalk and ramp work for Americans With Disability Act (ADA) compliance. This spring and summer, crews will finish work on these items and will also complete traffic signal enhancement and inlet and pipe cleaning activities. Last fall, crews completed construction of pedestrian bus pads at bus stops s and construction of concrete bus pads—the road surface located directly in front of a bus stop which is strong enough to support heavier vehicles without damaging the roadway.

SHA’s contractor may temporarily close one lane within the project limits weekdays, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and up to two lanes, overnight, Sunday through Thursday, between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. All work is weather permitting. Residents and travelers are advised that construction equipment can be loud and disruptive.

Apr
4
2014

Guest Column: Not so Silent Spring – Frog Calls in College Park

[By Rick Borchelt. Rick lives in College Park and writes a blog here http://leplog.wordpress.com/]

College Park is extremely fortunate to have several vernal pools that attract frogs and salamanders early each spring to call and mate. A vernal pool is defined as a temporary pool of water, generally without fish, that dries up at some point in the year (hence the no-fish condition). This is very important for frogs and salamanders, whose eggs and tadpoles are usually wiped out where there is fish predation. Vernal pools typically fill up from winter rains and snow melt and dry out in July and August, giving tadpoles a chance to metamorphose into young frogs and leave the water.

The vernal pool most convenient to watch and hear this spring ritual is located between the Tot Lot and the Metro Parking on Columbia Ave. in Old Town. It’s fenced off, but you can get pretty close from the Tot Lot side, and even listen pretty well from the north end of the College Park Metro platform.

On warm nights for the next couple of weeks you’ll be able to hear at least three different frogs calling from this vernal pool, which is the remnant of a series of pools and marshes that used to stretch all the way from the Anacostia up to Laurel, and of which Artemesia is also a remnant (although it used to be shallow pools instead of the large lake formed when dirt was removed to build the Greenbelt Metro). Late in the afternoon and continuing through the early evening, stand by the swingset on the south end and listen for:

Spring Peeper. This small frog, about the size of a quarter, is the loudest in the pool. It “peeps” single, high-pitched notes by inflating an air sac in front of the frog on its throat. When large numbers of them are calling (called a “chorus”) it can make it very hard to hear the individual peeps inside the wall of sound. These are all males calling and advertising their sexual prowess; females listen on the sidelines and then gravitate toward the singer they prefer. The males typically sing from grass or branches or leaves sticking out of the water.

Spring Peeper call:

Wood Frog. This is the largest frog right now in the vernal pool (Green Frog and Bullfrog will be larger and will show up later). It’s 3-4 inches long. Their call sounds like “quacking” or “growling”; their air sacs are on the sides of their throats, so they balloon out on both sides. These frogs float in the water as they call, and you can actually see the waves on the water from the inflation of the air sacs and the males jockeying for females. Most of the Wood Frogs are in the deeper water on the end of the pool nearest the Tot Lot.

Wood Frog call
Wood Frog video:

In the background of the Wood Frog video you can also hear a call that sounds like fingers being run over a comb. This is a Chorus Frog, and that’s the third species you’ll hear calling from the Columbia Ave. vernal pool. These are also about the size of a quarter and very closely related to Peepers. There are only a few males calling from the Old Town pool, mostly on the side nearest the railroad tracks.

Upland Chorus Frog call:

Later in the season, listen for toads calling in chorus. They’ll sound like a distant diesel engine motor revving up.

Vernal pools are among the most endangered habitats in Maryland; they’re often drained for development or in the erroneous belief they harbor mosquitoes. Every effort should be taken to preserve these fragile habitats.

Apr
3
2014

Free Spring Clean-Up in April

The City of College Park Public Works Department (9217 51st Avenue) will be open for City residents all four Saturdays in April from 7:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. The clean up days are for City of College Park residents only; you must show proof of residency in the City of College Park to participate.

Residents may drop-off bulky trash, electronics and molded/block Styrofoam® for recycling, and yard waste. Electronics that may be recycled include, but are not limited to: TVs, computers, monitors, keyboards, mice, speakers, VCRs, CD, DVD & MP3 players, cell phones & PDAs, printers, scanners, fax machines, telephones, radios, stereos, electric tools, game systems, handheld games, microwaves, and cords/cables. Number 6 expanded polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam®, cannot be contaminated with tape, stickers, food, or other impurities. Additionally, the City can only accept molded foam such as blocks used in packaging – no food or beverage containers or packing peanuts. Air conditioners, heat pumps, refrigerators and freezers may incur a disposal fee; tires will incur a disposal fee of $4.00 each.

SMARTLEAF® compost and wood mulch will also be available for sale – residency is NOT required. The City will also be working with Community Forklift and American Rescue Workers again this year to divert items from the landfill that are still in good condition. All donations are tax deductible. Clean out your homes, garages, and sheds, and bring the items you no longer use or need and donate them for reuse.

The following types of items will be collected separately so they may be reused:
• Building, remodeling, and gardening materials – any surplus or salvaged (in GOOD condition) items from your latest home or garden improvement job, including but not limited to: bricks and pavers, plumbing and light fixtures, tiles and flooring material, cabinets, doors, gardening supplies, and tools. These items will be donated to Community Forklift.
• Clothing and household items – cookware, dishes, books, linens, games, toys, clothes, shoes, and intact furniture items (NO upholstered furniture or mattresses). These reusable items will be donated to American Rescue Workers.

Apr
2
2014

Council Agrees to Promote Hollywood Farmers Market

Hollywood Farmers Market

Hollywood Farmers Market

In last night’s worksession, the City Council decided to fund a market master and other measures to promote the Hollywood Farmers market.

The Hollywood Farmers Market operated in 2013 without the services of a paid market master as the role was filled by various volunteers. In this upcoming 2014 season, the resident-run Hollywood Farmers Market Committee will continue to oversee vendor recruitment, marketing efforts, and other activities outside the market day.

However, the group is seeking City assistance to fund a market master to manage market activities on-site each Saturday. In February, the City issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a Farmers Market Master at the Downtown College Park and Hollywood Farmers Markets, and only one person responded with an offer within the City’s budget. Both markets will open the weekend of April 26th and will run through the weekend of November 22nd for a total of 31 markets each.

With this schedule, based on the proposal received, the cost for a market master per market would be $4,092.00 for the season. Currently, $12,826.98 remains in the Farmers Market account.

In last night’s meeting, the Council decided to fund for the Market Master and work at the Hollywood Farmers Market in addition to the Downtown Market.

Apr
1
2014

SHA to Resurface Part of Route 1 in North College Park

Route 1 resurface project in North College Park

Route 1 resurface project in North College Park


Representatives from the State Highway administration will be at tonight’s Council worksession to present a number of resurfacing and maintenance projects in and around College Park this year.

One of those projects includes the Route 1 resurfacing work in north College Park. The scope of the work ranges from Indian Lane to Hollywood Road. The SHA plans to patch, grind, and overlay existing roadway with asphalt. This is needed because the existing pavement condition is deteriorated and is in need of repair. Engineer’s Construction Estimate is about $120,000.

The other maintenance projects that the SHA plans to do include (1) Resurfacing of US 193 from 23rd Ave. to the US 1 overpass (currently in design); (2) Resurfacing of US 193 from Rhode Island Ave. to South Way; (3) Resurfacing of Kenilworth Ave. from Good Luck Road to the Beltway; and (4) Resurfacing of US 430 (Greenbelt Road) from US 1 to US 193.

[UPDATE: The work is scheduled to begin this Spring and will take a few days to complete. All of the work will take place during night time and thus will cause minimum interruptions]

Mar
31
2014

North College Park Crime Map: March 23-29, 2014

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

Stolen Vehicle

Event

 

Type

From

To

Location

[3/29/14] STLVEH 13:43 15:00 SHOPPERS FOOD – COLLEGE PRK,

Theft from Auto

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/23/14] THEFA1 17:03 18:11 4800 Blk ERIE ST,

Theft

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/29/14] THEFT 11:22 12:20 9000 Blk 48TH PL,
Mar
30
2014

In Picture – Good Neighbor Day, 2014

Mar
29
2014

Today is Good Neighbor Day – Celebrate the Fruit Of Being a Good Neighbor

Today is Good Neighbor Day. Good Neighbor Day is all about developing relationships between the University, the City, businesses & non-profits  and our city’s residents, rolling up our sleeves, beautifying our community, and having a good time!

This year’s Good Neighbor’s Day will take place EXCLUSIVELY in north College Park. Good Neighbor Day is a chance for everybody to give back: whatever your skill set, your age, or your level of physical mobility, we have a variety of different service-learning projects and there’s guaranteed to be a project with your name on it!

Here is the list of exciting projects we’ll work on today.

1.      Non Native Plants Removal and Trash pickup:  Sunnyside, Hollywood Commercial District, Hollywood Elementary School. Calling all naturalists!  Help eliminate non-indigenous plant species that threaten the balance of our local ecosystem.

2. Flower planting and beautification project at the front entrance of Hollywood Elementary School.

3.  Food Drive to support College Park Food Bank and Meals on Wheels. Help tackle food scarcity in College Park by sorting and distributing food items collected through our food drive!  We are collecting non-perishable goods to benefit the College Park Meals on Wheels Program and the College Park Food Bank.  Our efforts will help low-income members of our community who face food insecurity during the spring months and are at risk of going hungry after the surge of food donations during the winter holiday season dies down. You can still bring your donated food to donation drop centers.

4.   Doctor’s Community Hospital Health Screening:  Get a free health check-up.  Doctors Community Hospital will provide free blood pressure  and cholesterol screenings on site.

5.   Informational Tables on the following topics: the UM Extension, Fire Safety, Public Safety, the Branchville Fire Department, Doctor’s Community Hospital, Sustainability, Recycling, the Rotary Club, ATHA and others.

6.   Cultural and Wellness Workshops – 3 different workshops:
a. Sustainability – Environmental Science Department – Greening your home
b. Wellness and Health Maintenance
c. Intergroup Dialogue Exploring the meaning of being a good neighbor from a Secular and Faith based perspective.

7.   Lunch at 12:30 and a closing ceremony at 1pm

Good Neighbor Day 2014 will be held at the site of the College Park Meals on Wheels Program located at College Park United Methodist Church (9601 Rhode Island Ave, College Park, MD 20740) 9am-1:30pm.  Please join us today—and get  your free t-shirt, light breakfast & lunch! We look forward to seeing all of you.

Mar
28
2014

Guest Column: Want to Go Solar? Join Us!

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on rooftop

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on rooftop


[The following is a guest post by Anthony Morley, who volunteers with Community Power Network, a nonprofit that helps MD, DC, and VA residents go solar and save money on their electricity bills.]

Interested in going solar but not sure where to start? Join us!

Members of the UMD and College Park community are organizing a neighborhood solar bulk purchase. By going solar as a group we can save 20-30% off the cost of a solar system (please   see here  on how you can save!). You’ll also have the support of the group instead of navigating an often-complicated process alone. Anyone in College Park and the DC metro area is welcome to join the group and to attend either or both of the following info meetings:

- on campus Friday April 4th 12:30-1:30pm in AV Williams room 2460, and
- off campus Wednesday April 16th 7-8:30pm in the City Hall Council Chambers (4500 Knox Rd, 2nd floor).

We will cover the basics of solar and explain how the group purchase works. The group is co-sponsored by the Office of Sustainability and College Park’s Committee for a Better Environment. The group is working with Community Power Network, an independent, nonprofit organization that helps communities go solar. Check out http://www.CommunityPowerNetwork.com/UMD to learn more. See you at a meeting!

Let us know if there’s anything else! Thanks again,

Mar
27
2014

Good Neighbor Day Sustainability Summit and Discussion

Good Neighbor Day Sustainability Summit

Good Neighbor Day Sustainability Summit

Good Neighbor Day is coming up on March 29 from 9 am – 1:30 pm — and we still have spaces for you and your family to sign up to participate in some exciting Cultural and Wellness Workshops

– College Park Sustainability Summit. The University of Maryland’s Environmental Sciences Department, Environmental Science and Policy Program, and Office of Sustainability want to help make our community more environmentally sustainable. Come take an opportunity to brainstorm ideas about how the University can collaborate with residents to promote sustainability! There will be an opportunity to develop plans to follow up on the ideas discussed.

–What Would a Good Neighbor Do (WWGND)?? College Park is home to a community diverse in philosophical orientations: secular, humanist, faith-based, we all answer the question of “What does it mean to be a good neighbor?” in different ways. Get to know your neighbors as we learn about one another and our different beliefs.

– A workshop on Wellness and Health Maintenance

Register now for any of these workshops at www.goodneighborday.umd.edu

Good Neighbor Day will be THIS SATURDAY, March 29, starting at 9:00 at the College Park United Methodist Church, 9601 Rhode Island Ave. More information is available here – http://vpaf.umd.edu/gnd/ We hope to see you there!

Mar
26
2014

City’s Bike Share Roll out May be Delayed by a Few Months

Capital Bike Share

Capital Bike Share

The roll out of the College Park’s Bike Share program may be delayed by a few months. The City was hoping to roll out the program some time this summer.

Late last year, the College Park City Council authorized staff to work on an award of about $376,000 with the bikeshare company called Alta Bicycle Share. Alta manages many bike share programs in the country, including New York , Chicago and Washington D.C.

Unfortunately, Public Bike Systems Company (PBSC), the supplier of the bikes that Alta uses in its systems went into bankruptcy. This happened soon after the Council authorized our staff to work with Alta on the contract. Alta has been working to find ways to secure supplies of bikes that it plans to use in City’s bike share program.

The bankruptcy incident may have put some uncertainty about the program, but we think a solution will be found soon. I will keep you posted as I find more.

Mar
25
2014

North College Park Crime Report: March 16-22, 2014

Stolen Vehicle

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/21/14] FOUND 11:52 13:17 9600 Blk 52ND AVE,

Recovered Stolen Vehicle

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/17/14] STLVEH 11:53 15:38 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD

Breaking and Entering Commercial

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/19/14] BREAK 05:01 07:09 9400 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,

Breaking and Entering Residential

Event

Type

From

To

Location

#L14075 BREAKR 21:16 22:47 4600 Blk KIERNAN RD,
[3/22/14] BREAKR 15:26 16:54 4800 Blk MUSKOGEE ST,

Theft

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/20/14] THEFT 12:16 13:44 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD

Theft from Auto

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[3/18/14] THEFTA 08:52 09:44 9300 Blk 48TH AVE,
[3/18/14] THEFTA 10:24 11:21 4800 Blk NIAGARA RD,
[3/18/14] THEFTA 10:47 10:50 9600 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,
[3/18/14] THEFTA 11:48 12:23 9600 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,
[3/18/14] THEFTA 11:59 13:07 4700 Blk NANTUCKET RD,
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