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Author: Fazlul Kabir Page 2 of 521

College Park Hosts ITGA Conference: Fostering Collaborative Solutions

College Park is hosting this year’s ITGA Conference. I was honored to welcome the conference. This year’s theme, “The Power of Partnerships, Solving Grand Challenges,” highlighted the collaboration between College Park and UMD, such as the past decade’s developments, including infrastructure, education, and housing projects. Innovation and community engagement were showcased through initiatives like the Route 1 and Purple Line development and City University Partnership.

What You Need to Know About Mosquito Control

Warm spring weather can cause mosquito larvae to become active, producing adult mosquitoes. The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will begin applying mosquito larvicide control products to standing water in known breeding areas to prevent the development of larvae into biting adult mosquitoes.

West Nile and Zika virus are both transmitted by mosquitoes. To help control the mosquito population in your community, remember to tip anything that holds water on a weekly basis (birdbaths, old tires, plastic children’s toys, tarps, pet dishes etc.)

For permanent areas of standing water (ponds, rain barrels, etc.), mosquito “torpedoes” slowly and continuously release an insect growth regulator into the water that prevents larval mosquito development into adults for up to 2 months. The City offers mosquito torpedoes for residents – visit the Department of Public Works for more information.

The adult spray portion of MDAs program is scheduled to start in late May/early June and run through September to trap and control mosquito populations. More information can be found on our website www.collegeparkmd.gov/mosquito.

REQUEST FOR EXEMPTION FROM ADULT MOSQUITO CONTROL SERVICES
Residents can request exclusion from the adult spray program by completing an exemption form annually and return it to:

Program Supervisor, Mosquito Control Section
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401

If you don’t have a printer, the local office for MDA Mosquito Control in College Park has offered to send residents a form via DocuSign. Send an email to skeetermd1.mda@maryland.gov to request the form be sent via DocuSign.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit the MDA’s Mosquito Control website (https://mda.maryland.gov/plants-pests/pages/mosquito_control.aspx) for more details about the program, including their policy, insecticides used, product labels and material safety data sheets (MSDS), and more.

New Law to Combat Street Racing and Exhibition Driving in Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, MD (May 30, 2024) – Starting June 1, 2024, Maryland will enforce stricter penalties for street racing and exhibition driving. Thanks to a new law signed by Governor Wes Moore, offenders will face mandatory court appearances, up to one year’s imprisonment, and doubled fines of $1,000. Additionally, convicted violators will receive 8 or more points on their drivers’ records, risking suspension or revocation of their licenses.

John Seng, chair of the Maryland Coalition for Roadway Safety (SafeRoadsMD), expressed his support for the law. “Thanks to the unified willpower for road and street safety demonstrated by our elected State officials, with the stroke of his pen, Governor Moore knocked down the ‘Welcome to Maryland’ sign for perpetrators of organized, criminal exhibition driving violence,” he said. Seng emphasized that Maryland lawmakers prioritized safety and tranquility on roads and in communities, warning that continued disruptions will not be tolerated.

In recent years, organized criminal gangs have taken over intersections, shopping malls, and town centers across Maryland for illegal street racing, from Baltimore County to College Park and Silver Spring. To address this issue and constituent concerns, Senator Pamela Beidle (D, District 32, Anne Arundel) and Delegate Mary Lehman (D, District 21, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel) introduced companion bills SB 442/HB 601 in the 2024 Maryland General Assembly Session.

Senator Beidle reported 139 major exhibition driving incidents in Maryland in 2023 during a Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing. Delegate Lehman testified before the House of Delegates Environment and Transportation Committee, describing the escalating scale of these events and their potential to disrupt communities, endanger law enforcement, and cause serious injuries or fatalities.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy praised the new law, stating, “We are thankful that the legislature and Governor Moore have strengthened the penalties to deter street racing and other dangerous behavior on public roads. The new law will help to hold violators accountable. Simply stated, speed kills. Exhibition driving also places motorists and pedestrians in grave danger. This is a step in the right direction when it comes to keeping our roadways safe.”

The Maryland Coalition for Roadway Safety, Inc., along with advocacy and community groups like the Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce and the City of College Park, supported the legislation. AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Public and Government Affairs Manager for Maryland and Washington, D.C., Ragina Cooper Ali, highlighted the life-saving nature of the measure. She noted that even modestly higher speeds at the time of a crash significantly increase the chances of severe injury or death, and illegal street races amplify these risks.

The new law targets individuals involved in racing or speed contests, whether on highways or private property used by the public. It also prohibits participation as a timekeeper or flagman. Convictions involving serious bodily injury will result in imprisonment up to one year or fines up to $1,000.

College Park Mayor Fazlul Kabir, PhD, underscored the law’s importance in providing law enforcement with additional tools to combat these reckless events. The law defines “exhibition driving” as operating a vehicle near a crowd in a manner that causes skidding, squealing or smoking tires, swerving, loud noise, grinding gears, backfiring, airborne wheels, or passengers hanging out of windows or on vehicle hoods.

Stephanie Helsing, President & CEO of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, also praised the law. “We were thrilled to be able to submit testimony in favor of HB 601,” she said. Helsing shared that businesses and residents in Silver Spring have been impacted by these terrifying rallies, sometimes trapped for hours. She believes the legislation will have a significant positive impact on both the Silver Spring community and the entire state of Maryland.

The implementation of this law marks a crucial step in ensuring road safety and preventing the dangerous and disruptive behavior associated with street racing and exhibition driving.

[Source: SafeRoadMD.org]

Maryland Vehicle Registration Fees to Increase July 1

Starting July 1, Maryland motorists will face higher costs to register their vehicles. The new rates, part of a budget compromise between the House and Senate, will increase registration fees for passenger vehicles by 60-75%. Motor Vehicle Administrator Chrissy Nizer explained that the fee adjustments are necessary to provide critical revenue for the Transportation Trust Fund, ensuring the state’s infrastructure remains in good repair. The MVA is now offering the option to choose a one or two-year registration at renewal.

Currently, owners of passenger cars weighing up to 3,700 pounds pay $137 every two years. Beginning July 1, the registration fee for a passenger vehicle up to 3,500 pounds will be $221 every two years, or $110.50 annually. Vehicles weighing more than 3,500 pounds but less than 3,700 pounds will see new fees of $241 every two years, or $120.50 annually. Cars over 3,700 pounds will cost $323 for a two-year registration, up from $187.

These fee hikes, along with a forthcoming surcharge on electric and hybrid vehicles, aim to close a $3 billion projected gap in highway and transit funding. As gas tax revenues decline with more fuel-efficient vehicles, alternative funding sources are crucial. AAA Mid-Atlantic’s spokesperson, Ragina Ali, emphasized the need for equitable, transparent revenue to support roadway maintenance and infrastructure.

Additionally, a $40 fee per vehicle will support the state’s emergency medical system operations and the Maryland Trauma Physician Services Fund. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration website lists all current and upcoming fees.

Electric vehicle owners will also face increased costs. The legislature has approved a surcharge of $250 every two years for electric vehicles and $200 for plug-in hybrids to balance the funding disparities between gas and electric-powered vehicles. These surcharges are projected to raise up to $20 million but will not take effect on July 1. A schedule for implementing these surcharges will be announced later.

Governor Wes Moore’s administration aims for all new car sales in Maryland to be electric by 2035, aligning with the state’s climate goals. As electric vehicles contribute more wear and tear on roads due to their weight, these surcharges ensure they contribute fairly to road maintenance.

For more details on the fee increases, visit the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration website. Stay informed about how these changes will impact your vehicle registration and the future of Maryland’s transportation infrastructure.

Detailed Site Plan for Old Campus Village Up for Council Discussion

The LV Collective has submitted a Detailed Site Plan (DSP) for a new mixed-use development on the east side of Baltimore Avenue, between Melbourne Place and Navahoe Street (8133-8155 Baltimore Avenue). The proposed project includes 299 student-oriented apartments, 13,305 square feet of retail space, and a 2,219 square foot community space.

Key Project Details:
Hearing Date: The Planning Board will review the DSP on Thursday, June 27th. Park and Planning Staff reports are typically available two weeks before the hearing.
Estimated Construction Cost: $124 million
Estimated Property Taxes: $3 million annually, once stabilized
Job Creation: The project will create 7 full-time and 11 part-time jobs, with additional employment opportunities from the retail space. Additionally, approximately 800 temporary construction jobs are expected.

The development features a 6-7 story building comprising 299 units (1,011 beds) of student housing and 13,684 square feet of commercial space. It also includes the 2,219 square foot Lakeland Legacy Center, dedicated to the Lakeland community. Parking will be provided in a structured garage occupying the first two levels of the building, accessible from Melbourne Place, with a drop-off lane for deliveries and ride-sharing.

The northern façade will house a service area, accessible from Navahoe Street, across from the McDonald’s restaurant. This area will be screened and only open during move-ins, move-outs, and trash pickup. The rear façade, facing Lakeland, will feature a step-back design with two-story townhouses and the Lakeland Legacy Center.

Currently, the site includes several commercial buildings, totaling 34,422 square feet of gross floor area, which will be demolished for the new development. These buildings include a commercial shopping center (Campus Village Shoppes), a liquor store, and a gas station. The applicant is working with existing tenants to potentially relocate them to the new space, while also seeking new tenants for any remaining areas.

Community Impact:
Local Businesses: The applicant is committed to working with College Park businesses and sub-contractors.
Economic Growth: The new development will generate significant property tax revenue and create numerous job opportunities, supporting the local economy.

Next week, the City Council will discuss the DSP with the developer. Staff recommends supporting the DSP with certain conditions to ensure it meets community needs.

Stay tuned for more updates and make sure to attend the Planning Board hearing on June 27th to learn more about this transformative project!

Celebrating Juneteenth and the Determined Exhibit at City Hall


“We are determined to be people.” – Martin Luther King, Jr., from his iconic speech, I’ve Been to the Mountaintop, delivered on April 3, 1968, at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. King’s powerful words echo through the pages of history, underscoring the unwavering resolve of Black Americans in their 400-year struggle for equality. This persistent fight for freedom, justice, and opportunity has continuously driven our nation towards its founding ideal of universal equality.

In honor of Juneteenth and African American history, we are excited to announce a new exhibit, Determined: The 400-Year Struggle for Black Equality, on display at City Hall. From June 7 through August, visitors can explore this compelling exhibit on the first floor at 7401 Baltimore Avenue, from 8 AM to 5 PM.

We are proud to host this exhibit on loan from the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, offering our visitors and residents an enriching experience. The Determined exhibit and the Juneteenth holiday together provide a moment to honor the resilience of African Americans and the courage of abolitionists and activists who have tirelessly fought for civil rights throughout the years.

In addition to the exhibit, the City of College Park is hosting a free children’s book giveaway in celebration of Juneteenth. You can request a free copy of The History of Juneteenth by Arlisha Norwood (for ages 6-9) to educate the younger generation about this significant holiday. Sign up at www.collegeparkmd.gov/juneteenth.

Join us in commemorating Juneteenth and exploring the remarkable history of African American resilience and determination.

City Announces Restorative Justice Scholarship/Grants Program

The Lakeland Legacy Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships to Lakelanders engaged in self-improvement programs in three categories, higher education, vocational education and restorative and transformative justice. This program aims to strengthen the knowledge base of Lakelanders that was lost through the displacement created by urban renewal.

Breakdown of Funding:
• Restorative and Transformative Justice Education: Documented plan/cost to attend a workshop, conference, or similar program focused on restorative justice, transformative justice, reparative justice, or related topics.
• Vocational Education: Documented plan/cost to attend a workshop, class, or similar program designed to create or enhance income producing skills.
• Academic Scholarship
o *Undergraduate: 3 Awards/$1000 Each
o Scholarship *Graduate: 3 Awards/$2000 Each

Current fiscal Year (FY 24):
• Total Budget: $200,000
• Funds being held in anticipation of allocation from the current budget: $19,000
o Undergrad Scholarship (3): $3,000
o Graduate Scholarship (3): $6,000
o Grant Awards (Vocational and Restorative Justice): $10,000 Total

Upcoming Fiscal Year (FY 25):
• Total Budget: $200,000
• Funds being held in anticipation of allocation from the current budget: $19,000
o Undergrad Scholarship (3): $3,000
o Graduate Scholarship (3): $6,000
o Grant Awards (Vocational and Restorative Justice): $10,000 Total

In Pictures – Memorial Day 2024

Deeply grateful to all the residents who attended this morning’s Memorial Day event at the College Park American Legion. Special thanks go to City’s Veteran Memorial Committee for putting together this amazing event.


 

[Photo courtesy of: American Legion]

Observing Memorial Day – In Memory of the Fallen

Today is Memorial Day! Please join me today at 11 am at the American Legion College Park Post 217 (9218 Baltimore Ave)., as we honor our City’s veterans in our traditional annual ceremony. Please note that due to the inclement weather forecast for today, the Memorial Day Observance event is moved to the new location. This year’s speaker will be Major James A. Dula, a retired former Air Force Commander currently serving as the Veterans Affairs Officer for the Office of the County Executive in Prince George’s County. Please bring pictures of your loved ones, veterans alive or passed to share on the Honors Table. The City’s Veterans Memorial Committee sponsors this event. After the event, the American Legion will host a free lunch, always a great opportunity to connect with many of our local veterans. Pease join the event as we honor the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Their courage and dedication have protected the freedoms we hold dear.

This year holds special significance as we mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in a courageous and pivotal assault that changed the course of history. The valor and determination displayed on that day are a testament to the indomitable spirit of our armed forces.

All City of College Park offices will be closed today, Monday, May 27, 2024 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

Refuse and recycling will occur one day later than normal during this holiday week:
• Monday collections will occur Tuesday, May 28
• Tuesday collections will occur Wednesday, May 29
• Wednesday collections will occur Thursday, May 30

Curbside Food Scrap collection will slide forward one day: Tuesday, May 29 collection shifts to Wednesday, May 29

Special collections for brush and bulky items will only be scheduled for Friday, May 31 of this holiday week. You must call 240-487-3590 or email publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov to schedule a pickup before setting your items out to the curb.

Bulk Trash Collection with our Public Works Crew

Keeping College Park clean is a team effort! I assisted Bulk Trash Collection crews in Old Town this morning, helping to keep our streets clean during move-out season. Thank you to everyone ensuring our City stays beautiful!

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