News & Notes: April 2012 Edition

Here’s the latest roundup from the Business Beat newsletter, published every two months by the City of College Park.

College Park Earth Day

Upcoming Events:

College Park Earth Day Project & Music Festival
A two-day event featuring a volunteer opportunity, live music, a film, and festival is taking place on April 21 and 22. The volunteer opportunity is on Saturday, April 21 at the Cherry Hill Road Community Park, while the remaining events will be held at Duvall Field. For more information, visit their website.

Maryland Day
An excellent opportunity to explore the University of Maryland Campus with over 450 free activities and events, including live performances, educational seminars, and climbing walls. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found here.

College Park Day
Save the Date !  College Park Day 2012 will be on Saturday, October 27. If you’re interested in joining the planning committee, email cpdayevent at gmail.com for more information.

General Announcements:

College Park Farmers’ Markets:
The City Hall Farmers’ Market is now open on Sunday mornings, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features returning farmer Miller Farms, delicious eats from Bill’s Backyard Barbeque, and several other vendors. More information about the City Hall Farmers’ Market can be found here.

The College Park Farmers’ Market at Wells Ice Rink/Linson Swimming Poll is currently closed for the season but will return on Saturdays in May.

College Park Community Library:
The College Park Community Library is now open in one of the basement rooms at the College Park Church of the Nazarene, at 9704 Rhode Island Ave. in Hollywood. At this point, the library has collected over 5,000 books and continues to expand through donations. If anyone is interested in volunteering or donate books please contact cpcomlibary at gmail.com. More information about the library can be found on their blog.

April 2012 Business Activity

New Businesses:

ChiDogO’s (Varisty apartments, ground floor retail)
Owner is a Chicago native and UMD graduate.  Serves “Chicago style fare” (Vienna Beef Dogs, Italian Beef sandwiches, etc)
– Blue Tech Cleaners (corner of Rhode Island Ave & Edgewood Rd)
– Six Star Dry Cleaning (Rt, 1, south of Edgewood Rd – replaces Fast Cash Leasing)

Business Closings:

Austin Grill Express (Varsity apartments, ground floor retail)
We hardly knew ye … open & shut down in less than three four months ! Covered by Patch
– Pebbles Wellness (Rt. 1, south of Berwyn Rd)
– Fast Cash Leasing (Rt, 1, south of Edgewood Rd)

Coming Soon:

Downtown:

– Big Play Sports Grill
Now expected to open in the next few weeks (late April) at the former location of Vito’s Pizzeria.  Operated by a UMD graduate; will be strongly focused on the campus sports scene with memorabilia from former standout athletes on the walls.

– District Dumplings
Scheduled to open in May/June time frame.  Will offer a menu mostly devoted to the Asian delicacy.

Note that these two are both going into Terrapin Station, which has seen a lot of
business turnover over the years.

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill
Lease signed: former location of California Tortilla on Rt. 1.  East coast chain, Mexican grill that uses fresh, organic ingredients, and has vegetarian, low carb & low fat options.  There’s already locations in DC, Clarendon & Pentagon City.

– Terrapin Turf
Lease signed: former location of Santa Fe Cafe, still in the process of obtaining a liquor license.  The operator ran Saloun earlier, a bar featuring jazz, blues, and soul music, in Georgetown for many years until it closed in late 2011.  Live music along the lines of Saloun is expected to continue at Terrapin Turf.  Previously covered in Patch and the Diamondback.

More info about several of these businesses can be found in this Diamondback article.

Lower Midtown:

Three additional businesses are listed as “Coming Soon” and will be ground level retail in the Varsity apartments.

The Frame Mender
Expected to open later this month. Offering over 35 years of eyeglass repair experience; moving from their current Berwyn Heights location.  They also have two other locations in Rockville and downtown DC.

– Yo Love Frozen Yogurt
Expected to open later this month.

Roti Mediterranean Grill
Expected to open in August.  Fast casual chain, offering Mediterranean fare.

Going into Campus Village:
– Pho D’Lite:
Now expected to open in May, a new venture from the owners of Hanami Japanese Restaurant.  Described as “a unique Asian fusion concept that provides healthy options focused on Vietnamese soup and Southeast Asian delicacies”.

Sharing the same location as Rita’s Italian Ice (8900 Baltimore Ave):
– Newaabsaab Kabobs:
Expected opening in August.

Hollywood:
Two new businesses with signed leases — no announced opening dates yet.

– Johnny’s Carry Out:
Going into Hollywood Shopping Center (by MOM’s & REI).

– Pollo a La Brasa:
Going into Hollywood Square (9925 Rhode Island Ave).  Sounds very promising, especially if they could offer anything approaching the awesomeness over at Sardi’s in Beltsville.

Uptown:
– Chipotle:
New location expected to open in the April/May time frame.  This is just north of the Beltway & Rt. 1 interchange by the Buffalo Wild Wings & Potbelly, in the strip of businesses next to the IKEA.

City of College Park – 2012 Real Estate Roundtable

The city is hosting their first Real Estate Roundtable in nearly two years on Thursday, March 15, 2012 from 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM at the Clarion Inn. The event provides an opportunity for local stakeholders to receive updates on major developments and to discuss future plans that will shape the city for years to come. The keynote speaker for the event is Rob Specter, the Vice President for Administrative Affairs and Chief Financial Officer at the University of Maryland. Mr. Specter was appointed to these positions in July 2011 with more than 25 years of senior leadership experience in higher education. Mr. Specter will discuss the University’s plans for the first phase of East Campus, development plans at M Square, and the ongoing faculty housing study.

Additional speakers will include the City of College Park’s Planning, Community, and Economic Development Director, Terry Schum, and Economic Development Coordinator, Michael Stiefvater. The event, which is free of charge, will begin with a breakfast buffet and time for networking.

To RSVP, please contact Michael Stiefvater at 240-487-3543 or mstiefvater@collegeparkmd.gov by March 5th.

College Park Business Beat – February

The Business Beat is a bi-monthly newsletter prepared by the City of College Park Planning, Community and Economic Development Department covering local business news including openings, closings, expansions, leases signed, and other information of interest. This edition features news on the upcoming Real Estate Roundtable, Lime Fresh, Pho D’Lite, Terrapin Turf, and many other items. To subscribe, please contact Michael Stiefvater at (240) 487-3543 or mstiefvater@collegeparkmd.gov.

Information session on Cafritz property Wednesday, September 7 for local residents!

There are lots of meetings and events this week. Please be sure to read other recent posts. The message below was passed along from the Calvert Hills – Old Town neighborhood listserv. A great opportunity to weigh in on the Cafritz property along Route 1:
wholefoods

The Informational Session with the Cafritz Development team is scheduled for Wednesday, September 7th @ 7PM – College Park City Hall.

College Park City Planner, Terry Schum will provide an overview on the M-NCPPC development review process followed by a presentation in which Cafritz will address your questions, comments and concerns submitted previously. They have been advised to come with qualitative & quantitative data to support their studies (traffic, enviromental, etc.) and research.

Following the presentation there will be a group-setting Q&A. For those who are more comfortable in a non-group setting and/or wishing for a more conversation-style format to learn more about this proposed development, there will also be opportunity to speak one-on-one with the architects, envirnmental specialists, traffic analysts and others from the Cafritz team regarding the potential impact it will have on our community.

Members from City Council & the Mayor will be present as the City of College Park will eventually be submitting a stance on this issue with the County so please, plan to attend. Now is an excellent time to let your issues, questions, concerns and opinions be heard by our representatives.

Event: Neighborhood Work Group on Purple Line this Thursday

Purple Line 5
You are invited to a Neighborhood Work Group meeting for the Purple Line at College Park City Hall on Thursday September 8 @ 7p.m. These meetings cover very specific and targeted areas and this meeting will focus on the proposed station at the current College Park Metro Station. Work groups provide an opportunity for community members to participate in targeted discussions on issues such as station location and access, specific design, and engineering issues. For an overview of the evening’s topics, check out this powerpoint. We hope to see you Thursday evening!

Free Workshop on Purchasing Clean Energy this Saturday

College Park’s Committee for a Better Environment is sponsoring a workshop on purchasing clean energy this Saturday, September 10. See more details below.

What: Free Workshop on “Purchasing Clean Energy” sponsored by College Park’s Committee for a Better Environment (CBE)

Date: Saturday, September 10, 10 am to Noon

Place: College Park City Hall Council Chambers

In this second of CBE’s energy-efficiency workshops, Dr. Ross Salawitch, a professor from the University of MD, and Michael Heintz, a planning manager for the Energy Assurance division of the Maryland Energy Administration, will answer questions like the following:

· What is “clean” (or renewable) energy, who sells it, and how much does it cost?

· How can we get clean energy into our homes?

· Is it dependable?

Several renewable energy vendors also will be present.

Free but registration is required. To register, please email evitale@collegeparkmd.gov.

Town Hall Meeting about Crime in College Park – April 6th

A moderated town hall-style meeting to address issues of safety in the College Park community will take place on Wednesday April 6, 2011 at 6:00 PM in Jimenez Building Rm. 0220 on campus. This building is directly across the street from Stamp Student Union.  Screened questions coming from members of the audience.  For the panel, University Police, the Prince George’s Country  Police, the local College Park Officials, Administration, and representatives from the student body have been invited to speak.  The audience will consist mainly of students and College Park residents.  The main topics of discussion will include safety, but will also cover other issues that the audience finds important.

Editorial:

As a senior at this university, I love College Park as much as the next student. However, over the last four years I’ve seen on and off-campus safety become an increasingly serious issue. Seemingly every week the Diamondback reports about crimes in College Park. Crime is to be expected as a city grows, and there is no question that over these last few years College Park has been transforming and expanding. Most of that transformation has been beneficial, but this city has also transformed into something I never thought it would be. It has become dangerous. Ensuring the safety of the community has been put on the back burner. In the last year alone there were 13 murders in 13 days, stabbings, muggings, and sexual assaults. The level of crime in the city is only rising and really getting out of control.

Also, let’s not forget about the riot last year that made national news. I know the student’s haven’t. The riot has caused increased tension between the students and the police. Many students do not trust the police and question whether they have their best interests in mind. From a student’s perspective, we see police concentrating on closing bars, breaking up parties, and issuing massive numbers of tickets. What we do not see them doing is protecting us, and the College Park community. It’s time for the city to reassess their priorities, and make College Park safe again.

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.

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.

North College Park to Discuss Proposed Book Exchange Development Tomorrow

bookexchange
The proposal to turn the Book Exchange site into a 6-story mid-rise apartment building for students and professionals has stirred quite a bit of discussion among City’s southern inhabitants – University students and Old Town residents. Being so close to the campus, UMD, smart growth proponents and students would love to see this proposal go through. On the other hand, some long time residents fear that the proposed development is an invitation to more trouble for them – stuff like “late night parties, noise ” etc. will be very common, they think. While the project appears to be in line with the recently updated zoning for the property, but political opposition could delay the project considerably and ultimately quash it.

Does north College Park have anything to do with this property development? Directly the answer may be no, but indirectly, definitely yes. North College Park has a sizable student populations living in its houses. If more and more rental housing is built in the south, students will likely to leave north and concentrate closer to campus. This may or may not have an effect to the northern neighborhoods.

In the meantime, the four council members representing the north part of the city have been divided on the proposal. While District 1′s Chris Nagle supports the proposal, her counterpart in District 1 Patrick Wojahn does not. District 4′s Dennis Michelle is also against the proposal. The other District 4 council member and UMD graduate student Marcus Afzali is publicly undecided but skeptical.

Ilya Zusin, the developer of the proposed development will be at tomorrow’s North College Park Citizen Association (NCPCA)’s meeting (Oct 14). The session will start at 8:10pm. A detailed agenda can be found here.

Earlier this month, the members of the Old Town Civic Association overwhelmingly rejected the proposed development. Tomorrow’s discussion has been billed as an informational session for NCPCA’s members. This means that the members are unlikely to take an official position on the matter.