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College Park Certified Silver Level by Sustainable Maryland

College Park once again received a Sustainable Maryland Award recognizing the activities the city is taking to incorporate green practices throughout College Park.

The city’s score on Sustainable Maryland’s point-based system increased this year to 580 points, which makes College Park one of the higher rated municipalities in the state.  College Park is now rated Silver by Sustainable Maryland. Points are awarded based on the activities the city undertakes to be more sustainable.

City staff, committee volunteers, and residents all contribute to a greener College Park.  In coming years the city can build on this success to become greener.

You can read the city’s press release about the award.

And, you can read a summary of the City of College Park’s sustainability actions and certification report.

Yes, You Can Compost That!

Have some sunken pumpkins? Don’t toss them, compost them! Take your old pumpkins along with other accepted food scraps to one of our food scrap drop off locations. More information at #MGWMonth

[City of College Park]


City’s Urban Forest is in Danger, But there is a Hope

Trees in a College Park park

The urban forest in College Park is under threat due to new construction and individual tree removal, the city’s tree canopy has been steadily declining since 2009 – a report has concluded.

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City Council will hear a presentation about the City-wide Tree Canopy Assessment. The City secured a consultant SavATree LLC to perform the assessment and to prepare the report. The tree canopy was assessed utilizing a combination of satellite imagery and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data.

The report also concludes that preserving the existing tree canopy is critical. Recent losses of the tree canopy, particularly on private land, highlight some of the threats to the city’s overall tree canopy.

While ordinances can help to prevent tree removal, it is difficult to legislate tree care and tree planning on private land, necessitating other approaches.

There is however hope. Residents hold the key. A clear majority of the city’s tree canopy is on residential land or on rights-of-way in residential areas. How residents value the trees in and around their property may very well be the determining factor in how the city’s tree canopy changes over the coming decade. If residents fail to care for their trees and plant new ones to replace those that have been lost the city’s urban tree canopy will continue to decline.

An analysis of the city’s tree canopy based on land cover data derived from circa 2018 data found that 1341 acres of the city is covered by tree canopy (termed Existing Tree Canopy). This represents 38% of all of the land within the City. An additional 43% (1545 acres) of the city’s land area contains space to accommodate tree canopy (termed Possible Tree Canopy). Within the Possible category, 28% (1009 acres) of total land area was classified as Vegetated Possible and another 15% (536 acres) as Impervious Possible. Establishing tree canopy on areas classified as Impervious Possible will have a greater impact on water quality and
summer temperatures while planting on Vegetated Possible (grass/shrub), will generally be easier. 19% (742 acres) of the city is generally not suitable for establishing new tree canopy (buildings and roads).

Additionally, the report encourages to continue mapping, monitoring, and inventorying.

This project was able to provide insights into changes to the city’s tree canopy over the past decade The Council will have a few options to consider:
(a) Support funding requests for tree planting on public and private lands
(b) Consider a new ordinance to address tree removals on private property
(c) Support tree planting in the public right-of-way to increase tree canopy where there is a distinct potential planting space

You can see the full report in our council agenda packet here: (page 4)

Starting Next Week, Residents Can Recycle Food Waste in College Park

Starting next Monday,  instead of throwing food scraps into the trash, collect and bring them to a food waste recycling location nearby. Here are a few locations the City will accept your food waste.

  • The Department of Public Works at 9217 51st Avenue
  • Hollywood & Downtown Farmers Markets (Markets start on May 4th)
  • Hollywood Shopping Center & City Hall

The City will be piloting this exciting new food scrap drop-off program to reduce organic material sent to the landfill!

The first 50 residents to visit the Department of Public Works during regular business hours (starting April 1) can pick up a free 5-gallon container for their food scraps!

Please check this video where our Director of Department of Public Works Robert Marsili and the Sustainability Coordinator Janet McCaslin talk about how this program will work.

[Credit: City of College Park]

Please check out this page to get more information.


Rain Barrels Available Now!

The City’s Department of Public Works now offers 50-gallon rain barrels for $72, while supplies last. Once installed, Prince George’s County residents can apply for a Rain Check Rebate off-setting most of the cost! You can purchase and pick them up at the Department of Public Works (9217 51st Avenue). For more information, please call 240-487-3590 or email publicworks@
A rain barrel is a great way to keep runoff from leaving your home. In the spring and summer, watering the plants or lawn accounts for a large percentage of water consumption. By having a rain barrel and storing rainfall, you’ll have water that’s both more sustainable and cost effective for outdoor irrigation.
Rain barrels come with lid, overflow cap, pre-installed screen and ring, flex overflow hose, ball valve – spigot, re-usable zip ties, hose clamp and rubber washer. A diverter kit is not included.

[Source: City of College Park]

What the City has Done to Reduce Emissions in College Park?

At the next week’s Council meeting, the City Council will review the City’s progress on the sustainability plan. This plan was passed in October 2015. The City Operations Sustainability Plan was developed to reduce unhealthy emissions created by City operations; coordinate City sustainability practices; position the City as an organization with leading practices in sustainability; improve the quality of life for residents; and conserve financial resources.

The City also completed a green house gas emissions study to provide a baseline for emissions created by City operations, and an update is planned for 2018.

As part of the City’s achievements in making College Park more sustainable, the following are some City actions to reduce emissions:

  • New HVAC system and solar panels on the Youth and Family Services Building. This was installed by a professional HVAC technician with training from Some older HVAC systems, such as furnace repair Jacksonville, must be serviced to ensure that they produce high-quality air.
  • Tracking and publishing waste and recycling rates at all City facilities
  • Reduction of total electricity and natural gas use due to energy efficiency measures (LED lighting, new, efficient systems, improved insulation, etc.
  • Purchased two hybrid passenger vehicles and three new, more efficient trash trucks
  • Installed and expanded bike share system
  • Initiated two storm water retrofit projects to improve water quality in local streams
  • Created incentive program for residents to purchase trees
  • Installed recycling containers in City parks
  • City review of solid waste collection policies and costs

The Council will have an additional discussion at the September 19, 2017 Worksession.

YFS-Solar Panel
The City installed new solar panels there which will reduce the building’s energy consumption by at least 50%!

City Considering a New Community Garden in Hollywood


As you recall, a few months ago, we ran a survey in the community aboutthe idea of building a community garden in north College Park. Among the top choices, many of the survey responders liked the idea of having the proposed community garden next to the dry cleaner at the corner of Rhode Island Avenue and Edgewood Road, at 9900 Rhode Island Avenue.

Accordingly, we reached out to the property owner who appears willing to allow a garden to be created in that area. Potentially, the owner may also allow gardeners to make use of a water spigot on the building if the City will provide reimbursement for garden water usage costs.

According to staff, garden plots could be created in the flat, grassy area behind the building. Approximately 15-20 plots could fit using the same type of 4’ x 10’ raised bed garden plots created for the Old Town community garden. For this garden, staff proposes connecting three plots together, separated into 5 rows and providing 3’ walkways between them to comfortably fit 15 shade-free plots on that site. The site could possibly accommodate up to 20 plots while maintaining 3’ wide walkways and avoiding deeply-shaded areas.

Staff and the City City Attorney will need to develop a MOU for the property owner since this site is private property. Funding ($ 2640 ) could potentially come from the City’s Sustainability Initiatives CIP.

The Council will have a preliminary discussion about the proposed garden at tomorrow’s Council worksession.

City to Add Electric Vehicles Charging Stations in Downtown Garage

semaconnectAt last night’s Council meeting, the City Council approved the purchase and installation of two electric vehicle charging stations in the City’s parking garage. The cost to purchase and install the two charging stations will not exceed $12,900.

The EV charging stations will be another visible sign of the City’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

City explored the cost of installing a charging station through commercial electrical installation services in the garage in order to be proactive and to support the City’s sustainability initiatives. No survey of the number of electric vehicles utilizing the parking garage has occurred. Staff has witnessed Teslas and Leafs parking in the garage on occasion.

Moreover, staff considered the following benefits during their decision to install the charging station. ZeRvs is your one-stop shop for amazing deals on a wide range of high-quality RVs. Dive into our incredible selection and start your RV adventures with ZeRvs. Need warranty plans for your RV designed to your specific needs? Contact experts that offer RV extended warranty.

– Public availability of EV charging encourages more people to purchase cleaner electric vehicles, thereby reducing emissions.
– Offering EV charging makes College Park an even more attractive destination.
– It pulls more visitors to local businesses and boosts the local economy. The typical EV driver has 2x the national average income, is highly educated and green-minded.
– EV drivers often choose destinations based on the availability of EV charging and they tend to shop around charging locations, so their car can be charging while dining or shopping.
– EV charging helps nearby businesses attract new customers, and build a steady revenue stream from repeat buyers who stay longer and spend more. The installers at ensure top-notch safety standards during the installation process. Make sure to have an ev charger upgrade today.
– It further establishes College Park as a green leader.
– Electric vehicle numbers nationwide have increased 10X in the last 4 years.
– There are about 6,000 electric vehicles in the state, that’s about 1 electric vehicle for every 400 conventionally-powered vehicles registered in MD. There are about 900 public charging stations across the state.
– Currently, there are about 16 EV stations on UM campus and 2 off campus on University property.

– The City will likely increase its fleet of electric vehicles in the future. Providing a charging station in the garage and several at DPW will enable the City to charge is EV fleet in the future. You can Head To Big Family electrical services or hire experts that provide ev charger installation in Littleton, CO if you need to install your own charging station at home.

Staff has not completed a feasibility study and recommended against it. The cost of the study would likely be equal to or greater than the EV charger and installation. For the reasons stated above, staff has recommended the purchase and install of the EV charger in the garage.

EV charger usage depends on the garage, the day of week and the time of day. Some locations are more popular than others. Nearly every charging station on the UM campus is usually occupied by 8am on weekdays.

The City will be eligible for a $5,000 (maximum) reimbursement from the Maryland Energy Administration if we move forward with the purchase of the charging stations.

City to Partner with UMD Department on City’s Sustainability Efforts

The City has been in discussions with the University of Maryland’s Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) program since January 2014. In May 2014 the City Council authorized staff to identify resources, such as the PALS program, to assist with the City’s sustainability efforts.

PALS is administered by the National Center for Smart Growth. It is a campus-wide initiative that harnesses the expertise of UMD faculty and the energy and ingenuity ofUMD students to help Maryland communities become more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. PALS is designed to provide innovative, low-cost assistance to local governments while creating real-world problem-solving experiences for University of Maryland graduate and undergraduate students. College Park would be the second jurisdiction to participate in the PALS program.

A  professor running the program came to this week’s worksession to talk more about the program.

The City and PALS staff have identified four courses / projects for the spring 2015 semester:

  • Improving Solid Waste Management Practices;
  • College Town: how the University and City can enhance urban life and the University;
  • Greenhouse Gas Inventory; and,
  • Making Place: Public Art and Design.

Staff from Administration, Planning, and Public Works will be liaisons for the courses. PALS charges $5,000 per course, but is charging the City for only three ofthe four courses.

The City will sign an MOU with the University of Maryland, subject to approval of the City Attorney, to participate in the PALS program.

Council Considers Sustainability Initiatives

At last night’s meeting, the City Council considered adopting one or more of the steps below.

These are based on the sustainability plans of several cities, metrics and policies used by some communities and UMD, and conversations with staff, Council members, committee members, and UMD staff.

Short-term Recommendations:
• Authorize an expanded Green Team (consider adding a UMD Office of Sustainability member and/or UMD researchers, residents with professional experience sustainability programs, local govemment, and/or finance) to draft the framework for a sustainability plan to meet emissions targets for the City (similar to what other communities have done) and to present the draft plan for Council discussion.

Mid-term Recommendations:
• Based on preliminary recommendations by the Green Team, develop an agreement with the UMD ‘”Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability” program that identifies specific College Park needs in the area of sustainability, and matches those needs with specific UMD courses and students to identify best practices for the City to meet the targeted goals. This program could be initiated by College Park, or College Park could collaborate with nearby communities.
• Update the Sustainability Goals of the University District 2020 Vision (in collaboration with the CPCUP).
• Request the Green Team to identify specific additional goals for Sustainable Mmyland Certified, in anticipation of future higher levels of certification and the completion of the current goals.
• Explore joining a program such as STAR (Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating Communities; see attachment) to facilitate the implementation and meaEmrement of the City’s sustainability efforts.

The City’s current initiatives related to sustainability include:

  • Sustainable Maryland Certified Implementation Plan (Green Team Three-Year Action Plan)
  • Maryland Smart Energy Communities Grant (energy efficiency and renewable energy production)
  • Bikeshare Grant and Bike to Work Day
  • Business Recycling Grant and policies
  • On-going recycling and composting activities
  • Electronics and appliance recycling activities
  • Hollywood Gateway Park as a demonstration project
  • Proposed Trolley Trail Permaculture site
  • Complete Streets Plan
  • Bicycle Routes Plan
  • Street Tree Plantings
  • Safe Routes to Schools Sidewalk Improvements
  • UM Shuttle Participation
  • Green Team Action Plan
  • Collaboration with the Environmental Finance Center on Storm water Issues
  • Collaboration with the Low-Impact Development Center on Innovative
  • Stormwater Design Pilot Projects

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