Announcing College Park’s Inaugural Restaurant Week: August 11th to 17th

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark your calendars for the tastiest week of the year, as College Park Restaurant Week kicks off on Sunday, August 11th and runs through Saturday, August 17th. Over 15 of the City’s restaurants are participating in the event with specials including a variety of multi-course meals and other discounts. The list of participating restaurants and their specials is posted on the City’s Shop College Park website at www.shopcollegepark.org/cprw.

For patrons choosing restaurants in Downtown, the City is offering free parking in the garage at the intersection of Knox Road and Yale Avenue after 5:00pm on Monday through Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday.

Energy Efficiency Workshop July 24th

The Committee for a Better Environment is sponsoring a workshop on energy efficiency on July 24th at 7pm at the City Hall Council Chambers, 2nd floor, 4500 Knox Road, College Park

Does your home have rooms that are always hot in the summer and cold in the winter? Do you have high energy bills? Come to this presentation and find out how  Groundswell (www.groundswell.org), a local nonprofit, can help you get an energy audit for only $100 and complete weatherization work on your home for over 70 percent off!

Rachel Binstock will present information about Groundswell’s energy-efficiency program called Strong Homes. In this program, homeowners join groups to pool purchasing power and to negotiate discounts on weatherization work from contractors. All contractors are local businesses, certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI),and chosen based on competitive prices for weatherization work as well as the social benefits they afford employees.

Groundswell simplifies the process by helping homeowners every step of the way and also helps homeowners take advantage of state and federal rebates towards home-energy improvements. It is also offering an additional $300 rebate for weatherization work performed by August 23.

Come learn about how you can make your home safer and more comfortable, save money on your energy bills each month, and support local businesses all while reducing the environmental footprint of your home!

Farmers Markets Proliferate in College Park

CP-DowntownFarmersMarket

 

 

For over three decades, when someone mentioned the “College Park Farmers Market”, it could only mean one thing: the one held on Saturday mornings by Wells Ice Rink on Paint Branch Parkway.  This market was one of the first of its kind in Maryland when it was established back in 1979, and eventually saw its customer traffic increase more than tenfold over the years.  The situation started changing in 2010, when the University of Maryland started hosting its own farmers market on a trial basis.  The UMD Farmers Market officially opened in May 2012 and is now held on Wed. afternoons in front of the Cole Fieldhouse.  In the meantime, the Downtown College Park Farmers Market opened in June 2011 and is now hosted on Sunday mornings by City Hall.  Things haven’t slowed down this year, as the Hollywood Farmers Market made its debut last month and is held at the Hollywood Shopping Center in North College Park on Saturday mornings.

Considering our diverse neighborhoods and population groups, it should come as no surprise that College Park would finally outgrow a “one size fits all” approach to farmers markets.  Though the venerable market on Paint Branch has thrived for over 30 years, it’s far enough from the UMD campus that few students or staff were aware it existed.  The fact that markets by Cole Fieldhouse and City Hall emerged roughly a year apart indicates a growing demand for local foods from the UMD community and surrounding neighborhoods.  Access to fresh foods serves an important need for UMD students, given the notorious lack of a grocery store within walking distance of campus.

But the launch of the Hollywood Farmers Market last month demonstrates a commitment to the local foods movement that goes beyond the UMD community.  With the highest concentration of single family homes in the city, and a remote location relative to the other three markets, North College Park moved rapidly to realize its vision of a new farmers market.  In response to a survey last year, residents showed strong support for a market located within the neighborhood.  Working with councilmembers Kabir & Wojahn, a group of residents created a market committee, formed a 501c3 non-profit organization, contacted vendors and organized the new market in less than a year.  The new market offers North College Park residents a walkable location and an important opportunity to revitalize the Hollywood Commercial District.

As farmers markets multiply in our neighborhoods, it’s natural to wonder if we’ve reached a saturation point, or if brand new markets will be launched in the coming years.  Few would’ve predicted we’d have four independent farmers markets in operation just five years ago, but College Park has done that and established itself as a leader in sustainable living.  Though these markets offer valuable opportunities to purchase fresh food and support local farmers, their benefits go beyond culinary delights.  As others have pointed out, our farmers markets provide an ongoing event in a shared space, where residents can meet each other and gather to discuss local issues.  Indeed, farmers markets can offer our neighborhoods that elusive third place, where strangers can become neighbors and come together to build their communities.  If College Park is to realize its potential, we need more third places.  Our farmers markets can deliver that experience year after year, which is something we can all celebrate.