As another year passes and we embark upon a new one, I thought I would drop a note to share some important events in our neighborhood and my activities as your Councilmember that occurred in 2014. I also want to take this opportunity to ask you how I can be of service to you in 2015.

On the Council, I supported the fiscal year 2015 budget that does not ask for an increase in any kind of tax, fees or fines from residents. Instead, we maintained existing services and programs through efficient use of tax dollars and maintained public services programs including contract police and noise enforcement programs. Furthermore, we added more services for our residents: we added $25,000 for an additional crosswalk RRFB signal on Rhode Island Ave. at Hollywood Rd, $80,000 for the new middle and high school (College Park Academy) and $25,000 to run a feasibility study for a north county animal shelter.

The construction work for the Hollywood Gateway Park at the south east corner of Route 1 and Edgewood Rd. is expected to start early this year. We have approved the final design and acquired the necessary funds for the construction.

Late last year, we worked with the owner to demolish the abandoned old property at the northeast corner of Route 1 and Edgewood Rd. The property stood there at the entrance of our neighborhood and became an eyesore for many years. We hope that the new site will help attract a quality development or a business there that will benefit city residents. We will get you all involved in getting feedback once these designs come before us.
Back in June, we approved the first phase of the Duvall Field Concessions Building replacement project. The new building will have multi-stall men’s and women’s restrooms, concession room with covered entry outside, storage room, mechanical room and drinking fountain.

Back in October, we awarded a landscape architect company to make a conceptual design plan for streetscape improvements in the Hollywood Commercial District. These improvements could include street furniture and a pedestrian area, pedestrian lights, better sidewalks and bicycle facilities, and roadside plantings. The project will also evaluate pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular access and use of the Rhode Island service road. We expect to get the initial designs early this year.

We have also worked with a local non-profit organization on some ideas to facelift the Hollywood Commercial District. Accordingly, our planning staff has recently presented some proposals for facade improvements on the commercial buildings throughout Hollywood. We’re now meeting with business owners to discuss how we can make this happen, including possibly using grants and assistance from the City and County.

Back in September, we learned that the sidewalk retrofit program in north College Park (from MD 193 to I-495) will begin this year and it will take about 6 months to complete. This means the sidewalk can potentially be built by the end of 2015. In another good news, the SHA has identified a funding source to build the retaining wall between Erie St. and Fox St. This means that we will have continuous ADA complaint sidewalk on both sides of Route 1 in north College Park.

Last year, we also created an Aging-in-Place task force to explore ways that the City can help senior residents to remain in their own homes in our community as they age. Being a member of this task force, I hope to recognize the needs of our aging population, identify existing City and County resources, and discover gaps between those current resources and the recognized needs.

Just like the past several years, I organized neighborhood cleanups in summer. I also organized a computer class for adult residents. I also helped organize the Good Neighbor Day in north College Park and the very first city-wide winter clothing drive.

I hope to stay engaged in the neighborhood matters this year as I did in the past year. Let’s keep in touch and please let me know if I can be of any help!