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Category: Hollywood Community Center

Please Write in Support of North College Park Community Center

At the NCPCA meeting last week, the report of the NCPCA Community Center Committee was endorsed by the membership and a letter was authorized to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
The communication below includes the letter as well as the report.  Please express your support for $50,000 of additional funding for community-oriented program support in North College Park are invited to send comments before May 24, 2018.
Please send a letter of your support by U.S. Mail to:
Clerk of the Council
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Room 2198
Upper Marlboro, MD 2077
[Although emails may be sent to , sending comments via USPS mail is preferable]
The NCPCA sent the following letter to the County Council.
Re: M-NCPPC FY 2019 Budget
It is the understanding of the North College Park Community Association (NCPCA) that Prince George’s County Councilmember Mary Lehman has requested $50,000 to be included in the M-NCPPC FY2019 budget to enhance program activities in North College Park.  The members of NCPCA believe that this funding would be of great benefit to our community, and I am writing today to encourage your support of Ms. Lehman’s request. 
The North College Park area includes more than 2,500 single family homes as well as the City’s senior living facility.  The requested $50,000 funding would benefit new families with young children and seniors who wish to productively ‘age in place’.  In fact, additional funding to support community-oriented activities has long been sought by residents of North College Park.  Some concerns regarding the purpose and need for additional community-based services are included in the report of the NCPCA Community Center Committee which I have appended below in testimony of this ongoing interest. 
As its regular meeting on May 10, 2018, the membership of NCPCA voted to endorse the report of the NCPCA Community Center Committee and to express their support for Ms. Lehman’s $50,000 funding request in the FY 2019 M-NCPPC Budget. 
With gratitude for your consideration in this matter and for all of your efforts,
John Krouse, President
North College Park Community Association
Note:  The following report is provided as supplemental information related to the $50,000 funding request of Councilmember Mary Lehman in the 2019 M-NCPPC budget.  NCPCA supports additional program funding as well as the establishment of new facilities in the North College Park community through cooperative efforts of M-NCPPC, the City of College Park, and others who may be able to assist.
Report of NCPCA Community Center Committee, April 20, 2018
Endorsed by Vote of NCPCA Membership, May 10, 2018
During the past decade, the North College Park community has repeatedly called for a community center/senior center.  Councilmember Fazlul Kabir and former Councilmember Christine Nagle championed this proposal with more than one City Council. 
The clock is ticking; discussions have begun for the 2019FY budget session, and this is a terrific opportunity for Councilmembers Kabir and Kennedy to advocate on behalf of the North College Park community.
History.  Although County Councilmember, Mary Lehman, has been on board with the concept of a community center, as well as more than one City Council, the project has stalled due to lack of funding.  In 2012, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s (M-NCCPC) expressed interest in doing a feasibility study in conjunction with the City, and monies were allocated in the City’s 2013FY budget, Subsequently, however, M-NCCPC stated that going forward the Commission will concentrate on large, regional community and sport facilities, not smaller, neighborhood centers like the ones in South College Park or Beltsville. 
Over the years, a handful of locations have been discussed and/or explored.  They include the Hollywood School, Davis Hall, Youth and Family Services, the northwest corner of Edgewood Rd. and Rhode Island Ave. as well as the Stone Straw property. 
In the case of Hollywood School, a new 12,000-square foot gym at the Hollywood Elementary School was proposed for the community’s use in the M-NCPPC 2040 plan. The project has never been part of the M-NCPPC’s Capital Improvement Budget, however, and it is unclear that it will ever be part of the CIP in near future.
After repeated requests by District 1 Councilmembers, the Youth and Family Services and Davis Hall facilities are being made more “accessible” with the use of a keyless entry system, similar to the one at the Old Parish House. Although this may allow for greater access to residents, the spaces are often in use and cannot be ensured for a community center/senior center with regular hours.
The Shabaan property at the northwest corner of Edgewood Rd. and Rhode Island Ave. has been proposed as the site for the center but is not currently for sale.  Although many believe it is the ideal location, no steps have been made to move forward because of the lack of ensured funding.
As for the Stone Straw property, Councilmembers Kabir and Kennedy, as well as former Councilmember Christine Nagle, have approached prospective buyers for space on the property to construct the center.  And although the current prospective buyers have voiced positive intentions, as of yet, there has been no sale of the property so these discussions have not come to fruition.
Future.  It has been suggested, in order to launch the community center/senior center in a timely fashion that the City rents storefront(s) in the Edgewood Rd. and Rhode Island Ave. area.  With MOM’s move this summer, some space will open up in that strip mall.  The company has been contacted for cost, as well as a determination of acceptable use. There is also space available on the northeast corner in the same strip mall as El Cordebes Latino Market.  
This amenity would not exactly be a “pop up” community center/senior center, but the goals would be.  Moreover, such a start would allow for the project’s objective to be met in the next year or two at a fraction of the cost of a newly constructed center.  In addition, it will encourage the North College Park community to provide increased input and involvement in the center’s programming.
Below is a sampling of storefront rents in North College Park.
9300 Baltimore Ave. (mattress store)
5,893 SF
9723-25 Baltimore Ave.
1,000+ SF (front)
$1,700/mo + utilities


9723 Baltimore
1,000-2,000 SF (back)
$1,550/mo/1,000 SF


Shaaban property
Rhode Island Ave.
1,000 SF
2,000 SF
9935 Rhode Island Ave.
Two spaces of 1,400 SF can rent separately or together
$2,683/mo or $5,366/mo. incl. maintenance, real estate taxes, etc.
As for programming, ideas continue to be explored.  Suggestions have been made that a part-time staff person, who could be a volunteer with a modest stipend from the City, or be a part-time employee through the City or M-NCCPC.   It has been proposed to involve the College Park Arts Exchange as well, but without a doubt, it is a priority to integrate residents into the process.  They will contribute ideas, which will help tailor the programming to the community’s needs and wants. 
Local businesses can also play a role by donating money, time, or material needs.  Again, by integrating them, they will become a stronger part of the local community.
Conclusion.     The community/senior center is a long overdue amenity for North College Park.  The simplicity of the center beginning in a storefront will allow the City Council to set aside funds, on an annual basis, in the CIP.  However, initially, $40,000 is being requested in the 2019FY budget to get the project off to a modest beginning.  The center, in conjunction with the Hollywood Street Scape, will be an economic stimulus which will attract new and desired businesses. Most importantly, the North College Park community/senior center will be an exciting opportunity to build a sense of community among people of all ages.

Public Meeting on the Hollywood Rd (West) Sidewalk

Next Monday, Council member Wojahn and I will be hosting a public meeting on the conceptual design of Hollywood Road sidewalk (between Rhode Island Avenue and Route 1). Please see below for details and spread the word. Thank you.

Hollywood Rd Sidewalk Meeting Nov 17 2014

Gymnasium Proposed at Hollywood Elementary School

Formula 2040

A new, 12,000-square foot gymnasium at Hollywood Elementary School has been proposed by Maryland Park’s and Planning Formula 2040 proposal. The purpose of this would be to open the gym up to community activities in the evenings and on weekends, with programmed activities by Park and Planning.

This proposal to construct the gym seems to be Park and Planning’s proposal for establishing a community center in North College Park, and although it may not be as good as a full community center, could really increase the availability of recreational activities in our neighborhood.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has drafted Formula 2040, which sets forward a plan for recreational facilities in the County over the next 27 years. This plan is the project of a number of public meetings and planning sessions over the past three years, which included an assessment of the County’s recreational needs.

The College Park City Council will hear a presentation on Formula 2040 at tomorrow’s Council meeting.

You can download the plan yourself here.

Once it is adopted, Formula 2040 will become part of the County’s General Plan, which is the plan for development in the County and is considered when any new development for the County is proposed. The main goals of Formula 2040 are:

  • Connectivity, or ensuring that all Prince George’s County residents are have access to quality parks, trails, recreational facilities, and programs
  • Health and Wellness, ensuring that all facilities and programs have wellness components that contribute to the physical and mental health of residents and the environmental health of the community, and
  • Economic Development, to ensure that investment in parkland and facilities is used to stimulate private sector investment.

To accomplish these goals, Formula 2040 proposes a significant expansion in recreational facilities and also proposes reinvesting and re-purposing existing facilities based on the community’s needs. These will be paid for by cost recovery, including charging residents for services when appropriate and exploring other avenues for revenue generation, such as increased use of concessions, land leases, advertising, sponsorship and grants, with a goal of recovering 35% of parks and recreation system operating costs from revenues generated by 2022.

Formula 2040 sets ambitious goals of 35 acres of parkland in the County for every 1,000 persons (requiring an additional 292 acres per year over 30 years), 1.5 sq. ft. of indoor recreation center and .5 sq. ft. of outdoor aquatic space for each person, requiring an additional 500,000 square feet of regional, multi-generational indoor space, and an increase of park trail from approximately 134 to 400 miles of hard and soft surface trails to meet the standard of .4 miles per 1,000 residents.

The plan aims to reduce the percentage of the adult population that is obese by 10% over the next 10 years. Many existing facilities will be re-purposed to meet the needs and demand, and the traditional focus on niche community centers will be changed to focus on larger, multi-generational facilities where entire families can go and each member of the family can participate in recreational activities tailored to their needs.

Formula 2040 also proposes developing 1 or 2 signature recreational facilities for the County, where people from around the County will travel to visit. Capital improvements will be based on a cost-benefit analysis, and all projects proposed for the County’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) will be based on a feasibility study examining costs and benefits, and all projects in the CIP will be reviewed annually to determine priorities for investment.

Formula 2040 also proposes developing an Adequate Public Facilities test for all developments that includes recreational facilities, to ensure that every new development in the County comes with sufficient recreational facilities to address the needs of the population added by the development.

Formula 2040 also proposes significant expansions to two community centers in our area – Prince George’s Plaza Community Center and Fairland Sports and Aquatic Center.

Representatives from M-NCPPC will be at the next NCPCA meeting on April 11 at 7:30 at Davis Hall. There will be a public hearing on Formula 2040 on Tuesday, April 9 at 7 pm at the Council Hearing Room at the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro, and the County Clerk is taking written comments until April 24 via mail at the County Administration Building (the address is at the above website).

Residents, Lehman Discuss Community Center and Traffic Safety in North College Park

Lehman speaks at NCPCA meeting yesterday, as Olson looks upon

County council members Mary Lehman and Eric Olson were at last night’s March monthly meeting to talk about upcoming County budget.

Much of the discussion, however was dominated by the improvements in north College Park, in particular, a proposed Community Center and safety on Rhode Island avenue.

On Community center, there have been some funds (about $5 million) allocated in the FY 2016 budget. Efforts have been underway to move that fund in an earlier fiscal year, however, given the status of economy and County’s fiscal health, there is no guarantee that this will happen.

In the mean time County and the City will work to use some other facilities in north College Park, such as Youth and Family Services (YFS), or Hollywood Elementary school as a possible location to host activities for residents. Some programs are already being organized for senior citizens at the YFS building.

Council member Woajhn and I will also meet with Ms. Lehman and the planning staff later this month to discuss these options.

Members also discussed pedestrian safety on Rhode Island avenue. They passed a motion asking the county to improve safety, possibly installing some yellow flashing lights at the crosswalks. Ms. Lehamn said she will speak to Public Works to explore these options.

Members passed another motion requesting the County to set aside some funds in the budget on installing environmentally friendly, low height street lights, similar to the one on Lackawanna Avenue.

Four Corner Property Owner Questions Zoning Changes

Dry Cleaner at the Four Corner - the property has been down zoned as Open Space

The owner of a property at the four corner area (Rhode Island Ave, / Edgewood Road) is asking some questions about its recent zoning changes.

The parcel includes a dry cleaner and a grassy area behind it.

The property is owned by Randy Sahaban, who currently lives overseas. Randy’s son-in-law Sid Saab came to NCPCA’s November meeting and spoke about the zoning changes in the property.

Sid said on June 18, 2010, the M-NCPPC sent a letter to them informing that their property was zoned as Open Space.

The property had been zoned as commercial (C-S-C) before. He expressed surprise on singling out their property as a target for down zoning, whereas every other property around the four corner area remains as fully commercial zoned (C-S-C).

“It’s unconstitutional, the county cannot do this to us” – said Mr. Saab with frustration.

One NCPCA member asked if the zoning changes happened during the Route 1 sector plan revision process two years ago, when Tom Dernoga served as county council member.

“The more innocent explanation of (this changes) is that the County may have included the building property along with the grassy land and they marked the entire property as Open Space.” – said NCPCA president and former council member Mark Shroder.

Mr. Shroder however said “the less innocent explanation is probably turning the property into a Open Space and make this into a park eventually”.

Sid said under the new Open Space zoning, the options to use the property is limited; it can only be used as a barn, a contractor lot or the space must be left open. The property can only have the use it had before it was down zoned (a dry cleaner) for only six months.

NCPCA members supported a motion to up zone the property back to C-S-C, should the issue come before City council again.

Perry’s Race Card Fails to Convince Council Against Hollywood Community Center

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Council member Jack Perry brought an amendment in last week’s budget session opposing the inclusion of $25,000 to study a Hollywood community center in the Capital Improvement Project part of the budget. One of the reasons he presented against the idea of having a community center in Hollywood is based on “race”. He thinks the current community center in African American dominated Lakeland area is good enough for the city.

His amendment failed at the end by 5-3. Please watch the complete segment. His “race” comments start at 2:25.

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