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Apr
13
2017

Help Us Build the Hollywood Community Garden – This Saturday

Hollywood Community Garden - Calling all Gardeners

Apr
12
2017

Tomorrow’s NCPCA Meeting: Hollywood Streetscape, Greenbelt Development and More..

NCPCA - It's Your Neighborhood Association

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

Tomorrow is the second Thursday of the month and thus the day when the North College Park Civic Association holds its monthly meeting.

The meeting will start with a discussion on the Commercial District Streetscape Improvements. Terry Schum, City of College Park Planning Director, and the city’s consultants will discuss plans for improving the streetscape in Hollywood’s Commercial District.

Members will then discuss the Greenbelt Metro Detailed Site Plan. The hearing for the detailed site plan intended for the development intended for Greenbelt Metro Station is later this month. This discussion will have two parts: first, an update from Ms. Schum and the city’s stormwater management consultant, and then a discussion led by the NCPCA committee formed to review the DSP on behalf of NCPCA’s membership.

Members will also for an elections committee to help elect their new leadership in the upcoming term. Per the NCPCA bylaws, members will establish an elections committee to elect officers at our June meeting.

Meetings have been temporarily relocated to 4912 Nantucket Road; there is a small parking lot across from the shopping center entrance on Nantucket Road.

Apr
11
2017

County’s First Whole Foods Store to Open Tomorrow in Riverdale Park

After more than six years of wait and planning, construction and delays., Prince George County’s first Whole Foods Market will open tomorrow (Wednesday).

The store will bring 170 new jobs to the county and will also give Route 1 corridor a high-end grocer where they can buy natural and organic products.

The new Whole Foods store brings a $250 million development that when completed will be a town center of sorts with single- and multifamily homes, restaurants and retail in a growing part of the county with access to Metro’s Green Line, a network of trails, and the University of Maryland College Park campus.

More here on the Washington Post.

You can take Route One Ride to get to the new store. The Route 1 Ride operates along the Baltimore Avenue Corridor and includes a brand new stop at Riverdale Park Station.

Apr
10
2017

City Introduces Free Tree Planting Program

Now is a great time to plan for the future by planting trees. Trees provide many benefits such as reduction of cooling and heating costs, interception of rain water, increasing property values and improving air quality.

Starting this year, City of College Park property owners can apply for reimbursement of up to $150.00 annually for trees planted on their residential lot in College Park. The Tree Canopy Enhancement Program (TCEP) guidelines and application is available here. The completed application should be sent to balexander@collegeparkmd.gov for review and approval.

Asplundh, tree contractor for PEPCO, is scheduled to begin line clearance work on the sub-transmission power line along Route 193 west bound between Rhode Island Avenue and the ramp to Route 1 north during the week of April 3rd. About 70 trees in the Maryland State Highway right-of-way are scheduled to be removed to eliminate interference with the power line and to maintain reliability.

Additional trees in this area are also scheduled to be pruned. Tree work will continue along Route 1 north bound, in the SHA right-of-way, from the ramp from Route 193 north to the beltway. About 6 trees, mostly Ash, will be removed between the Route 193 west bound ramp to Route 1 north and Cherokee St. The thickets of Bradford Pear trees on both sides of the outer loop of the beltway, in the SHA right-of-way, at Route 1 north will be removed as well as 2 Oak trees at the ramp from Route 1 to access the outer loop of the beltway. Contact Brenda Alexander, DPW Assistant Director, for more information.

Apr
9
2017

Budget Town Hall – April 24, 2017

Council members from district 1 and 4 will be hosting a budget town hall meeting on Monday, April 24, at the Youth and Family services building on 4912 Nantucket road. Please join and let us know how you want us to spend your tax dollars.FY18-budget-town-hall-flyer

Apr
8
2017

Live Blogging – Budget 2018 Worksession – Day 1

2:34pm: we’re done with today’s session. We’ll have our next session on April 22
2:04pm: We’re reintroducing Business Assistance and Façade Improvement Grant program – $60K
1:40 pm: We’re now reviewing Planning and Economic development budget. Total budget: $805,735
1:28pm: City currently provides transportation within an 8 mile radius at the request of City seniors, such as trips to doctors office and grocery stores. This year, we served 1,823 seniors. Next year, we’re planning to serve 3,500
1:15pm: Twice-a-week College Park Seniors Social program is going great! 10 – 12 seniors attending on a regular basis. Programming provided by College Park Arts Exchange and M-NCPPC and on occasion, UMD Clarice Center.
1:00 pm: We’re back with a presentation about the Youth and family services (YFS) department budget. The YFS provides community outreach as well as family counseling to youth and families with the goal of enhancing family functioning and case management for seniors as well as advocacy, emotional support, social engagement opportunities and limited transportation services to support City seniors’ self-determination and autonomy.
12:30 pm: We’re in lunch break. Will be back at 1:00 pm.
12:06 pm: Our speed revenue has gone down by $250K (from $3 million to $2.5 million). It means motorists are slowing down!
11:50 am: We spend $12,150 to train out code enforcement officers. These staff do have a very hard job in keeping our neighborhoods upto code and need to a lot of support and training.
11:40 am: Total public works budget: $496,471
11:30 am: We’re back, with the Public services budget. Public Services is responsible for the enforcement of all laws, ordinances, rules and regulations of the City and, where jurisdiction lies with the City, of Prince George’s County, the State of Maryland and the United States; issuance of licenses and permits, and their enforcement; performing all required inspections; and supervision of City contract police personnel.
11:20 am: Taking another short break!
11:09 am: We’re talking CBE budget. They do a good job in promoting College Park’s environmental stewardship. We’re talking if the beautification part of their budget should be moved to public works who actually does the beautification project. I suggested to notify them if we want to make the change.
10:58 am: Now we’re discussing election board and city committees budget. The election budget may go down this year, because we’ll (most likely) not be live broadcasting the election results anymore. The election machines make the publication of election results much faster, and thus we’ll be having a very short election night.
10:50 am: Talking about IT budget. Staff worked to pull IT budgets in different divisions and put them into one bucket. This makes perfect sense. Total budget: $718,258
10:27 am: Talking communication department. This Office is responsible for the dissemination of public information and news from the City to residents, visitors, media and other interested parties; promotion and marketing of the City; and overseeing several special
events hosted by the City, such as College Park Day. Budget almost remains the same. $186,271
10:05 am: Now we’re talking Human resources. Their services include recruitment; employment policies and procedures; position classification; wage and salary administration; benefits evaluation and administration; workers’ compensation; employee relations; labor relations; wellness; and the Maryland State Retirement Plan.
9:50 am: We’re coving finance department. Their budget remains almost the same. So you think $98K for credit card payment is too much?
9:37 am: City attorney budget has been proposed to increase by $20K, from $176K to $196. Our attorney is expected to work on more projects next year.
9:16 am: We’re talking about the money we spend on our lobbyist. They lobby City’s interest at MD State assembly. Based on the work they did last year, we’re reducing the fund from $30K to $23K
9:06 am: We’re back. We’ll now talk about general administration
8:58 am: Introduction has just ended. Now we’re taking a short break
8:40 am: Hollywood Gateway park and Hollywood Streetscape project will get a total of $1.1 million
8:38 am: We’ll spend $6.9 million in capital projects
8:35 am: FY 2018 budget will leave $9.65 million reserve fund budget. It’s very healthy number .
8:22 am: Thanks to our staff, who made this year’s budget book a lot slimmer – it has about half of the pages than that of the previous years budget. They removed a lot of repetitive content throughout the budget book. You can read the budget book here:
8:19 am: We will have significant increase in (about $2 million) to do infrastructure projects. We’re also setting aside $250K to improve public safety
8:15 am: We’re adding more staff to public works – mainly to enhance beautification of the city. Also adding staff to engineering and youth / family services
8:12 am: We are not proposing any tax hike this year, despite our tax rate is 3rd lowest in the area!
8:09 am: The total proposed General Fund budget is $19,794,441, an increase of $1,765,106 or 9.8% over the FY 2017 amended budget of $18,029,335. The increase is primarily due to additional revenue, which is used primarily to fund capital projects of almost $1 million and increases in personnel costs of $556,000, attributable to cost of living adjustments and a newly adopted compensation plan to maintain competitiveness, to take effect July 1, 2017.
8:04 am: Today is the first of the two day-long worksessions . The second session will be two weeks from now.
8:00 am: We just started with an introduction from our City manager
7:52 am: In keeping tradition, we start the session with breakfast at 7:30 am. The actual session will start at 8:00 am
7:50 am: I’ll doing live blogging today’s FY2018 budget worksession.
cp-budget-2018

Apr
7
2017

More on Metro Closures at Greenbelt and Colelge Park Stations

I’ve got additional information about the metro’s station closures at Greenbelt and College Park, starting April 15.

Metro Shuttle

Metro will use shuttle buses to transport riders bwteen Greenbelt and PG Plaza. Buses will still run every 3-5 minutes, however a bus leaving every 3-5 minutes is still much less capacity than a train departing every 6 minutes, so Metro wants to encourage commuters who normally park and ride from Greenbelt or College Park to consider using other metro stations or MARC. They want many riders to find alternatives, so their messages will highlight the limitations of the bus shuttle.

Parking at PG Plaza Mall Parking Lot

Metro will keep an option to secure some parking spots at the PG Plaza station. That said, they will also have bus supervisors on site at both stations who can monitor crowding and communicate back and forth. These supervisors will be able to direct a buses at Greenbelt to leave before they fill, so that buses will have space to add more riders at College Park.

UMD Shuttle and mBike

UMD’s UM-Shuttle will also run between campus and Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station weekdays from 7:00am through 8:00pm. College Park residents can ride UM-Shuttle buses for free with pass. Here is how to get a free pass

From north College Park, you can take mBike from Greenbelt metro or Rhode Island avenue bike station to campus and get the free shuttle to PG Plaza. It’s about a 15 min bike ride. Here is a bike map from Greenbelt metro to campus. 

Apr
6
2017

SHA Looking to Improve Westbound MD 193 and Rhode Island Avenue Intersection

Rhode Island and 193

A Couple of you raised concerns about the traffic at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and University Boulevard / MD 193. The concern is about the increasingly dangerous misuse of the west bound right-turn only lane at the intersection.

The westbound 193 at this intersection has four lanes. One to solely turn left on southbound Rhode Island. Two as thru-lanes headed west on 193 (toward campus, Baltimore Avenue and Adelphi Road) and one that is marked and supposedly to be used only to turn right on Rhode Island Avenue heading north. Please see the photo above.

Many residents use this intersection multiple times a week. Unfortunately, more and more motorists dangerously using the right turn-only lane as a high-speed passing or thru lane (as marked with the red arrow in the picture), disregarding the clearly marked right turn only signs before the intersection. These motorists frequently use this lane to either speed past traffic to later merge on westbound 193 or as an extended, 60+ mph ramp for northbound Baltimore Avenue. For cars merging from southbound Rhode Island Avenue into westbound 193, these errant motorists present a major hazard and a potentially deadly situation.

A number of residents have experienced nearly hit in our vehicles at this intersection a number of times.

After checking with the SHA (State Highway administration), we found that they are working on a traffic safety project that was initiated back in 2011. The project will extend the southbound Rhode Island Ave median further into MD193, preventing MD193 west bound right – only traffic to turn left and merge on the road. Please see below a preliminary design we obtained from the SHA.

As it stands now they have not secured funding past preliminary engineering. Final Review will be scheduled in September of this year.” The estimated cost is around $2,000,000.We’ve asked the SHA to come to the community and the City Council meeting soon to get residents’ feedback, sometime this summer. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.
SHA-MD-193-RhodeIsland

Apr
5
2017

New Service Hours at Davis Hall and City Hall

Beginning May 1, 2017, the window service hours at Davis Hall and City Hall will change. The service hours had to be adjusted based on the usage by our residents.

Davis Hall’s finance window’s new hours will be Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (except for extended hours from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. the last full week in June through the first week of July and the first week in January).

Also, City Hall’s finance window’s new hours will no longer include Saturday hours (except for the last two Saturdays in December, January, June and August and first Saturday of July and September), however there will be no change in the Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. hours.

Apr
4
2017

North College Park Crime: March 26 – April 1, 2017

Address Type
9200 Blk 51ST AVE Property Damage
9100 Blk Autoville DR Theft from auto
9300 Blk Cherry Hill RD Theft from auto
9500 Blk 50TH Ave Theft
9000 Blk Rhode Island Ave Theft
8900 Blk Rhode Island Ave Commercial Robbery
9600 Blk Milestone Way Homicide
4700 Blk Cherry Hill Rd Breaking & Entering
Apr
3
2017

Single Family Homes in College Park – Challenges and Opportunities

District-housing north-South

Following a recent discussion about housing in College Park, I looked into the number of single family homes in different parts of the City. I used data from the Maryland National Park and Planning’s GIS, which I obtained from City’s engineering division. Please see that map here. I used this worksheet to make these charts.

Two findings of City’s single family homes shouldn’t surprise anyone (1) Almost half of City single family homes are located in District 1 (2) The north College Park has more than two-third of  City’s single family homes.

It’s important to look into City’s single family homes for a couple of reasons:

  • A majority of our infants, children, youth, parents and seniors most likely live in these single family homes. The locations of City’s single family homes should help us plan where to focus services for these groups of residents. For example, if we plan for affordable childcare or early learning centers for young children, after school programs for school children, or other activities for all family members, we may want to look at the places where we find these houses most. Ideally, we want to have services in each of city’s neighborhoods, however, due to the budgetary constraints, we may need to start in areas where most of these single families are found.
  • You’ll probably get more vacant homes in an area where you’ll see more homes. This should help the City plan housing stabilization in College Park.
  • Most of our long time residents live in our single family houses. This is the generation that built our neighborhoods and our City. It’s important to recognize the places where they live.
  • To some extent, the location of single family homes should give us a sense where the majority of our residential tax revenues come from.

Each neighborhood in College Park has its own strength and challenges. For example, some of our neighborhoods in the southern part of  the city face challenges that can be found in many college towns in the country. On the other hand, our neighborhoods in the northern part of the city have their unique needs that come from many families living in the single family homes. It’s important that we recognize these distinct needs and make these neighborhoods better places to live for our residents.

Apr
2
2017

Body Discovered During Good Neighbor Day Community Event

During yesterday’s Good Neighbor Day community cleanup, students found a dead body near the Lake Artemisia.

As part of the Good Neighbor Day event, I was at the College Park community center working with a group of volunteers packing foods for the College Park Food Bank. At this time our City staff came and told me about the tragic incident. A few minutes later, I got a call from the PG County police liaison officer about the same incident. Later in teh afternoon, we came to know about the incident from the Diamondback paper.

You can find more about the incident here on the Diamondback, and the Washington Post.

Here is what we know so far

  • The discovery was made near Indian Creek, and the Lake Artemesia parking area at Berwyn Road and 55th Avenue
  • Student volunteers who discovered the body are receiving professional counseling service
  • The body of the victim was scheduled to be transported to Baltimore for examination.
  • The Maryland-National Capital Park police and the PG County police have been jointly investigating the incident
  • Cause of the death is still unknown. Homicide has not been ruled out.
  • Individuals with more information are encouraged to contact police at 301-352-1200.

UPDATE [4/3/2017] : Police has found that the dead was a retired UMD professor. Please see here: about more: http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Body-Found-in-Maryland-Lake-Is-Retired-UMd-Professor-Police-Say-417972843.html


[Police near the place where the dead body was found. Source: The Diamondback]

Apr
1
2017

April Saturdays Cleanups Start Today

Clean-Up Saturdays in April
Saturday, April 1, 8, 22 & 29, 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Department of Public Works, 9217 51st Avenue

The City’s annual spring clean-up for City residents is coming! The four April cleanup days are for residents only; proof of residency is required.

As part of the cleanup dates…

Resident can drop-off bulky trash, yard waste and brush, and electronics for recycling.
Styrofoam will be collected for special recycling (molded #6 expanded polystyrene foam; foam coolers & electronics packaging). The styrofoam cannot be contaminated with tape, stickers, food, or other impurities. No food or beverage containers or packing peanuts.
Air conditioners, heat pumps, refrigerators and freezers may dropped off and could incur a disposal fee.
Tires will incur a disposal fee of $4.00 each.

Hazardous materials will not be accepted (shingles, propane tanks, paint, etc.).
SMARTLEAF® compost will be available for sale $28 a cubic yard – residency is NOT required.
Residents can also donate to two different non-profits. Donating helps divert items from the landfill that are still in good condition, and 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. We will once again be working with two non-profits:

Community Forklift accepts donations of surplus, gently-used and salvaged home improvement supplies. Click here for a full list of acceptable items.

GreenDrop, an organization selected by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the National Federation of the Blind and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Philadelphia, to raise funds through the collection of donated clothing and household items. Click here for a full list of acceptable items.

Mar
31
2017

Greenbelt Metro to be Closed for 1 Month: April 14 – May 15

Metro announced yesterday that Greenbelt Metro stations will completely shut down for one full month, as part of Surge #14 of SafeTrack.

The surge will take place in two phases, with College Park and Greenbelt stations being closed during the first phase and Greenbelt station will remain closed during the second phase as well, according to Metro.

Metro is saying free shuttle buses will replace trains for the duration of the surge. Connect to regular Green Line service at Prince George’s Plaza (April 15-29) or College Park (April 30-May 14).

More here on WMATA’s website: https://www.wmata.com/about/news/safetrack-surge-14-plan.cfm

Mar
30
2017

North College Park Crime Map – March 18 – 26, 2017

 

Address Type
9100 Blk Rhode Island Ave Breaking & Entering
9600 Blk Baltimore Ave Theft
10200 Bk Baltimore Ave Theft
9000 Baltimore Ave Theft from auto
9400 blk Rhode Island Ave Theft from auto
9300 Blk Cherry Hill RD Theft
9300 Blk Cherry Hill RD Theft
9300 Blk Cherry Hill Rd Theft
9300 Blk Cherry Hill RD Theft from auto
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