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Construction Funding Proposed for North College Park Community Center

Great news. We recently learned that the MNCPPC has proposed funds for the design and construction of the North College Park Community Center in their FY24-30 Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget. You can see the community center-related budget item here on the MNCPPC’s website:  (on page 363, project # 512094).

M-NCPPC’s budget pages show about $21 million of total funding over the next fiscal years. This includes $15 million in FY24 and $6 million in FY25. In addition to M-NCPPC’s funding, the City of College Park and the State also have committed to contribute $1.5 million and $1 million of funding to the project, respectively.

This is major news. The significant funding for the design and construction is expected to take the project to the finish line. I want to congratulate you all on this fantastic news. Thank you for the many years of advocacy that have taken the project this far. Also, let’s thank the City and the County and State for their partnership in the project. Special thanks go to Councilmember Dernoga for his hard work throughout the project. Furthermore, implementing Core Drilling for Anchor Installations will ensure secure and reliable attachment points for structures and equipment, enhancing safety and stability in the completed project.

If you’re looking to use design-build construction for your next project, this company in Canada does design-build and may be able to help you. For scaffilding services, hire an expert to help you with the construction.

The project team has recently completed the feasibility study of the center. This included getting the community’s feedback on a number of potential sites in north College Park. You can see the final report of the study here. The concept design includes amenities, such as multi-purpose rooms, a gymnasium, a group fitness room, a teen room, a senior room, a kitchen, and more. During the study, most residents preferred the Hollywood Sopping Plaza (where MoM’s is located) site over other sites. That said, the project team has yet to make an official announcement on the final site.

Please note – these funds are still “proposed” in the upcoming M-NCPPC budget. They are not approved yet. We’ll need your assistance to continue to advocate for these funds. There will be opportunities to speak/send comments at the upcoming MNCPPC public hearings.

If the proposed funds are approved by the M-NCPPC, the project team will work on on-site acquisition (depending on the site it selects) and will secure a design firm to complete the final design. The design team will then seek the community’s input on the final design. Once the design is completed, the team will start the final construction. As construction progresses, temporary fences adorned with visually appealing construction fence banners offer an aesthetic solution to conceal unsightly aspects of construction sites, promoting a more orderly and professional appearance.

We’ll keep you posted as the project moves forward.

City will Ask M-NCPPC to Fund NCP Community Center, Pedestrian Bridge, and More..

At tonight’s meeting, the City Council will consider approving a letter to Park and Planning Commission asking to fund several projects in College Park. The requests include:
(a)   The Council requests that M-NCPPC include capital funding for a Community Center in north College Park in anticipation of the completion of the feasibility study this fall.
(b)   To fund a pedestrian bridge from the Paint Branch Playground to the trail on the western side of the river. This small connection will greatly enhance access to the playground, frisbee golf course, the Aviation Museum, Junior Tennis Champions Center, and other amenities.
(c)   To fund needed renovation and equipment replacement for the Hollywood Park, the Lakeland playground, and the College Park Community Center in Lakeland. M-NCPPC has funded much-needed improvements to the College Park Woods playground, but the gazebo is not ADA accessible, and we request funding for that work.
(d)   To fund trail lighting in high-traffic areas of the trail system in College Park, particularly the Paint Branch Trail north of MD 193.

Please Ask MNCPPC to Fund Design and Construction of the North College Park Community Center

 

Thank you all who attended last night’s Public Hearing on M-NCPPC’s FY24 budget. In case you didn’t get a chance to attend last night’s forum, you still have opportunities to send your comments in writing.

Here are a few talking points you may want to use when you ask to fund the designs and construction of the North College Park Community Center.

  • A community center in north College Park will add a fantastic amenity for our residents of all ages.
  • The North College Park Community Center project has been in M-NCPPC’s long-range Formula 2040 plan for many years.
  • I thank M-NCPPC for funding the feasibility study in the current budget.
  • The project team has been working with the community to find the best location for the center.
  • The feasibility study is expected to be completed in October when the project will be ready for design and construction.
  • The City of College Park and the State of Maryland have committed to invest in the design and construction of the center
  • With these partnership opportunities, I ask the MNCPPC to include funding for the design and construction in MNCPPC’s FY 24 budget.

Written comments will be accepted until Tuesday, November 1, 2022, via mail, fax, or email.

Written statements can be submitted to:

Mail: Peter A. Shapiro, Chair, Prince George’s County Planning Board, 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772

Fax: Chair Shapiro, 301-952-5074

Email: PublicAffairs@ppd.mncppc.org

District 1 Council Bulletin: Time to Give Your Input About North College Park Community Center

For many years, our community has been asking to build a community center in north College Park. Thanks to many of your advocacy, the MNCPPC finally agreed to fund a feasibility study for the proposed center. The project team engaged the residents, looked into a few sites in north College Park, and shortlisted two locations – one at the Hollywood Shopping Plaza and the other at Hollywood Park near the Metro. Based on the community’s input, the team adjusted the conceptual design of these sites and presented these designs at their table at College Park Day yesterday. Additionally, they will hold a virtual community meeting via Zoom tomorrow at 6 pm and discuss these designs in more detail. We’re asking you for two specific help.

(a) Please attend the virtual community meeting at 6 pm tomorrow, Monday, October 17 and give your input.
To join the forum, please register here at: https://bit.ly/ncp_cc

(b) Please advocate for the design and construction funds at the budget forum this Tuesday, October 18 – Register to Speak before Noon tomorrow, Monday, October 17
Now that the feasibility study of the proposed north College Park Community Center is coming to an end, it’s time for us to advocate for funding in M-NCPPC’s new budget so that the project can go through the final design and construction. Please attend this Tuesday’s virtual Public Hearing at 7 pm to make that happen. To speak at the hearing, please register before noon tomorrow, Monday, at: https://www.mncppc.org/FormCenter/Planning-Board-6/Prince-Georges-County-Planning-Board-Vir-350

Planned North College Park Community Center: Learn More and Provide Input

In collaboration with the M-NCPPC Department of Parks and Recreation Prince George’s County, I invite you to learn about the future of recreation in North College Park and give your input on various sites and conceptual designs for the planned North College Park Community Center.

There are two opportunities to participate:

Stop by the M-NCPPC Tent at College Park Day

Saturday, October 15 from 12:00 – 6:00 PM

College Park Aviation Museum & Airport, 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive, College Park

Virtual Community Meeting on Zoom

Monday, October 17 from 6:00 – 7:00 PM

Registration Link – click HERE

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the meeting.

Two Sites Selected For the North College Park Community Center.

Breaking: Two sites have been selected among half a dozen or so potential sites for the north College Park Community Center. They are (a) the Hollywood Shopping Plaza (where MoM’s/Proteus/Pizza Roma are located) and (b) the Hollywood Community Park, near the Metro. The M-NCPPC project team has started taking input about the sites. These pictures were taken yesterday at the Friday Live event. Details will be posted to the M-NCPPC website soon. We are also expecting to have a community meeting sometime next month when you’ll have opportunities to give your input

North College Park Community Center Study Kicks Off with Community Forum

Thank you to all who attended last week’s community meeting to gather input about the proposed north College Park Community Center. We had a very good turnout with several elected officials. The community discussed 9 potential sites and the amenities they want to see in the center. The M-NCPPC will be hosting one more community meeting in a month or two with more data about the potential sites.

Please see below the presentation made at the community forum.

Background (2010 and Beyond)
• The majority of residents are not using nearby centers, they are driving to other centers
• To meet LOS goals as the population grows
• To achieve the goal of one-mile access for all residents (former LOS measure), DPR would need to build 59 new community centers

Formula 2040 Service Area 2 Recommendations
• Transform Prince George’s Plaza Community Center into a multigenerational center.
• Construct a new community center to supplement the North Brentwood Community Center. The new center should be located along US Route 1 corridor and have access to public transportation. It will have 55,000 sq. ft. of non-aquatic recreational space.
• Construct two new 12,000-square foot gymnasiums. One gymnasium will be placed at Langley Park Community Center and one will be placed at the Hollywood Elementary School.
• Construct an 8,000-square foot addition of nonaquatic recreational space at the Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center.

North College Park Community Center
• The Department contracted with WXY Studio Architects to gather community input, establish site selection criteria, conduct test fits for candidate sites, propose conceptual designs and cost estimates
• This will inform the future CIP request for design and construction
• The City of College Park has pledged financial support of $1.5 million over the next few years for the project and Delegate Barnes has secured a $1 million bond bill
• Various sites have been proposed and explored with city leadership as a starting point for further site exploration
• The findings of the Community and Senior Recreation Needs Assessment conducted by the City of College Park will guide this project.

Project Schedule (click to see a larger view)

 

Understanding Context (click to see a larger view)

Existing Parks & Recreational Infrastructure (click to see a larger view)

Five minutes drive to the Existing Facilities (click to see a larger view)

Planned Development Projects (click to see a larger view)

Key Topics within North College Park (click to see a larger view)

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County Facilities & Programming (click to see a larger view)

 

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Area Mock-Up Visualization

 

Community Preferences (Trade-Offs) (click to see a larger view)

Schedule
• Other engagement opportunities:
• Community survey (Ends May 15, 2022)
• Community Meeting #2 (Summer 2022)
• Community feedback will be used by the project team to inform:
• Site selection and test fits (April-June 2022)
• Concept site design (June-July 2022)
• Project team intends to complete the study by Fall 2022
• For further questions, please contact the team at Claire.worshtil@pgparks.com.

[Source: M-NCPPC & WXY architecture & urban design]

Council to Send Letter with Possible Support of Funding for the North College Park Community Center

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) has recently released an RFP to engage an engineering / architectural firm to conduct a feasibility study to: (a) identify the location, (b) explore design opportunities, and (c) estimate the cost to construct a 12,000 sq. ft. community center in
north College Park.

The City and residents of north College Park have expressed support for this project.

The RFP is part of the M-NCPPC’s Formula 2040 plan. The feasibility study has been in, out, and back in, the M-NCPPC budget over the past eight years. Park and Planning Staff and County Council Member Tom Dernoga attended the City Council’s March 1, 2022 Worksession to discuss the project. M-NCPPC staff
presented an overview of the feasibility study.

The current M-NCPPC funding is only for the feasibility study, which is expected to be completed in September 2022.

County Council Member Dernoga suggested that the State may be able to contribute to the facility cost and added that a City contribution or other form of partnership could make it easier for M-NCPPC to initiate planning and design work soon after an acceptable site is identified.

City Council members were supportive of the project and were generally interested in exploring ways the City could facilitate the development of an important amenity.

The draft letter to the M-NCPPC states that:

On behalf of the City of College Park residents and City Council, I would like to express the City’s continued support for the inclusion of funding for a Community Center in north College Park in the M-NCPPC FY’23 budget. As you know, this project has been in the Commission’s long-range plan for many years, and we appreciate that the feasibility study is finally underway after several starts and stops. We look forward to the opportunity to work with your staff to identify the best location for the center and encourage the Commission to maintain this momentum by committing funds to enable the project to quickly move from the feasibility study to design and construction.

M-NCPPC staff provided an overview of the feasibility study to the City Council at the March 1 Worksession. During that meeting, the City Council expressed interest in discussing how we can partner with M-NCPPC to ensure the expeditious funding and completion of the facility. Many years ago, M-NCPPC and the City partnered on the construction and programming of the Youth and Family Services facility. This is a new opportunity, and we may identify a different participation structure, but we look forward to exploring how we can support this project.

North College Park Community Center Site Selection will Start this Spring

We’ve got some very good news about the much-anticipated North College Park Community Center.

The final process for selecting a suitable site for the proposed community center will start this Spring.

We’ve been told that the M-NCPPC has been already considering 6 sites for the center in north College Park.  These sites are all north of Greenbelt Road and South of the Beltway. Some sites have private owners while others would be joint-use facilities. All sites have the ability to construct, at minimum, a 12,000 square foot building and have major road access.

Community members partaking in activities at a community center | Photo By: Maple Grove Arts Center

The M-NCPPC has been working to select these sites as part of their Formula 2040 plan, which calls for a 12,000 sq. ft. community center in north College Park.

M-NCPPC confirmed its plan to build the community center at its October 2020 virtual community meeting on the Formula 2040 plan (please see below) in our area.

The community has also been very supportive to have a Community center in the northern part of College Park. This was reflected in the survey we took among the local residents.

The local residents and the local community association, NCPCA have been advocating for the center for many years.

For the past several years, College Park City Council has also been asking the M-NCPPC to build a community center in north College Park. A City-sponsored recreational study report also found that “a multi-use indoor facility/community center/senior center to be built in College Park was highly requested by survey residents“.

About 3 years ago, M-NCPPC also allocated $250,000 to do a feasibility study to bring an architectural/engineering firm to evaluate the sites for development feasibility, lead a community engagement process, develop test fits, create conceptual designs, and perform a cost projection. Thanks to District 1 Councilman Dernoga for securing the feasibility study money.

Currently, the M-NCPPC is in the final stages of an internal review of the request for proposals (RFP).  The next step is to procure a consulting firm.

The consultant team is scheduled to be on board in the first quarter of 2022. The community engagement will begin in the Spring and the project should be completed by the 3rd quarter of the year.

Due to the competitive nature of the ongoing negotiations with the property owners, these sites haven’t been shared with the community yet. The number of the proposed sites may increase as we bring a consultant on board for the feasibility study and they re-examine the existing pool of sites.

Once the final site is selected, the M-NCPPC will go into the construction phase. Unfortunately, the center’s construction budget hasn’t been funded yet!

In the meantime, PGC County Council Member Tom Dernoga has recently sent a letter to the College Park Mayor and Council asking us to help fund some portion of the cost to build the North College Park community center. Please see the letter below.

In his letter, CM Dernoga states that “success will be more likely and will occur sooner with City financial and planning collaboration”. According to staff, the City could commit ARPA funding (possibly from lost revenue recovered) to assist with the project.

College Park City Council will evaluate CM Dernoga’s request at the next Tuesday’s Council meeting.

The Latest Recreation Report May Dash Hopes of a Community Center in North College Park

[Update 10/27/2020: GreenPlay, LLC has made some edits to the recreation report removing the “no need for a new community center language. The City Council plans to adopt the report at tonight’s meeting]

Tomorrow, the College Park City Council is expected to vote on a report that may kill the hope of many north College Park residents to have a multigenerational community center close to their homes.

The City secured the services of a consultant firm, GreenPlay LLC to run this study to gather community feedback on City’s facilities, trails, amenities, programs, future planning, communication, and more.

Though the GreenPlay survey found “a community’s desire for a new community center”, it concluded, however, “there is a difference between desire and actual need”

The concluding statement was added to the version of the report, which you can find here (page # 57).  The language was not included in the version that the Mayor and Council discussed at last week’s Council worksession.

A Conclusion based on an Insufficient, Noncomprehensive Study

The GreenPlay study looked into the use of the College Park Community Center at Lakeland by survey respondents and found that a majority of the responders do not use the center. GreenPlay is suggesting better communication of programs at the center to address the recreational need.

Unfortunately, the survey did not look into the comprehensive usage data of the College Park Community Center. We’ve been told that, during pre-COVID time, depending on the time of the day, the facility could be found very full, so much so that people are often turned away.

According to the staff at the College Park Community Center,  the center is very busy most days. This center runs programs that are inclusive of everything from childcare to recreation. Last year in addition to programmed operations the center accommodated over 350 hours of requests via the Community Connect portal. That is for outside groups and in addition to our class programs, childcare programs, recreational drop-ins for fitness, and the gymnasium. The center hosts programs for the recreation council, University of Maryland and various other entities. According to the staff, Out of 45 community centers, it is safe to say the center is in the top 10 percent and perhaps higher.

The Lakeland facility is also open to residents of all of Prince George’s County, and not only College Park residents. Thus, just because the GreenPlay survey responders may not typically use the facility, it doesn’t mean the facility is not used to its full extent by others.

The GreenPlay study also did not explore fully the reasons why residents from each neighborhood do not attend the nearby recreation/community centers more frequently. One common reason we often hear from residents for not attending programs CP Community Center is the inconveniences and the time to travel to the center, especially during rush hours, when Route 1 becomes a slow-moving parking lot. There are other reasons such as lack of programs at the CP Center for not attending. This was reflected in a survey we took in 2018 (also below). The survey also found that only 17% identified “Communication” (“Unaware”) as the reason for not attending.

 

North College Park – A Hub of a Multi-Generational Community
District-housing north-SouthThe GreenPlay report appears to assume that the entire City is a homogeneous multi-generational community – which is far from true.

College Park is proud of having neighborhoods, each having unique traits. For example, the old town is known to have beautiful historic homes, we take pride in the Lakeland community for its historic African American roots.

The North College Park neighborhood is known to have the highest concentration of residents in each age group, from toddlers to seniors.

Based on the data from the Maryland National Park and Planning’s GIS, there is a significant difference between the locations of single-family homes in different parts of the City (please see above). Almost half of the City’s single-family homes are located in District 1. Also, north College Park has more than two-thirds of the City’s single-family homes.

A majority of our children, youth, parents, and seniors most likely live in these single-family homes.

Accessibility and the convenience to get to the new facilities are very important, thus, parents with toddlers, young children, and seniors will most likely want to have the expanded services close to their homes.

A comprehensive study on a new recreation center should include these important factors.

Likely to Jeopardize Upcoming M-NCPPC Study on North College Park Community Center
For the past several years, the City Council has been asking the M-NCPPC to conduct a feasibility study on a new multigenerational community center in College Park. Responding to north College Park residents’ strong interests, and thanks to the County Council, and the effort of County Councilman Tom Dernoga (representing north College Park), $250,000 has been added to the M-NCPPC’s budget last year to explore the feasibility of building an indoor facility in north College Park.

The recommendations presented in City’s recreation report are generally good ones. Some key recommendations include improving and enhancing facilities and amenities, adding new trails and pathways, and improving access to a multi-generational community center.

However, without backed by solid data and a comprehensive study, the report should not include languages that might negatively impact M-NCPPC’s upcoming study to establish the north College Park Community Center.

If you wish to comment on the recreation report, please send them to the  Mayor and Council at cpmc@collegeparkmd.gov . Thank you!

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