KabirCares.org

Sunnyside May Get a Park / Playground

Back in March this year, we met about 20+ Sunnyside neighbors to explore the public use of the green space at the east end of Odessa Road, in Sunnyside neighborhood. This is a 1.2-acre land donated to the City in early 2000 by Kerensky family.

at the meeting, the residents want to see an amenity being added to this green space. At the meeting, a small neighborhood park appeared to be a popular and cost-effective way to use this land for community’s benefit. There was some good discussion about maintenance (putting trash receptacles) and safety (lights, fence etc) once we decide to build the playground. The preference was to use the space close to the beltway, instead of the space close to the residential homes.

Staff estimates that the cost to build a small park would be 65K-95K at this site. This includes the cost of play equipment, labor (such as excavation) and other park-related materials. The cost is based on the construction of similar parks the City has built in other neighborhood. The funds spent in building the park could be 100% refunded through the Community Parks and Playgrounds Program of the State of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. Similar grant money has been used to build playgrounds in other parts of the city, the most recent one being the playground in the Crystal Spring neighborhood.

In City’s FY19 budget, the Council approved this allocation, staff will now apply for the DNR grant for this park. The deadline to apply for this grant in the upcoming year is August 2018. We hope to get a response by the end of this year. If approved, the park could be built early next year.

M-NCPPC Approves Budget for More Community Programs in College Park

Last week, Councilwoman Mary Lehman told me that the M-NCPPC has approved the budget today with $50,000 with additional programming. The City will work to make good use of this money for our seniors/community members. There are funds available in the FY19 City and the M-NCPPC budgets that could possibly be used to expand, the current offerings, or even start a full-time community center in north College Park.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to write to M-NCPPC for additional funding. I also want to acknowledge the work of former Council members Nagle and Cook and other members of the NCPCA and the larger community for their advocacies. Alos, I also want to thank the NCPCA president John Krouse for his active involvement in this project. Finally, I want to recognize that it was Councilwoman Mary Lehman who asked the money in the current M-NCPPC budget. It’s really an excellent team effort! Congratulations, all.

The idea of having a community / senior center in north College Park is not a new one. Residents, in particular, seniors have asked for the center probably for more than a decade now. One north College Park resident (Anne Bolduc) recently collected a 200+ signature petition recently in support of the center. For example, many of our seniors live alone in their homes during the daytime and they would appreciate having a place close to their homes where they can simply hang out and feel the ownership and call it a “second home”. Many of them are also confident and are very creative to run their own programs, as they spent many years in building our community, thus we may not need a full-time staffing at the center.

City to Observe Memorial Day, Tomorrow

College Park Veterans Memorial

The City will observe the Memorial Day tomorrow, Monday, May 28 at College Parks’s Veterans Memorial Monday May 28, 2018 at 11:00 am U.S. Route One and Greenbelt Road Bring pictures of those who serviced.

All City Offices will be closed tomorrow in observance of Memorial Day.

Refuse and recycling will occur one day later than normal during this holiday week:

  • Monday collections will occur Tuesday, May 29
  • Tuesday collections will occur Wednesday, May 30
  • Wednesday collections will occur Thursday, May 31

Special collections for brush and bulky items will only be scheduled for Friday, June 1, of this holiday week. You must call 240-487-3590 or email publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov to schedule a pickup before setting your items out on the curb.

This Morning’s Community Cleanup – Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who came out and did the cleanup this morning. I think we had a good turn out. Please see a photo below. With your help, we covered quite a few streets around the Hollywood commercial district. We plan to do a few more cleanup events in the coming months to cover the entire neighborhood. Thanks again!

Tomorrow at the Hollywood Farmers Market

This Memorial Day weekend, during your cook-outs or day off take a moment to remember those who have sacrificed their lives in defending our country. We should be eternally grateful for their courage and honor those whom we lost during the battle.

With a heavy heart, we have to report that Calvert Farm will not rejoin our market this season. They lost their crops due to the large amount of rain we received. Now they have had to start all over again for the season. According to Pam, they still have standing water in the fields and with more rain on the way it isn’t looking good. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they are working through this troubling time. We hope that they can replant and have some crops for the fall.

Alcoba coffee will not be at the market June 2nd.

This Saturday, VFW Post 5627 will be at the market giving out poppies to any donations to support our local chapter.

Fire Spinners and artists are going to be at the market around 11 am. Stop by to watch this amazing group preform tricks with fire (remember kids- do not try this at home).

Yoga Heights DC
It will be a perfect day for Yoga on Saturday. Stop by around 10:30am to either learn about Yoga or even have some time to stretch- it’s a perfect way to start the day. If you would like to contact our group of instructors please email yoga.hollywoodmarket@gmail.com or visit their website http://yogaheightsdc.com/

Neighborhood Clean Up
Tomorrow, please join your neighbors, students and members of community groups at the first Hollywood Community Cleanup event. Volunteers will gather at the Hollywood Farmers Market at 9 am and spread out in groups in the neighborhood streets to do the cleanup. Cleanup supplies (gloves and bags) will be provided. (Please see flyer for more details)

Returning (tentatively) vendors for this week include:
Alcoba Coffee: Guatemalan coffee by the pound and by the cup
Amity Kitchen: Thai food, Spring Rolls and Mango Sticky Rice
Baker Charley: Gluten free bread and baked goods
Blessed Creations: Soaps and oils
College Park Hypnosis Center: Making positive changes easier
Designed Naturally: Natural bead jewelry
Double Sharp: Local Musicians
Heavenly Created Desserts: Hot dogs and desserts
Inge’s Crochet: Hand made crochet items
Roy and Arti’s Kitchen and Garden: Prepared Indonesian cuisine and vegetables
Valencia’s Produce: Berries, flowers and herbs
Victory Chapel Family Farms: Local Honey
Waltz Family Farm: Meat, eggs and cheeses

These vendors will be returning at a later date:
Elated Harmony: Massage
The Wood Dr.: Handmade wooden items
Peacesake Candles: Soy based candles in multiple scents
Calvert Farm: Produce and fruits
Moonstruck Oyster Company: Shelled Oysters, Shucked Oysters, Cookbooks, etc. will return June 2nd
Terrapin Care Center: Chiropractic Care
The Baked Apple: Apple muffins and breads will return June 9th

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Residents Favor Proposed Dog Park at the 51st Ave Location

Yesterday, the City held a community meeting to discuss the proposed dog park on 51st Avenue, between Eutaw Place and Fox Street in north College Park. Here is the Google street view of the proposed location: https://goo.gl/crKokL .

About 30 residents attended the meeting. Most residents favored the proposed north College Park dog park at this location.

Back in January, residents discussed the proposed dog park at Duvall Field location at the NCPCA meeting. The community was divided on the idea of putting the park at the field, primarily out of concerns on the negative impact the dog park have on the fields and the surrounding residential homes.

The 51st Avenue location sits on the Prince George’s County’s Board of Education property. The City has already been in touch with the BOE and working to get permission to use the property. The City’s Public Works Department currently uses part of the property to run its compost program.

The City is considering to put the park is an area of around 100 ft x 120 ft in size, adjacent to 51st Avenue. Unlike the surrounding area of the BOE property, this location does not have any trees.

The park will have the following amenities:

  • Two parks – for small and large dogs
  • Water fountains
  • Drainage
  • Double gates for extra security
  • Fences
  • Dog waste station(s)
  • Relaxed, self-enforced regulation, with spot checks by City’s ACO (Animal Control Officer)
  • Parking at the DPW parking lot
  • Sidewalk between DPW parking lot and the park

If things work out with the BOE, the dog park will go into operation in summer this year.

Thanks, everyone who came to the meeting. I also want to thank the staff and my former colleague Christine Nagle for her advocacy for this proposed park.

Council Approves Changes to Some Benefits of City Employees

At last night’s meeting, the City Council approved a resolution making some changes to the personnel policies in regards to the vacation hours and leave benefits.

Staff has recently recommended reducing a large financial liability for future payouts of accrued and unused sick and annual leave. The changes to the policies will reduce the long-term costs of the payout of the sick leave and annual leave benefits. The City has budgeted for approximately ½ of the cost of Tier II sick leave payout in the salary lines for each affected person.

The total payout for FY2019 is estimated to be approximately $175,000. Once the Tier II balances are paid out, there will no longer be a future liability and that benefit will be eliminated. After October 1, 2018, the maximum annual leave payout will be 320 hours, a significant reduction from the current 472-hr maximum. If employees plan ahead properly, they will not lose any earned annual leave.

It is important to remember that the current policy has a maximum carry over of 280 hours at calendar year end, plus an allowable transfer of up to 80 hours to Tier II sick leave, any hours over that were forfeited. The major difference is that the new maximum is “rolling” instead of just at the end of the calendar year. It was sometimes difficult to give all employees time off at the end of the year so they didn’t lose any of their leave.

With the change in this policy, employees aren’t losing anything other than a future unreasonable benefit, particularly in light of the fact that the City joined the Maryland State Retirement System in 2014 which provides additional funding at retirement for employees. The policy change has been proposed to eliminate unreasonably large payouts of accrued sick and vacation balances when an employee separates and or retires from the organization. These changes almost exclusively impact mid to senior and highly compensated staff. These policies are grandfathered such that no further accumulation will occur.

The City continues to work hard every day to maintain an engaged, productive, stable, and committed workforce. The Mayor and Council have been very supportive of our employees over the years—some examples of that are: giving City employees cost-of-living increases each year except one during the recession (when most other municipalities did not); joining the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System in 2014; approving our excellent benefits package each year in spite of rising costs; approving a compensation study and implementing the results in 2017; and supporting generous education and training budgets in every department.

Council Set to Decide Construction Phase of the Gateway Park

At tonight’s meeting, the Council will discuss options to cut cost and may consider approving future direction. If approved, the construction will move forward this year.

At the April 19 meeting, the City Council discussed different ways to cut the cost of the Gateway project. The This happened after the City found that an additional money will need to be added to the budget in order to proceed with the project. The Council discussed several options to cut cost by removing some features from the pavilion and staff has been in touch with the architect to obtain cost estimates on these options.

Related to the same project, the Council will hold a public hearing about the acquisition of the property located at 9814 47th Place as part of building the proposed Gateway Park. The City Council approved a contract of sale to acquire the property for a public purpose and authorized the Mayor to sign the contract. The proposed use of the property is to preserve open space and provide for installation and maintenance of, and access to, a City park.

City to Honor College Park Student Essayists

Every year, the Maryland Municipal League sponsors a contest for 5th-grade students around the State, where students are asked to write an essay about what they would do if they were the mayors of their towns. Each school selects a winner of the essays submitted, and the winner goes on to a regional contest and then a State-wide contest.

At tomorrow’s meeting, the winners from Al-Huda School, Hollywood Elementary School, Friends Community School, and Holy Redeemer will read their essays. Congratulations to all the winners!

This year’s outstanding essayists include
(a) Fahey James, Holy Redeemer – MML District Winner
(b) Sarah Collins, Holy Redeemer – MML Semi-finalist and School Winner
(c) Alusine Fadiga, Al-Huda – MML Semi-finalist
(d) Fahima Shaikh, Al-Huda – School Winner
(e)Jawad Hejazi, Al – Huda – School Winner
(f) Iain Knighton, Paint Branch Elementary, MML Semi-finalist
(g) Yailiana Zelaya, Paint Branch Elementary, School Winner
(h) Autumn Grimes, Hollywood Elementary, School Winner
(i) Seneca Oehrle, Friends Community School, School Winner

Thank You, Donna Weene

This morning, I had the opportunity to attend an event at the Methodist Church recognizing the volunteering work of our longtime resident Donna Weene.

As you know Donna is part of this community since 1983 and has been involved with church groups, Girl Scouts and civic affairs.

She and her husband Seth grew up in nearby Adelphi but decided to move to College Park, where she wanted to raise her children in a friendly neighborhood

She has been a member of the North College Park Community Association (NCPCA). She organized school supply donation drive for the Hollywood Elementary school,  and picnic event

She has been the member of CBE for many years now has served selflessly the committee in many projects CBE worked on

Even now with her challenging health condition, she continues to serve. Just two days ago, she called me and told me that Fazlul I heard you are doing  a community cleanup next Saturday, (May 26), and I want to volunteer with my daughter

I also want to thank the community members, in particular Anne Bouldac for organizing the event.

Donna, we thank you and look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

TODAY: Grand Opening of the Hollywood Farmers Market

Vol. 4 Issue 5
Please join us on our sixth annual Grand Opening Celebration!  We will have activities for both young and old including chalk, bubbles, face painting and giant chess pieces!  Waltz Family Farm will bring a 2 week old calf,  2 lambs, a goat and maybe a goat kid, a Llama – she has been in a few plays and is very tame, a few chickens or chicks and maybe a baby donkey.  All are friendly and very socialized for a petting zoo.Branchville Fire Department will be at the market maybe with a fire truck.The ribbon cutting will take place at 10am.  This is a rain or shine event (lets hope for more shine than rain).

Please welcome back to the market Inge’s CrochetThe Baked Apple andHeavenly Created Desserts and Dogs.  Moonstruck Oysters will return this week as well and then will be back June 2nd.

Pam from Calvert Farm is looking to hire.  They will not be at the market this week due to the lack of employees.

  • Mature person to run farmstand in Rising Sun, MD. Thursday through Sunday. Must work Sunday.Keep farmstand stocked & running. Pretty up flowers & herbs. Experience needed. Knowledge of veggies & cooking a plus. Send resume to : farmer@calvertfarm.com . No phone calls please .
  • Field person needed. Experienced person to oversee & work beside seasonal workers. Includes planting, weeding, tilling, harvesting in all types of weather. Tractor experience a plus. Send resume to: farmer@calvertfarm.com. No phone calls please.
  • Mature person to help at farmers markets. Valid drivers license needed. Drug & background check. 4-5 days a week. Day usually starts around 5-5:30 a.m . Experience preferred . Send resume w/ 3 work related references .  Farmer@calvertfarm.com

Yoga Heights DC
It will be a perfect day for Yoga on Saturday.  Stop by around 10:30am to either learn about Yoga or even have some time to stretch- it’s a perfect way to start the day.  If you would like to contact our group of instructors please emailyoga.hollywoodmarket@gmail.com or visit their website http://yogaheightsdc.com/

Waltz Family Farm will have a new selection of beef and cheeses.  They do not have beef jerky yet but they do have beef sticks.

Returning (tentatively) vendors for this week include:
Alcoba Coffee: Guatemalan coffee by the pound and by the cup
Amity Kitchen: Thai food, Spring Rolls and Mango Sticky Rice
Baker Charley: Gluten free bread and baked goods
Blessed Creations: Soaps and oils
Designed Naturally: Natural bead jewelry
Double Sharp: Local Musicians
Heavenly Created Desserts: Hot dogs and desserts
Inge’s Crochet: Hand made crochet items
Moonstruck Oyster Company: Shelled Oysters, Shucked Oysters, Cookbooks, etc.
Roy and Arti’s Kitchen and Garden: Prepared Indonesian cuisine and vegetables
Valencia’s Produce: Berries, flowers and herbs
The Baked Apple: Apple muffins and breads
Victory Chapel Family Farms: Local Honey
Waltz Family Farm: Meat, eggs and cheeses

These vendors will be returning at a later date:
Elated Harmony: Massage
The Wood Dr.: Handmade wooden items
Peacesake Candles: Soy based candles in multiple scents
Calvert Farm: Produce and fruits
College Park Hypnosis Center: Making positive changes easier
Terrapin Care Center: Chiropractic Care

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Website
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Copyright © 2015 *Hollywood Farmers Market, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
hollywoodmarketcp@gmail.com

Community Meeting to Discuss New Location for Proposed Dog Park

Community Cleanup – May 26, 2018

No Major Changes Expected to Improve Public Safety

The Council will discuss the staff recommendations, primarily based on the Public Safety reports by the Police Foundations. The City spent $67,000 in the FT18 budget to conduct to study in order to improve public safety in College Park. The Public Safety and Police Services Analysis concluded that the City should consider remaining under the current policing structure in the short-term, with the long-term goal of establishing a standalone College Park police department in the future.

In summary, staff recommendations include some minor improvements, which include

  1. Continue with the current hybrid policing structure comprising of PGPD, contract police and UMPD police near the campus.
  2. A regular meeting among the contract officers on a monthly basis.
  3. Quarterly meeting with the PGPOD commander Major Guixens
  4. City seal for display in the rear vent window of marked Contract police vehicles in order to increase the visibility of Contract Program officers
  5. Continue community engagement
  6. Seek to improve crime and quality of life data collection and dissemination.
  7. Expand security surveillance cameras.
  8. Explore to see if PGPD can allow City Contract Officers to enforce the City noise code or other large gathering or disturbing the peace ordinances without a Code Officer.
  9. Continue participating in the multi-agency CMAST meetings and share crime and code enforcement data.
  10. Continue meeting with PGPD and UMPD leaderships, to discuss and plan joint tactics to respond to critical public safety and quality of life issues.
  11. Continue working with the CPCUP public safety subcommittee.

Please Write in Support of North College Park Community Center

At the NCPCA meeting last week, the report of the NCPCA Community Center Committee was endorsed by the membership and a letter was authorized to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
 
The communication below includes the letter as well as the report.  Please express your support for $50,000 of additional funding for community-oriented program support in North College Park are invited to send comments before May 24, 2018.
 
Please send a letter of your support by U.S. Mail to:
Clerk of the Council
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Room 2198
Upper Marlboro, MD 2077
[Although emails may be sent to clerkofthecouncil@co.pg.md.us , sending comments via USPS mail is preferable]
The NCPCA sent the following letter to the County Council.
Re: M-NCPPC FY 2019 Budget
It is the understanding of the North College Park Community Association (NCPCA) that Prince George’s County Councilmember Mary Lehman has requested $50,000 to be included in the M-NCPPC FY2019 budget to enhance program activities in North College Park.  The members of NCPCA believe that this funding would be of great benefit to our community, and I am writing today to encourage your support of Ms. Lehman’s request. 
The North College Park area includes more than 2,500 single family homes as well as the City’s senior living facility.  The requested $50,000 funding would benefit new families with young children and seniors who wish to productively ‘age in place’.  In fact, additional funding to support community-oriented activities has long been sought by residents of North College Park.  Some concerns regarding the purpose and need for additional community-based services are included in the report of the NCPCA Community Center Committee which I have appended below in testimony of this ongoing interest. 
As its regular meeting on May 10, 2018, the membership of NCPCA voted to endorse the report of the NCPCA Community Center Committee and to express their support for Ms. Lehman’s $50,000 funding request in the FY 2019 M-NCPPC Budget. 
With gratitude for your consideration in this matter and for all of your efforts,
Sincerely,
John Krouse, President
North College Park Community Association
Note:  The following report is provided as supplemental information related to the $50,000 funding request of Councilmember Mary Lehman in the 2019 M-NCPPC budget.  NCPCA supports additional program funding as well as the establishment of new facilities in the North College Park community through cooperative efforts of M-NCPPC, the City of College Park, and others who may be able to assist.
Report of NCPCA Community Center Committee, April 20, 2018
 
Endorsed by Vote of NCPCA Membership, May 10, 2018
During the past decade, the North College Park community has repeatedly called for a community center/senior center.  Councilmember Fazlul Kabir and former Councilmember Christine Nagle championed this proposal with more than one City Council. 
The clock is ticking; discussions have begun for the 2019FY budget session, and this is a terrific opportunity for Councilmembers Kabir and Kennedy to advocate on behalf of the North College Park community.
History.  Although County Councilmember, Mary Lehman, has been on board with the concept of a community center, as well as more than one City Council, the project has stalled due to lack of funding.  In 2012, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s (M-NCCPC) expressed interest in doing a feasibility study in conjunction with the City, and monies were allocated in the City’s 2013FY budget, Subsequently, however, M-NCCPC stated that going forward the Commission will concentrate on large, regional community and sport facilities, not smaller, neighborhood centers like the ones in South College Park or Beltsville. 
Over the years, a handful of locations have been discussed and/or explored.  They include the Hollywood School, Davis Hall, Youth and Family Services, the northwest corner of Edgewood Rd. and Rhode Island Ave. as well as the Stone Straw property. 
In the case of Hollywood School, a new 12,000-square foot gym at the Hollywood Elementary School was proposed for the community’s use in the M-NCPPC 2040 plan. The project has never been part of the M-NCPPC’s Capital Improvement Budget, however, and it is unclear that it will ever be part of the CIP in near future.
After repeated requests by District 1 Councilmembers, the Youth and Family Services and Davis Hall facilities are being made more “accessible” with the use of a keyless entry system, similar to the one at the Old Parish House. Although this may allow for greater access to residents, the spaces are often in use and cannot be ensured for a community center/senior center with regular hours.
The Shabaan property at the northwest corner of Edgewood Rd. and Rhode Island Ave. has been proposed as the site for the center but is not currently for sale.  Although many believe it is the ideal location, no steps have been made to move forward because of the lack of ensured funding.
As for the Stone Straw property, Councilmembers Kabir and Kennedy, as well as former Councilmember Christine Nagle, have approached prospective buyers for space on the property to construct the center.  And although the current prospective buyers have voiced positive intentions, as of yet, there has been no sale of the property so these discussions have not come to fruition.
Future.  It has been suggested, in order to launch the community center/senior center in a timely fashion that the City rents storefront(s) in the Edgewood Rd. and Rhode Island Ave. area.  With MOM’s move this summer, some space will open up in that strip mall.  The company has been contacted for cost, as well as a determination of acceptable use. There is also space available on the northeast corner in the same strip mall as El Cordebes Latino Market.  
This amenity would not exactly be a “pop up” community center/senior center, but the goals would be.  Moreover, such a start would allow for the project’s objective to be met in the next year or two at a fraction of the cost of a newly constructed center.  In addition, it will encourage the North College Park community to provide increased input and involvement in the center’s programming.
Below is a sampling of storefront rents in North College Park.
9300 Baltimore Ave. (mattress store)
5,893 SF
9723-25 Baltimore Ave.
1,000+ SF (front)
$1,700/mo + utilities

 

9723 Baltimore
1,000-2,000 SF (back)
$1,550/mo/1,000 SF

 

Shaaban property
Rhode Island Ave.
1,000 SF
2,000 SF
$2,600/mo
$4,000/mo
9935 Rhode Island Ave.
Two spaces of 1,400 SF can rent separately or together
$2,683/mo or $5,366/mo. incl. maintenance, real estate taxes, etc.
As for programming, ideas continue to be explored.  Suggestions have been made that a part-time staff person, who could be a volunteer with a modest stipend from the City, or be a part-time employee through the City or M-NCCPC.   It has been proposed to involve the College Park Arts Exchange as well, but without a doubt, it is a priority to integrate residents into the process.  They will contribute ideas, which will help tailor the programming to the community’s needs and wants. 
Local businesses can also play a role by donating money, time, or material needs.  Again, by integrating them, they will become a stronger part of the local community.
Conclusion.     The community/senior center is a long overdue amenity for North College Park.  The simplicity of the center beginning in a storefront will allow the City Council to set aside funds, on an annual basis, in the CIP.  However, initially, $40,000 is being requested in the 2019FY budget to get the project off to a modest beginning.  The center, in conjunction with the Hollywood Street Scape, will be an economic stimulus which will attract new and desired businesses. Most importantly, the North College Park community/senior center will be an exciting opportunity to build a sense of community among people of all ages.