Collecting College Park: The Weekly Link Round-Up

Collecting College Park took a brief hiatus between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but is back on track for 2011.

As usual, you can expect to see this weekly news roundup of stories relevant to development, planning, transportation, and quality of life around the city and the campus.

A short list of links today, to get back into the swing of things:

  • Green projects, transportation, and development top Northern Prince George’s agendas (Gazette): “Major issues in College Park will include the decennial reconfiguring of City Council districts to coincide with population shifts; a controversial proposal to build student housing at the site of the Maryland Book Exchange despite complaints from nearby residents; and whether new University of Maryland, College Park, President Wallace D. Loh will continue the administration’s opposition to a Purple Line light rail route through the heart of campus. City Councilman Patrick Wojahn (Dist. 1) said he will also push for expansion of neighborhood watch programs throughout the city, and improvements to North College Park’s Hollywood Commercial District. “We’d like to see some higher quality development there and businesses that better serve the neighborhood,” Wojahn said, adding that aesthetic improvements to the area could attract new businesses.”
  • Maryland making little progress with smart growth, study says (Sun): “In its most comprehensive review to date, the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth Research says development patterns, commuting times and other trends indicate that the state “has not made measurable progress toward improving its performance in many of the areas it says it cares about.” Gerrit Knaap, director of the center, said there are ‘a few bright spots,’ notably the preservation of land and recent promotion of development around transit stops in the Baltimore and Washington areas. But overall, he said, “‘he evidence suggests that we haven’t really bent the curves [of growth] in ways we hoped we would.'”
  • New bar may open in Thirsty Turtle space (Post, Gazette): “John McManus, owner of the Barking Dog in Bethesda, has expressed interest in opening a second location at 7416 Baltimore Ave. in College Park, formerly home to Thirsty Turtle. McManus is scheduled to go before the Prince George’s County Board of License Commissioners on Feb. 22 to request a liquor license for the property.” Read the full story at the Gazette.

That’s it for this Friday! If you’ve got tips, suggestions, or pointers for next week’s edition of Collecting College Park, leave them in the comments or email Alex at lxdlnbc@gmail.com.

Collecting College Park: The Weekly Link Roundup

Welcome to Collecting College Park, a new weekly feature here at Rethink College Park. On Friday mornings, you can expect to see this weekly news roundup of stories relevant to development, planning, transportation, and quality of life around the city and the campus.

  • Bar Talk: A Q&A with Mark Srour, Owner of Cornerstone Bar & Loft (Patch): Patch’s Lauren Evans has a great interview Srour and chats with him about the state of bar-going in College Park. Srour says, “I mean, the house parties are always going to be there. You’re away from your parents, you’re going to start drinking, or whatever. It’s just part of growing up. Hopefully the future of College Park will get better and more exciting for the college kids, and hopefully I’m there to help out.”
  • A shadow of its former self: Turtle showed promise before fall (Diamondback): Another post-mortem for the fallen bar: “As a new business in downtown College Park, its goal was difficult but crucial: to strike the balance between a family-friendly atmosphere and a fun nighttime spot for students to drink and dine. ‘The only way to survive is to cater to [residents] too. … You have to make sure you don’t specifically target one market. That’s how I’ve stayed in business for so long [at Alario’s],’ Turtle owner Alan Wanuck told The Gazette before the establishment opened. But Turtle fell from grace a short three years after opening when an employee opened the doors a little too wide and admitted two underage police aides Sept. 23. Last Wednesday, Wanuck handed over Turtle’s liquor license permanently after it was revoked a few days earlier.”
  • Route 1: Bankrupting Local Businesses (Diamondback): A Diamondback opinion columnist humorously raises the issue of high rents in downtown College Park: “Earlier this year, one of my favorite restaurants, Chicken Rico, closed for seemingly no reason. It couldn’t have been because of the food  — the food was delicious. Like really, really good. And while the customer base (me) was admittedly small, it (I) was very loyal. But like so many other businesses on Route 1, Chicken Rico eventually disappeared. Since its demise, I’ve heard rumors about high rent, lack of student interest and a landlord who may or may not have been Lord Voldemort. But none of that matters to me. This is bigger than Chicken Rico. There have been other places, too. This is very much a trend.”
  • City waits to take stand on high-rise (Diamondback): “In last night’s city council work session, Stullich presented a letter from the Old Town Neighborhood Association outlining aversion to the project by non-student residents of southern College Park — those who live in homes between downtown and the Metro line. Stullich used the letter to advocate for the council to side with residents: in a 24-0 vote last month, the neighborhood association opposed the project, citing concerns about a possible increase in noise and other disruptions that many residents felt would occur if hundreds of additional students moved into the area. But other council members, who said they understood residents’ concerns, decided they wouldn’t take a stance on the project until the developer made detailed plans for the apartments available to the public.”
  • That’s it for this Friday! If you’ve got tips, suggestions, or pointers for next week’s edition of Collecting College Park, leave them in the comments or email Alex at lxdlnbc@gmail.com.

    Collecting College Park: The Weekly Link Roundup

    Welcome to Collecting College Park, a new weekly feature here at Rethink College Park. On Friday mornings, you can expect to see this weekly news roundup of stories relevant to development, planning, transportation, and quality of life around the city and the campus.

    This week saw plenty of coverage on the rise and fall of the Thirsty Turtle. See the following links for details:

    • Thirsty Turtle Surrenders Liquor License (Patch): “According to a representative from the liquor board, the attorney representing Turtle owner Alan Wanuck submitted a three page letter citing the reasons for surrendering the license. The representative declined to release the contents of the letter before the hearing tonight. The College Park City Council voted 7-1 Tuesday night in favor of revoking the bar’s license.”
    • The Whipping Boy (Diamondback): The student newspaper editorializes on Turtle’s closure: “Although reaction to the liquor board’s decision has been split, with some students mourning what will likely be the bar’s demise and others lauding the decision as an act of justice, both sides seem to miss the broader point. While other bar owners, such as Mark Srour of Cornerstone Grill and Loft, may lambaste Turtle’s recklessness or crow the fall of a major competitor, it would be naive to think that other city bars are any less guilty than Turtle. Both Cornerstone and R.J. Bentley’s passed police’s test with “flying colors” and have not been issued liquor citations in more than a decade, but it is no secret that each and every bar that has ever made a dime in this city has done so with the help of underage patrons. And while bar owners may deny such claims as hyperbole, students know it to be true. Yet despite this equal claim to guilt, Turtle has become the scapegoat for university and local officials. To single out Turtle alone for somehow being the kingpin of underage drinking in the city completely ignores much larger issues.”
    • Thirsty Turtle Closed Last Night After Stabbing, Repeated Violations (TBD): The closure’s ripples have hit the DC news outlets, too. TBD’s four-page story on Turtle (tweeted as “the short, brilliant life of the Thirsty Turtle”) is, perhaps, a cultural history of the bar: “Turtle, located at 7416 Baltimore Ave., didn’t make it to its third birthday. It closed Wednesday, less than a month short. It’s odd to think of a such short-lived business as leaving a legacy, but Turtle did. It’s a complicated one, too: For some Maryland students, it became a mecca. Others considered it a bar of last resort, a place so disgusting nothing could drag them there. For adults, Turtle was a nuisance. The students who loved Turtle went there to fulfill their God-given right as college students — to get irresponsibly drunk and make the types of poor decisions irresponsibly drunk people make. Via cheap drinks and an anything-goes vibe, Turtle served up the fun, stupid part of the college experience. The objective behind a visit to Turtle was to get drunk, laid, or both. Providing a place to do that was the essence of Turtle’s appeal.”
    • Jamaican Restaurant Moves Into Perk House (Diamondback): Has all this talk of the bygone days of $2 pitcher nights exhausted you? Maybe some jerk chicken is the solution. About a mile past campus up Route 1, Jamaican restaurant The Jerk Pit has relocated to the former site of the College Perk coffeehouse. If you’ve got a craving, go ahead and make the trip—it’s a less visible storefront than the restaurant’s former strip mall digs. “The Jamaican restaurant is moving nearly a mile north of the Campus Village shopping center to the building at the corner of Route 1 and University Boulevard. That location was once occupied by the College Perk until its owner lost the property to foreclosure in January 2009. The restaurant, whose original storefront closed Sunday, will be reopened by tomorrow or Friday to offer its Jamaican jerk chicken dishes to walk-in and delivery customers, said Lisa Rose, who opened the restaurant in 2005. The new facility will offer a 50-percent expansion, a more visible location, a private dining area and outdoor porch, she said, providing patrons with a more authentic, laid-back island feel.”

    That’s it for this Friday! If you’ve got tips, suggestions, or pointers for next week’s edition of Collecting College Park, leave them in the comments or email Alex at lxdlnbc@gmail.com.

    Collecting College Park: The Weekly Link Roundup

    Welcome to Collecting College Park, a new weekly feature here at Rethink College Park. On Friday mornings, you can expect to see this weekly news roundup of stories relevant to development, planning, transportation, and quality of life around the city and the campus.

    With the gubernatorial election this past Tuesday, it’s been a slow news week. Items of note, however, include:

    • O’Malley victorious: Incumbent governor O’Malley took down Diamondback-endorsed challenger Bob Ehrlich. College Park also saw a high student voter turnout.
    • County revokes Thirsty Turtle’s liquor license (Diamondback, Patch):”The bar’s ability to serve alcohol may be suspended as soon as Nov. 23 after the board investigates further and submits a written notice of its decision to the bar’s owners, Alan Wanuck and Tom Hall. The deliberation, which began at about 7:30 p.m. last night, was held to review a Sept. 23 incident in which two student police aides were instructed to attempt to get past Turtle’s bouncers equipped with only their real, underage state driver’s licenses and cash for cover. They were allowed in and served beer once inside. A plainclothes University Police officer then promptly confiscated the two beers, which were used as evidence in yesterday’s hearing.” More at Patch.
    • Looking to Loh (Diamondback): The university’s new president, Wallace Loh, began his term on Monday. The Diamondback’s editorial board says: “Loh has been silent on the issue of underage drinking and the controversy surrounding the bars in downtown College Park, despite having a history of cracking down on underage drinking at the University of Iowa. This issue, which was ignited when four men, three of whom were students, were stabbed following an altercation at Thirsty Turtle, has left University Police Chief David Mitchell, city officials and the SGA calling on Prince George’s County to revoke Turtle’s liquor license. Additionally, Loh’s stance on issues such as the Promoting Responsible Action in Medical Emergencies protocol remain a mystery.”
    • Council holds off at-large seats (Patch): “Mayor Andrew Fellows first proposed the new structure at Oct. 5’s council meeting. His tentative plan consisted of replacing the current system of four districts each represented by two council members, with five districts each represented by one council member, and adding three at-large seats….However, council members decided Wednesday that it was best not to rush the process. Councilman Bob Catlin (Dist. 2) said that given the short window between now and the election next November, the better approach would be to establish a redistricting commission to analyze the new census data, due out this spring, and take it from there.

    That’s it for this Friday! If you’ve got tips, suggestions, or pointers for next week’s edition of Collecting College Park, leave them in the comments or email Alex at lxdlnbc@gmail.com.

    Collecting College Park: The Weekly Link Round-Up

    Welcome to Collecting College Park, a new weekly feature here at Rethink College Park. On Friday mornings, you can expect to see this weekly news roundup of stories relevant to development, planning, transportation, and quality of life around the city and the campus.

    The View by rethink college park on Flickr.
    • Down in polls, Ehrlich tries to focus on January (Post): “Upon taking office, Ehrlich said he also would order government contractors to halt work on the proposed Purple Line rail project that would connect points in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. “The dollars aren’t there,” Ehrlich said, restating his preference for rapid bus service along the route instead. Ehrlich aides said stopping the Purple Line and a proposed rail project in Baltimore could save the state $300 million in engineering costs that could be spent instead on local road projects.” More at Action Committee for Transit and Streetsblog DC, but in short: It’s still going to cost $300 million in engineering costs to get the Purple Line going, but Ehrlich would like to reappropriate those funds to roads. The Diamondback also notes that O’Malley is currying more favor than Ehrlich with repeated visits to campus.
    • Prince George’s council rejects zoning change, new stormwater rules (Post): “In its final legislative session, the Prince George’s County Council killed a bill Tuesday that would have allowed a developer to change the zoning on property in Fort Washington and rejected new storm water management regulations for the county…Supporters of the measure, including numerous municipal leaders, said the bill would improve the environment. Developers argued that it would stymie redevelopment.”
    • County liquor board to consider Thirsty Turtle license (Patch): “The Nov. 3 hearing will deal with alleged underage drinking at the bar. At the Nov. 10 hearing, commissioners will hear from police and others who are expected to claim that the three-year-old establishment is a detriment to the College Park and university communities.” More at the Diamondback (and, the UMD SGA will be testifying against the establishment).

    That’s it for this Friday! If you’ve got tips, suggestions, or pointers for next week’s edition of Collecting College Park, leave them in the comments or email Alex at lxdlnbc@gmail.com.

    Don’t forget to add to our Flickr pool! If you’ve got pictures in and around College Park, tag them with “rethink college park” on Flickr, and they’ll show up here (maybe you’ll even see one featured in Collecting College Park post…).

    Collecting College Park: The Weekly Link Round-Up

    Welcome to Collecting College Park, a new weekly feature here at Rethink College Park. On Friday mornings, you can expect to see this weekly news roundup of stories relevant to development, planning, transportation, and quality of life around the city and the campus.

    McKeldin Mall (image via the Rethink College Park Flickr Page).
    • $93 million Seven Springs Village Loan Granted One Year Extension (Citybizlist Baltimore): The refinancing process of Seven Springs Village is expected to be pushed to September 2011. The 1967 building “is currently 95.6% occupied with upward leasing momentum leading into the fall.”
    • Housing Development Meets New Opposition (Diamondback): A follow-up to our post earlier this week that includes this tidbit: “State Sen. Jim Rosapepe (D-Anne Arundel and Prince George’s), who lives on Patuxent Avenue just north of Old Town, said he agrees with residents’ objections and believes their case is strong enough to block the planned housing.”
    • New Maryland Law Aims to Protect Cyclists, But Will It? (College Park Patch): Drivers are now legally required to give cyclists biking to the right-hand side of the road a three-feet margin when passing, but the good intention could prove problematic: “How do you determine what three feet of space looks like when traveling at 30-plus mph?…To make things more ambiguous, the three-foot space requirement only applies when the road is wide enough for the driver to legally pass at this distance (bonus: This Patch article is written by our own RTCP, Mark Noll).
    • New Speed Cameras Part of City Effort to Make Crosswalk Safer (Diamondback): “The Paint Branch Parkway location is the first of six where the city hopes to install the cameras; others include University Boulevard, Metzerott Road and Route 1. The cameras will eventually issue $40 tickets to drivers who travel 12 miles per hour or more above the posted speed limit.” Right now, the damage the cameras can do to your record is limited to a mere ticket, but get into the habit of slowing down now. See College Park Patch for more on the matter.
    • Aging Buildings Go Unfixed (Diamondback): A slew of buildings on the UMD campus—many of which surround McKeldin Mall—are worse for the wear. Fixing the structures carries a hefty price tag: “This past spring, on request from the Board of Regents, university administrators submitted a detailed “Restore the Core” seven-year phased plan to address the campus’s growing infrastructure problems, which have added up to a $625 million backlog in deferred maintenance.”
    • College Park Denied Funding for Bike-Share Program (College Park Patch): The D.C. metropolitan area, which includes College Park, was deemed unworthy of funding from the TIGER II grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Had the request been approved, College Park would have had 59 bicycles at 11 stations around College Park and the University of Maryland campus.” Ouch.

    That’s it for this Friday! If you’ve got tips, suggestions, or pointers for next week’s edition of Collecting College Park, leave them in the comments or email Alex at lxdlnbc@gmail.com.