Volunteerism in Action: Gazette Features NCP Resident

Lisa Eally, featured in Gazette

This week’s Gazette has featured Lisa Ealley a long time resident of north College Park.

Lisa has been well known for her volunteering works, especially her almost daily services at the Meals and Wheels program. The program runs off United Methodist Church at the Rhode Island avenue and serves subsidized foods to low income residents, mostly in College Park and the neighboring cities.

She also is the treasurer of Girl Scout service unit 23-5, which encompasses Greenbelt, Berwyn Heights, University Park and College Park, and trains area troop leaders.

She spends most evenings, about four hours a week, trying to balance the organization’s books, a task that’s gotten more difficult as the economy has slowed, she said. College Park Meals on Wheels provides food for up to 60 homebound individuals daily. – The Gazette writes.

Congratulations, Lisa! Keep up the good work!

See the full Gazette article here.

New Recycling / Refuse Carts at Public Works – Ask for One

New recyclable and refuse bins at Public Works

Two days ago, I took a tour of City’s Public Works department located at Davis Hall. Despite his busy schedule, department’s director Bob Stumpff spent nearly two hours to show different activities his department does.

Public Works provides essential services (trash pick up, snow plowing etc.) to City residents and consumes nearly 50% of City budget.

During the tour, I noticed a stock of new recycling and refuse carts at the yards.

Recently, many residents and the CBE (Committee for a Better Environment) gave them some encouraging feedback that lately their trash has decreased and/or recycling has increased, and their current refuse carts are excessive while their current recycling carts are not big enough.

In order to accommodate residents who fit these descriptions, Public Works has received a limited supply of two new cart sizes to offer residents interested in making a switch:

If you want a bigger recycling container, they now have 95-GALLON RECYCLING carts (same size as your current trash cart)

If your production of trash decreased, the Public Works also have 65-GALLON REFUSE carts (same size as the bigger of the two currently distributed recycling carts, or about 2/3 the size of your current trash cart).

If you would like to make either or both changes, please call or email Public Works ( 240-487-3590 ; publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov) and they will arrange to make the switch, most likely on your normal weekly collection day.

Ask for one today while they last. And they are absolutely free.

Neighborhood Watch Block Captain Training, Tonight

Neighborhood Watch

City’s Neighborhood Watch will be hosting a training event for prospective and new Block Captains and Coordinators from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. tonight at Davis Hall (in the Public Works Building), 9217 – 51st Avenue, College Park, MD.

The Prince George’s Police community Liaison officers Ofc. Black and Ofc. Erol Lobin will be there to answer any crime related question you may have.

City’s Neighborhood Watch Steering committee members will provide the training.

While the program is strong in some part of the City, it’s fairly weak in the east side of Rhode Island Avenue. If you live in this area and is interested to join the program, please try to be there.

Baker Eyes Slots, Gas and Bag Taxes to Bridge Budget Shortfall

Rushern Baker

With a looming $100 million shortfall in County’s $2.7 billion budget, County Executive Rushern Baker is looking at a variety of ways to bridge that gap. The Maryland General Assembly is preparing for its 430th session next month, and Baker is lobbying the State Delegates for these changes.

Though in the past, Baker was not supportive to the idea of having slots in the County, he seems to be thinking otherwise.

“We have to look at almost everything,” said Baker, reported by this Washington Post article.

Other options Baker is eyeing on include introducing a gas tax that is popular among the legislatures.

He is also backing a nickel bag fee for the county; and he wants to forestall the pension shift or at least mitigate its impact on localities such as Prince George’s.

Book Exchange Development: What is a Step-back Transition?

Step back transition

When the Council will start its session next year, one of the development issues it will take is the Book Exchange development.

Back in October this year, the developer / applicant came to the Council and presented its preliminary DSP (Detailed Site Plan), which was voted down by the Council. However, the applicant went ahead and submitted the plan to County’s Park and Planning, who also rejected the plan and asked the developer to revise it.

At the heart of this controversy lies the compliance of a provision in the Route 1 sector plan. The proposed Book Exchange housing is a 6 stories high development which is next to historic residential neighborhood in old town College Park. According to Route 1 sector plan, the tallest buildings shall be located fronting US 1, however the building immediate next to the neighborhood should only 2 to 3 stories high.

Here is the text in Route 1 sector plan that guides such planning rules..

Generally, compatible buildings and uses should be located adjacent to each other. However, along historically commercial strips tall buildings often share rear lot lines with residential buildings.

Where corridor infill and walkable node areas are across the street from or share a rear property line with an existing residential area, a stepback transition and or a landscape buffer shall be required for all new development within the corridor infill and walkable node areas.

Stepback transitions are appropriate where corridor infill and walkable node areas are across the street from existing residential areas. This scenario is illustrated in the top two diagrams on this page, where a block that fronts US 1 is across the street from an existing

The tallest buildings shall be located fronting US 1. The development shall step down through the block to a maximum height of two or three stories facing existing residential development.

Landscape buffers in combination with stepback transitions are appropriate when corridor infill and walkable node areas share a property line with existing residential areas. The buffer area shall be consistent with the standards of the Landscape Manual.

Route 1 Redevelopment in North College Park – How Long Do We Need to Wait?

Recently, I was browsing the Route 1 sector plan documents to see what we can expect when Route 1 will be rebuilt in north College Park. According to the plan, the Route 1 in College Park (from the Beltway to the College Ave.) will be built in three phases. The City recently received $8.8 million to design the first part – from Rt 193 / University Blvd. to College Avenue. This is the part of Route 1 which is located in south College Park. There is no word when we will be receiving funds to redevelop Route 1 in north College Park. That said, we will try our best to seek additional funds to accelerate redevelopment of Rt 1 in our part of the City.

Rt 1 in north College Park - current view: The corner of US 1 and Erie Street looking north. The low scale of the buildings, wide expanse of roadway, frequent curb cuts, and lack of spatial definition between street and buildings make the area unattractive to pedestrians.

Rt 1 in north College Park - future view: Overhead power lines are removed and relocated either underground or behind building. Curb cuts are minimized to allow the construction of an uninterrupted sidewalk. The center lane is removed. A coordinated streetscape is added to include wide sidewalks, street trees, pedestrian-scaled lighting, and parallel parking. Curb cuts are minimized to allow the construction of an uninterrupted sidewalk. Thecenter lane is removed. A coordinated streetscape is added to include wide sidewalks, street trees,pedestrian-scaled lighting, and parallel parking.

Greenbelt Metro Crime Report, Holiday Schedule, Found Dog

Greenbelt Metro north entrance

Greenbelt Crime Report
Recently WMATA found College Park Metro having the highest number of crime incidents (Greenbelt Metro came 5th). This crime report includes incidents from April last year to last Friday.

City Holiday Schedule
City offices will be closed tomorrow, December 26 and January 2. Refuse and recycling will be collected one day later than normal on both weeks: Monday collections will occur Tuesday, Tuesday collections will occur Wednesday and Wednesday collections will occur on Thursday. Appointments for special trash and brush will only be scheduled for Friday on these holiday weeks. Please call or email Public Works in advance to schedule an appointment (phone 240-487-3590; publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov)

Found Dog
A female black lab mix was found near the intersection of Hollywood Rd and 51st Ave on Sat 12/17 and turned over to College Park Animal Control on 12/20. She is microchipped to an owner in Illinois, but the contact information is no longer valid. The dogs was wearing a silver choker with a pink nylon line through it. Please call Animal Control with any additional information on this dogs home. Please call City’s Animal Control’s Vivian Cooper at 240-375-3165

Free Lead Paint Seminar for Homeowners

Chipping lead paint

A Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) speaker will educate College Park homeowners  and residents on lead paint issues at a Lead Paint Seminar on Monday, January 9, 2012 at 5:45 pm at the Hampton Inn, 9670 Baltimore Avenue.

You should atetnd this seminar if you answer any of these questions yes.

  • Is your house built before 1978?
  • Do you have older windows or doors?
  • Do you have babies or toddlers living with you or visiting your home?

The seminar is sponsored by the Prince George’s Propoerty Owners Association (PGPOA). Please contact Lisa Miller with any questions: 301.704.1342

There is no cost to attend the seminar.  Additional information on the Lead Paint Seminar can be obtained from the PGPOA website, which is found at http://collegeparkhousing.org.

College Park Student Gang Raped near Greenbelt Metro

A College Park student was gang raped near the Greenbelt Metro Station early Saturday morning. Police are looking for at least four teens and young men in connection with the attack.

This reminds us another rape that happened last year, when a 15 years old girl was raped near the Metro entrance at the north College Park entrance. Metro later installed 6 cameras there after a successful camera petition drive.

Gas Leak Scare in Hollywood, School Evacuated

Washington Gas Meters

Yesterday morning, a resident reported that there was a gas leak incident in the east Hollywood area. She also said that the Alhuda school at the east end of Edgewood Road was evacuated because of this.

I soon contacted the school staff and found that the Washington gas crew and the fire marshals scanned the school building area but could not find the source of the gas leak. The crew however said he was aware of two other incidents – one somewhere in the SpringHill Lake apartment area and another from a junkyard near I 295 (I could not verify this with Washington Gas).

Two other residents living in nearby houses (Wichita Ave. and Cheyenne Pl.) said that they also smelled faint gas. Another resident said she smelled gas Tuesday night when she was walking from Greenbelt Metro’s south entrance.

Later in the afternoon, I also sent an inquiry to Washington Gas to find more about this. Washington Gas’s Spokesperson Mr. Rodriguez later called me and wrote to me about the incident:

To reiterate, our technician found no leaks inside or outside the Al Huda School. The Prince George’s County Fire Board evacuated the school as a safety precaution. Once the Washington Gas technician completed his indoor and outdoor test and found no leaks, the Prince George’s County Fire Board pronounced the scene as “clear”.

Mr. Rodriguez also told me that he is not aware of any other incident in our part of the city. However, he strongly suggested residents to call 911 if anyone smells gas in the area.

In addition to calling 911, you should contact Washington Gas immediately at 703-750-1400 or 1-800-752-7520. You can also contact them to check on the status of any previous call.

Post Features College Park Sea Food Restaurant

Fishnet in the Washington Post

It’s been only two months since the seafood restaurant “Fishnet” opened in College Park, but it has made some good news among area’s residents and local media alike.

Fishnet is located at 5010 Berwyn Rd and  has replaced yet another popular restaurant destination Berwyn Cafe.

Fisnet’s latest coverage came yesterday – from the Washington Post.

Post writes in its Lifestyle section:

Each day brings a handful of fish varieties that can be grilled or fried, then set in a roll with lettuce and tomato and a smear of a house-made sauce. The choices run to fresh mahi-mahi, porgy, bluefish and salmon, which also makes its way into scroll-size tacos using flour tortillas. A sandwich of strong-flavored bluefish treated to a Turkish-inspired spread of pureed walnuts, garlic and sumac made me wish I had a Fishnet closer to home.

More about Fishnet can be found here

College Park Aviation Museum to Exhibit Trains, This Week

College Park aviation Museum to host trains

Right now, at the College Park Aviation Museum, miniature trains, villages, tunnels, and depots spark the imagination and bring history to life.

The National Capital Trackers bring a fascinating and constantly moving display of model railroads to the Museum.

The exhibit started this past weekend and will continue until this Friday (Dec 23).

This is a free event , with museum admission. $4 for adults; $2 for kids.

To find direction and to know more about the exhibit, please click here.

Two New Businesses Opening in Hollywood Commercial District

Video Plus will be replaced by a new rotisserie chicken restaurant

Two new businesses are moving into  Hollywood commercial district.

The news was disclosed by City’s economic development coordinator Michael Steifvaer in December 2011 ncpca meeting.

Johnny’s Carry Out store will start operating in the  old College Park Florist store (9823 Rhode Island), in the REI/MOM shopping plaza. They also have a store in Laurel.

A Rotisserie Chicken restaurant will also open in the recently closed Video Plus store (see picture), located in 9925 Rhode Island.

You can find the complete list of businesses opening (and closing) in the entire city during the month of December  here .

Final Leaf Collection for the Season

Leaf Collections

Here is the final chance to clean up fall leaves  for this season.

The vacuum will be in North College Park west of Rhode Island Ave. on December 22, 23 and 28, and will be on the east side of Rhode Island Ave. on December 29.

The vacuum will be in Sunnyside on December 30.

Also, if you know of any residents (senior citizen, disable, for example) needing help in raking leaf, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’ll try my best to get a few volunteers to get that done.

In Pictures: 911 Call Processing Center

I went to Bowie’s 911 call processing center last night with a number of other College Park residents.

The center was opened very recently and is considered one of the best call processing center among the entire country.  The center currently processes 3500 police and 500 fire  related calls daily. During the past hurricane season, the center processed around 1100 additional calls daily

During our two hour tour, we learned quite a bit..

  • How a 911 call is received. We got chances to listen to actual 911 calls from residents and how they were logged and dispatched to police and fire dispatchers.
  • How a police officer or a fire crew is dispatched to handle the call
  • How calls are received and dispatched in areas of concurrent jurisdictions, such as in College Park where we have at least three entities dealing with public safety
  • How the calls made in other languages are processed

Thanks to Zari Malswama of City’s Neighborhood Watch group for organizing the tour.