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GreenPlay Recreation Report Gets Some Revisions, but Could be Even Better. What’s Next?

The GreenPlay consultant has made some edits to City’s report in the latest version. The latest version reflects edits suggested at the last Council meeting to pages 59 and 69 of the report.

Language suggesting that the City does not need a community center has been removed from the “Findings Section” on page 59 and the “Goals Section 3.5” on page 69. At the Oct 13 meeting, I specifically raised concerns about the statement, which is not substantiated with solid data. For example, the information on the usage of the College Park Community Center suggests that the center is fairly busy.

Specifically, language stating that a community center may not be financially feasible or necessary has been deleted, along with language regarding the difference between ‘desire and need’ for a community center.

Additionally, clarifying language to distinguish references to facilities and parks owned and operated by the City of College Park from facilities and parks owned or operated by other jurisdictions or entities was added in the “Findings Section” on page 59.

Could have been better..

That said, I continue to share some concerns about a few areas in the report. Here are a few ..

(1) The report could have provided a stronger and more accurate recommendation on future indoor facilities and programming needs by including facilities usage data in the report.  Specifically, College Park Community Center is the only community center within the city boundary, and GreenPlay should have collected the data of the usage and programming at this center over a period of its operation from the M-NCPPC.

(2) The statement  (on page 51) “City Park indoor facilities all fall east of Baltimore Ave. and north of the Paint Branch Stream, leaving Old Town and West of Baltimore Ave. without an indoor space.” could have been revised to include a more complete picture. First of all, the City facility Old Parish House is in the south of the Paint Branch Stream and is not included.  Furthermore, this section should have included the facilities that are under construction and will be available in a few months. For example, the new City Hall will have meeting rooms in it and is currently under construction. The report also does not mention the meeting space included at the City’s Calvert Rd property when it opens as a daycare facility. The City-owned property in College Park Woods, the former pool, has also not been included as College Park facilities by the consultant. The new facilities are “approved and are under construction”. They are not “planned” or in the “Concept phase”, as the GcreenPlay consultant stated in the communication. Furthermore, the report should state that Attick Towers and Spellman House are not owned and operated by the City.

(3)  The text (“A proposed new center should be funded by the M-NCPPC and the County”) in the “Finding” section (page 59) could provide more clarification, as M-NCPPC will be only building very large (60,000 – 80,000 sq ft ) community centers in the future, as part of the recommendations in the Formula 2040 plan. (http://pgparks.com/DocumentCenter/View/118/2040-Functional-Master-PlanPDF?bidId= , page 121, “A key recommendation of Formula 2040 is to move from the current model of building neighborhood-oriented community centers of approximately 20,000 square feet to constructing larger, 60,000- to 80,000-square foot, multi-neighborhood-serving community centers or what is referred to in the Plan as “multigenerational community centers.”)

What’s next?

With these shortcomings, the GreenPlay report does offer some good recommendations – such as expanding City’s green space, parks, and trails by acquiring potential lands. It also recommends expanding meeting space by renting vacant storefronts to meet future meeting room needs. Finally, it recommends improving communication to let more residents know about the recreational offerings throughout the City. It’ll be up to the City Council to adopt these recommendations in its current and future plans, in particular the 5 years Strategic Plan, which the City is currently developing.

The City Council is planning to adopt the GreenPlay recreation report at tonight’s City Council meeting. The council may adopt the report “as-is”, or approve it with its comments. Please send your comments to the City Council at cpmc@collegeparkmd.gov

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