City Playgrounds Reopen Today!

Good news. Effective TODAY, Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 8:00 a.m., City playgrounds and fit lots will reopen to the public. All visitors must adhere to physical distancing guidelines. The City has installed hand sanitizing stations at all City playgrounds. Please see here to find the list of City’s playgrounds.

The City has installed hand sanitizing stations at all City playgrounds. For playground safety guidelines from the CDC, please click here. City parks remain open for personal fitness, fitness classes, and low contact sports. Ball courts remain closed.

Also, starting TOMORROW, July 1, a number of different activities and amenities will open through County’s Department of Parks & Recreation, and this graphic helps provide some of the highlights of what is open and what remains closed. More information on these openings is included at this link .

On Thursday, June 25, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced that the County will begin a full Phase Two re-opening effective today, Monday, June 29 at 5:00 p.m.

Phase Two includes the reopening of playgrounds and fitness centers, as well as updated guidelines on gatherings. Unless specifically stated in the Executive Order, social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events (“large gatherings and events”) are limited to one person/family unit per 200 square feet or a maximum of 100 persons – whichever is lower – at all locations and venues. Planned larger gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed. CDC and MDH physical distancing protocols must be followed.As a reminder, City office and facilities have reopened to the public. All visitors must wear proper face coverings and maintain physical distancing. Signs have been installed with reminders of CDC guidelines. City facilities are cleaned and sanitized daily Monday through Friday, with special attention given to high contact areas. Hand sanitizer is provided at each location and restrooms are stocked with soap and paper towels.

For all COVID-19 related City information, please visit the City’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19. The website has information related to which essential local businesses remain open to the public, as well as other resources and information for residents and businesses.

Tomorrow – Virtual Town Hall on County Tax Bill CB-48-2020

CB-48-2020, a charter amendment could be on the November ballot and could change the homestead property tax credit cap. This may impact/increase your property tax bill. Last Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at the County Council Meeting, three Council members voted No for this bill. They will be co-hosting a ZOOM Town Hall this Tuesday, June 30 at 7:00 pm to discuss the ramifications of CB-48-2020. The final vote is July 21st!  Register and share this information with your neighbors and others you know in Prince George’s County.

Click here to Register: https://bit.ly/Jun7-HomesteadPropertyTalk?

Click here to Review the Bill and the Full Council Meeting:



Mortgage Rent Credit HELP for Veterans & Family Members

Hollywood Farmers Market is Walk-thru Again

In case you didn’t know, the Hollywood Farmers Market is now a walk-thru market again. This means that you can enjoy the market walking to the vendors (without having to drive by them). We hope to have a good sunny day during the market hours (9 am-12 pm) tomorrow, so please stop by and enjoy all the fresh organic produce, baked goods, farm-fresh fruits, and coffee, that you always wanted to have!

Parking Permit Question

Some of you’ve asked about the renewals of the parking permits and visitor passes. The City has recently sent a postcard describing the renewal process. In case you haven’t received yours, please see that below. Thank you.

Residential Parking Permits and Visitor Permits due to expire on June 30, 2020 will be valid through June 30, 2021. The Mayor and City Council have eliminated annual fees for Residential Parking Permits and Visitor Parking Permits. If you need new or replacement permits, please complete and submit the application found here: www.collegeparkmd.gov/residentparkingpermitapp or call to have an application sent to you. For questions, or for additional information, contact Parking Enforcement at 240-487-3520 or send an email to mailto:parkingenforcement@collegeparkmd.gov . Look for more information coming in the near future about a new online residential parking permit application process, and new vehicle permitting by tag number instead of hang tags.

Continuing the Conversation: Community and Race Relations Virtual Forum

The City of College Park is bringing together a cross section of our community to discuss race relations and how we can begin healing. This will be a chance for knowledgeable and invested voices to share space to discuss the importance of real change and how to move forward. The purpose is to have an honest conversation, not a debate. The panel includes representatives from Prince George’s County and University of Maryland Police Departments; local, county and state elected officials; experts in the field of racial equity; and community members.The town hall will be live streamed at 7:00 p.m.

Use the link to participate online:
https://zoom.us/j/94655550522 or dial in at 301-715-8592.

[City of College Park]

Show Your College Park Pride!

Incorporated on June 7, 1945, the City is turning 75 this year! And while we are unable to celebrate in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic (more information here), we still want to celebrate with you! During this pandemic, we have seen so much amazing community spirit that we would like to continue showcasing it through the Show Your College Park Pride Contest!

We want to see and hear your stories and pride for College Park! Submit your videos, drawings and photos of your College Park spirit. All video and image entries will be made into a video collage to showcase our wonderful residents and their favorite memories. We can’t wait to see your creativity and what you’ll send!

By submitting your favorite memories, you will be entered to win a $50 gift card from the College Park business of your choosing (as long as the business you choose has the capability to issue a gift card, certificate, voucher, etc.). Winners will be randomly selected.

For more information on how to enter and contest rules and guidelines, please visit our website at www.collegeparkmd.gov/75thanniversary.

County Council Considering Changes to the Homestead Tax Credit Cap

County Council Member Davis is proposing to add a question to the November ballot to change the County Charter and amend the homestead tax credit cap that was passed in the early 1990s.  Charter changes require legislation.  A formal public hearing would be held on July 21st.  At that time, the County Council can decide to request the question be posed to voters in November.

The proposed bill CB-48-2020 will be sent to Committee immediately tomorrow for consideration.

Since 1992, the homestead property tax credit has limited County tax assessment increases to the LESSER of the increase in Washington area CPI OR 5% (that is 5% maximum). If approved, the County Charter would be amended to allow an annual assessment to increase up to the State maximum of 10%.

To help homeowners deal with large assessment increases on their principal residence, state law has established the Homestead Property Tax Credit. The Homestead Credit limits the increase in taxable assessments each year to a fixed percentage. Every county and municipality in Maryland is required to limit taxable assessment increases to 10% or less each year. View a listing of homestead caps for each local government.

Technically, the Homestead Credit does not limit the market value of the property as determined by the Department of Assessments and Taxation. Instead, it is actually a credit calculated on any assessment increase exceeding 10% (or the lower cap enacted by the local governments) from one year to the next. The credit is calculated based on the 10% limit for purposes of the State property tax, and 10% or less (as determined by local governments) for purposes of local taxation. In other words, the homeowner pays no property tax on the market value increase which is above the limit.

Assume that your old assessment was $100,000 and that your new phased-in assessment for the 1st year is $120,000. An increase of 10% would result in an assessment of $110,000. The difference between $120,000 and $110,000 is $10,000. The tax credit would apply to the taxes due on the $10,000. If the tax rate was $1.04 per $100 of assessed value, the tax credit would be $104 ($10,000 ÷ 100 x $1.04).

College Park and 14 Other Metro Stations to Reopen this Sunday

Metro today announced that 15 rail stations that had been closed as part of the transit agency’s Covid-19 response will reopen on Sunday, June 28. In addition, beginning Monday, June 28, buses will be added to the system’s 14 busiest bus lines to provide more capacity and more frequent service as the region reopens.

Rail Stations
The following stations will reopen on Sunday, June 28. (Three stations on the Orange and Silver lines will reopen with shuttle bus service due to the ongoing platform reconstruction work at East Falls Church.)

Federal Center SW
Federal Triangle
Mt Vernon Sq
Judiciary Sq
Eisenhower Ave
Virginia Sq
East Falls Church*
Van Dorn St
Cleveland Park
College Park
Morgan Blvd
*Shuttle buses provided. No rail service due to platform reconstruction work.

In addition, selected entrances will reopen at Anacostia, Farragut North, Dupont Circle, Metro Center, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, U Street, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Friendship Heights, and L’Enfant Plaza.

Metro had originally closed these stations and entrances in March to conserve critical cleaning supplies at the early stages of its pandemic response. After Sunday, Arlington Cemetery will be the only Metrorail station without regular service, as Arlington National Cemetery is closed to the general public.

Bus service realignment effective Monday, June 29

Metrobus customers on the region’s busiest routes will notice more frequent buses, less crowding, and more regular service beginning Monday, June 29. An additional 136 trips are being added across 14 routes: 54, 70, 92, 30N, 30S, A4, A6, A8, P6, V4, W4, F4, P12, and T18.

To make these improvements possible, Metro will temporarily suspend bus service on four routes that currently have extremely low ridership – NH2, C14, G2 and M6. Customers along these routes are asked to use other Metrobus routes nearby.

Starting Monday, weekday service will be improved with additional buses on the 54, 70, 92, 30N, 30S, A4, A6, A8, P6, V4, W4, F4, P12, and T18.
Service will be temporarily suspended on the NH2, C14, G2 and M6. Use alternate bus service nearby.
Additional service adjustments will also be implemented on the following routes:
22A will operate every 60 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Service will only be provided between Pentagon Station and Shirlington. No service between Shirlington and Ballston-MU Station
62 will operate every 48 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30p.m.
D2 will operate every 40 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
E2 will operate every 60 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
H6 will operate every 60 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
U4 will operate every 30 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
X8 will operate every 40 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Rear door boarding will continue until further notice.
Covid-19 protections continue

Metro acted quickly, at the earliest stages of the pandemic, to protect frontline employees, customers and the general public. Many of those protections will continue as the region reopens, including frequent cleaning of buses, trains and high-touch surfaces, rear-door boarding, supply conservation, and a requirement that all customers and employees wear face coverings or masks on all trains, buses and stations.

Metro cannot guarantee that social distancing will be possible at all times, and the transit agency continues to ask customers to consider all of their transportation options, including walking, biking, or scooters whenever possible, to make space available for other riders.
[Source: WMATA]

Prince Georges County COVID 19 Testing Locations

The Prince Georges County Health Department is offering several free testing sites throughout the county. The closest one near College Park is in Laurel near Contee Road. Appointments are strongly encouraged.

Our City Council also has asked to add testing centers in College Park.

PGPD Chief Resigns over ‘System Racism’ Allegations, Hector Velez Appointed as Interim Chief

Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski resigned on Thursday after 27 years with the department. Chief Stawinski served as Chief of Police since 2016. According to PGPD, during his tenure, he oversaw a continued drop in crime in the county as well as the opening of our new District VIII police station. He resigned after allegations of system racism against the PG Police department.

On Friday, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks appointed Assistant Chief Hector Velez the Interim Chief of Police as the process for selecting a permanent Chief now begins. Interim Chief Velez marks his 26th year with the Prince George’s County Police Department tomorrow. He has served as Assistant Chief since 2016.



Celebrating Juneteenth

Today, many in the nation is observing Juneteenth, which celebrates the moment on June 19, 1865 when, 2 ½ years after the Emancipation Proclamation, federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to ensure that all enslaved people were free. This date marks the effective end of slavery in the United States 155 years ago.

The Prince George’s County Council also passed a resolution (Council Resolution 52-2020) this week in support of this day. Please see that attached here

College Park Community Food Bank Needs your Help!

The College Park Community Food Bank has seen increased demands in recent weeks due to the COVID-19. Tomorrow, June 20th, the Food Bank be distributing non-perishables & fresh produce.

The volunteer link for tomorrow is here. The Food Bank still needs volunteers to control traffic to the Food Bank

The Food Bank is making a rain plan for our food distribution tomorrow, June 20 (due to the forecast), and they could use your help. Lend them your 10×10 canopy tent or your 8×8 (or larger) tarp to help them keep their food dry until we get it safely into the hands of the people who need it!

Canopy tents and tarps would need to be dropped off at the Food Bank this evening and would be returned to you on Saturday sometime after 11 am. The Food Bank can be flexible in dropoff and return arrangements.

Also, please consider making some contribution to the Food Bank. Your help will help the Food Bank in guying food for our neighbors in need. http://www.collegeparkfoodbank.com/get-involved

Thank you!

Prayer Chain and Candlelight Vigil with College Park Faith Communities

An Interfaith Prayer Chain and Vigil
Featuring College Park’s community and faith leaders.
Tuesday, June 23
Prayer chain: 10 am-6:46 pm
8 hours and 46 minutes of prayer from College Park’s diverse faith communities, to symbolize the 8 minutes and 48 seconds an officer had his knee on George Floyd’s neck
Virtual candlelight vigil: 7-8 pm
Join online via Zoom at http://b.link/CPBLM or on Facebook live at http://b.link/CPBLMFB.

City Announces COVID-19 Assistance Programs

Recently, City Council and staff have developed a plan with more than $1,500,000 in COVID-19 assistance to help those experiencing financial hardship during this difficult time. The goal of these programs and initiatives is to help the City’s residents and businesses get back on their feet as the recovery process begins.

Currently, there are two programs that eligible College Park businesses can apply for: the Small Business Assistance Grants Program and the Modified Business Assistance & Façade Improvement Program.

Small Business Assistance Grants Program
The purpose of the City’s Small Business Assistance Grants Program is to assist small businesses (and non-profits if allowed by CARES Act funding requirements) with 25 or fewer full-time equivalents (FTEs), with direct economic support for costs of business interruption caused by: required closures, voluntary closures to promote social distancing, or decreased customer demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each business/owner can receive up to a maximum grant of $15,000 from this program.

The Modified Business Assistance & Façade Improvement Program is similar to the existing program except that it does not require matching funds. For more information about these programs or to apply, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19assistance#businesses.

To further help the City’s business community, the City Council authorized the following: waived non-residential business license fees until the end of FY2021 for retail, commercial, and hotel/motel establishments; suspended sign or banner permits and regulations to help businesses advertise; and provided free parking in the City’s Downtown Garage, City-controlled parking lots and meter and pay station-controlled streets until the beginning of the University of Maryland’s fall semester. By providing free parking in those areas, the City hopes to encourage more people to patronize those restaurants and businesses open through curbside pick-up or carry-out. For a list of College Park businesses currently open, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid-19#openbusinesses.

Resident Assistance Program
The City has also created a program to provide financial aid for residents in need. The purpose of the City’s Emergency Financial Aid to Residents Program is to provide financial assistance to families, senior citizens and other individuals who have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial assistance may be provided for eligible expenses such as rent/mortgage payments to avoid eviction or foreclosure, unforeseen funeral costs, utility payments, and other emergency needs as deemed necessary. Each eligible family/person can receive up to a maximum of $5,000 per household for indirect payments to an applicable payee (landlord, lender, utility company) and/or gift cards for eligible expenses from this program. For more information about this program, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19assistance#residents.

Non-profit Assistance Programs
To support the City’s non-profit organizations that provide food to its residents, the City has awarded $64,000 in grants to the College Park Meals on Wheels and the College Park Food Bank. Both organizations directly help the City’s residents who are food insecure or unable to procure food during this time. Their daily and weekly meal deliveries and food pantries have helped hundreds in College Park’s community who have needed it most.

Non-profits may apply for the Business Assistance Grant program at the top of the page, which does accept an online application. Here is the page.

The City has been working diligently to provide as much support as possible to its residents and businesses. However, these are not the only resources available for City residents and businesses. For a non-comprehensive list of federal, state, and county resources, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19 and click on the respective links.

Together we will get through this difficult time. For more information about the City’s actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19.
[City of College Park]