Group Gets to Work to Market College Park

college park sign

The City Council, last year, added to the City action plan a marketing program to improve the image of the City and attract more people to live in it. Earlier this year, the staff issued a request for proposals to hire a consultant to develop the marketing plan.

Six bidders came within the $30,000 budget, and based on references and marketing ideas, the staff selected idfive, LLC of Baltimore. The staff then sat down with idfive and came up with a plan, with the consultant working for four months and gathering information with focus groups, stakeholder interviews, and a survey.

The goal will be to look at the distinguishing characteristics of College Park, and review plans like the strategic plan and the University District Vision 2020 to see how the marketing plans fit with those efforts. The result will be a new brand and marketing image for the City.

IDFive came to last Tuesday’s Council worksession to present their ideas on marking College Park.

We would also like to make sure that the consultant focuses on a strategy for addressing some of the public perception problems that the City faces, such as University faculty and staff not wanting to live here.

A Farmer’s Market in North College Park

Farmer's Market

Back in April, the City Council had a discussion on forming a committee to manage grow City’s recdently formed farmer’s market. This market started several months ago at the City Hall parking lot on Sunday morning. In addition to this market, another farmer’s market has been running for some time at Wells Skating Rink (Miller Farms) to start a second farmer’s market in the City on Sunday mornings at City Hall. The University of Maryland also runs another farmer’s market on Wednesdays.

During the worksession, where we discussed about forming the committee, we heard from City’s planning department and Mr. Miller about the work they did to form this market. I asked Mr. Miller if he’d be interested in starting out another farmer’s market in north College Park. I was encouraged by his positive response.

There are good reasons we should think about a farmer’s market in north College Park.

First, north College Park has the highest concentration of single family households in the City, thus a good amenity like a farmer’s market will be a good addition to this community. It’s true that these residents can always go to one of the three farmer’s market in downtown, however, a very few of them really go there because of not so friendly traffic on Route 1.

I’ve also been approached by a few very local residents-farmers, who expressed interests to join a farmer’s market if formed in north College Park. I used the term “residents-farmers”, because these resident grow organic vegetables in their backyards and local community gardens.

As for the place for a future north College Park farmer’s market goes, we can think of quite a few good options. The parking lot at the REI-MoM shopping place would be a good one, given the fact that a weekend market will definitely boost the businesses in the Hollywood shopping complex. The place near the concession stand near the Duvall Field or the Rhode Island Ave. service road, north of Edgwood Rd. can also be a good option.

These are all good ideas. So I’m curious to know your thoughts about this idea. Please let me know.

Latest Power Outage Map, Cooling Centers Open at Davis Hall, Local Churches

We have some great news on the status of the latest power outages. It looks like some 55 residents on Niagara Rd got their power back this morning. Another 133 houses on and around 49th got their power last night, with 16 houses still in dark. That said, there are still some spots in our district where residents are without power. Please see the latest outage map below. Each green triangle represents 1 to 6 houses.

Council member Wojahn and I have asked staff to have Davis Hall open today as a cooling center, and it will be available until 8 pm for those of you still without power. Just a warning, staff has advised that people attending there be careful in the parking lot due to trucks coming in and out that are not accustomed to having residents around. Also, staff has asked that we advise residents to stay away from the yard. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Also, Wesleyan Church located at 4915 Edgewood Road has been kind enough to open their doors today and tomorrow until 8pm as a cooling center. If you know someone in need, please let him or her know. [phone: 301-441-2388 / 301-938-3068]. Both Davis Hall and the Church have water coolers inside,

Council to Discuss Awarding Gateway Park Construction Project

Floura Teeter

A couple years ago, the City purchased the property at the Southeast corner of Edgewood Road and Route 1 with Program Open Space funds from the State, with the purpose of making the lot into a park.

This property has long been challenged and has faced significant turnover of both owners and renters, and has not found a purchaser for redevelopment as commercial property or anything else. As a result, the Council decided, based on input from the community, that it would be best to turn it into a park. The City formed a committee of residents to provide input on the property, and also held a contest with students from the U-MD Landscape Architecture school to put together some ideas for the project.

At long last, the City has put out a Request for Proposals to hire a designer to engage in a complete design of the park with input from the U-MD proposals and the resident committee. The designer will work with a Local Project Design Committee made up of residents, adjoining property owners, State Highway Administration representatives and City staff, to work with the consultant on the design.

The City has a budget of approximately $380,000 for the project, including funds from Program Open Space, Community Legacy grant funds, city reserve funds and a developer contribution from the Greenbelt Station project. The City received 10 bids, but many of the bids did not demonstrate the cross-disciplinary expertise to handle the complexities of the project, including expertise on topographical design, electrical engineering, and stormwater management.

The staff recommends working with Floura Teeter/WBCM, a joint venture designer and landscape architect. This was the most expensive bid submitted at $95,815 (compared to about $52,000 for the cheapest), but, in staff’s opinion, the proposal best demonstrated an understanding of the design challenges through the companies’ work in other projects and references through other projects. They’ve worked with the University of Maryland on some projects (including its new synthetic turf field and the Worcester Hall Green Space at Lot D) and received excellent reviews.

Staff does have reservations about the high cost and Floura Teeter has said they would review the cost proposal to see if they can cut costs. Still, this designer seems to have substantial experience in the type of environmental features that have been proposed for the Gateway Park.

Please let me know what you think about this project.

Power Outages May Last for Days

Downed tree at 48th Avenue

Pepco is saying it may take several days to get the power back. Across Prince George’s County, about 84,000 Pepco customers and 35,000 Baltimore Gas and Electric customers remained without power — reflecting 37 percent and 44 percent outage rates, respectively.

As of late last night, the outage map in north College Park remains unchanged.

Yesterday I drove by several streets in Hollywood. Residents on Niagara Rd, 48th Ave, Lackawanna West, Delaware West are still without power. Many residents have left their houses and moved to places where they could find power. Those who remained are mostly spending time in their basements.

On 48th avenue, I saw a huge tree across the street downed with the street’s power line (picture above).

We tried to open Davis Hall as a possible local cooling center yesterday. Unfortunately, as soon as the Public Works made everything ready there, the power went out! We’ll see if Pepco can restore power there. In the mean time, please check out the cooling centers I listed in yesterday’s post.

On another note, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) has lifted mandatory water restrictions for Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, effective immediately.

Also, all activities and classes planned in Prince George’s County Public Schools will be canceled today because the school system is running on code yellow due to power outages.

Area Cooling Centers

With many in the area without power, residents are encouraged to go to the nearest cooling center until Pepco restores power to their houses.

All of the following community centers listed below will serve as cooling centers from 1-9 p.m. unless noted:

• Accokeek Academy Middle School, 14400 Berry Road (24 hours)
• Baden Community Center, 13601 Baden-Westwood Road, Brandywine
• Berwyn Heights Community Center, 6200 Pontiac St.
• Bowie Senior Center, 14900 Health Center Drive
• Camp Springs Senior Activity Center, 6420 Allentown Road (noon-6 p.m.)
• Tucker Road Ice Rink, 1770 Tucker Road
• Potomac Landing Community Center, 12500 Fort Washington Road, Fort Washington
• Glenarden / Theresa Banks Complex, 8615 McLain Ave.
• Columbia Park Elementary School Community Center, 1901 Kent Village Drive, Landover
• Robert J. DiPietro Community Center, 7901 Cypress Street, Laurel (11am– 8pm)
Anderson & Murphy Community Center/Armory, 422 Montgomery Street, Laurel (11 a.m.-8 p.m.)
• Glassmanor Community Center, 1101 Marcy Ave., Oxon Hill
• Kentland Community Center, 2411 Pinebrook Ave. , Landover (24-hours)
• Curry Sports and Learning Complex, 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover
• Palmer Park Community Center, 7720 Barlowe Road, Landover
• Lake Arbor Community Center, 10100 Lake Arbor Way, Mitchellville

• Prince George’s Plaza Community Center, 6600 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville (24 hours)
• Cedar Height Community Center, 1200 Glen Willow Drive, Seat Pleasant
• Suitland Community Center, 5600 Regency Lane, Forestville
• County Administration Building, 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro (lower level only, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.)
The following pools are also open until 8 p.m. and will provide free swim admission :
• North Barnaby Splash Park, 5000 Wheeler Rd, Oxon Hill
• J. Franklin Bourne Memorial Pool, 6500 Calmos St., Seat Pleasant
• Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatics Center, 8615-A McLain Ave., Glenarden
• Lane Manor Splash Park, 7601 West Park Drive, Hyattsville
• Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, 8100 Sheriff Road, Landover

Power Outage Map

Though Pepco has been working round the clock to restore powers in the area, it appears that quite a few houses in north and west Hollywood are still out of power. The following map was generated from Pepco’s website early this morning. If you know any houses without power, please call Pepco or BGE.

Pepco customers should call PEPCO at 1-877-737-2662 regularly for updates regarding service restoration. BGE customers should call 1-877-778-2222 every 4 hours or so to receive the latest available information regarding service restoration.

On a related note, City’s email system is down, most likely by the power outage. If you need to contact Council member Wojahn or me, please use our personal emails ( plwojahn@gmail.com and faz.kabir@gmail.com )

Power outage map July 1 2012