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Month: February 2020 Page 1 of 3

Council to Support Bill Ensuring More Oversights on Private – Public Partnership Projects

At next week’s meeting, the College Park City Council will consider sending a letter in support of the House Bill HB 1424 – Public–Private Partnerships – Process and Oversight

HB 1424 would establish a Public-Private Partnership Oversight Review Board and require state agencies to submit pre-solicitation reports, the environmental impact statement, and other documents related to a proposed public-private partnerships (P3) exceeding $500 million to the Review Board and certain budget committees.

If passed, the bill would allow greater oversights on large capital projects, such as the I 495 beltway expansion projects using the Public-Private partnerships.

The Review Board would be comprised of appointees by Speaker of the House, the President of the Senator, the Governor, the Comptroller, and the Treasurer. It would review public-private partnership pre-solicitation reports and make recommendations to the budget committees and the Board of Public Works regarding the designation of a public infrastructure asset as a public-private partnership. If the Board of Public Works designates a project as a public-private partnership, the budget committees have one year to
review and comment on the designation.

HB 1424 would also require independent rating agencies to conduct a rating assessment for every contract under a large P3 agreement before the Board of Public Works can vote on it. Finally, the bill would expand the existing ‘no-compete’ requirements to ensure local governments can add roads, transit, and other options for commuters that may compete with P3 toll roads without having to pay a penalty or get the P3 company’s permission. Current law only affects state-funded transportation projects.

This bill is designed to ensure that more project information is available to the public before the Board of Public Works can vote to support a P3 project. The Governor has proposed large P3 transportation projects and members of the General Assembly and residents are concerned about the process.
[City of College Park]

Compost & Wood Mulch Deliveries Start March 2!

Delivery services are resuming for College Park’s SMARTLEAF® Compost and Wood Mulch products!

Our first day for delivery will be Monday, March 2, 2020. We will only be running one truck to start, so spots will fill up quickly until more trucks become available (likely the end of this month).

Request a Compost or Wood Mulch Delivery by visiting

For more information about purchasing Compost or Wood Mulch please visit
[City of College Park]

Tree Work Near College Park Airport is Halted

Yesterday, the PG Parks told us that they have discontinued further tree work until further review.

The representatives from the Airport and M-NCPCC were asked to attend this week’s City Council meeting to respond to City’s concerns about excessive tree removal. Many Council members including me asked questions about M-NCPPC and Airport’s lack of transparency and a clear plan to mitigate the damages caused by the tree work. At the meeting the Airport and the M-NCPPC were asked to fully brief the City on which specific trees are yet to be removed, and on the replanting plan, including which specific species will be planted at what specific locations and when.

Last week County Council member Danielle Glaros also asked the College Park Airport “Tree Trimming” project be halted until the meeting with the City of College Park took place. In a second letter yesterday, she asked the erosion control and stream bank stabilization measures be put into place for the areas in which trees have already been removed

College Park Nursery School annual FUN FAIR and OPEN HOUSE!

Mark your calendar- March 7, 2020 10am-2pm
at College Park Nursery School
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
4512 College Ave.

Join us for College Park Nursery School’s annual Fun Fair! Our Silent Auction and Raffle tables are packed with a range of items and experiences. Enjoy music, delicious food, and baked goods. Kids will have a blast with art projects, games, face painting, TOUCH-A-TRUCK, and more! Dress like your favorite Wizard of Oz character and earn two free tickets to be used towards food and games!

Unlimited access activity pass is $12 with discounts for multiple passes; activities can also be purchased individually. All proceeds go to support CPNS, a co-operative non-profit nursery school serving a diverse community of children ages 2-5.

Interested in joining the CPNS community? Check out the school’s Open House during the Fun Fair! Email with specific questions.

Council to Award this Year’s Community Services Grant

At tonight’s meeting, the Council will consider approving this year’s Community Service Grants as follows: to the following organizations in College Park.

  • Embry Center for Family Life for the B.O.O.S.T program in the amount of $2,500
  • Holy Redeemer Catholic Church for the Safe Haven program in the amount of $2,500
  • the National Museum of Language for their Summer Camp program in the amount of $2,500
  • the College Park Nursery School for $2,500; and to the Pregnancy Aid Center for the Food Pantry in the amount of $2,500

In addition to that, the City Council will also consider approving a sponsorship in the amount of $1,000 for College Park Nursery’s Fun Fair.

Did Airport Tree Work Go Too Far? The Council Wants to Know

As the tree work continues at the College Park Airport, the Tree and Landscape Board (TLB) Has requested the City Council to schedule a follow up meeting with Airport representatives including Mr. Lee Sommer, Manager of the College Park Airport, and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NPPC), to provide an update regarding the work in progress and discuss the strategy to replace trees on the land within the City of College Park.

Of particular concern is the number of trees being removed appears to be far in excess of the number that was originally communicated to the City Council.

In addition, the purpose of this invitation is to have them clarify the questions with regard to the intended mitigation plan, to address the extensive loss of tree canopy from these tree removals in the airport flight paths.

Here is a list of possible questions the Council may ask during the discussion:
1. How many trees have been pruned to date, and is this more or less than originally estimated?
2. How many trees have been removed to date, and is this more or less than originally estimated?
3. How many additional (unplanned) trees have been removed to date?
4. What is the total budget allocated for the replacement of the trees that have been removed?
5. The promised tree replacement ratio was 3:1 (3 new trees for every tree removed). How many estimated trees will be replaced?
6. What species of trees will be selected as replacements?
7. What will be the minimum size (caliper) of the replacement trees?
8. Will the replacement trees be planted in the same location?
9. What is the timeline for tree replacement, i.e., when will the replacement trees be planted?
10. What protection will be provided for the replacement trees to aid in their survival (e.g. from browsing by deer)?
11. What follow up maintenance is planned to ensure the survival of replacement trees?

Have Tech Questions? College Park Scholars in Action can Help!

Once again, the College Park Scholars in Action will be hosting the Tech literacy event on February 29 at Davis Hall. It’s a great event where students in UMD’s information systems-related programs provide free tech support to City residents. All are welcome, but the event is especially intended for seniors.

City May Remove Speed Humps, Add Speed Signs on Calvert Road in Preparation of Purple Line Construction

The Maryland State Department of Transportation is currently constructing the 16.2-mile Purple Line light rail system which will provide an alternate mode of transportation between Bethesda to New Carrollton. The Purple Line will provide public transportation to various subway stations across Montgomery and Prince George’s County’s without having to travel into the District of Columbia to make transfers. The light rail system is going to bisect the City of College Park along Campus Drive.

Construction of the Purple Line in College Park has begun. As part of the construction process, Campus Drive between Baltimore Ave. and the Metro Parking garage will be closed from the end of May 2020 to mid to the end of August 2020.

This closure will require buses that normally pick and drop off passengers on the east side of the Metro station, to be picked up and dropped off on the west side of the Metro station. As a result, significant bus traffic is expected in Old Town, specifically, on Calvert Rd., Rhode Island Ave., and College Ave.

There have been some discussion on how best to mitigate the impact of this increased bus traffic in the neighborhood. Ideas discussed include utilization of quieter buses, removing speed humps and stop signs along Calvert Rd, temporarily decreasing speed limits and installing flashing speed signs and/or speed cameras on Calvert Rd.

At the February 5, 2019 meeting staff recommended against removing stop signs due to safety concerns. Council is now being asked to allow for removal of the speed humps.

To mitigate potential speeding, staff recommends the City temporarily install flashing speed limit signs along Calvert Road. At this week’s meeting the Council will consider approving these proposed changes.

[City of College Park]

Host a Box for the GND Food Drive

The Good Neighbor Day organizing team is looking for contacts who are willing to host a donation box this year for their department/unit, business, or community organization.

The donations will benefit the UMD Campus Pantry, providing emergency food to Terps with need, and the College Park Community Food Bank, serving meals to local families.

The food drive runs four weeks from Monday, March 2 to Monday, March 30.

FY2021 Budget Requests

1. Youth Summer Service Scholarship:
The purpose of this summer internship program is to engage neighborhood youth in civic programs and service projects in College Park. This program will be modeled after similar scholarship projects adopted by many other jurisdictions across the country. The Council agreed to approve the youth summer internship request in the FY 2020 budget, however, we decided to work out the details on how this program will work.

2. Proactive Graffiti removal program on private properties
The program will help remove graffiti faster than the way it’s performed now. This program will be similar to what other towns and jurisdictions have where the crew would proactively look for graffiti in the neighborhood on a regular basis (every week) and remove them immediately, if possible. For example, the City of Haywood, CA runs a graffiti buster program. Haywood also owns and operates the Graffiti Buster Vehicle and offers graffiti abatement services to private and commercial properties, in addition to removing graffiti on its own public right of way: . The City may have an MOU with the County and State, allowing the City removing them immediately on their R.O.W. Currently graffity is often found for many days without being removed, unless residents report them to the City. They make the neighborhood look dirty and unwelcome guests and visitors.

3. LED lights on selected neighborhood streets
As the City is striving with its sustainable initiatives, it should consider replacing some of the aging, energy inefficient streetlights, with more lasting, environmentally friendly and energy efficient lights. Pepco offers special incentives to its commercial customers to replace the old streets lights with energy efficient lights. Energy efficient LED lights offer reduced electricity bill.

A few years back, the City of Laurel installed 100 energy efficient LED lights from Washington Boulevard and all along Main Street. Since Laurel put the lights in a month ago, it has seen a 65 percent drop in electric use. All of Laurel’s traffic signals are already LED lights. That project started about 10 years ago, and the savings have been significant .

The City, at a minimum, should consider a pilot program, with a goal to replace streetlights on some of City’s main streets (having more pedestrian traffic) with energy efficient LED lights.

4. Safety improvement on Edgewood Rd at Rt 1 (Possible Small CIP funded by POS)
The intersection at Edgewood Road and Route 1 is very unsafe. There is only one eastbound lane on Edgewood road, where vehicles from Exit 25B and also from Route 1’s northbound lane enters the Hollywood neighborhood, often at high speeds. The turning radius is very sharp and thus, fast turning cars and large buses often pose danger to other vehicles, bikers and specially for pedestrian walking on the sidewalk on Edgewood Rd at this intersection. Several years ago, the SHA took up a small project and recommended to add one more in-bound lane to Edgewood from Route 1 and I-495 in-bound ramp (currently there is one lane). They also recommended to add one out-bound lanes from Edgewood to Route 1 (currently there are two lanes). Unfortunately, the SHA has shelved the project and has told us that they have no plan to improve the intersection in near future.

Given the public safety aspect of this very busy intersection, something needs to be done soon. The City could use a part of the State’s Program Open Space (POS) grant to acquire a small parcel from the adjacent owner of the property at the north east corner of the property and 1 lane each to the east and west bound Edgewood Road. Several years ago, the City assisted the property owner with a grant to demolish the building and redevelop the property. This could have also allowed the improvement of the intersection as part of the declaration of covenant with the City. The property owner has told us they are having difficulties in getting the parcel redevelop due to the very challenging configuration of the parcel.

5. Annual Spring Parade on Rhode Island Avenue
Several residents, especially many longtime residents have expressed interest in the revival of the annual spring parade on Rhode Island Avenue from Duvall Filed to Hollywood Shopping Center. Community members, high school bands, military units, fire departments, scouts, local sports teams, etc took part in this annual spring event. There was a reviewing stand at Duval Field and according to some long time residents, awards were given to different groups in the parade. Opening day baseball/softball games were held after the parade. It was very much well attended.

The revival of the parade will be an excellent opportunity to bring the community together through inclusive activities that appeal to a wide range of residents, as the City is investing more in more recreational programs throughout the City. An annual parade may potentially bring new visitors to the City which can lead to an economic benefit.

As part of the 75th anniversary, the City plans to hold a similar parade from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. down Rhode Island Avenue to Duvall Field. The City should continue hosting the event in coming years.

6. [Pilot] Age-in-Place assistance grant to low income seniors with disability:
Some of City’s low-income senior residents are forced to leave their homes when they age and face disability issues at their old age. Often time, the outdoor stairs to their homes need to be replaced by disability ramps. Depending on the configuration of their homes, it may be expensive to build these ramps.

Currently, the County / State offers some general assistance grants to qualified seniors to repair their homes and address accessibility issues. Unfortunately, Many of City’s low-income seniors do not qualify these grants due to their income level or due to a long waiting period.

With the improved “Aging-in-Place” goal in mind, the City should explore a program, at least on a pilot basis, where the City could set aside a small grant fund assisting and keeping City’s aging population to stay at their homes. Other jurisdictions and towns across the nation offer similar assistance program. For example. the “Lifespan Friendly Homes Program in New River Valley”, provides low income homeowners with assistance to obtain low or no cost modifications to address issues that inhibit accessibility to essential parts of their home:

7. Murals in Hollywood:
Several years ago, a project was completed by the “Neighborhood Design Center” to find ways to help revitalize the Hollywood Shopping district. It produced façade redesign concepts for selected properties which we used as a tool to help interested property owners/businesses in improving their storefronts with our then new grant program for that purpose. We had one property owner improve their façade as a result. One of the group’s recommendations was to create murals on the walls of the shops in the commercial district. For example, the concept design included a mural on the side wall of the building where the Hollywood Pharmacy is located. Other potential areas could include the side of the new MoM’s building, on/near the metro path, the beltway overpass on Rhode Island avenue, the tunnel at Davis field near the end of Kenesaw Street. A small project could include the creation of such murals in the Hollywood commercial district. Funds could come from state grants supporting City’s Business and Façade Improvement grant program.

8. Completion of fitness / walking trail around Hollywood Shopping Center
When the Hollywood Streetscape project will be completed, the 3 sides around the shopping center will have walkable fitness paths. To help improve residents’ health and wellness, the project’s original plan (in 2017) called for installation of a complete wellness circuit, including exercise stations, along Narragansett Parkway to provide a recreational opportunity (please see below). Due to the “Daylighting” of Narragansett Run feasibility study, the part of the trail along Narragansett Parkway couldn’t be completed. Many of our north College Park residents are still looking forward to seeing the complete walking trail. A small CIP project could help fund the fourth and final section of the fitness trail along Narragansett Parkway.

9. Blinker Stop Flashing LED STOP Sign
Blinker Stop LED STOP signs provide greater awareness for new, high-risk and high-incidence intersections where static signs are ineffective. Other jurisdictions typically use these stop signs at the intersections having frequent issues with stop sign violations and where high-speed major roads intersect lower-speed secondary roads. For example, the City of Laurel uses a form of blinker LED stop signs which are movable and are attached to the stationary regular stop signs.

The City could consider installing them first at some of the high traffic intersections, such as on Edgewood Road (at 49th Ave. near the Hollywood Elementary school, 51st Ave, 52nd Place and 53rd Ave).

10. Bus shelters
The City should consider expanding the bus shelter program to other busy bus stops. These shelters provide bus riders protection from rain and heat during summer. The two stops residents have asked to add bus shelter include (a) Route 1 (near the Dunkin store) and (b) on westbound Edgewood Rd, near Rhode Island Ave.

11. Increase Use of Duvall Field Concession Stand
The City invested a considerable fund ($1.3 million) to replace the old concession building by a new one. Unfortunately, the building has been rarely used since it was replaced. In FY19, the City spent a small fund to buy an outdoor grill (stored inside). Unfortunately, it’s unknown if the grill has been used at all.
Several years ago, the old concession building could be seen very busy during the game days. Hot dogs, burgers, sausage/pepper subs and steaks were cooked and sold from inside the concession building during game days. The building used to have a double wide electric grill to prepare burgers, steak and sausages and boiled hot dogs and finished on the grill. It also had a steam cabinet to keep the food at the correct temperature. A City resident used to have a food server license. Another long-time resident used to be in change of cooking and serve food from inside.

In order to provide similar increased use, two main steps need to be taken (according to staff memo on March 15, 2018). Both steps have some budgetary impacts:
(a) The City could assist interested residents (s) with scholarships to get food handler license (moderate Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Priority Food Service Facility license). To obtain certification, an individual must take an examination from an accredited organization and file an application with the Health Department.
(b) Additional kitchen equipment would also need to be purchased and installed to support the change from a low hazard to a moderate hazard facility. This might include a stove or burners, oven, steamer, deep fryer, grill, griddle, microwave or hot plate depending on the foods to be prepared and served. Proper cooking exhaust ventilation is a requirement and the concessions building would need to be modified to provide this.

12. Free Parking for College Park residents at the downtown shopping centers:
Several residents have told that one of the impediments for them to go to College Park downtown businesses is the parking fee they need to pay to park their cars near the businesses there. The City has recently taken steps in removing those impediments by making the downtown garage free of charge during summer. It will be also helpful to make the parking in downtown shopping centers free for City residents.

13. Interactive Online College Park’s History Project:
Currently, a few printed materials (books and reports) are available about the history of College Park’s various neighborhoods (Lakeland, Daniels Park, and Hollywood), and the University of Maryland. Unfortunately, there isn’t any consolidated interactive online website that can provide the residents and the visitors the rich history of College Park. City recently bought online interactive software ( to produce quality interactive content of the monthly Municipal Scene. This software or other free interactive media software could be used to produce the interactive consolidated College Park’s History web portal. The project could further collect additional artifacts (photographs etc.) from City’s longtime residents, in addition to what can be found in existing materials. Furthermore, the project could cover the history of City’s other neighborhoods which haven’t been included in the existing history materials. These neighborhoods may include Berwyn, Yarrow, and College Park Woods.

Funds could come from the annual Council internship funds (up to $5000). A few years ago, the internship fund was used to produce the history of Hollywood and Daniels Park neighborhoods.

14. Commemorative Bench Dedication program:
Commemorative Bench (and possibly tree) dedication program may offer members of our community a thoughtful and distinctive way to recognize a special person or occasion. In addition to providing a unique honor, commemorative benches contribute to the beauty and character of city’s landscape, enhance the visitor experience, and provide financial support for our renowned living collections. Many towns and jurisdictions across the country offer similar programs. Here are a few examples:

Boardwalk Bench Dedication

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