Announcing the Community Housing Forum

Housing Forum FlyerWe’re happy to announce that Rethink College Park is sponsoring a Community Housing Forum with the undergraduate and graduate student governments (both organizations have representatives on the East Campus Steering Commitee). SGA president Emma Simson has been working closely with us over the last several weeks to make the event a reality. The goal is to open up a wider community dialogue on student housing in and around the university. This topic is critically important given the ongoing East Campus Initiative and several private projects in the area.

Here’s a blurb from some of our materials:

The University’s continued transition from a commuter campus to a residential campus has put enormous pressure on the housing stock in College Park. Despite the recent openings of South Campus Commons, University Courtyards, University View and University Towers there are still about 875 students on UMD’s Department of Resident Life waitlist. Market research shows a latent demand for over 2700 University-affiliated beds near campus units including, but not limited to, housing units that are amenable to graduate students. Continually low rental vacancy rates (2.8%) in College Park and associated high rental prices have lead to student encroachment into traditionally family-oriented neighborhoods; causing conflict and discontent among city residents. Students fear that rent stabilization policies, enacted by the City Council last year, will only exacerbate the student housing shortage.

We’ve invited several area developers (including all developers who have expressed interest in East Campus) along with city and university officials so students can share their ideas on the type, cost, size and quality of new housing.

The event will be held on October 30th in the Atrium of the Stamp Student Union at 5:30pm. We hope you decide to join in!

> Students should RSVP on Facebook
> Developers, university, and government officials should RSVP to Rethink College Park Editor David Daddio
> Download the Event Flyer (PDF)

Transportation, Real Estate Events Upcoming

We wanted to note a couple of upcoming events. First, today is one of the DOTS regular Transportation Forum for the campus community. The forum will be held at 1:00 p.m. in the Thurgood Marshall Room in the student union.

University ViewSecond, we received a notice of the inaugural meeting of a new Real Estate Development Club that is being organized in connection with the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation’s new masters in real estate development. Although based in the new program the notice says the club is “open and invites participation from all undergraduate and graduate programs” and points out the East Campus Redevelopment Initiative “is one of the most exciting opportunities for students to be engaged in development close at hand.” Furthermore, the club will: “… be bringing entrepreneurs from the development community to campus, arranging for field trips to sites being developed, as well as provide a student advisory role to the new Master’s degree program in Real Estate Development.” The kick-off meeting will be 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 30 in the Architecture Building Auditorium.

Bike Advocacy Workshop Wednesday

TrikeDo you bike in College Park? Have ideas about what could be done to make the city more bike-friendly? Local bike advocates will discuss that topic, as well as brainstorm ways to “get more people on their bikes and … encourage local governments to recognize that bikers need more lanes, more racks, and better protection laws” at a free, “no-commitment” bike activism workshop on campus this Wednesday.

The event will feature Dave Snyder from the group the Thunderhead Alliance, and is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday evening in the in the Outdoor Rec Center in the back of the Campus Recreation Center Building. The Thunderhead Alliance is a 127-organization large alliance of groups dedicated to “create, strengthen and unite state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations.” The event was organized by Eitan Freedenberg, a Maryland student and program assistant for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. Eitan described the interest at his table during the First Look Fair as “phenomenal” in an email promoting the event.

In Prince George’s County, the Bicycle and Trails Advisory Group collaborates with a variety of County agencies on bicycle trails and routes, and this county website on the Anacostia Tributary Trail System contains on and off-road bike routes. What would you change to make the campus and city more bike friendly?

Got Crabs?

n2210235193_33547.jpgAlthough it may be a bit of a stretch from our usual subject matter, we thought we would note that tickets are on sale for the first-ever Maryland Crab Fest, scheduled for October 12 in Cole Field House. For $12.50 you get a hearty crab dinner followed by a screening of Wedding Crashers on the big screen on McKeldin Mall.

Today’s Diamondback has a story with more details about the difficulties SGA president Emma Simpson ran into trying to plan the event. Scandal aside, we think the event sounds fun and applaud the SGA for their efforts putting it together. Tickets are on sale at the North Campus Diner, South Campus Dining Hall, and the Union Shop. The event also has its own page on the Facebook.

Get Active This Week

If you want to get more involved in the community this fall, there’s plenty of ways to do it this week.
First Look FairFirst, today and tomorrow (Wednesday and Thursday) the First Look Fair will take over much of McKeldin Mall. Over 400 groups will have tables set up from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. both days. If you are on campus you can’t miss it. Representatives from Rethink College Park will be sharing a table with our friends at The Terrapin and The College Park Site. Stop by to say hello, learn more about what we’re trying to do, or see how you can help.

Also Wednesday there is the transportation forum at 9:30 a.m. in the Student Union, and we have heard President Mote will be making a presentation to the SGA at 6 p.m., also in the Union. If that weren’t enough, on Thursday the 21st the city is holding an important informational meeting about their tentative agreement to construct a 9-story, 165-unit condo building where City Hall is now, build a new 340-space downtown parking garage, and reconstruct the Friends School building for a new city hall.

Senators Obama, Mikulski Speaking Tues.

Sen. Barack ObamaAlthough this is a nonpartisan website, we thought our readers would be interested to hear that according to the U-M College Democrats Senators Barack Obama and Barbara Mikulski will be speaking at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 19 at the Nyumburu Cultural Center next to the student union. Event organizers are promoting the event on the Facebook, where users can RSVP.

Update, 9/15: The event organizers just sent out a message saying this event has been delayed one week and will be held Monday, September 26th. We suggest checking the Facebook event page for last minute details.

Public Meeting Monday on Massive ‘East Campus’ Project

Rethink College Park just noticed this article reporting the University will host an important public meeting about the East Campus Redevelopment Initiative tomorrow, Monday, September 11, at 3:30 p.m. in the Colony Ballroom of the Stamp Student Union. We wrote in August about the project when the university launched a website targeting developers.

University leaders hope to build offices, housing, stores, and a conference center on 38 acres of University land bounded by Paint Branch and Route 1. The facilities currently occupying the land — including the Shuttle-UM bus barn, maintenance shops, and mail facilities — will be relocated elsewhere on campus. University officials are also holding a “Developer Information Session” on Thursday, September 14 at 9:30 a.m. in Ritchie Coliseum. We encourage community members to attend the meeting Monday to learn about this important project and learn how they can contribute input in the process.

What: Public Meeting on East Campus Redevelopment Initiative
When: Monday, Sept. 11, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Colony Ballroom, Stamp Student Union

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Redevelopment Area in Purple

City Posts September Calendar

Calendar_Clipart.jpgThe city of College Park has posted to their website their September calendar of events, and posted agenda information for the three city council meetings scheduled this month. The meetings, to be held September 5th, 13th, and 26th, includes discussion of development plans and a pedestrian overpass for the Greenbelt Metro station (9/5), and proposed changes to parking restrictions in two neighborhoods (9/26).

The city is also holding a “landlord forum” this Wednesday the 6th, the Advisory Planning Commission meets this Thursday the 7th, and the Committee for Better Environment will meet Monday the 25th.