5. Agenda Item 5. Special guest: Tracy Samuel, College Park Youth and Family Services. Tracy Samuel, Family Therapist with the College Park Youth and Family Services, gave an oral presentation about the center. Tracy is a licensed certified social worker. The facility is located at the corner of Rhode Island Avenue and Edgewood Road. Kevin Young stated that he had toured the facility and was impressed. Of the six therapists, three speak Spanish. Schools are aware of the center – word of mouth spreads the word in the general population. The counseling service is for children and families. They help people of all ages. They do a lot of play therapy for children and talk therapy for teens and adults. They see families once a week. They work to keep families together, to teach parents how to do play therapy with their children, to teach parents how to talk with their teens – to foster closer relationships, in other words. They don’t see teens with substance abuse problems as one might think. They’re more responsive than preventive. There’s also an expert in gang prevention. They get a lot of referrals from court. They hold Halloween and egg events every year. Where the thrust of the Center’s services go depends on the year. The Center’s waiting list is long. They also have a seniors program, which helps seniors with services such as getting medication, a place to live, transportation, etc. The center also has a bus for transportation for seniors, such as for field trips. They help seniors with making medical appointments, Social Security paperwork, etc. They go to groups at schools, deal with truant kids, try to keep problems from escalating. Some schools work with them a lot. They hold a luncheon two times a year for principals at local schools to discuss what’s going on. There are not enough staff to organize groups at all the schools – they work mainly with Hollywood and Parkdale.
The City provides the bulk of the funding, although you don’t necessarily have to live in College Park to use the group’s services (although you do have to live in Prince George’s County). There’s no charge to the client for the first session; after that, it’s based on income. Tracy didn’t know the exact budget of the center but said that Peggy at the Center could provide that information. One audience member stated that 75 percent comes from the City and 25 percent from other sources. Another audience member said he believes the City pays at least 85 percent. An audience member stated that College Park is the ninth largest city in the State and so it’s good and reasonable to have a center like this.
6. Agenda Item 6. Nomination Committee selection. President Young asked for volunteers to serve on the Nomination Committee. He put Harry Pitt’s name forward. Officers tend to stay with the organization a long time, even if they move around a bit in their positions. BDCA is the oldest civic association in Prince George’s County. The only way an organization can continue is with the infusion of new blood.
7. Agenda Item 7. New business. President Young stated that he would like to consider forming a new bylaws committee. It has been 10 years since the BDCA last reviewed the bylaws. A member of the audience stated that she believed it was 5 years ago. He would like the committee to meet sometime within the next 6 months. Jerry Anzulovic volunteered to serve on the committee. President Young reported that BDCA was copied on a letter that the National Capital Park Service sent to Congressman Hoyer regarding the tick problem in Greenbelt Park. The letter stated that the Park Service is aware of the problem and trying to make park visitors aware of it. The letter stated that the Park Service is conducting tick surveillance to see if there’s anything they can do. WSSC sent a letter to President Young. All sewers in Berwyn are to be inspected with high-tech equipment. This will be done during the night, and will be done mostly with a camera that can snake through the sewers. There will be some street blockages in the middle of the night. President Young received notification from the Community for a Better Environment that a vegetable garden workshop would be held this Saturday. There’s still interest in a community garden. Berwyn and the Washington Post had an agreement that representatives from each would walk together around the perimeter of the Post’s property 2 times a year to make sure that the property is being maintained. We haven’t done this for awhile. The last time it was done, they found a little hut that had been erected.
The Washington Post still owes BDCA $210 for the moonbounce from last fall’s Berwyn Day. President Young met with someone at the Post. It was agreed that he would type up an invoice based on the receipt for the moonbounce.
8. Agenda Item 8. Council members’ reports. Councilman Bob Catlin reported that there have recently been numerous City meetings. Saturday, May 1st, the City will celebrate Arbor Day. There will be a celebration at Branchville Fire Department. The Boys and Girls Clubs will have a parade. The City’s budget looks in good shape. Development on Route 1 will yield the City lots of taxes. The City can increase its collection of property taxes by 4 percent – not by raising taxes, but because of increased assessments. Jerry Anzulovic stated that foreclosures in College Park have “stabilized.” The City continues to buy up some of the foreclosed properties, renovating them and putting them on the market to sell. So far, two have sold; two more are on the way. The City can continue to do this for another 2+ years. Most of the money comes from the federal government, through the State of Maryland. It’s a live-work program – if you work in the City, you’re eligible. There’s currently a person who’s interested in a property in our neighborhood.
Councilman Jack Perry reported that Koon’s Ford is in the process of leaving College Park. It is not known at present what will become of the property. Another property that
will be for sale is the Maryland Book Exchange property. The Maryland Book Exchange business is leasing the property – their lease runs for another few years; the buyer would have to honor the lease.
Too few people are using Davis Hall in the afternoon, so the manager has proposed reducing hours to save money. The City sells all the compost it makes at the site. Everything we can sell there is something that doesn’t need to be taken to the dump in Upper Marlboro.
A public hearing will be held soon on rent stabilization, aka rent control. The hope is that the City will be able to improve the transmission of the City’s cable channel. The City is investigation the cost of video streaming. Mr. Perry reminded Berwyn residents that if they don’t like something the City is doing, they should contact him or Bob Catlin or the City Manager and let them know.
A property owner in the neighborhood has paid two $1,000 fines because they didn’t file a permit for being a rental house. The owner took the City to court; the Court found for the City.
9. Agenda Item 9. Other. Marina Dullnig reported that the neighborhood directory would be ready by the end of the month. An electronic copy of the directory will not be put online, but if you want a copy of it that way, let Marina know. There was some discussion about whether BDCA should print copies of the neighborhood directory for rental properties. Jerry Anzulovic volunteered to help Marina identify the rental properties. Jerry Anzulovic, Tim Triplett, and Lori Young are on the committee for the BDCA potluck and will have a meeting next week about it. The date is tentatively set for May 22nd. Sandy Tyler announced that the Lakeland Community Heritage Festival will put on a good concert at the chapel on campus, with a variety of music from the ‘40s and ‘60s. The concert will be on May 16th at 5pm. Tickets are $15. If interested, please call Sandy. Lily Fountain reported on the meetings that were held by residents of 48th Avenue on the parking situation on that street. They may be looking at permit parking as a solution. None of the potential solutions is perfect, however. Some of the residents don’t feel they need permits right now. Lily is worried that the problem will grow as the new student housing is completed. Lily will contact Janeen Miller at the City to find out what the group needs to do to convert the street to permit parking. Sixty percent of the residents would need to sign on. For rental properties, it would be the occupant, not the landowner, who would decide whether or not to sign on to the proposal. President Young stated that he would like to advertise BDCA’s vote on whether to approve the proposal or not as an agenda item for a future meeting rather than vote on it at this meeting. The petition would trigger a hearing. Because of an idiosyncrasy in the City code, if permit parking were not requested for summer months, residents wouldn’t have to pay for permits since there’s only a fee if annual permits are requested. The City’s engineer has stated that there are 66 parking spaces on the street, which would allow 3 permits per household. Harry Pitt was asked to attend a meeting earlier this evening about the media coverage of the policy behavior at the recent incident between the police and Maryland students in downtown College Park after a game. The audience at the meeting Harry attended saw a video of student behavior over the past few years.
A plea was made to allow Russell Robinette to deposit trash that he picks up in the neighborhood on his daily rounds in your cart if your cart is on the street. A photo of Russell has just appeared in the Gazette.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 pm.
Meeting Attendees (from sign-up sheet):
Jerry Anzulovic Gene Baur Bob Catlin Diane Douglas Lily Fountain Michele Gzenes Harvey Himmelfarb Marge Himmelfarb Doug Hunter
Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.
Liesl Koch Jack Perry Mark Shute Theresa Shute Anastasia St. John Forrest Tyler Sandy Tyler Timothy Triplett Richard Winston