Minutes of December 2020 Regular Meeting

North College Park Community Association
December 10, 2020 – Regular Meeting by Zoom

Attending: President Mary Cook, Vice President Carol Macknis, Secretary Ellen Caswell, Treasurer Jordan Schakner; Mayor Patrick Wojahn, Councilmembers Llatetra Brown Esters, Fazlul Kabir, Kate Kennedy, Maria Mackie, and Denise Mitchell; Arelis Pérez, Brook Biddulph, Lisa Ealley, Judy Blumenthal, Phil Aronson, Shaymar Higgs, Marnice Williams, and Nikki Pancho.

Meeting called to order at 7:34 pm.

Officers’ Reports:

President Mary Cook: (1) Cherry Hill flooding. Park and Planning ripped out bushes to facilitate water flow. Cook is keeping in contact with them. (2) Bollards on Cherry Hill Road. DPWT are considering putting in a real median. They have agreed to Cook’s request that the neighbors be given an opportunity to provide input. (3) Hollywood Streetscape. Planning Director Terri Schum says the city plans to advertise for construction bids December 2020 to January 2021, award the contract for construction in February 2021, with construction starting in March and completion anticipated November to December 2021.

Vice President Carol Macknis: Beltway Expansion. The Navy has told MDOT they will not give up space from the Bethesda area. The state of Virginia was looking at more P3 Lanes and plans to hold off to see what Maryland does regarding the American Legion Bridge.

Treasurer Jordan Schakner: $1,335.70 is currently in the bank account, there are two dues checks for an additional $20, and he will reimburse Carol Macknis for the website domain fee.

Minutes of November 12, 2020 Meeting: Arelis Pérez moved to approve, Jordan Schakner seconded. Passed.

Hollywood PTA: PTA Co-President Brook Biddulph discussed the current fundraisers. The PTA raised $264 last month and are currently doing a food drive through December 23rd for the College Park Community Food Bank. Posh Cycling and Fitness is a dropoff location, but most other businesses did not agree. Biddulph is developing flyers, along with a list of foods that might be needed. NCPCA is a part of the initiative. There were many suggestions and offers for dropoffs and places to advertise. Marnice Williams, Grant and Project Manager for the Al-Huda School, is involved in food drives as well and offered to join in. A financial contribution may be sent to the Community Food Bank. A neighborhood cleanup is planned for the future.

The SPACE Free Art For All: Starting in his mother’s basement, The SPACE founder Shaymar Higgs has moved through many other spaces to, now, a nonprofit art space at Greenbelt’s Beltway Plaza in front of the AMC theaters. Website: https://www.freeartforall.org/. The space provides creative opportunities to people of all ages, including painting, fiber arts, literacy programs, computer coding from a talented 15-year-old volunteer, meditation, and art therapy. It’s a place to come together, meet new people, and share knowledge and skills. A number of creative people from his art spaces have moved to successful careers in the arts. The entire family can walk in and paint, draw, knit, and so on in an interactive environment.

Introducing Llatetra Brown Esters: Esters, the newly elected District Two councilmember and College Park resident since 1999, has watched the community develop on Route 1. The residents who live here want to feel that they are an integral part in of this community as it continues to grow; the development is beneficial. She focuses on public safety and fiscal responsibility. Pérez welcomed Esters, with whom she worked doing meal distribution for Attick Towers and Spellman House and other initiatives. Cook and Macknis introduced Esters to some history of the NCPCA.

Announcements:

Mayor Wojahn: Route 1 Communities Care (https://go.dojiggy.io/grcrocc) is doing a fundraiser to sell artworks, using the proceeds to purchase meals from local restaurants to support our community. There is also a need for volunteers for food distribution ( https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4da9ad2daaf94-delivery).

Councilmember Mitchell: (1) Mitchell thanked everyone for their kind responses to the passing of her parents. (2) A woman’s book club will be starting in January; to be added to the list, send her an email.

Councilmember Mackie: (1) District 1 residents can now walk the new path connecting with College Park Woods. (2) Snow may be coming; the College Park website has a lot of good information about what to expect. If possible, to park their cars in the driveway or on the even side of the street to make it easier for the Department of Public Works. Please help those who can’t shovel; it’s also very good exercise.

Councilmember Kennedy: (1) Kennedy is organizing a no-contact holiday cookie exchange as a way to connect with neighbors that doesn’t involve being in person or on a zoom call. She provided a link to a spreadsheet, planned to have cookies delivered December 19-20 to be organized and passed out. (2) The City of College Park is again doing the Deck the City holiday decorating contest.

Councilmember Kabir: (1) The monthly community police meeting for the following Monday is at the usual link (http://b.link/CPCommunityPolice). It’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone to come in and talk to the police officers who actually do the real job patrolling our streets. (2) There is a program in the community to help those in need with shoveling; he will send the link to the NCPCA list. (3) The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is coming to BARC in Beltsville. The College Park council sent a letter expressing many concerns, especially regarding traffic. The deadline for comments is December 21. (4) There is a real possibility that the FBI might move in during the new administration (https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2020/11/13/officials-look-to-biden-to-renew-fbi-hq-search.html).

President Cook: Amazon is building a warehouse in Beltsville.

Future Agenda Items: (1) Pérez reminds us that Ms Macknis suggested a meeting on public safety with Bob Ryan. (2) Cook and Pérez agree on bringing back the smoke alarm law. (3) Aronson’s mowing question will be discussed after the new year.

Question: Lisa Ealley asked whether residents will be part of the interview panel for the new city manager. Mayor Wojahn says this has not yet been discussed. Councilmember Kennedy believes focus groups are planned.

New Business: Regarding Maglev, Macknis received an email requesting that people support extending the time for comment on the draft environmental impact study (DEIS). They want to petition to extend the period from 45 to 180 days. Should we as NCPCA piggyback into the petition? The DEIS is supposed to be submitted on January 22.

Meeting adjourned at 9:09 pm, followed by a holiday College Park Trivia Contest. Fun was had!