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Exploring the Potential for Adult Sports Leagues in College Park

The City Council’s adoption of the AARP Livable Community Action Plan in May 2023 marked a significant step towards enhancing community engagement and well-being. Aligned with the City’s five-year strategic plan, the Action Plan includes a domain focusing on social participation. This domain aims to provide College Park residents with diverse, multicultural, multi-generational, and inclusive opportunities for engagement.

Recognizing the myriad benefits of physical activity and sports participation across all age groups, the City is considering a comprehensive grant program tailored to support adult sports leagues. Such an initiative not only aligns with the strategic plan and the Livable Communities Action Plan but also contributes to the overall vibrancy of College Park.

Research consistently highlights the positive impacts of sports participation, ranging from extending lifespan to reducing community crime and alleviating chronic illnesses. To promote community engagement and a healthy lifestyle, the City is exploring avenues to support adult sports leagues through a dedicated grant program.

While Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation offers some adult sports leagues, the City is considering additional opportunities through private organizations like Volo Sports, Peake Social, and Zog Sports, which provide diverse sports options for adults.

In anticipation of supporting a senior and social sports league, the Mayor and Council have allocated $30,000 in the FY24 budget. However, before finalizing the program, Council feedback is sought, and discussions with potential local partners are planned to determine the most effective program structure.

Key parameters to define include eligibility criteria, transparent funding allocation processes, user-friendly application procedures, and robust evaluation and monitoring mechanisms. Additionally, considerations involve budget estimation, distribution of funds, and collaboration with existing sports organizations and community leaders.

As the City delves into this new area, determining the optimal program structure is crucial. Potential approaches range from direct support for local residents forming leagues to third-party organization involvement or even direct management by City staff.

Town hall meetings, surveys, and collaboration with local stakeholders will play a pivotal role in shaping the program’s long-term sustainability. The fiscal impact, with $30,000 allocated in the FY24 Budget, reflects the City’s commitment to fostering a vibrant community through adult sports leagues in College Park.

College Park Considers New Elderly Property Tax Credit: What You Need to Know

The Mayor and Council have discussed at several City Council meetings implementing an Elderly Property Tax credit (Elderly Credit) for College Park residents.

At the September 26 meeting, Ordinance 23-O-08 providing for an Elderly Credit was introduced, and the required Public Hearing was held October 10, 2023. Council has indicated they will not take any action on the ordinance and are giving the public an additional opportunity to comment on the ordinance before considering any action to be taken at the October 17, 2023 meeting.

In summary, Ordinance 23-O-08 establishes an Elderly Credit of $250 annually paid for 5 years. All property taxes must be paid before receiving the credit. To be eligible the following must be met:
• At least one homeowner must be age 65 and over.
• The same homeowner has resided at the property for which the credit is sought for at least the previous ten (10) fiscal years.
• The maximum assessed value of the property does not exceed $500,000. (There are provisions for annual inflation). Note: Based on SDAT assessed value data, 87.2% of residential properties in the City would qualify for this credit just based on the maximum of $500,000.

For the fiscal year 2024 Elderly Credit, the City will accept applications (will be similar to PGC application) through December 31, 2023. Property owners who filed an application with Prince George’s County (PGC), for the county’s Elderly Credit, do not need to file an application with the City.

After this initial year, applications will be due October 1. Applicants are encouraged to apply for the PGC Elderly Credit, through their online portal – a separate City application will not be required.

The FY2024 budget includes $150,000 for the implementation of a tax credit for the elderly.

City Council to Discuss Senior Community Initiatives: Aging in Place Home Repair Program and AARP Livable Action Plan

At next week’s meeting, the City Council will consider two important action plans for our senior community. (a) Aging In Place home repair program guidelines and agreement with the Habitat for Humanity and (b) AARP Livable action plan. Please see more on these two agenda items below:

Aging in Place Home Repair Program Guidelines and Agreement with Habitat for Humanity

The City Council allocated $300k from ARPA for a home repair program to assist low-income senior homeowners. Staff worked with Habitat for Humanity to develop program guidelines. The Council prioritized seniors living in Lakeland, low-income, and long-time homeowners. Habitat will manage the program with a 10% administrative charge. City staff will provide assistance to applicants, and reports will be submitted monthly. The program will begin on July 1, 2023, and end by December 31, 2026. Only ARPA funding is committed at this time. The City Manager will sign the Operating Agreement and ARPA Sub-Recipient Agreement. At this week’s meeting, the Council will consider approving the program.

Discussion of AARP Livable Community Action Plan

In September 2020, the Mayor and City Council of the City of College Park adopted a resolution to support the city’s application for membership in AARP’s network of age-friendly communities. As a member of this network, College Park created an action plan that addresses various goals to improve the quality of life for seniors, students, and other residents. The city applied for funding from the Prince George’s County Planning Department’s PAMC program to create the action plan, which was approved in May 2021.

Community participation was solicited during the creation of the action plan, and five priority action areas were identified: Housing, Transportation, Communication and Information, Social Participation and Health Services, and Community. The draft Action Plan was presented to the Mayor and Council in June 2022 and received additional stakeholder and staff feedback. The City plans to submit the adopted Action Plan to AARP by June 5, 2023, and implement recommendations over the next three years, ending in June 2026.

The Action Plan will be a working document that guides and prioritizes actions to increase College Park’s livability score. Furthermore, if you require any additional support, you can easily find resources for stair lift installation near me to address mobility and accessibility concerns in the homes of our senior citizens. Contact professional installers if you need to install Chair Lifts for Stairs.

At next week’s meeting, the City Council will provide feedback and guidance on the final action plan and addendum as presented by the Senior Advisory Community Livable Community Subcommittee so that plan can be adopted and submitted to AARP

Senior Tax Credit Application is now Available

The Elderly Tax Credit Application is now available; click here for a fillable application to print. An online portal will be available soon to electronically submit the application.

As of July 1, 2023, for up to five years, Prince George’s County will provide up to 20 percent of the County portion of your tax bill if you meet specific criteria. This amount will include any Homeowners and Homestead Credit you receive.

This new credit, effective July 1, 2023, will provide up to a 20% credit of the County property taxes, inclusive of any Homeowners and Homestead Tax Credit, for up to 5 years.

Applications will be made available in Spring 2023. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:
1.Age 65 and over, AND
2.Own and reside at property for which credit is sought for at least the previous 10 years, AND
3.The assessed value does not exceed $500,000 at the time of application, AND
4.The application is made by October 1 of the fiscal year the credit is sought

For information about other tax credits, visit call 301-952-2500.

Spring is in the Air! Time to Travel

If you are 62+ and live in College Park, the Seniors Program offers five trips starting in April. Some of the trips are free; others cost up to $25. See the schedule below.

April 29
Old Town Trolley DC Tour & Lunch $15

May 11
Publik Playhouse and Platinum Film: Amazing Grace FREE

May 24
Senior Health Day at the Brandywine Aquatic And Recreation Complex FREE

June 21
Baltimore Aquarium and Lunch Cruise $20

July 28
Kennedy Center: The Lion King $25

To request a registration form, contact Angie Burns at 240-487-3614.

[City of College Park, Councilman Tom Dernoga]

Keeping Our Residents Safe and Healthy in their Homes, as they Age

Aging-in-place [photo credit: philanthropynewsdigest.org]

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City Council will discuss how to keep our residents at their homes safely, independently, and comfortably as they grow older. Many of our senior residents grew up here, raised their families, and worked hard to build our community. We must do everything possible to keep them here as they age rather than moving them to a retirement community or nursing home. Those who have a stairlift at home should look up Stairlift Maintenance Tips online that can help keep the device functional and safe to use.

The program will offer residents of 62 years of age or older maximum grants of $30,000 for repairs that will improve the accessibility of the occupants, hiring hvac services in order to improve this important aspect of energy efficiency of the home, or provide decent, safe and sanitary housing. These repairs will make the occupant’s life easier, all they have to do is to look for experts like a septic repair company. Regular septic tank pumping is an essential component of proper maintenance because failing to do so can cause major issues that result in a costly, hazardous situation. How often you’ll need septic tank servicing will depend on the tank’s size and the number of occupants in the home. Give your new construction the advantage of superior plumbing systems—partner with reputable plumbing for new construction services.

The applicant must be an owner occupant with a minimum one-year residency and have a total annual household income not to exceed 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) as defined by HUD. The City may prioritize applicants with incomes under 50% AMI.

The Council previously allocated $300,000 from its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local dollars.

Program expenditures are anticipated to begin on July 1, 2023, and be completed by December 31, 2026, the ARPA deadline. Only ARPA funding is committed to the program at this time.

City staff have worked closely with Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland (Habitat) staff to develop an Operating Agreement and Program Guidelines for the City of College Park’s Aging in Place Home Repair Program modeled after similar local programs operated by Habitat.

Applying for the New Senior Property Tax Credit

Last summer, we heard the news about the senior property tax credit legislation passed by the County Council. In recent weeks, seniors have been asking when and how to apply.

The Treasury will roll out information about how to apply by early April, with applications available by the end of April.

There will be a web portal for homeowners to apply online.

Paper applications will be available on the forms page located here.

This new credit, effective July 1, 2023, will provide up to a 20% credit of the County property taxes, inclusive of any Homeowners and Homestead Tax Credit, for up to 5 years.

To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

1. Age 65 and over, AND
2. Own and reside at the property for which credit is sought for at least the previous 10 years, AND
3. The assessed value does not exceed $500,000 at the time of application, AND
4. The application is made by October 1 of the fiscal year the credit is sought.

For example, if you apply for the credit for 2023, you MUST submit your application by October 1, 2023.

To check your assessed value, visit here.

If you have difficulty accessing your information, try using a different browser, such as Firefox, Chrome, or Explorer.

[From the office of CM Dernoga]

Finally! The New Senior Property Tax Credit Goes Effective

New legislation, CB-029-2022, becomes effective July 1, 2023. This new tax credit has four specifications, all of which must be met to qualify for the tax credit:

  1. Be 65 or over
  2. Own and reside in the property for which you seek a tax credit, for a minimum of the previous 10 years
  3. The home’s assessed value does not exceed $500,00 at the time of application
  4. The application must be made by October 1 of the fiscal year the credit is sought

For example, if you apply for the credit for 2023, you MUST make your application by October 1, 2023. Applications will be available in Spring 2023.

To check your assessed value, visit: SDAT: Real Property Data Search< (maryland.gov)

If you have difficulty accessing your information, use a different browser, Firefox, Chrome or Explorer.

[Source: CM Dernoga’s office]

Senior Event in College Park Tomorrow, and Every Thursday

This summer and including tomorrow, Neighbors Helping Neighbors College Park (NHN-CP) is teaming up with Proteus Brews/Proteus Bicycles to offer a Summer Seniors Coffee Social every Thursday morning from 9:30-10:30 AM.

All you need to do is show up when you can. And, please bring along your friends and neighbors! Everyone is welcome; we won’t be asking for proof of age.

Proteus is located at 9827 Rhode Island Ave, in the Hollywood shopping center where the MOMs is also located. The shopping center has a large parking lot and there is a bus stop on Rhode Island Avenue just above the shopping center. Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ volunteers can also offer rides, for those who would prefer to travel this way.

The owners will very generously offer a 15% discount for all drinks, pastries, and ice cream bought between 9:30-10:30! (Here’s the menu.) The shop has a nice outside eating area in the shade and has tables in the cool air-conditioned inside. There is a voluntary mask-wearing policy.

If you would like a ride, please contact NHN-CP’s Coordinator at coordinator@nhn-cp.org or 301-222-3434.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors College Park (NHN-CP) offers a community of volunteers who act as a safety net for our aging residents and people with disabilities, to allow them to stay in their homes for as long as they like. Volunteers do this by helping members with transportation, household and yard chores, small home repairs, friendly visits and phone check-ins, and technical assistance. These are everyday activities that may have become difficult due to physical or cognitive limitations.

NHN-CP is part of a national Senior Village movement of grassroots, volunteer-driven community organizations. We don’t replace or duplicate government services or family assistance, but instead seek to provide a resource when those avenues of assistance are not available.

Membership is free; contact our Coordinator, Paula Greene, at 301-222-3434 or by email to be added to the list and to request assistance.

Signing up to volunteer is simple: Fill out a brief form available on our website and we will be in touch soon!

For more information, please contact, Carissa Janis, Director of Outreach and Interim Volunteer Manager, Neighbors Helping Neighbors College Park. www.NHN-CP.org

Building an Age-Friendly Community in College Park

On March 14, 2022, M-NCPPC and the University of Baltimore Jacob France Institute/Artemel & Associates consultant team, with the assistance of the City staff, conducted a virtual community meeting. The purpose of the meeting was two-fold: to inform College Park community members of the project’s status, and most importantly, to gather input vital to developing the AARP Age-Friendly Action Plan.

The plan sets goals in the areas of housing, transportation, communication, social participation, and health services.

Priority housing goals identified by the community include (a) Additional affordable and “missing middle” housing, (b) Provision of multifamily housing with communal spaces and amenities, perhaps combined with a student housing component, (c) Cutting housing costs for seniors, who might’ve also consulted experts like those on the Burzynski Elder Law site; and (d) Assistance to seniors for home renovation and/or maintenance projects.

The priority transportation goals include: (a) Availability of safe, multimodal options, including sidewalks and bicycle trails, (b) Enhanced on-demand senior transportation, (c) Additional bus and UMD shuttle opportunities; and (d) Fulfilling the need for “last mile” transportation into residential neighborhoods.

The priority goals identified for communications and information are (a) Availability of publications in print format (b) Robocalls to residents for urgent information (c) Monthly city government outreach to residents via a hybrid Town Hall, and (d) Providing all information in Spanish as well as English.

With community input, priority goals for social participation are (a) Neighborhood events where residents can connect, (b) Partnering on events with nonprofit organizations (c) Access to a clearinghouse for continuing education and volunteering opportunities; and (d) A new, drop-in community center.

The priority health and community support goals were identified as (a) Addressing senior isolation through individual contacts and networking events, (b) Providing more services to more residents at more income levels, (c) Establishing a community meals program; and (d) Recreational opportunities at UMD and a new community center. After receiving input from the City Council, the consultant will finalize the Action Plan, and prepare a final presentation and infographic

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