Reminder: Last “Enjoy College Park” Tour is Tonight

The final “Enjoy College Park Tour” event of the year will be taking place on Monday, December 20th at Hanami Japanese Resaurant at 7:00 p.m. Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk is the guest speaker.

The “Enjoy College Park Tour” takes place at a different area restaurant each month. It is designed to bring people together from across the city of College Park to talk about local issues and support local establishments. You can RSVP by sending an email to ilovecollegepark@gmail.com.

Shop College Park!

SHOP COLLEGE PARK

All of us RTCP readers and contributors want to see College Park’s business environment to thrive and support a variety of unique local restaurants and retail spaces.

For those interested in supporting the idea of shopping locally, the website www.shopcollegepark.org is a great resource. A Facebook and Twitter version of Shop College Park launched that will be updeated frequently with the latest deals and events taking place at College Park establishments.  Sign up to “like” Shop College Park on Facebook and “follow” Shop College Park on Twitter at stay informed!

College Park Resident Survey Now Available!

The City of College Park Resident Satisfaction Survey is back!

Tell us what you think about where you live in the 2010 City of College Park Resident Satisfaction Survey.

What is the purpose of the survey?
The City uses the Resident Satisfaction Survey as a tool to see how well we serve you through City services. The last survey, completed three years ago, provided us with valuable input that helped develop our budget and make service improvements. This year, the survey is ONLINE! This allows you to access the survey at anytime and to get your results to us faster.

How can I complete it?
Go to
www.collegeparkmd.gov/survey to complete the survey starting November 3, 2010. Please complete only ONE survey per household. You can save and exit your survey and come back anytime to complete it.

What if I want a paper version of the survey?
Give us a call at 240-487-3501 and request a survey in either Spanish or English and we’ll send one to you.

Complete your survey TODAY! All surveys, online and paper, must be submitted by January 10, 2011.

For questions, contact Chantal R. Cotton at
ccotton@collegeparkmd.gov.

For more information and survey results, go to the City Website.

The Tour Rolls on

The Experience and Enjoy College Park Tour will be visiting N.Y. Deli in the Hollywood commercial district on Wednesday, August 25th.  The guest speaker for this event will be the new Police Chief for the University of Maryland – David Mitchell.  The Experience & Enjoy College Park Tour is designed to bring those who work, live, and play in College Park together to talk about local issues and patronize a local restaurant once a month.  Previous guest speakers have included College Park Mayor Andrew Fellows, State Senator Jim Rosapepe, and County Councilman Eric Olson.

I highly encourage anyone interested in supporting our local restaurants,  meeting with other city residents, or wanting to find out more about what is going on around College Park to attend.  These events are always fun and if you haven’t been to one yet now is as good a time as any to check one out.

Prince George’s County Council Election

Those who read this blog on a regular basis know that the founder of this blog (David Daddio) and District 1 County Councilman Tom Dernoga had more than their fair share of disagreements on redevelopment issues in College Park over the years.   Months ago I spoke with Tom about these disagreements, in particular over the Route One Sector Plan and he told me that the future of development on Route One north of the 193 and in the Hollywood Commercial District would probably depend as much (if not more) on who replaces him on the county council than on what actually went into the sector plan.

This isn’t to say that the sector plan and zoning issues don’t matter to the redevelopment process – they clearly do matter a great deal – but the influence that those on the County Council have over what type of development takes place in their districts cannot be understated.  After all most council members practice “district courtesy” where they assume that the local council member knows best about the needs of his or her district and will vote on a local development issue based on how the council member who represents that area votes.  The Prince George’s County Council may vote on projects but whoever gets elected to represent District One on the Prince George’s County Council for all intents and purposes will decide what development projects takes place and which ones do not, as well as which conditions potential development projects will have placed on them.

That being said Tom Dernoga is termed out and five candidates are running to replace him.   The candidates are  Valerie Cunningham, Sam Epps, Fred Smalls, Mary Lehman, and Crystal Thompson.  The two favorites in my estimation are Mary Lehman (who is being endorsed by Tom Dernoga and Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk)  and Fred Smalls (who is being endorsed by Delegates Ben Barnes and Barbara Frush).   I could be wrong, but Fred is already serving on the Laurel City Council and Mary is the chief of staff for Delegate  Pena-Melnyk so both are already well known in certain communities and actually have a base of support.

Who are you supporting for County Council and who do you think will do a better job on redevelopment and revitalization issues in North College Park?  Also where do you want our next county councilperson to stand on the whole Daddio/Dernoga debate?  Should we be fast tracking any development project that meets code to promote much needed redevelopment or support a longer process that seeks the opinions of locals to try and make sure redevelopment does not unfairly hurt local neighborhoods? (There is also a race in District 3, but Eric Olson is a pretty safe bet to be re-elected and his record on promoting redevelopment within his district is pretty strong).

Mazza Grandmarc NOW OPEN

The long awaited opening of the Mazza Grandmarc took place today as the first graduate students were allowed to move in.  The primary move in date for non graduate students will be August 22nd.  I spoke with the on site manager who told me the Mazza is now around 45% full (it was under 10% full when rethink college park visited there a few months back).  A little over 60 people will be moving in today which is a around 10% of the total capacity for the apartment complex (around 630 beds).   Two aspects about the Mazza that excite me the most are that it is connected to the Paint Branch Bike Trail system which leads to the University of Maryland campus and that it has its own UMD DOTS bus route.  Hopefully students will take advantage of these ecological friendly options when deciding how to get to campus which would help minimize the traffic impact that the Mazza will create.

I won’t write too much about the Mazza Grandmarc as there is already a long history of articles on it on this site, but the Mazza property owners are still trying to buy the properties directly on Route One in front of the apartment complex so they can build decent retail establishments there.  Hopefully the opening of the Mazza today is just the start of a redevelopment process that will both beautify a section of Route One and lead to more high quality dining and shopping options in College Park.  Despite the fact that the Mazza is finally opening today this project is still a work in progress in terms of its full potential.

College Park Patch

We have a new online news website in the City of College Park called the College Park Patch. It launched yesterday and is part of the national Patch network run by AOL. The national Patch site says that they look for communities of 15-100k people that they believe are drastically under served by media and would benefit by having access to local news and information about government, schools and business. The College Park version is run by Lauren Evans and is currently looking for contributors, so if you’ve always had an itch to write and have strong insight on a local issue contact Lauren to see if you can get on board.

The Patch seems interesting as it looks like it is trying to be a combination news website and local social networking medium. Unlike traditional online news sites (like the Gazette online for example) the Patch allows you to make a profile for yourself, add local events to their online calendar, and comment on stories (The Diamondback already has that last feature). They Patch is also unique in how they are trying to build themselves into the community by having 5% of their ad space donated to local charity organizations and making all Patch employees spend 5 working days each year volunteering in the communities they serve.

What are your thoughts on this new online news website coming to College Park?

Michelle Humanick

Back in 2006 this site was launched by David Daddio and Rob Goodspeed to focus on development issues taking place in College Park so that “students and city residents can be educated, debate the merits of projects and voice opinions.”   Both have since moved out of the city and for over a year now the person who has kept this site going and posted most of the articles you have read is a city activist by the name of Clay Gump.  Clay’s optimism about the future of College Park and the potential he believes our city has is refreshing and inspiring for those of us who believe College Park can one day be a truly great college town.

During last weekends storm tragedy struck as Clay’s wife Michelle was killed by a falling tree while running errands with her mother-in-law.  Michelle like Clay was dedicated to serving her community and making College Park a better place to live.  The Washington Post article on Michelle states:

“Michelle Humanick was ever-present in her College Park neighborhood. Stopping to chat while walking her golden retriever, Rocky BalBubba. Playing with her daughter in the snow. Hosting political events, countless play dates, family-friendly movie nights and a regular poker party with her husband.”

Clay and Michelle have done so much for our community from serving on city committees, to neighborhood watch, to keeping this site going (which I know many of us view us an amazing resource).  If you are as thankful as I am for everything Clay and Michelle have done for our community including this site and want to support Clay and his two  children please make a  contribution to the Sophie and Amelia Gump Education Fund in memory of Michelle, c/o Juliet Johnson at Suntrust Bank, 2825 Smith Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21209 (410-602-9109).

Best Buy & The Original Ledo’s Opening Soon

A local establishment and a powerhouse national chain are both moving into College Park over the next month with the long anticipated opening of the original Ledo’s Pizza in about two weeks and Best Buy slated to open in the College Park Market Place in early September.  I think both will help College Park in different ways.  The Original Ledo’s will give downtown College Park a destination location at last and will hopefully help increase the use of the downtown parking garage.  Best Buy will be taking the place of the closed down “Linens and Things” and hopefully will add a nice little boost to our city tax revenue.

These two new store openings remind me of the soon to be voted on College Park City Council Strategic Plan. One of the action items in this plan is to “Create a list of 10 most desired retail/restaurant businesses and actively pursue encouraging them to locate in College Park.”  So what retail/restaurant businesses locations do you think College Park should be pursuing?  What type of retail/restaurant businesses would help turn College Park into the vibrant college town we all know we can and should be?  Feel free to list one location or ten and feel free to say something general (a coffee house) or specific (Trader Joe’s).  You can list one retail/restaurant business or ten – but also think about WHERE you think you’d like to see such a business open.

National Night Out

TUESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2010

National Night Out is a community-police partnership event that provides a unique opportunity for residents to increase awareness about crime prevention and safety, get to know their neighbors, meet local law enforcement officers with the goal of preventing crime and drug activities in their neighborhoods.

Many College Park neighborhood associations will  participate in this year’s event on Tuesday evening, August 3.  Specific information about the activities is being distributed by the associations and Neighborhood Watch groups in the community. The following neighborhood events have been scheduled to date:

Berwyn: 7:00 p.m. meet in the Park Pavilion for a Neighborhood Walk followed by an ice cream social.

College Park Woods: 6:00-8:00 p.m. meet in the CPW Park.

Cherry Hill: 6:00-8:00 p.m. meet in the park

Lakeland: 6:30 p.m. meet at the Community Center.  March to Berwyn on bike trail with the Tropical Breeze Steel Orchestra
North College Park: 6:00-8:00 p.m. meet at Duvall Field

All residents are requested to turn on your porch lights, meet your neighbors and community leaders, and learn what you need to know about crime prevention and public safety in College Park.