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Author: Fazlul Kabir Page 2 of 513

Climate & Health Summit in College Park

This summit is happening here in College Park. It’s free to attend. The registration QR code is in the flyer.

Growing Together: The Journey Ahead for Hollywood Farmers Market. Community Input Needed

Customers at the Hollywood Farmers Market

At next Tuesday’s meeting, the Council will discuss the future of the Hollywood Farmers Market (website, Facebook). Among the options on the table is temporarily “pause” or suspending market operations. This pause could potentially be indefinite, indicating that there is a possibility that the market may not resume its activities.

The Hollywood Farmers Market was started by a group of volunteers (including myself) in 2013. The first market day was June 1st, 2013. A market committee comprising residents was formed. The committee members recruited vendors. They also started the market website and social media presence and worked on getting the permits from the county. The market committee also started writing weekly newsletters and attended events promoting the market.

A year later, the City offered to help the market with a part-time staff and some funds for marketing. The staff primarily served as the market master.

This continued until 2018 when the City took over the market’s operations. At this time, the City had two staff working as contractors for the market. An additional staff joined last year as a food access coordinator. The FY24 budget alloecated $22,000, primarily supporting staff and marketing.

The market has supported several local farmers and vendors, with a maximum of  24 vendors in the past. Many of these vendors consistently return, demonstrate profitability, and include participants such as the meat and poultry farmer and the prepared food vendor. Notably, the market has attracted farmers from surrounding Maryland areas and within College Park and Berwyn. Furthermore, local musicians have enriched the atmosphere by offering live entertainment for patrons, complementing the vibrant community spirit fostered by the market.

According to the staff report, the market faces challenges, including vendor retention and competition from new grocery stores. After COVID, the number of vendors attending the market has declined. Yet, the market attracted a maximum of 14 vendors in the last market season. With declining sales, fewer vendors, and staffing issues, proposed solutions could include enhanced marketing, paying vendors, and reducing frequency. However, the staff’s primary concern is attracting a strong produce vendor.

The market has also served as a focal point for community engagement. Numerous community members have appreciated the opportunity to meet with their neighbors every Saturday morning. Additionally, the market has hosted diverse events such as Crafts for Kids, Trunk or Treating, cold weather clothing drives for Hollywood Elementary School, canned food drives for local food banks, and serving as a stop on Trolley Trail Day. It has also facilitated initiatives like the Campus-City Connection and electric vehicle events and served as a starting point for community cleanup efforts.

Another goal behind the creation of the market was to help revitalize the Hollywood commercial district. Many customers attending the market also attend the businesses in the shopping plaza.

The M-NCPPC is planning to build a community center around the area where the market currently takes place. It’s anticipated that the construction of the Community Center won’t commence until at least the following year, possibly even later, as the design phase has not yet begun. Community meetings will be scheduled during the design process to gather input. One proposal from community discussions suggests relocating the market, potentially to the opposite end of the parking lot, during the construction period. The intention is to reintegrate the market into the plaza of the completed community center once construction concludes.

Staff proposal about the market’s future includes revisiting starting the market once the community center is built. A new community center may help attract more customers to the market.

Unfortunately, the community center may take several years to be built. In the meantime, the community will lose this wonderful amenity for these years, assuming that the City decides to bring it back. Staff proposals also include relocating vendors or engaging residents for input on community events. Furthermore, the old vendors may not return after these years as they may have settled in another market.

The decision regarding the market’s future will hinge on how the community defines a “viable” market—whether it should rely solely on the presence of a major produce vendor or continue to support the existing returning vendors, who still draw a significant number of community members.

Please write to the Mayor and Council about your thoughts about the future market at cpmc@collegeparkmd.gov. The Council will appreciate your input during next Tuesday’s discussion. Thank you.

Expected Snowfall Event Overnight

We are under a Winter Weather Advisory from 10 PM to 8 AM on Saturday.

The latest weather forecast by NWS for our area indicates snow starting tonight between 10PM and midnight and could be heavy at times with a low around 32F with an estimated accumulation of 2-4 inches before ending around daybreak. Snow will be ending Saturday morning, and the sun should begin to break with a high of 40F during the day. Saturday night the low will be 21F with refreeze chances overnight.

City’s Public Works crews will apply salt brine to our hills and trouble spots today and prepare trucks and crews for deployment tonight between 10 PM and midnight, working through the night into Saturday morning.

Staff will monitor the weather conditions and provide any updates as necessary.

Also, please remember you can track our snowplow progress at the link: https://citizeninsights.geotab.com/#/collegeparkmd.

Today: Increasing clouds, with a high near 47. West wind 8 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.

Tonight: Snow, mainly after 11pm. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 32. Calm wind becoming northeast around 6 mph after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

Saturday: A chance of snow, mainly before 7am. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 40. Northwest wind 6 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 21. West wind 6 to 11 mph.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 46. Southwest wind 6 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Expected Snowfall – Official NWS Forecast

City Plans to Build a Pocket Park in Berwyn

The property at 5100 Roanoke St. has sparked discussions among residents due to safety concerns and its vacant status since 1977, located in a 100-year floodplain.

The City of College Park, using funds from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Program Open Space, is exploring options for the site, including a pocket park, dog park, or fitness area.

There has also been interest in building a garden on the parcel, such as a community or permaculture garden, which has been noted.

A rain garden is also under consideration for its water management benefits and educational potential.

To gather input, the city is surveying to gauge residents’ preferences. Here is the link.

There will be two site visits with city staff. The first is scheduled for February 26th at 5:00 pm, before the poll closes, and the second is scheduled for March 27th at 5:00 pm, after the poll closes.

Tonight – BDCA February Meeting

This is a friendly reminder that BDCA’s monthly community meeting will take place tonight at 7:30pm on Google Meet. The dial-in details are as follows.

Google Meet joining info
Video call link: https://meet.google.com/rbb-yzgg-qdw
Or dial: ‪(US) +1 361-360-8484‬ PIN: ‪212 783 770‬#
More phone numbers: https://tel.meet/rbb-yzgg-qdw?pin=7589725107052

Our monthly newsletter was just published, so check it out on the BDCA website for neighborhood updates and more: https://www.myberwyn.org/newsletter

The Berwyn District Civic Association (BDCA) is pleased to offer a Spanish translation of our monthly newsletter on our website. Please pass this message on to any other Berwyn residents who speak Spanish.

Free Steering Wheel Giveaway

Prince George’s County Police Department is giving away free steering wheel locks for Kia & Hyundai owners on February 19th from 10am to 12pm at the IKEA in College Park. Kia & Hyundai car owners are encourage to stop by with proof of ownership to receive their free lock.

College Park Woods Clubhouse Construction Moves Forward

In a significant development for the College Park Woods community, plans for the construction of the new Community place are now well underway. The journey began back in July 2018 when the City acquired the College Park Woods Swim Club property. Fast forward to 2024, and the vision for a revitalized community hub is taking shape.

Following meticulous assessments conducted by Buchart Horn Architects, the City embarked on a mission to upgrade the facility, ensuring compliance with building codes and ADA accessibility standards. In August 2019, Broughton Construction Company was awarded the design-build contract, heralding the start of a transformative phase.

Throughout the process, community feedback has played a crucial role. Responding to input gathered in meetings, the Mayor and Council approved an amendment in May 2020, increasing the contract amount to nearly $1 million. However, challenges arose during Phase I, including delays and increased costs for construction materials and Custom Industrial Paint Finishes attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these hurdles, the City remained committed to the project’s success. In March 2023, SPArch was enlisted to provide architectural and engineering consulting services, further solidifying the project’s foundation. Fast forward to January 2024, and with the approval of construction plans and permits in hand, the City initiated the bidding process.

Among the bids received, Rainbow Construction Corporation of Waldorf emerged as the frontrunner, showcasing not only competitive pricing but also a stellar reputation backed by glowing references. With funding secured from the CIP Woods Redevelopment, the City is poised to invest in its future, allocating resources for both the current fiscal year and beyond.

As the project gains momentum, excitement brews within the College Park Woods community. The proposed motion to award the contract to Rainbow Construction Corporation, subject to legal review, marks a significant step forward in realizing the dream of a modern, inclusive Community Center.

Stay tuned for further updates as construction progresses, ushering in a new era of community connectivity and vitality in College Park Woods.

City to Honor Valerie Woodall for Exemplary Service

In a heartfelt proclamation, the College Park Mayor and Council plans to acknowledges the outstanding contributions of Valerie Woodall to the community. Woodall’s decade-long commitment to fostering a vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive environment has significantly impacted College Park. Her pivotal role within the College Park City-University Partnership has strengthened bonds between the city, the University of Maryland, and the community at large.

Woodall’s leadership and collaborative spirit have been instrumental in numerous initiatives, including the development of the University Community Vision 2030 and the management of the Partnership’s Homeownership Program, which facilitated the purchase of 82 homes within the city. Her dedication extended to cultural enrichment through the support of public artworks and safety enhancements along the Trolley Trail.

During the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Woodall’s leadership shone through as she supported local businesses and community resilience efforts. Her legacy also encompasses significant contributions to education, environmental sustainability, and community engagement.

Mayor Kabir, along with the City Council, residents, staff, colleagues, and friends, extends heartfelt gratitude to Valerie Woodall for her exceptional service and dedication to the City of College Park. Her passion, dedication, and collaborative spirit have undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the community. As she moves forward, the city wishes her continued success and thanks her for making College Park a better place.

Tomorrow – Rally to Save Beltsville Career Firefighters

Traffic Alert – Baltimore Avenue Between MD19 and Lakeland Rd

***TRAFFIC ALERT*** STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION TO PERFORM TRAFFIC SWITCH ON US 1 (BALTIMORE AVENUE) IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY

​Single-Lane Closures in Both Directions Necessary for Median Construction
(February 5, 2024) –The State Highway Administration will perform a traffic switch to begin median construction on US 1 (Baltimore Avenue) between Lakeland Drive and south of MD 193 (Greenbelt Road) College Park this week. Weather permitting, this work will be complete by late spring 2024.

The median construction work is part of the US 1 College Park Improvement Project. The median will be closed as crews build the concrete median. Variable Message Signs (VMS) will be in place to alert motorists of the upcoming traffic switch. Drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists should plan extra commuting time.

Work will take place on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Single-lane closures northbound and southbound will also be in effect.

Ardent Company, LLC, of McLean, VA, will perform the work. More information on the US 1 College Park Improvement project is available here​.

Customers who have questions may contact the District 3 Office at 301-513-7300 or toll-free at 1-800-749-0737.

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