What’s Happening?

For starters, you may have noticed less posting on RCP lately. With one co-founder already away from College Park for a year and the other preparing to graduate, RCP is in need of fresh blood. We’ll be organizing a strategic meeting to bring together our supporters to plan for the future of the site soon, if you are interested in contributing please drop us a line. Recently a community member wrote to ask why we hadn’t written more, but demurred from contributing saying he wasn’t a “writer.” Before blogging, neither were many of our contributors!

What’s new around town? Councilmember Catlin was kind enough to post a short summary as a comment recently. To add to his comments, although rumors have been circulating about the Mazza Grandmarc Graduate Apartments, the developer personally (and vigorously) assured us construction was moving forward and they planned to break ground this year, hopefully late summer or fall.

Today’s Diamondback has two stories of note: a short summary of changes to the 517-bed addition to the University View being planned, and an article describing the over $620 million backlog of on-campus maintenance.

While we have a few posts planned, expect fewer stories until the future of the site is planned in more detail.

11 thoughts on “What’s Happening?”

  1. “With one co-founder already away from College Park for a year and the other preparing to graduate, RCP is in need of fresh blood.”

    Above is the most interesting sentence I have read today. It underscores this point: students at the university are a transient bunch. They are here for a while, and then they leave. Local homeowners are much less transient. Many have been here for years, and many would like to stay here for more years into the future. And yes, I know the locals have a lot of nerve complaining about *any* aspect of anything the university wants to do. Surely even the local dolts must have noticed there was already a university here when they moved into the area.

    The vast majority of students leave after graduation. What they might like to have in College Park is not necessarily what local homeowners might like to see. Students leave. Homeowners stay. Homeowners who have been paying property taxes in the area for years.

    More student housing is being built. What happens when the number of students at the university goes down again? C-y-c-l-i-c-a-l. The university administration would like to reduce the number of pesky undergraduates on campus. Plans were made to do this before the last budget ‘crisis’.

    Interesting article about deferred maintenance for campus buildings in the Diamondback today. Each and every building on campus was once bright and shiny and new just like the buildings at East Campus will be—-for a while.

  2. When did the number of students ever go down voluntarily? Enrollment was purposefully reduced to improve academics. Residents can wish upon as many stars as they want in terms of the development and amenities they want, but it all comes down to the market. The fact is that most of the money being poured into downtown retail comes from students. I don’t need an economic analysis to determine that. Just look at what retail is there. Yeah students leave, but more students come and then those new students demand the same amenities.

    All this development goes much beyond what the university “wants” to do. Increasingly the city is realizing it needs to allow and even advocate for student housing on private (non-east campus) parcels. Just look at the University View addition, Starview, Mazza Grandmarc, and a number of other projects. This all goes way beyond the university. It’s an economic development strategy, which ultimately will benefit the vast majority of the community – both residents and students.

  3. Jane, how we cherish your constructive and sunny insights.

    Rob and David have made important contributions to the improving relations between the campus and city communities, which increasingly appreciate their overlapping interests. The state’s flagship campus will still be in College Park 50 years from now – it’s hard to imagine a scenario where that is otherwise – and so we should all make the most of the many opportunities that this provides.

  4. Jane:

    1. I’m a tax-paying local homeowner too; in fact, according to public records, I pay more in property taxes than many of my neighbrs in UP and College Park.

    2. I lived in several great college towns before coming to this area, and I thorougly enjoyed them. College Park and its environs do not currently constitute such a place, by any sane definition–but (as a HOMEOWNER) I very much wish they did.

    3. In great college towns where I have lived, cooperation between local and university communities was a major factor in producing the great living environments I enjoyed, and this little website has done more to foster that kind of dialogue and cooperation than any other resource I have come across in the CP area ever.

    4. Your attitude toward students (which you seem to equate with the university) and, in particular, the students or ex-students on this site, is not only unhelpful toward fostering the kind of positive dialogue I have observed in other places; it also reveals an appalling ignorance of housing dynamics and the law on your part.

    5. Most people who purchase their own homes own them for 5 years. In other words, even most home-owners are likely to live in the College Park area only for about as long as a typical undergraduate student.

    6. Moreover, the U.S. Constitution may have originally reserved voting rights to white male landowners, but that is no longer the case. And thank God. That means that the significant number of your neighbors who are teachers, cops and many other things — and who happen to rent (and pay ZERO property taxes) still get to have a say in what happens in their community. Would you suggest (other than under the veil of anonymity) that we change the law to stop them from doing so? (Please don’t answer.)

    7. Just like any other renters in our area, students have a right to participate in decisions about what happens in their community.

    8. Moreover, the significant number of other people who are associated with the university, including many administrators, teachers and staffs who live in my town and yours, get to have a say also, be they homeowners or renters.

    9. Why don’t you go back to writing posts for route1growth, or serving as UP’s Ward 1 councilmember, or whatever you do in real life? People here are only interested in open, constructive and informed dialogue.

  5. I KNEW WE COULD COUNT ON JANE TO LIVEN THINGS UP! Where ya been Jane ? – we have missed you!

    I think when Jane refers to cyclical she is referring to birth rates. There are so many insights when you study birthrates.

    The peak in birth rates for the baby boom was in the 1950’s. Guess when the second largest peak in birth rates occurred (surpassing the peak of the baby boom) ? – 1991. Now go 18 years out from 1991. So when you hear colleges (like our very own UMCP) brag about record applications this year – well DUH! Its because there are so many kids graduating high school.

    By the way, the bottom – or trough was in the early 70’s – the “baby bust” and that combined with the university’s enrollment reduction led to the empty highrises (one entire community – Cambridge – was completely vacant except for Centreville – plus on north hill, Carroll / Caroline / Wicomico were used for storage.

    So Jane is questioning what will happen when this surge in demand occurs over the next 4-6 years and the eases in the years that follow. These are good things for Doug Duncan and the planners to consider. I for one get sick of Rosa-pepe’s political posturing on the issue of student housing. Like anti-Jane says, we need constructive partnerships and cooperation to solve problems – not name calling and the like. If we can build a strong positive coalition we can make CP a place people WANT to be. Then Jane, you can gain financially (you always seem to lament your financial status) by a significant increase in the value of your property.

    This is part 1 – Im just warming up. Mor in another post in a few minutes.

  6. Another Kevin Fallon missive – part 2

    I think the popular / mainstream misconception is that the housing situation at UMCP stems from a sudden surge in enrollment. Not so. It comes from students (who 20 years ago would have lived in apartments in Howard and Mont Counties) who no longer want to fight traffic clogged roads to get to and from class. They want to be closer. They want the more traditional college experience (as opposed to the “commuter” experience) There was a point in time in the 80’s when Springhill Lake was nothing more than another set of UM dorms. I dont know if that is still the case but I hear its no longer desirable for today’s students.

    The city of College Park is at a critical cross roads and faces two distinct futures. One is a vibrant thriving college town that is a major draw. The other (Just go to Jack Perry’s district) is far more troubling. One that will have residents longing for the days of student rentals. We must look holistically at the entire area and think about broader issues and solutions instead of parcel by parcel and of course, we have to stop looking at “the other side” as “the enemy”

    Its really unfortunate that people look at the Univ as Darth Mote and his evil empire full of drunken good for nothing college students who use the town as their toilet then leave. (If we had a nice college town, I can assure you many will choose to stay – Id be willing to bet a significant sum on that one) Its good to see the anti – Janes of the world who “get it” – it gives one reason to be hopeful that we can and will do this and we will do it right

  7. There’s an interesting note about a new access point being created for cars coming in and out of the University View in the Diamondback article “University View Revision to Add 517 Beds.” Here’s the quote:

    “City officials and students have long complained the current access point is unsafe and convoluted because some drivers must make a left turn into the driveway without the help of a stoplight.

    The new layout would move the stoplight at Navahoe Street to Berwyn House Road, so that drivers can use it to get in and out of the building’s driveway.

    A new stoplight would have to be approved by the State Highway Administration. The council asked Warren to come back with another revised site plan if the light is not given the go-ahead.”

    I support this new layout. Does anyone else have thoughts on it? (A map could come in handy in order to make an opinion on this.)

  8. It might make sense to have the reconfiguration done during the reconstruction of Route 1. Of course, this is highly assumptive that the reconfiguration does get approved by the Maryland State Highway Administration, and that Route 1 actually does get reconstructed within our lifetimes.

  9. It might make sense to have the reconfiguration done during the reconstruction of Route 1, so that all of the mess is taken care of at once. Of course, this is highly assumptive that the reconfiguration does get approved by the Maryland State Highway Administration, and that Route 1 actually does get reconstructed within our lifetimes.

  10. Related to Daniel’s posts above – does anyone know anything about the status of those dumpy looking little buildings (the liquor store, tire shope etc) located on the “front lawn” of The View? Is the liquor store owner still holding out? “eminent domain” anyone?

    Also – I know Vogel’s Hilton to be built where Jerry’s Subs and the old Allario’s Italian Rest. stand is dead, but any news on the alternative project (Student housing)? Mr Caitlin – PLEASE try to get that one to incorporate the University’s North Gate Rain Garden project and the creek into its plans. We cant let that opportunity slip away.

  11. A lot of pressure is being applied to remove the liquor store, University View is pursuing in court an easement across the liqior store parking lot to get to the light. The prior use (McDonald’s) had such a right.

    The City has an agreement with University View that if (when?) the property is acquired the stranded portion of that property would become a pocket park.

    I have not heard anything new on Mark Vogel’s project. He had plans he was working on for student housing and he was still working to acquire Merchant’s Tire so that he could make his housing project larger.

Comments are closed.