KabirCares.org

Council to Discuss Artificial Turf Option in Duvall Field

An artificial turf field

During the visioning process to determine future Duvall Field improvements, there was a lot of discussion about whether natural grass or synthetic turf should be used as a playing surface.

There were proponents and opponents of both types of surfaces.

The City’s consultant, GreenPlay, LLC recommended synthetic turf as the best type of athletic field to meet the needs of the community.

An opportunity arose to have an Environmental Science class at the University of Maryland explore this topic as a Capstone Project under the supervision of professor Mark J. Carroll. The class has completed a comprehensive analysis of sports field playing surfaces to assist the City in its selection of a playing surface for Duvall Field.

The students will present the results of their research in a PowerPoint presentation at this week’s City Council Worksession to be followed by a written report.

Tomorrow, November 30 is Small Business Saturday

Tomorrow, November 30 is the Small Business Saturday®. Founded by American Express in 2010, this day celebrates and supports the small businesses that make communities unique.

From family-run corner stores to food trucks to online boutiques, small businesses are an important part of our lives. When they succeed, we all do. This year, we want to help them connect with more customers like you in their community.

Early this month, the College Park City Council proclaimed November 30, 2019, as Small Business Saturday in support of small businesses and merchants throughout the year. The City supports our local businesses that create jobs, boost our local economy and preserve our communities.

According to the United States Small Business Administration, there are 30.7 million small businesses in the United States that are responsible for 64.9 percent of net new jobs created from 2000 to 2018; and small businesses employ 47.3 percent of the employees in the private sector in the United States.

Here are some ways to participate before, during, and after the big day

Leading up to Small Business Saturday, tell the people you love about the small businesses you love. Encourage friends, family, and neighbors to do the same using #ShopSmall on social media.

Tomorrow, get out and shop the small businesses in your community! Be sure to share your favorite places using #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat.

See the impact small businesses have on your community and learn more about the

Shop Small® Movement at ShopSmall.com.

We hope you’ll join us in supporting small businesses tomorrow, and that you’ll remember to Shop Small year round.

Residents Discuss Latest Hollywood Streetscape’s Latest Designs

Early last week, several residents got a chance to see and give input about the latest design of the Hollywood Streetscape design.

The design team, comprised of the architecture firm Floura Teeter and Wallace Montgomery, has recently completed the 60% design of the project. The team now plans to take the design to the construction phase in the next few months (more on that below).

Please see below some of the highlights of the project.

Parklets

East Parklet:
• Convert a vehicular oriented Road to a pedestrian-oriented Park
• incorporates custom signage Supporting the commercial District identity
• supports adjacent restaurants & retail
• incorporates a performance Stage

West Parklets:
• converts a vehicular road to a Pedestrian oriented park
• defines the core of the Commercial district
• create space for community Interaction & gathering
• direct connection to Youth & family services

Gateway Plaza
• gateway into the commercial district
• creates a hub at the intersection of multiple pedestrian networks
• traffic calming /visual cue to slow down

Intersection Improvements at Niagara Road
• Realign intersection to minimize Unsafe vehicle turning movements
• estimated cost $110,000

 

Pedestrian circulation West side of Rhode island avenue
Option 1:
• baseline design per 60% design
• barrier separated 6’ bike lane
• new variable width sidewalk
– 5’ width;
– 3’ width where restricted by
Existing retaining wall
– requires extension of retaining wall And utility pole relocation
Option 2:
• relocate curb to edge of travel lane
– requires relocation of storm drain
Inlets
• new 8’ bike /pedestrian shared use path
• estimated cost change from baseline $30,000 increase
Option 3:
• barrier separated 6’ bike lane
• all pedestrian circulation directed to
East side of roadway
• no sidewalk between edgewood road And new bus stop
• estimated cost change from baseline: $150,000 decrease

Traffic Calming
Curb bumpouts
New Crosswalks
New Perennial plantings

Walking Trail

COST ESTIMATE BREAKDOWN:
• Gateway Plaza & Muskogee Street Pedestrian Connection $200,000
• Rhode Island Avenue Bike Lanes, Streetscape, and Enhanced Bus Stops $475,000
• Parklets & Service Lane Improvements $1,200,000
• Edgewood Traffic Calming $35,000
• Niagara Road /Rhode Island Avenue Intersection Reconstruction $110,000
• Contingency $250,000
• Construction General Conditions, Erosion & Sediment Control, Maintenance of Traffic $330,000
TOTAL ESTIMATE $2,600,000

What’s Next?

Present /Update City Council: January 2020
• Complete Construction Documents to 100% /Acquire Permits: May 2020
• Bid Process: August 2020 (3 months)
• Construction: September 2020 – September 2021 (1 year)

Action Alert: New Vote Suddenly Called on Beltway Expansion Plan

Beltway Near College Park

Next week, on December 4,  the state Board of Public Works will vote on a new version of the scheme to expand the I-495 Beltway and I-270.

The new proposal also speeds up the widening of the Beltway between the American Legion Bridge and I-95. Instead of waiting until after I-270, the Beltway toll lanes would be built first, at the same time as I-270 south of I-370. You can see the proposed amendments here (page 61, under AMENDMENT)

For College Park, and other surrounding communities in Prince George’s, this means that the Beltway expansion may happen sooner than it was previously thought. According to an earlier proposal, the Beltway expansion in College Park and east of it was proposed in phase 3, with phase 1 expansion including I-270 and east of I-495 up to the American Legion bridge, and phase 2 including I-495 in Montgomery County (Silver spring neighborhoods). With the new proposal phase, 1 and 2 will be combined together.

In the past, the MDOT has backtracked on its promises in regards to this project including whether any homes or property would be taken; whether a locally presented alternative would be fully analyzed. Expanding the beltway will only relieve traffic for the short term, but will attract sprawl and heavy traffic on local roads like Route 1 in College Park. MDOT should give more time to consider other smart transit alternatives, such as those proposed in Prince George’s North County Transportation studies

In College Park, Beltway Expansion can potentially cause loss of properties & green space, kill a playground, and increase noise & traffic. Please see my blog post here to learn more.

Not only would the state be committed to a highways-first transportation policy for years to come, spending money better spent on expanded transit, but the way the $11 billion dollar contracts for the toll lanes would be handed out is an invitation to favoritism.

State Comptroller Peter Franchot is the crucial swing vote on the 3-member Board of Public Works. Send him an email now at pfranchot@comp.state.md.us and tell him to vote against this new scheme.

Here are some points you can make in your email — feel free to put them in your own words, and add any additional points you want to make.

  • The new procurement scheme can potentially invite the abuse of the state treasury:
  • Everything that matters will happen in secret talks with the bidders.
  • Only one month to write the final proposal for an $11 billion dollar contract.
  • The investment firm that wins the contract gets a free hand to pick the construction companies that actually do the work. The state doesn’t know who’s on the teams when it decides which team is best.
  • This dangerous scheme is being rammed through over the Thanksgiving holidays to avoid public oversight.

The comptroller, as the state’s fiscal watchdog, has a duty to protect Maryland taxpayers against this threat.

Please include your home address in the email — it’s important for Comptroller Franchot to understand that taxpayers all over Maryland are upset with this. Again, please write now to pfranchot@comp.state.md.us 

The College Park City Council is expected to approve a letter to the BPW with its concerns at this Tuesday’s Council meeting.

Pepco Rolls Out ‘Enhanced ” Outage Reporting Tool

Today, Pepco has made enhancements to its online interactive outage map to provide customers with more helpful information during storm and power outage events. These enhancements can help customers better plan when outage events occur by delivering more weather and system status information during critical events. Some enhancements customers will experience include:

Improved map views through the use of Google Maps
Better insight into the severity and duration of storms through a storm-alert banner posted directly to the outage map, and the option to overlay weather radar on the outage map
An updated interface with greater detail on the start time, cause, geographical impact and estimated restoration for an outage

The ability to bookmark certain views of the map so customers can more easily access the area where their home or business is located

“During severe weather events and related power outages, Pepco understands customers want critical and personalized information as soon as possible,” said Donna Cooper, Pepco region president. “With this in mind, we are always looking at ways to enhance the customer experience by providing more information that can help our customers make decisions when their service is impacted. While we are working every day to prevent those outages that can be prevented, we know outages do occur, and this enhanced map will help ensure our customers have the latest and best information possible.”

Pepco’s outage map is available at Pepco.com/Outages. Additionally, Pepco’s outage map is accessible through its mobile app for iPhone and Android® smart phones and gives customers the ability to report power outages and manage the type of alert they choose to receive. To download the app, visit Pepco.com/mobileapp.

When an Outage Occurs
Pepco urges customers to contact the company immediately if they experience a power outage. Customers can call 877-PEPCO-62 (877-737-2662) or visit the website at Pepco.com/Outages/ReportAnOutage to report their outage and receive restoration information.

To learn more about Pepco, visit The Source, Pepco’s online news room. Find additional information by visiting pepco.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/pepcoconnect and on Twitter at twitter.com/pepcoconnect.

College Park Community Library Schedule

Please see below the latest weekly schedule of the College Park Community Library. The library is located at 9704 Rhode Island Ave, College Park, Maryland 20740.

Monday 7-8:30 pm
Homework and tutoring help all ages.
Tuesdays Evenings 7-8:30
1st Tues. Adult Arts group
2nd Tues. The 2nd Tuesday Book Group
3rd Tues. The *CPAE Book Group
4th Tues. The CPAE Photography Group
*CPAE – College Park Arts ExchangeTuesday afternoons 2:30-3:30
Students grades 1-3 read to staff members while building their Reading Log Books a school requirement.
Wednesday mornings 10:30 – 11:00
STORY TIME FOR INFANTS AND UP!!
Thursday afternoons 2:30-3:30
Students grades 1-3 read to staff members while building their Reading Log Books a school requirement.
Saturdays Mornings 10-12:00
1st Sat.  Reading workshop – stories, crafts etc.
Grades K-3 Students can improve their reading.
2nd Sat. Students from UMD offer help with homework and tutoring – all ages.
3rd Sat. Meet Cammie our library dog!! Cammie is in training as a Guide Dog for the Blind.
4th Sat. Art projects with Kara a UMD student – all ages.

Last 2019 Market Day at the Hollywood Farmers Market

Today is the last day of the 2019 season of the Hollywood Farmers Market. Please stop by to thank the vendors and the members of the Farmers Market committee. I hope to see many of you at the market.

Thank you to all of our wonderful customers who make it part of their Saturday schedule to be a part of the Hollywood Farmers Market.  Thank you to all of our vendors who have been a part of the market for the last thirty-one weeks.  The Market’s Board and Manager wish everyone a fabulous Thanksgiving and a beautiful winter.  We’ll see you all again in the Spring for the 8th market season!

This Saturday is Turkey day!  If you have pre ordered your turkey from Waltz Family Farm, please make sure you come to the market this Saturday between 9 and 1 to pick up your turkey.  Waltz Family Farm will also have herbs to use for your turkeys.  Calvert Farm will have all the veggies you’ll need for the remainder of your feast!

If the rain holds off on Saturday, Double Sharp will have a few special guests to play along with Eric and John.  A great way to end the market season!

Returning (tentatively) vendors for this week include:

A Little Pottery: Handmade clay bowls, trays, mugs, etc.
Alcoba Coffee: Coffee by the cup or the pound
Amity Kitchen: Thai Food
Calvert Farms: Produce from Cecil County
Double Sharp: Local Musicians
El Sol:  Tacos, Tortas and Pupusas
Inge’s Crochet: Homemade crocheted items for children, adults and pets
Waltz Family Farm: Meat, eggs and cheeses

Also, if you are an Instagram user please follow us at hollywood_farmers_market_md or on Facebook @hollywoodmarket
[Hollywood Farmers Market]

Community Survey 2019 Closes Today!

The online version of our 2019 Community Survey closes today! If you have not taken it, click here to fill it out:
https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5282739/The-City-of-College-Park-Community-Survey-2019

Important Note: If you did receive a paper copy – be sure to complete that one instead of the online one. The survey results will help City officials better serve the College Park community and shape the future of College Park.

College Park Market Study Survey

The College Park City-University Partnership would like to better understand the market and marketing options with regard to College Park’s business community.

Please take the 10-minute survey below to help us understand more precisely who engages in College Park businesses and activities and who does not, and why they do or why they do not. We seek to understand what lines of communication people use to obtain information about events, restaurants, businesses, things to do, amenities and more. In addition, we seek to determine the awareness, perceptions, and expectations people have of College Park.

Please take the survey that best aligns with you and if more than one category applies, please use the one that you wish. The surveys will be open until Friday, December 6th.
University of Maryland Faculty and Staff
https://collegeparkpartnership.formstack.com/forms/cppmarketsurvey1

Residents in College Park and within a 4-5 mile radius of College Park
https://collegeparkpartnership.formstack.com/forms/cppmarketsurvey2

UMD Students (Graduate/Undergraduate)
https://collegeparkpartnership.formstack.com/forms/cppmarketsurvey3

Parents of UMD Students
https://collegeparkpartnership.formstack.com/forms/cppmarketsurvey4

University of Maryland Alumni
https://collegeparkpartnership.formstack.com/forms/cppmarketsurvey5

Thank you very much, we appreciate your time.

Council Decides not to Build $400K Water Wall in New City Hall

At last night’s meeting, the City Council decided not to build a $400,000 water wall at the new City Hall plaza.

Design Collective, the architects of the City Hall project, made a presentation about possible design elements to active the City Hall plaza.

Last month, the City Council decided to include a water wall/feature at the plaza as a possible option. This decision allowed the City Hall design team to get necessary permits to put infrastructures for the water feature, should the Council decides to add the water feature at a later time.

At last night’s meeting, a representative from the Design Collective told the Council that the water wall (option 1) would cost $400,000 – which is about $165,000 more than the original estimate they gave us last month. Last month’s estimate was $235,385

The Design Collective recommended the water wall over the Pop Jet/Water Scrim (4 variations) feature.  There are differences in pattern placements, movements, and lighting. Last month, the estimated cost range of these options is between $580,000 and $685,000. The City and the University would have shared the cost among them as part of the plaza development.

Some of my colleagues at the Council had raised concerns about public urination and vandalism at the water feature.

There were also concerns about the frequent maintenance of the water pump and other equipment. For example, the water feature at the Silver Spring plaza had to be replaced due to frequent fountain pumps failure frequently

Personally, though a water wall is an attractive feature, it’s not interactive. Most importantly, a fountain does not represent the unique characteristics of College Park. I was hoping a public art featuring our gorgeous neighborhoods, beautiful trails, the oldest operating airport, lake artemisia, and the talents within State’s flagship University would have been a better choice. I think that could still be a possibility in the future.

The vote was 3-4. Councilmembers Kennedy, Rigg and Day voted yes, whereas Kabir, Brennan, Kujawa, and Dennis voted no.

The current City Hall’s construction cost is estimated at $18.9 million. The City plans to borrow $12.7 million to support the construction budge

City Publishes More 2019 City Election Data

City has recently published more election data about this year’s election results. This time the data includes votes by districts, including votes on the Council term, and the total vote counts.

Interesting to note how residents voted on the 2 vs 4 year Council term ballot question. District 1 and 4 (north and west College Park) voted in favor of 2 years, whereas District 3 (Old town, Calvert Hills) voted for 4 years. It’s kind of even in District 2 (Berwyn, Lakeland).

While we’re on it, I want to express my deepest thanks and appreciation for your support that put me as the top vote-getter among the 8 Council-Elects (once again). This was an uncontested election, and if you wanted, you could have stayed at home. It means a lot to me that you came out and showed your strong support for me. If there is anything to celebrate, that belongs to YOU.

A new Wawa may be Coming near College Park IKEA this Summer

At last week’s NCPCA (North College Park Civic Association) meeting, the developers presented plans for building a Wawa store near the IKEA store in north College Park. Please see below the site plan and the elevations, as well as the rendering, as shown to the NCPCA last week.

The proposed store will be located a half-mile south of the current Wawa store in Beltsville. The store will mainly serve motorists traveling southbound on Route 1 and the IKEA customers.

Like the other Wawa stores, the new store will include 10-pumps gas stations (in 5 islands), and a convenience store with coffee , breakfast, lunch, and dinner, items. According to the developer, the design will include a good amount of landscaping and stone columns on the pump stations.

The proposed Wawa will not have any actual frontage on Route 1. The store will have 3 entrances – (a) on IKEA Center Blvd, near the traffic roundabout. They will be using the curb cuts that already exist, and will not be creating any new curb cuts. (b) IKEA way, on the IKEA side and (c) from Route 1 through the Hollyday Inn parking lot. They will be sharing the existing driveway from Route 1 to the Holiday Inn – there will be no new curb cuts on Route 1 side.

The developers have submitted the Detailed Site Plan (DSP) of the project to the Planning Board a few weeks ago. The College Park City Council is expected to review the plan in a few weeks. if everything goes well, the construction may start this summer.

Council to Take Steps Designating College Park a Bee City USA® Affiliate

At this week’s meeting, the Council will consider adopting a resolution authorizing staff to submit the application and the required fee to become a Bee City USA affiliate. In recent years, the Urban Pollinator population is on the decline due to development and pesticide exposure.

Staff is recommending the installation of pollinator gardens to create habitats to foster life cycle development and food sources for various pollinators were discussed at the meeting and well received by the Council.

The habitat gardens will include signage to provide an educational component to increase awareness of the plight of urban pollinators. The Council directed staff to move forward to join an organization that would recognize the City’s work to promote, create and maintain pollinator habitat gardens in the City.

The selected organization to join at this time is Bee City USA.

Council to Consider Measures to Preserve Tree Canopy in College Park

Trees in a College Park neighborhood park

At next week’s meeting, College Park City Council will consider a proposal on a number of measures insuring the preservation of City’s tree stock.

A presentation was made during the April 16, 2019 Council Worksession with the results of a citywide tree canopy assessment from the contracted consultant at SavATree. The assessment identified a decline in the percentage of tree canopy in the City during the past 9 years from 44% coverage in 2009 to 40% in 2014 to 38% in 2018.

American Forests used to recommend an average of 40% tree canopy coverage in areas East of the Mississippi. Regardless of the recommended number, there is an urgency to preserve and improve city’s tree canopy, given the rate of decrease in the canopy in the past several years.

At the conclusion of the April 16th Worksession, the Council requested the Tree & Landscape Board (TLB) to review the results of the Tree Canopy Assessment and suggestion recommendations. After review and discussion of the Canopy Assessment, the TLB determined that addressing tree removal on private property would be the most beneficial method to preserve existing tree canopy as a significant amount of tree canopy is located on residential acreage. The TLB has been reviewing other Maryland municipal codes and regulations related to tree removals on private property and has developed a recommendation.

About 1100 acres of the canopy is on private residential properties. Compared to that number, around 100 acres is in the City’s right of way, mixed-use development, commercial and industrial properties. Also, most of the recent loss of tree canopy happened in residential areas.

According to the recommendations, residents will be allowed to remove a (healthy) tree on their properties if they agree to replace them with new trees or make a contribution to City’s Tree Canopy Replacement Program.

Tree permits will require replacement of any removed tree greater than 36” circumference,
according to the following sizes of the removed tree:
● 36”- 47”: replace with 1 tree
● 48”- 59”: replace with 2 trees
● 60”- 72”: replace with 3 trees
● 73” – 94”: replace with 4 trees
● 95” and above: replace with 5 trees

If an applicant is unable or unwilling to replace a tree(s) being removed as outlined above on their own property, they may instead, pay to the City’s Tree Canopy Enhancement Program fund based on the tree circumference, as listed below:
● 36”- 47”: $150
● 48”- 59”: $300
● 60”- 72”: $450
● 73” – 94”: $600
● 95” and above: $1,000

According to proposal, no person shall remove or destroy any tree in the City’s urban forest, undertake construction or other action that significantly detracts from the health or growth of such a tree, or prune more than 20% of such a tree, without first applying for and obtaining a permit from the City.

A permit shall not be required for action on an emergency basis to prevent harm to life or property. If a tree has fallen due to weather, the property owner should immediately report this to the Public Works Director, and at least one picture shall be taken to document the condition that shows the entire tree, before any work commences. In case of a city-wide catastrophic weather event, reimbursement for tree replacement may be obtained through the City’s Tree Canopy Enhancement Program.

Also, a permit will be issued if the tree is determined to be dead, diseased, constitutes a hazard to the safety of persons or property that cannot be addressed by using the current tree care, ANSI Z Standards (American National Standard Institute), or deemed as an invasive species or undesirable because of its location, condition or effect on other trees. However, the requirement for a replacement of tree(s) shall not be waived.

Free Rabies & Microchip Clinic

The City’s Animal Control and Animal Welfare Committee are having free rabies and microchip clinic for City pets! Come on Sunday, November 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Davis Hall to have your pets vaccinated against rabies and microchipped (to help return lost pets to their families).

City residents must be able to provide proof of residence in order to obtain free services.

Services will be discounted for non-residents as follows (exact cash only):
Rabies vaccine, $10.00
Microchipping, $20.00

All animals must be leashed or properly confined to a carrier. For 3-year Rabies vaccines, the pet owner must have a current signed rabies certificate (1- or 3-year), and vaccines will be given at the discretion of the veterinarian.

[City of College Park]