2021-03 College Park Here & Now

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INSIDE The Hall CP continues to innovate. P. 6 The history behind College Park’s birth as a city. P. 7

VOL. 2 NO. 3

MARCH 2021


Lakeland celebrated as city signals restorative justice By Shreya Vuttaluru The Lineage Percussion trio used innovative instrumental techniques to depict the Lakeland community’s vibrant history in a Feb. 19 performance which was part of the NextLOOK Series, sponsored by The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. The trio — Wesley Sumpter, Lauren Floyd and Trevor Barroero — performed four vignettes reflecting the lived experi-

Artist brings it home to College Park By Alexandra Radovic University of Maryland (UMD) alum Lynde Washington is painting his way back to his home turf, some 22 years after he graduated. Washington studied fine arts and played football at UMD. Now, head football coach Mike Locksley is commissioning his artwork, which primarily depicts iconic black athletes throughout history. “It feels like home again,” Washington said. The former Baltimore Ravens player is painting a tribute piece to give to Jordan McNair’s family. McNair, was a 19-year-old UMD football player who died of heat

ences of the Lakeland community. Each piece represented a different era of Lakeland’s history and featured snippets of oral histories of the Lakeland Community Heritage Project’s members. “The Color of Love,” composed by Sumpter, began with the sound of train whistles and segued into rolling bass drums, depicting life for Black Americans in Lakeland during segregation. “The goal of this piece is not to dwell on the collective struggles of people like

those in the Lakeland community during this time, but to shed a bright light on the resiliency, resourcefulness and restorative actions that were performed then and now to keep the spirit of Lakeland and its people alive,” Sumpter wrote in the event program. The second piece, “ebb + flood,” innovatively used tubs of water to simulate the sounds of both calm ripples and violent rainstorms. The Lakeland community was especially prone to flooding issues,

and composer Lauren Floyd sought to represent the build-up to flooding chaos from Hurricane Agnes. “It also exemplifies the fascinating dichotomy of water, with its ability to destroy and to also heal,” Floyd wrote. “Urban Renewal,” the third piece, began with rhythmic construction noises created by tapping and scratching coins on round metal plates. The Lakeland Urban Renewal Plan, approved by the City of SEE LAKELAND ON 8 


Marathon Deli owner George Soldatos in the restaurant on March 5. JULIA NIKHINSON


Marathon Deli has been the go-to for hungry students since it opened in 1972. Now the beloved Greek restaurant has a new location, right on Baltimore Avenue, and continues to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Marathon was forced to move when developers announced that they would be building student housing in the shopping center that housed the restaurant, which was eager to stay in College Park. Marathon worked SEE MARATHON ON 10 


Reach every consumer in College Park ... for less! Contact advertising@hyattsvillelife.com or (301) 531-5234

College Park Here & Now PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781


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College Park Here & Now | March 2021


How the Here & Now came to be By Gretchen Brodtman A free press is a crucial part of a thriving democracy. And since 2004, Hyattsville Newspaper Inc. has brought independent journalism to the City of Hyattsville. While increasing voter turnout wasn’t the board’s primary goal in starting the Hyattsville Life and Times, it was a positive outcome.

So when the City of College Park wanted to increase civic engagement, they approached then-Managing Editor Maria James to see if the board was interested in helping start a paper for its residents. The board met a number of times and hashed out the details of what a new edition would look like, and they were full of hope that additional cir-

culation would also bring increased advertising opportunities. When we expanded to also serve College Park, Streetcar Suburbs Publishing was born. I serve on its board because I believe we need to participate in and contribute to the communities we live in. And as the country tries to embrace civility, at the local level, we need to

continue to be informed. We were fortunate to hire Mark Goodson & Nancy Welch as editors, and the College Park Here & Now and the Hyattsville Life & Times are together under our banner. No one else can cover our communities like our own homegrown, independent papers. On page 7 of this very edition, you can read about the significant

role that streetcars have played in the history of our suburbs. We hope you enjoy the March edition — and the many editions to come. Gretchen Brodtman is a member of the board at Streetcar Suburbs Publishing.

Neighborhood coalition supports seniors By Maggie Attridge For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought social isolation and fewer opportunities to be involved in their community. Luckily for those living along the Route 1 Corridor, a number of communities have come together to offer connections through virtual programming. Corridor Conversations was born when members of Hyattsville Aging in Place (HAP), Helping Hands University Park, Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN) and Explorations on Aging College Park joined forces to create programming about the area. “I thought, ‘Why don’t we offer programs and really try to welcome people and invite them from our jurisdictions, but also the towns that have no village?’” said Loretta Saks, chairperson of Helping Hands University Park. “‘Why don’t we join together, especially during COVID, when it’s just so easy to bring lots and lots of people together [virtually].’ So it was kind of a nobrainer.” The main goal of Corridor

Conversations is to provide fun and interesting programs to people in the area, according to Lisa Walker, HAP board chair. The organization, though not limited to a specific age group, also sets out to provide an outlet to inform and involve seniors, some of whom may feel particularly isolated during the pandemic, noted Mary Anne Hakes, who works with Explorations on Aging. “We really want to create and build a Route 1 community so it isn’t just University Park or Hyattsville or Brentwood, but rather a consortium of communities that are all interdependent, and make life richer here,” said Bonnie McClellan, who also works with Explorations on Aging. The monthly programs offered by Corridor Conversations cover a range of topics, including gardening, local bird species, astronomy and Shakespeare. “Traditionally, topics such as aging have limited the [range of] people that participate. So we really wanted to make this intergenerational, open to anybody, and [include] more fun topics,” said Walker. The inaugural event, “Black Managing Editor Mark Goodson mark@hyattsvillelife.com

A community newspaper chronicling the here and now of College Park. Mailing address: PO Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781 The College Park Here & Now is published monthly by Streetcar Suburbs Publishing., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Editors welcome reader input, tips, articles, letters, opinion pieces and photographs, which may be submitted using the mailing address above or the email addresses provided.

Associate Editor Nancy Welch nancy@hyattsvillelife.com Writers & Contributors Margaret Attridge, A.R. Cabral, Alyssa Kraus, Eric Maring, Julia Nikhinson, Lila Stiff, Alexandra Radovic, John Skendall, Nan Roche, D.W. Rowlands, Shreya Vuttaluru. Layout & Design Editor Ashley Perks Web Editor Jessica Burshtynskyy Advertising advertising@hyattsvillelife.com 301.531.5234

Lives Matter: North Brentwood 1887 to Today,” took place Feb. 25. This theme was purposefully chosen to coincide with Black History Month. Speakers and community members shared their experiences of growing up in a sundown town and attending a newly desegregated high school. Lifelong resident and North Brentwood Mayor Petrella Robinson was one of the hosts. “I think many of us have known that North Brentwood was the first African American community settled in Prince George’s County,” said Walker. “The details about the sundown towns, for example, where people had to be back home when the sun went down. Mayor Robinson was pretty clear that as a young person, people just didn’t go into Hyattsville, all of that was an eye-opening experience.” “There was a real spotlight on the racism that has somewhat been overcome in our communities, where it was our communities that were saying to Black people, ‘You have to be home by sundown.’ There were real limitations on occupations Advertising Sales Manager Chris Currie Business Manager Catie Currie Board of Directors Joseph Gigliotti — President and General Counsel Chris Currie — Vice President Stephanie Stullich — Treasurer Rosanna Landis Weaver, Gretchen Brodtman, Debra Franklin, T. Carter Ross, Emily Strab, Reva Harris Mark Goodson — Ex Officio Kit Slack — Ex Officio Circulation: Copies are distributed monthly by U.S. mail to every address in College Park. Additional copies are distributed to popular gathering spots around town. Total circulation is 9,600. CPH&N is a member of the National Newspaper Association.

The monthly programs offered by Corridor Conversations cover a range of topics, including gardening, local bird species, astronomy and Shakespeare.

that have been overcome for the most part, but we all know that there is still systemic racism that we’re still working on,” said John Payne, NHN board president. While Corridor Conversations’s offerings are exclusively online right now, the organizers are looking forward to holding in-person events, once the circumstances allow it. “We saw some real response in the community with wanting to know more, and I think that we would like to pursue that,” Walker said. The next event, a virtual discussion with local author Carol Pearson, will be on March 31. To register, visit hyattsvilleaginginplace.org/ programs-and-activities/corridorconversations.

NOW HIRING: Part-time job networking with local businesses

Streetcar Suburbs Publishing, a nonprofit organization, seeks an ad sales manager. Our volunteer-run organization publishes two monthly newspapers, the Hyattsville Life & Times and the College Park Here & Now. Each paper is delivered to every address in the city it covers, for a combined circulation of nearly 18,000. Our nonpartisan, independent newspapers connect people in our communities, giving all residents free access to information on local government, services, schools, nonprofits, businesses, and the arts. We also introduce residents to each other through profiles. Advertising subscriptions by local businesses help keep those businesses’ lights on during the pandemic, help residents shop local, pay the newspapers’ expenses, and keep our newspapers independent. The sales manager handles all advertising sales and earns a commission on all advertising revenue. This includes revenue from existing business and from responding to leads generated by the newspaper, itself, on our query form. This position could be a great opportunity for the right extrovert thwarted by the pandemic, someone who wants to make a bit of money on the side, support community journalism and get to know the local business scene. For more information, contact advertising@Hyattsvillelife.com.

March 2021 | College Park Here & Now

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Music’s great equation By Eric Maring


veryone I know, and certainly every parent I talk with, says that time passes too quickly. I can barely grasp the fact that my two-year-old Leo is now 17. What!? When!? How!? I can’t believe I’m reflecting so many years back to when my son, now a young man, was only a young boy. When we look back, we may all see things we wish we had done differently. That said, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’m certain of one thing I’ve done right as a parent, and that is that I’ve grown musical children. True, I’ve spent my professional life encouraging young children and their families to engage in music, so I may have an advantage here. But I’ve also watched many parents who are not musicians nurture their children in this way, too, and they’ve done it at least as well as I could. How do we succeed in this? Reflecting on how my family became a musical one, what were the variables? Two things spring to mind and form my equation: time and love. Musical awareness is similar to language awareness. And much like learning a language, becoming musically aware takes time — even a lot of it. I sang to my children every day. A study I read stated that adults remember if their parents sang to them, but not if a parent sang badly or well. Likewise, playing music — recorded or live — in your home can make a tremendous difference in your whole family’s musical fluency. We all delight in our children enjoying music that we adults love, but I’m a big fan of playing music made especially for children, too. My heroes of chilCPA with 15+year experience. Personal and Business tax preparation and problem resolutions. Bookkeeping and Payroll. Management and financial consulting. Business start-up help.

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dren’s music are Raffi, Ella Jenkins and Pete Seeger. And like so many things in life, raising children to be musically aware takes a village. My family’s particular village, our musical community, includes wonderful music teachers and businesses near our home. Having watched the ways in which this community has nurtured both of my sons’ string experiences, I’m certain that Gailes Violin shop has a direct line to musical heaven. Atomic Music, which trades used musical equipment, also has that divine line, as does Chuck Levin’s, in Wheaton, and the House of Musical Traditions in Takoma Park. These businesses have the community’s needs as their guiding principal and take care of growing musical children. My equation also calls for love. What do I mean by that? For me, music is a deeply meaningful activity and a blessing that my family and I engage in every day. As I wrote this, my 11-yearold settled in the next room and began playing “Dear Theodosia” ( from “Hamilton”) on the piano, singing along to his own music. This is musical love. Shepherding him to this moment was not all lovey-dovey, though, I can assure you. Music

learning is hard work — hard. But my son understands that music is meaningful and that it fosters love, that his community appreciates his musical capability. I’m remembering how, when my son was just 4 years old, we cheered him on as he played Woody Guthrie’s “Take Me Ridin’ in the Car” on his violin in a neighborhood concert. This is love — finding paths to

share music with the people we care about. Love is also spending time with other musically infused families, finding connections to folks who know the power of the great human experience that is music. I’ve seen this love happen in many, many family music classes: A parent arrives at the first class with a baby, and we watch with wonder, over time, as that child becomes musically strong and connected to others who also appreciate music. That child experiences being surrounded by a special kind of love and connects that feeling to music. A beautiful

feedback loop, one that strengthens and expands a child’s musical experiences as they grow. We all have to find our own equations in life. If you’d like to share thoughts about the one I’ve described here, or your own, please be in touch. You’ll find me at maringmusic@gmail.com. Eric Maring is a local music educator and performer, and author of Two Little Blackbirds. For more on Eric and his work, visit maringmusic.com.

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College Park Here & Now | March 2021


Digging into garden resources By Lila Stiff Gardening season is almost here, and the hints of spring are irresistible after such a grueling winter. If the pandemic has opened your eyes to new gardening possibilities, you are hardly alone! So many of us have been pushed to outdoor activities we might not normally pursue during winter; birdwatching and nature studies, and even lawn care have been surging. And gardeners of all stripes and skill levels are eager to level up their expertise this season. I’d love to offer all of you an array of resources, with my last group of suggestions emphasizing the local. Online offerings can be a great help for gardeners. The internet is awash with tips and tutorials, video tours of gardens, plant identification apps, specialty products and landscaping guidance. If you’re used to navigating online, have at it! But if you’re not so keen for a digital experience, I recommend books — there are many gar-

dening classics that will walk you through the seasons in a more linear fashion. Barbara Damrosch’s Garden Primer is as classic and is as comprehensive as it gets; her in-depth discussions of perennials, annuals and vines are terrific. If you’re interested in starting an edibles garden, Raymond Nones’ Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening Made Simple is indispensable, hitting a sweet spot with just the right amount of direction and data. (His modular approach to building and planting raised beds is detailed and specific, right down to the size nails to use.) Say you’ve been purchasing seedlings for years but are ready to dive into growing your own? The New Seed-Starter’s Handbook, by Nancy Bubel, will give you the confidence you need. If you’re eager for flowers, Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden, by Erin Benzakien, has a cult following, and for good reason. Or is your space limited? Are you a renter? Alys Fowler’s Garden

Anywhere offers an approachable and inspiring menu of flexible, even renegade ways to get your hands in some dirt this season. For all the guidance books can offer, it’s also great to take your questions to real people. Nurseries can be a terrific place to turn to for help, and they provide all the materials, tools and plants you’ll need. Hampton Nursery (7400 Annapolis Road in Landover Hills) will process your phone or online order for curbside pickup and offers bimonthly 10% days to senior members (membership cards are available at the front desk). Patuxent Nursery (2410 Crain Highway in Bowie), which regularly tops the list of best local nurseries, is expansive and has a professional landscaping division. Chesapeake Natives Inc. (9640 Rosaryville Rd in Upper Marlboro - you must call ahead for an appointment) specializes in ecotype native plants for the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

If you’re up for a day trip (or willing to paying shipping costs), Go Native Tree Farm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a pioneer in native and edible tree propagation, and Edible Landscaping in Afton, Virginia, is a nationally recognized source for fruit trees and other exciting edibles, many of which are optimally adapted for our area (Zone 7). Our farmers markets are often a terrific source for a variety of healthy, interesting vegetable seedlings, herbs and perennials (You can also post an inquiry on NextDoor to see if any gardening neighbors have seedlings to share or swap.) And in the spring, MOM’S Organic Market stocks heirloom vegetable, herb and flower seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. (MOM’s typically carries a modest supply of seed starting trays and locally produced potting soil and fertilizers, too.) Southern Exposure’s offerings include heirlooms originating in the Mid-Atlantic, which do especially well in our region — and these seeds also have a strong place in local history and culture, which I find exciting. This year in my garden, I’ll be

trying out Anne Arundel melons, which have been grown in Maryland since 1731 and are the subject of many an early American still life painting. I’ve grown Chesapeake fish peppers, a stunning, variegated-leaf pepper with strong ornamental quality, which bears tiny peppers in an array of orange, yellow, chartreuse and red hues. But far more important than the plant’s looks, this pepper is a critical piece of the history of our region’s Black foodways. Likely brought to the Baltimore area from Haiti, the fish pepper became a mainstay of Mid-Atlantic African American kitchen gardens by the 1830s and was a key ingredient in crab and shrimp recipes. And Spike Gjerde, chef of Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen, has brought the fish pepper back as the star of his Snake Oil Hot Sauce. This pepper will be making a comeback in my garden this year, too — bring on the heat! Lila Stiff enjoys spreading seeds and sharing her gardening experiences at her home in College Park.

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COMMUNITY CALENDAR All information is current as of March 7. Neighbors Connect. This grassroots volunteer organization promotes the health and well being of seniors through acts of kindness, and assistance with transportation and shopping. For more information, leave a message at 301.864.5267 or email connectporfaor@gmail. com. Help College Park’s Senior Citizens. Meals on Wheels College Park needs drivers — all are welcome to volunteer for flexible slots on weekday mornings. Fill out an application at mealsonwheelsofcollegepark. org or call 202.669.6297. Kids’ Journalism Workshop. This free, virtual workshop will help young reporters learn how to craft their own feature articles, from outline, to interview, through revisions, to print. Work with Here & Now’s Mark Goodson and the Greenbelt News Review’s Melissa Sites. Finished features will be considered for publication in this newspaper’s one-year anniversary edition in May! Sundays, March 7 and 21, and April 11, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Zoom. To sign up, visit cpae.org. David C. Driskell’s Students. An exhibition featuring works by students of David C. Driskell, whose teaching career spanned five decades. Brought to you by the University of Maryland’s David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora. Online exhibit at driskellcenter.umd.edu/ david-c-driskells-students. Route 1 Corridor Conversations. New programming continues on March 31 with a discussion with local author Carol Pearson. To register, visit hyattsvilleaginginplace.org/ programs-and-activities/ corridor-conversations. Food Assistance Available. Help by Phone Ltd. operates food pantries across Prince George’s County, with one located just off Route 1 at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Hyattsville. If you are in need of food assistance and would like to schedule a pickup, call 301.699.9009.

Numi Yoga. Daily livestreamed yoga sessions and outdoor classes, which still meet, weather permitting. For more information and to register, visit numiyoga.com. Smile Herb Shop Classes. Ready to spread the joys of spring? Join a virtual class and explore the magic of healing herbs! For a full list of classes and more information, go to smileherb.com. OpenBarre. College Park’s fitness studio offers virtual classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and outdoor classes Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, go to openbarrestudios.com. Gentle and Advanced Chair Yoga. Online and outdoor yoga classes to increase resilience, improve fitness and promote mindfulness. RYT 200 certified instructor, experienced in modifying postures for people of all abilities. No experience needed, and first class free. For more information and to register, email yogiamalie@ gmail.com. College Park Community Library Book Club. The library’s book club meets on April 13 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. to discuss Equal Rights by

Terry Pratchett. For more information, email Carol Munn at donkinc@msn.com. Virtual Farming Meetings: The University of Maryland Extension, Prince George’s County is offering 4-H activity clubs and several online courses this spring, including a small farm series, pollinator-friendly gardening workshops and beginner seed starting. For more information, go to extension. umd.edu. Friday Dance Workshops. Join instructor Karen Stewart, of Jessie’s Soul Line Dancers, every Friday from 10 to 11 a.m. for step-by-step instruction and dance along to soul, gospel and pop music. For more information, go to cpae.org. Saturday Tap Dance Workshops. Free virtual tap workshop with instructor Elizabeth Gardner every Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information and to register, email info@cpae.org. Live Dance Fitness Classes. Join music theater dancer and choreographer Samantha Fitschen on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 7:45 a.m. Fee is $5. For more information, visit cpae.org.

Draw like Hale Woodruff. Zoom with artist Racquel Keller for a free, virtual art workshop sponsored by College Park Arts Exchange on March 20, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. For more information, email info@cpae.org. Virtual Book Club. The College Park Arts Exchange book club will discuss The Other Madisons: the Lost History of a President’s Black Family, by Bettye Kearse, on March 16 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The group will read Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson, in April. For more information and to register, email info@cpae.org. Free Creative Writing Workshop. The College Park Arts Exchange is offering a free, day-long, online workshop on two Saturdays, March 13 and 27, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Email info@cpae.org to register and receive the Zoom link. Build and Test Your Own Model Racing Plane. The College Park Aviation Museum’s free virtual event to test your need for speed. March 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To register, go to mncppc.org/Calendar.aspx?E ID=15546&month=3&year=20 21&day=1&calType=0.

Women Airforce Service Pilots. The College Park Aviation Museum hosts a presentation on the history of women in the Airforce. March 17, from noon to 1 p.m. Access to the meeting will be through Microsoft Teams. To receive more information and register, visit mncppc.org/ Calendar.aspx?EID=15544&m onth=3&year=2021&day=1&c alType=0. New Spa at The Hotel. The Hotel at the University of Maryland opened a new spa on March 2. The spa is incorporating protocols and guidelines in its layout and services to keep guests safe. Visit thehotelumd.com/thespa/ for more information. From the Editors: The College Park Here & Now is proud to be your local news outlet. You hear from us every month — we send you a lot of words — and now we want to hear from you! We’re inviting you to participate in a community art project that we’ve got in the works — an art installation filled with the words of College Park residents. So tell us, What is important to you, here and now? Interpret this question any way you wish — no word limit, and you can submit as many responses as you’d like. Please email your responses to LaurenRosh54@gmail.com.

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College Park Here & Now | March 2021

The Hall CP becomes a must-visit destination By A.R. Cabral All twelve carefully spaced stools at the bar were filled as bartenders mixed colorful cocktails and served up craft beer for guests watching the basketball game on the overhead screen. In the adjacent room, college students congregated at tables fronting a stage at the end of the room. A ping-pong table stood at the ready, and the aroma of coal-fired pizza filled the air. These scenes of normalcy have made The Hall CP a standout during the pandemic. College Park’s new eatery had only been open for a month when the state issued stay-at-home orders last March. “It was very upsetting,” reflected Shilo Peers, the marketing coordinator of The Hall CP. “I was just feeling comfortable … I was just getting started, and the old marketing director [and I] were rooted in live music marketing and dreaming of things to do … before everything was derailed.” The Hall CP aimed to launch as College Park’s hottest venue, with a restaurant, bar and event space all under the same roof. Due to the pandemic, those plans were scaled back when the restaurant reopened in June. The Hall CP has two large rooms and a spacious outdoor eating area — elements that have allowed for social distancing

— and is conveniently located next to a pocket park. According to Peers, the park has turned out to be a real boon. “Having 13,000 square feet of outside space has been beneficial, even despite the cold weather,” said Amy Larkin, executive vice president of marketing and business development at War Horse Cities, the parent company of The Hall CP. “Customers enjoy sitting outside with a blanket, next to the heaters, having a nice meal with open air flow.” The Hall CP is active on Facebook and Instagram, and social media has been an essential tool for the venue during the pandemic. Last summer, a video showing off The Hall CP in its summer glow was

The Hall CP has two large rooms and a spacious outdoor eating area. JULIA NIKHINSON

featured on the popular app, TikTok. That video has garnered over 404.7K views. But the venue’s innovation doesn’t stop with social media. As the weather gets warmer, Lewis is looking forward to improving the outdoor seating area. Updates will include another snowball stand, a barbeque pit and a taco bar. The centerpiece of the backyard seating area is a stage, ready and waiting for comedy shows and music, once local regulations relax. For all the challenges that The Hall CP has faced in its young life, there are also

big wins. The young, energetic staff is infused with a sense of comradery, and is nurturing bonds of friendship and community as they’ve faced the pandemic together. Their positivity spills over to guests as soon as they walk through the door. The Hall CP aims to carry that positivity into brighter, post-pandemic days that will see those rooms filled with elbow-to-elbow good cheer.

Join us

Virtual Evening in Annapolis A Zoom reception for College Park residents

Updates on vaccines, police reform, school funding, small business aid, climate change, and much more!

Monday, March 15th, 7pm Visit 21stDisitrctDelegation.com to RSVP

By authority, Carolyn Brosch, Treasurer/ Team 21 Slate




Edition 11

March 2021

Residents queued in their cars, waiting to drop-off yard waste and other items to a City Cleanup in 2017

Mark your Calendars for April Cleanup Saturdays Drop off your items for recycling on April 10 and 24 between 7:30 a.m. and noon The City’s Department of Public Works (9217 51st Avenue) will be open for City residents to dropoff bulky trash, white goods, electronics recycling, brush, and yard trim on Saturdays April 10 and 24, 2021 from 7:30 a.m. to noon. City residency is required to participate (bring an ID), although anyone can buy compost or wood mulch during this event. Residents can bring electronics (including TVs, phones, computers, phones, VCRs, etc.) for recycling.

Bricks, concrete, rock, hazardous materials such as shingles, propane tanks, etc. will not be accepted. During the two clean-up day events, City residents may pick up 1 cubic yard of Smartleaf® screened compost for free. Limit 1 cubic yard per resident; proof of residency required.

ACCEPTED ITEMS: • Household batteries including rechargeable batteries such as Li-Ion, Ni-Cd, Ni-MH; Singleuse alkaline batteries such

as AA, AAA, 9V, C, D, button cell, and lithium primary. No damaged batteries or automotive batteries can be accepted. Limit 12 batteries. • Fluorescent light bulbs and tubes but they must be intact. Limit 2 tubes, and 4 bulbs. • Block Styrofoam for recycling (coolers and large blocks of packing material). No packing peanuts, cups or plates.

PAINT RECYCLING One day only - April 10 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Cost is $5.00 per can (quart, 1-gallon or 5-gallon), paint must be in original containers. Spray paint is not accepted.

REDUCE…REUSE…RECYCLE! We are working with GreenDrop to divert items from the landfill that are still in good condition. Clean out your closets and homes and bring your gently used items and donate them for reuse. See the City’s website for full event details and requirements at www. collegeparkmd.gov.

New City Parking Permit System An Easier Way to get Parking Permits & Passes City of College Park residents can now order their FREE residential parking permits and visitor passes online at: www.collegepark. aimsparking.com. Physical hang tags will no longer be necessary as the City will now issue residential permits by license plate number (household limits are determined by parking

permit zone) and visitor passes (household limits determined by parking permit zone). As we transition to the new system, hang tags will still be issued until June 2021. Physical visitor passes must be requested and will be mailed to households who request them. Registering your vehicle(s) is quick and easy via www.collegepark.


aimsparking.com. Residents can change their registered vehicles as needed as well as update their information and pay or appeal parking tickets online. For a printable mail-in permit application, or more information about parking in the City, please visit: www.collegeparkmd. gov/parking. Parking permit

applications, ticket payment links and other parking related information can be found on that webpage. For any questions or for assistance, please email our Parking Enforcement Division at parkingenforcement@ collegeparkmd.gov or call 240-487-3520.


COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Information Information for Prince George’s County Vaccine Distribution Plan Information current at time of publication. Please visit Prince George’s County website for the most up-to-date information. COVID-19 vaccines are free to all residents who live or work in Prince George’s County -- regardless of insurance coverage or immigration status -- and are currently being distributed to eligible residents. For current phases, eligibility, FAQs, and more information: http://mypgc.us/covidvaccine Eligible County residents are required to fill out this vaccine pre-registration form: https ://covid19vaccination. princegeorgescountymd.gov

Even if you are not currently eligible, you are encouraged to pre-register at the above link. You will be notified as appointments become available. Residents aged 75 and older are encouraged to pre-register online or via the Hotline now. Vaccine Registration Hotline (7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. Mon.-Fri.): for County residents who need help registering for the vaccine or don’t have access online, dial 311 and press #. State of Maryland vaccine phase and vaccine clinic locations: https://coronavirus.maryland. gov/pages/vaccine.

Reporting Community Issues How to Report Potential Unruly Gatherings or Excessive Noise Violations If there is an excessively loud or unruly gathering, or if a gathering may be potentially in violation of the State or County’s large gathering restrictions due to COVID, residents may report these and other issues to the City’s 24/7 Hotline. Please call the City’s 24/7 Hotline at 240-487-3588 to report these or any other issues. Residents can also report student or University of Maryland (UMD) related issues directly to the University via their 4Maryland reporting system at go.umd. edu/4MarylandReport. The City of College Park enforces Ordinances adopted by the City Council. A brief overview of the Ordinances and associated fines are listed in this article. Please read the City’s Code for more information and exact language. UMD students who are found in violation of City Ordinances are cited, fined, and referred to the UMD Office of Student Conduct. Property Owners may also be fined for violations of these Ordinances by their tenants. Depending on lease conditions, a property owner may pass on the cost of their fines to their tenants. For online access to the City Code go to https://ecode360.com/ CO0032.

NOISE - CHAPTER 138 During daytime hours (7 a.m. to

8 p.m., Mon.-Fri., and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat.-Sun., and Holidays) noise limit is 65 decibels at the noise source property line. The property line of an apartment is its corridor door. Night time noise limit is 55 decibels measured at the property line. The Noise Control Board will hold a hearing and can determine if a noise violation occurred. If two or more residents are disturbed by a noise, a sound meter reading is not needed during the hearing. A violation of the Noise Ordinance results in a $500 fine for the first violation and $1,000 fine for subsequent violations within 12 months of a previous violation.

emergency, a violation of this Ordinance results in a $1,000 fine.

UNRULY SOCIAL GATHERINGS - CHAPTER 141 In addition to Noise and Public Health Large Gathering Ordinances, Unruly Social Gatherings of eight or more people are prohibited. Unruly gatherings include behavior including possession or use of alcoholic beverages by an underage person, excessive noise as prohibited in Chapter 138, excessive vehicle or

pedestrian traffic at an event, use of illegal controlled substances, obstruction of public streets, public drunkenness, assaults, fights, disturbance of the peace, vandalism, public urination or defecation, littering, or other conduct which constitutes a threat to public safety, quiet enjoyment of other private property, or the public welfare. A violation of the Unruly Social Gathering Ordinance results in a fine of $500 for the first violation and $1,000 fine for subsequent violations.

NUISANCE - CHAPTER 141 Nuisances include violations of current public health executive orders and health directives. As of March 2, 2021, gatherings are limited to no more than 1 person or family for every 200 square feet of living area of a residence, or 25 people outside, or 10 people inside, whichever is less (per Prince George’s County Health Officer Directive and Order). Masks are required at gatherings both indoors and outside. Social distancing of at least 6 feet is required except among residents of the same household. During the COVID-19 pandemic



Apply to be a Member of the City’s New Restorative Justice Steering Committee Deadline for Applications Extended to March 15, 2021 On June 9, 2020, the Mayor and Council passed Resolution 20-R-16 Renouncing Systemic Racism and Declaring Support for Black Lives. The Resolution called for a restorative justice process to address the harms caused to the Lakeland community, particularly during the urban renewal process. To this end, the Mayor and Council plan to establish a Restorative Justice Commission. As a first step toward this goal, the City is establishing a Steering Committee to help guide the process. The Steering Committee will be asked to complete its work within a short period of time, and its work will be done upon the presentation of its recommendations to the City Council.

What are Your Sustainable Practices? Take the City’s Committee for a Better Environment’s Sustainability Survey The Committee for a Better Environment (CBE) wants to hear from you about making College Park greener! The City of College Park is committed to going green to create a more livable city that has lower impacts on the Earth. CBE is a volunteer committee of residents dedicated to making College Park greener. The committee would like to hear from you about steps you are taking to be sustainable and any actions the City can take. Results from this survey will help

the Committee understand what residents are doing to go green in their lives, how sustainable College Park is overall, and will provide important information about what residents think are sustainabilityrelated priorities for the City. Please take a few minutes to tell us about your activities and views on sustainability. We want to hear from homeowners, renters, students - everyone who lives in College Park. The survey is available in both English and Spanish. This is a fairly quick survey and

should be reflective of your current practices. The survey is anonymous. Please complete the survey by March 25, 2021 at 11:50 p.m. Thanks in advance for your feedback! For any questions, please email publicworks@ collegeparkmd.gov.

TAKE THE SUSTAINABILITY SURVEY: • www.surveymonkey.com/r/ sustaincp • Spanish Version: https:// www.surveymonkey.com/r/ preservarcp

Are you interested in serving on the Steering Committee? If so, please complete the application at: www. collegeparkmd.gov/boardapp and submit it to Janeen S. Miller, City Clerk, at jsmiller@ collegeparkmd.gov. The application deadline has been extended to March 15, 2021. Members will be drawn from the Lakeland community (including former Lakeland residents) and the community at large. The City is particularly interested in identifying people who have experience with restorative justice processes. For more information, visit the City’s website at www. collegeparkmd.gov, contact citymanager@collegeparkmd.gov or call 240-487-3501.



Calling all Gardeners! Get your Gardens Spring Ready The City’s Smartleaf® compost and wood mulch is now available for delivery or pickup. The City’s SMARTLEAF® compost is made from City collected soft yard waste (leaves, grass clippings, flowers and light clippings). The City then recycles those items into compost for residents to purchase and use for their gardens. Our compost is registered as a general use compost.

additional fee, or material may be picked up at the City’s Department of Public Works (9217 51st Avenue) Monday through Friday, 8:0011:30 a.m. and 1:00-3:00 p.m. Bring an open bed truck or a shovel and container/bucket for pickup. Social distancing guidelines apply and masks are required. Visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/ compostdeliveryrequest to schedule a delivery.

Neither the City’s compost nor wood mulch are chemically treated.

Compost is $28.00 per cubic yard, and wood mulch is $12.00 per cubic yard.

Smartleaf® Compost deliveries have resumed on a limited basis. Delivery is available for an

For more information, visit: www. collegeparkmd.gov/compost or call 240-487-3590.

Helping Pollinators Pollinator Conservation in our Community Pollinators provide critical contributions by helping to produce seeds and fruit for people and other animals. Although many people think of honey bees when they think about pollinators, honey bees are managed livestock that are not native to the U.S. However, there are many native pollinators, including over 400 species of harmless bees and 150 species of butterflies native here in Maryland. The number of many pollinators has declined due to habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change. Fortunately, there are simple steps that can be taken to conserve native pollinators.

CREATE HABITATS THAT SUPPORT POLLINATORS Below are some tips to help create habitats that support various pollinators: • In place of turfgrass, which provides almost nothing for pollinators, plant flowering plants, especially native plants, that provide nectar and pollen. There are many available lists of native and pollinator friendly plants, including from University of Maryland Extension and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. • Promote a healthy overall ecosystem by planting native grasses and trees that provide food and habitat for other native wildlife. • Try to avoid raking leaves; fallen leaves provide

important nutrients for soil, suppress weeds, and mitigate erosion. They also provide food and shelter for a number of beneficial organisms that are essential components of the ecosystem. If you must rake up leaves, try to find a place to pile them up and in a few short seasons you’ll have the best fertilizer money can’t buy. • Leave wildflower stems and seed heads in place throughout winter. The stems provide habitat for native wildlife, and the seeds provide food for birds. • In spring 2021, the local brood of 17-year cicadas will emerge. The exoskeletons and carcasses can provide an additional source of soil nutrients. Rather than sweeping these up and trashing them, use them as compost. • At night, minimize use of artificial light or choose lightbulbs designed not to disrupt nocturnal wildlife. Artificial light disrupts nightactive pollinators and other nocturnal wildlife, including lightning bugs.

AVOID USING PESTICIDES AND FUNGICIDES To minimize mosquito populations in your yard, eliminate sources of standing water and use mosquito traps instead of spraying chemicals. From the City’s Bee City



March 2021 | College Park Here & Now

Page 7

The history of College Park’s incorporation By D.W. Rowlands College Park incorporated in 1945, and it was the last of the string of jurisdictions along Route 1 — and one of the last ones in the county — to do so. Unlike the older communities established along the Route 1 Corridor, College Park was, prior to its incorporation, a group of neighborhoods that had developed at different times and for different reasons, and these neighborhoods were generally seen as individual and separate entities.

THE NEIGHBORHOODS THAT BECAME COLLEGE PARK The oldest of College Park’s neighborhoods is Branchville, which grew up as a rural community around a stop on the B&O Railroad’s Camden Line. A post office opened in this spot in 1867, and by 1871 the rail station there served the Maryland Agricultural College (now the University of Maryland). The station, the post office and a cluster of homes were located where Calvert Road crossed the railroad. As Washington grew in the decades after the Civil War, so did the demand for suburbs along the rail lines. In 1888, Berwyn Heights, the first subdivision in the College Park area was es-

tablished north of what is now East-West Highway. The next year, land for the Berwyn and Old Town neighborhoods of the College Park we now know, was subdivided. Then, in 1890, Lakeland was established as a resort community around a former B&O railroad gravel pit that had been converted to a lake. Railroad commuting was expensive, and there was little growth, at first, in these railroad suburbs. Then the Rhode Island Avenue streetcar line opened, in 1900, through what would become College Park; the line provided half-hourly service from Branchville Road into the District. This new ease of access spurred the establishment of Calvert Hills, south of Old Town, and Daniels Park and Hollywood, north of Branchville Road, within a few years.

EARLY INCORPORATION ATTEMPTS Population growth in the area really took off in the years after World War I, and, in 1924, Berwyn Heights incorporated. That same year, a referendum to establish a Town of Berwyn — consisting of Berwyn, Branchville, and parts of Autoville and Daniels Park — failed. A second referendum, this time covering only the Berwyn subdivision, failed in 1927.

The next effort at a new municipal incorporation came in 1935, when a referendum to incorporate University City, with roughly the current borders of University Park, failed. The next year, the southern portion of University Park successfully incorporated, while Gov. Harry Nice vetoed a bill for a referendum to incorporate the Berwyn subdivision, after receiving a petition opposing the move from most of the qualified voters. A final referendum to incorporate Berwyn, again including Branchville, Autoville, Daniels Park and Hollywood, failed in 1941. As was the case in the previous unsuccessful attempts, the voters who opposed incorporation were largely concerned about higher taxes. Also in 1941, the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill authorizing what were termed special improvement districts in Prince George’s County; these districts had the power to levy taxes to provide specific municipal services not provided by the county. Two years later, the county established Special Improvement Area No. 3, in Old Town and Calvert Hills, to provide trash collection and improve the area’s unpaved roads.

NEGOTIATING COLLEGE PARK’S BORDERS After two decades of false starts, the path to College Park’s incorporation began in earnest in December 1944, when, with the encouragement of University of Maryland officials, a committee was formed to promote the incorporation of Old Town, Calvert Hills and College Heights (now the northeastern portion of University Park). It took several months of negotiation, however, to settle on borders for the new town. The initial proposal would

have placed the northern border along Paint Branch and the western border on Adelphi Road. During negotiations, Lakeland and Berwyn were added to the proposal. In response, Berwyn Heights introduced a counterproposal to annex Berwyn, itself. At the time, the two neighborhoods were linked by a grade crossing of Berwyn Road across the B&O tracks. Berwyn quickly rejected the proposal for annexation by Berwyn Heights, but Berwyn Heights residents expressed support for inclusion in College Park, and representatives from the town were added to the committee drafting a proposed charter. Following a month of negotiations, though, residents at a Berwyn Heights town meeting voted 78-58 against joining College Park, and the neighborhood was dropped from the proposal. The Maryland House of Delegates committee that considered the charter also removed College Heights and most of the rest of the territory between Baltimore Avenue and Adelphi Road from the proposal; delegates representing the area requested the change because most of what was known as West College Park consisted of farmland. Following this change, the city’s western border became Paint Branch, the University of Maryland campus and what would later become Guilford Road. Much of the West College Park area was annexed into College Park over the decades that followed. At the time of incorporation, the eastern border largely resembled the city’s current border, though a portion of Lakeland was the only residential development east of the B&O tracks at that time. Although Branchville Road was originally intended to be

the city’s northern border, a last-minute amendment to the incorporation bill added an area further north, to Edgewood Road, as the Fifth District. However, in an oversight that was to become significant, that area was not added to the bill’s title.

INCORPORATION REFERENDUM AND LAWSUIT College Park’s incorporation referendum on June 4, 1945 passed 955-707, with 91% of the electorate voting. Support was strongest in Old Town and Calvert Hills, where the vote was 454-96 in favor of incorporation. Berwyn also supported the bill, with a vote of 219-158. The African American community of Lakeland was strongly opposed, though, with a vote of 171-9 against the measure, largely due to fears that incorporation was a plot to allow the university to seize residents’ land. Fifth District voters also opposed incorporation by a small margin, 282-273, and several residents announced a lawsuit to overturn the incorporation. The basis of their suit was that excluding Fifth District communities from the title of the incorporation bill violated the state constitution’s requirement for descriptive bill titles. During the summer of 1946, the court ruled that this drafting error invalidated College Park’s incorporation. The city appealed the ruling, and the Maryland Court of Appeals delayed ruling on the matter until the 1947 session of the General Assembly was able to pass a new bill of incorporation, which included a corrected title and provisions that allowed the mayor and city council to remain in office until the next regular election was held.

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Page 8

College Park Here & Now | March 2021


College Park in 1970, famously devastated the community by destroying many existing family homes and replacing them with subsidized and high-density housing, under the guise of flood remediation for the area. The piece included three distinct sections: “Funding and Negotiation,” “Construction and Betrayal,” and “Prayers and Resilience.” Each section aimed to depict a phase of the Urban Renewal Plan, highlighting the community’s hope for revitalization. “The piece concludes with contemplative timbres, looking ahead to the future of Lakeland amidst the devastation of the Urban Renewal Plan and hoping for a brighter future,” wrote composer and percussionist Trevor Barroero. The final vignette, entitled “hymns,” utilized three wellknown religious songs, with slight alterations that composer Carlos Simon said underscored the effects of gentrification. “Take it. Take it,” the performers angrily chanted. “Take everything.” At the conclusion of the performance, the trio spoke with the audience about their compositions. They noted that Lakeland’s story is one that is echoed in many other communities around the country. “We hope the community is very proud of what we put together today,” Floyd said. Maxine Gross, president of the Lakeland Community Heritage Project, also offered comments at the end of the program. Gross had given the trio access to residents’ oral histories, which they used throughout the performance. “I had no idea what you were going to do,” Gross said. “But I couldn’t be more thrilled.” This event comes in the midst of serious restorative justice efforts between the mayor and city council, and members of the Lakeland community. On Feb. 9, the College Park City Council unanimously approved

The piece included three distinct sections: “Funding and Negotiation,” “Construction and Betrayal,” and “Prayers and Resilience.” Each section aimed to depict a phase of the Urban Renewal Plan, highlighting the community’s hope for revitalization. the establishment of a Restorative Justice Steering Committee to develop the framework for a full commission. The steering committee will make recommendations concerning the work, goals and timeline for the commission. Committee members will include former and current Lakelanders, and other city residents, councilmembers, and at least one individual who is familiar with the restorative justice process, according to interim City Manager Bill Gardiner. Gross pointed out that if restorative justice is to be successful, Lakelanders need to be able to claim and tell their story, and the community as a whole needs to hear and honor that story. “If this is to be a true healing process and a restorative process, it has to be something that folks know about, and folks travel on that journey together,” she said. The city council is searching for members to serve on the Restorative Justice Steering Committee. If you are interested, contact citymanager@ collegeparkmd.gov or call 240.487.3501.

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stroke during an offseason football workout in 2018. In addition to that piece, Washington will be creating six or seven paintings for the university’s football hall. “[Locksley] said ‘it’s time to get you back involved … make an impression on the young guys,’” Washington said. Washington said that he hopes to extend his artistic sensibility to the College Park community. “College Park is very diverse,” Washington said. “You have kids from all over the country and artists who have come through there with all types of talent. … I just want to leave my mark.” Washington said that meeting students of diverse backgrounds in his art classes at UMD inspired him to focus on his figure work. “I’m not just painting a face; I’m getting into their feelings,” Washington said. “I want to capture my people … the characteristics that make them different.” Washington said that his great grandfather, who was a commercial artist and jeweler, inspired him to become an artist, himself. He said that the weekends he spent watching him work built the foundation of his own artistic talents. Washington takes the same focus he had on his great grandfather and places it on the athletes and historical figures he brings to life today. “I don’t have favorite pieces; I have favorite people,” he said. One of them is Muhammad Ali, who is the focus of a series of paintings Washington will present at Red Dot Miami 2021, an art fair slated for next December. Washington’s art journey kicked off when he was a student and football player at DeMatha Cath-

UMD graduate Lynde Washington is painting a tribute piece to give to the family of Jordan McNair. COURTESY OF LYNDE WASHINGTON

olic High School, just two miles down the road from the university. Vaughn Holsey, Washington’s high school art teacher, recognized his student’s talent from the start. “From the first mark a kid puts on paper, I can tell when they’re good,” Holsey said. “Mr. Holsey was the second man who ever inspired me to continue to make art,” Washington said. “He let me develop my own style.” Holsey said that Washington was serious, and that he dedicated and devoted himself to art, even with the demands of athletics. “Lynde has a unique style. … It has this soft movement and lifelike feeling,” Holsey said. In most of his work, Washington turns to his love for sports for inspiration, painting figures like Mike Tyson, Walter Payton and

Jim Brown. Holsey said that when he saw Washington’s signed Jim Brown painting, he knew that he had to have it. “I got the No. 1 print,” he said. He said that he is excited for Washington to be part of the DeMatha alumni art association he is forming. “He is one of the top five students I’ve had who is still practicing and making a living off of their artwork,” Holsey said. “He’s recording history.” Holsey thinks that it’s important that Washington is bringing his art back to College Park. “Give honor to the places that got you where you are,” he said. “The athletes are going to see [Washington’s work] and say ‘He was a football player? I didn’t know we could do that.’ … They’ll appreciate seeing one of their own.”

College Park Women’s Book Club Meet new women and say hello to old friends... virtually on Zoom!

Join today!

What to expect: • 1-2 books a month • Weekly topics • Cooking demonstrations • Stress-relieving tips • Connecting with other women

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @collegeparkwomensbookclub Please visit our Facebook page and take a quick Survey! For more information, email collegeparkwomensbookclub@gmail.com

March 2021 | College Park Here & Now

Page 9

Couple finds creative spark during pandemic By John Skendall A pandemic: It’s safe to say that not many of us have lived through one before. And it hasn’t been an easy year for any of us. But sometimes inspiration is found in unusual places, and for College Park’s Andrew and Christina Toy, solitude turned into opportunity. Confined for many long months, they’ve recorded an album and written a children’s book. The Here & Now spoke with the Sunnyside couple about how they found new creative outlets while they hunkered down at home. Christina and Andrew settled in College Park seven years ago, in large part because the community struck them as a good place to raise a family. “Quarantine gave me an excuse to do something more than what I was used to and gave me more time with my husband, who is my sounding board for everything,” Christina explained. “While I don’t feel that I conquered the pandemic, I do feel as though I conquered myself and any invisible limits or boxes I had put myself in prior.” Her first children’s book, Going to the Phlebotomist, is aimed at children ages two to six and is intended to help kids overcome the fear of having blood drawn for the first time. “Children can be frightened or anxious when they are unaware of what to expect from any experience,” Christina said. “Coupling that with a somewhat invasive procedure and the situation can become traumatic for the caregiver and the child, as well as making the phleboto-

The Toys found unexpected creativity during their long months at home. PHOTO OF ANDREW TOY COURTESY OF EMAN EL SAIED

mist work a little harder. This book allows children to learn what to expect when they need lab work done. ... Children’s books can open up a world otherwise unknown, especially

now, because of limited contact with the outside world.” Andrew met Christina when he performed at a concert in Philadelphia. They found a mutual interest in travel and music.

An accomplished drummer, Andrew has been recognized both locally and nationally. With limited performing opportunities during the pandemic, Andrew was able to take a break from touring and record an entire album of original songs. He said that the project might not have come to fruition, if not for these many months at home. “It’s possible, but it would’ve taken longer, with more interruptions,” he said. “Also, just the heaviness and strangeness of everything that happened in 2020 had an effect on my music that may not have been present otherwise, along with giving my work a greater feeling of immediacy.” Released on Jan. 15, the album, Guardrails, has already garnered critical acclaim. “Listeners who want to hear something fresh and hear percussion used in a different way than they may be used to will likely enjoy this album,” Andrew said. “Specifically, fans of postrock, minimalism, electronic and world music.” Asked what advice they have for others who dream about creating something, the Toys said that it’s all about putting one foot in front of the other. “If there is a goal you are work-

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ing towards, make baby steps,” Christina said. “Take a minute a day to work on your project and build upon that each day.” “Focus on what makes you unique and brings you joy, and don’t compare your path to anyone else’s,” Andrew added. Initially, living in College Park was a boon for Christina, who has a career with the airlines, as the city is about equidistant from the DMV’s three major airports. During the pandemic, though, Christina has relied more heavily on her ties to the College Park community. She volunteered at the community library, and neighbors helped edit her book. Christina said that living in College Park has been all about organic connections. And Andrew has been philosophical. “The best we can strive for is to make the best of a bad situation, have empathy for others, and become the best versions of ourselves,” he said.

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College Park Here & Now | March 2021

City reconsiders Revitalization Tax Credit By Shreya Vuttaluru The College Park City Council is revisiting a tax credit that was promised prematurely to Gilbane Building Company. In order to grant Gilbane the agreed upon tax credit, the city would have to issue an ordinance that would amend the city code to accommodate this action. Under the current city code, Gilbane is ineligible for a tax credit for the Tempo student housing project, as the building’s primary use is undergraduate housing. The council issued a letter of apology to Gilbane for incorrectly granting the tax credit. Gilbane requested an amendment to the city code in January. Gilbane is the developer of two student housing projects in College Park: Tempo (previously known as Northgate), the 978bed project currently under construction on Baltimore Avenue (next to Taco Bell), and Western Gateway, which is adjacent to the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The company also contracted with WMATA to build a mixed-use development adjacent to the College Park Metro Station. Planned real estate development projects in College Park, including other student housing projects, total about $500 million, according to The Hyattsville Wire. The Revitalization Tax Credit program was created to provide financial incentives for economic development and to establish revitalization districts in the city, according to the program guidelines. The council is split on the issue of whether or not to amend the city code to grant the tax credit. The proposed ordinance would amend the city code such that the tax credit could only be granted to student housing projects in situations where it was first granted in error. If passed, the ordinance would allow the council to decide whether to grant the tax credit to Gilbane and determine the amount that could be allocated. As it currently stands, the tax credit would offer an estimated $571,020 in projected tax savings for Gilbane over a five-year period. The council debated the ordinance at the Feb. 16 worksession. Councilmember Maria Mackie (District 4) did not feel it was fair to the citizens of College

Park to bear the brunt of the tax credit. “We are living in precarious times; we don’t know what’s going to happen … and we have a lot of things on our plate,” she said, referring to the budget. Councilmember Fazlul Kabir (District 1) agreed, comparing the situation to a routine traffic stop. When a member of law enforcement makes an error in issuing a ticket, they do not change the law such that the issuing of that ticket can be justified, he argued. “I’m really struggling that we are making, or rather, changing the law to correct a mistake,” Kabir said. Conversely, Councilmember John Rigg (District 3) expressed his belief that the council had a responsibility to uphold its previous unanimous vote to grant Gilbane the tax credit, citing the reputational hit that the council would take for reversing a unanimous decision. “I think it sends the wrong signal to the development community … and [to the] people in our city who rely upon our staff,” Rigg said. Councilmember Kate Kennedy (District 1) worried that businesses might be reluctant to invest in the city if tax credits were not available. She further stressed that this ordinance would not simply be a method of paying Gilbane, but also an incentive to attract businesses to the area. “Overall, when we attract businesses like this, the tax base goes up, and the taxes around the city actually go down for individual homeowners,” Kennedy said. Councilmember Robert Day (District 3 ) concurred, adding that providing the tax credit to Gilbane would ultimately show businesses that the city is serious about working with them. “We have seen the impact of not having businesses come to College Park,” Day said. Councilmember Monroe Dennis (District 2) introduced the ordinance at the Feb. 23rd council meeting. The virtual public hearing was scheduled after press time on March 9. As the meeting opened up for public comment, resident Mary King expressed her discontent at councilmembers for treating the ordinance vote so nonchalantly. “We can do better and I think we need to do better,” she said. “We need more than just housing on Route 1.”


with the Terrapin Development Company to find a new location. “We wanted to stay in the College Park area closer to the university, because most of our customers are students,” said Maria Koumpouras, owner of Marathon Deli. “The University of Maryland helped us with finding a new location. We thank them for that, because they helped us a lot. We’re just in a better and bigger location, more seating is available when the coronavirus is no longer.” Terrapin Development Company offered other businesses in the shopping center assistance, too, according to Katie Gerbes, a development manager with the company. “We offered each of our tenants within that shopping center a few different options as they vacated — some will take a temporary leave of absence and open back up in the new project when it is complete, some (like Marathon) asked for help relocating to a new location, and others have taken this opportunity to retire or explore other career options. Marathon Deli expressed their desire to stay open, and as a result, we worked to find them their new location,” she wrote in an email. While Marathon’s new location was announced earlier in 2020, their grand opening was in October, when fewer students were on campus, due to the pandemic. “The university is closed and students weren’t here for a while, but thankfully we’ve been doing okay. We had a lot of people who were not coming into the restaurant, but we’re doing a lot of Uber Eats and deliveries to the students, so it’s getting better,” said Koumpouras. In addition to opening a new location during the pandemic, Marathon joined Route One Communities Care, a coalition along the Route 1 Corridor that helps fight food insecurity in the community. “Once a restaurant enters the program, we buy meals from them once or twice per month ($10 per meal, usually around 100 meals at a time) and staff and volunteers transport the food to different distribution sites,” said Bronte Nevins, who works with the Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization Community Development Corporation (CKAR CDC), a nonprofit partner of Route One Communities Care.

In addition to moving to a new location during the pandemic, Marathon joined Route One Communities Care, a coalition along the Route 1 Corridor that helps fight food insecurity in the community. JULIA NIKHINSON

According to Koumpouras, once CKAR CDC staff approached Marathon about the program, they knew they wanted to participate. “They came and talked to us about it and it was something that we were interested in doing. We would like to help out people that cannot really afford [ food], or [are] in a tight spot. We [participate] about once a month,” she said. Overall, Route One Communities Care serves an average of around 450 meals per week, according to Nevins. The food is distributed at different locations in Riverdale Park, College Park, University Park and Hyattsville. The organization strives to distribute meals based on the area’s needs. “Many of [Marathon Deli’s] meals have been brought to Parkview Gardens, where there is a large population of refugees. The meals have been very enthusiastically

accepted there. One benefit of our program is that we are able to bring culturally sensitive meals to distributions, such as vegetarian meals, halal meals, and meals that are familiar to the people we are serving,” said Nevins. Even though the new Marathon may look a little different, Koumpouras said that they still serve their familiar Greek food to an appreciative community. “They like our food, and we like to help out,” she said. Steven Ioannidis, a junior at the university, agrees with Koumpouras. “As someone with family from Greece and who has been there multiple times, I’d definitely say Marathon has one of the most authentic gyros I’ve ever had in the U.S.,” he said. “It’s a place where I feel like I can take my friends and show off the thing I love most about my cultural background — the food.”

March 2021 | College Park Here & Now

How Amherst Road became so close-knit By Nan Roche For 37 years, we residents of Amherst Road have kept a directory to create supportive connections and a stream of communication. As my neighbor and friend Carol Nezzo says, “health is profoundly social in nature.” I encourage all residents to connect any way they can to benefit themselves and our community. Our directory began with my neighbor, Ann Leffel. Back then, Amherst Road was home to many families with young children, and mothers worked together to swap childcare and arrange playdates. Ann kept phone numbers — all the phone numbers. She threw a party for me and my husband when we moved to the neighborhood, in 1983, and a flock of neighbors gathered to share food and all their recommendations. We were stunned — and thrilled. What an amazing welcome! In an attempt to extend Ann’s hospitality, I went door to door with my clipboard — this was before computers, let alone smartphones — jotting down names and phone numbers. I explained to my neighbors that my list was exclusive to Amherst Road, and that it would allow us to contact each other to help with problems, share recommendations for plumbers

and painters, and, of course, to organize fun — the parties we had were really great! Signing up was optional, but everyone eventually participated. While old neighbors have moved out, and new neighbors have moved in, the list has stood the test of time. Our directory continues to serve us well, no matter who is on it. It has fostered close friendships among us. And we still try to have a party for newcomers, with the list as our guide. And our directory preserves traditions. Kathy Reef organizes our annual progressive dinner, and Chantel and Don Bush host a Bastille Day party every July. We turn to the list to organize picnics, find walking companions, throw graduation parties, hire pet sitters and outsource snow shovelling — and so much more. But the list’s power of connection extends beyond convenience; our directory continues to create new bonds among us. Indeed, Joann Prosser, a newcomer to the neighborhood, recently organized another neighbor’s 90th birthday party. For the ways our directory connects us, Amherst Road feels like a small town. I highly recommend creating your own street listing. If you need advice, you are most welcome to contact me, Nan Roche, at rochebender@verizon.net.

Page 11


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College Park Here & Now | March 2021

Pollinator Committee creating a buzz about town By Alyssa Kraus The City of College Park has formed a new committee as the first step in officially certifying the city as a bee-friendly community. The Pollinator Committee, so named in a Feb. 10 meeting, currently meets virtually each month, with the goal of making College Park a sustainable home for pollinators through gardening, outreach and advocacy. Bee City USA, the organization that certifies cities as bee-friendly, was founded in 2012 to help reverse pollinator declines. According to Bee City USA’s website, 85% of flowering plants and 67% of agricultural crops rely on pollinators. Some 40% of pollinating insects are at risk of extinction, due to a variety of factors, including climate change and pesticide use. “Because of the population decline in ... butterflies, insects, [and] birds, the city and city council thought that it was important ... to address these issues, to increase awareness in the city ... and develop some activities that will promote education and interactive volunteer projects,” Brenda Alexander, assistant director of

the College Park Public Works Department and staff liaison, said during the committee’s February meeting. Bee City USA’s certification process provides a framework to conserve pollinators. Interested applicants must meet a series of requirements, the first of which is establishing a committee. The College Park City Council approved the move to become a Bee City USA affiliate in November 2019 and established the committee, which has held three virtual meetings to discuss Bee City USA’s commitments and the city’s plans for meeting them. The commitments, which are listed in a contract signed by applicants, detail the certification process. After creating a pollinator committee, the city must develop plans to create or enhance pollinator habitats each year. To meet this commitment, the committee compiled a list of possible locations for pollinator gardens in College Park. “Hopefully this spring we will get an opportunity to get a bee garden into the ground,” Alan Hew, who chairs the committee, said. “We shall see what our challenges are

The City of College Park has formed a new committee as the first step in officially certifying the city as a bee-friendly community. JULIA NIKHINSON

with the pandemic at the time.” Although locations have not been confirmed, the committee hopes to create two gardens this year. They have also developed a list of native plants that will be ideal for the gardens. The list will be made available to residents on the city’s website. Hew said that the committee will

seek volunteers to establish and maintain the gardens. The committee encourages homeowners to plant some native plants in their own yards, too. “There’s much more space on private property than there is in public space,” Alexander said. “So, in addition to creating public gardens, there will be a big

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component for residents to create gardens on their own private property.” Along with creating safe habitats for pollinators, Bee City USA affiliates are required to reduce the use of pesticides, incorporate pollinator-conscious practices in city policies and host pollinator awareness events. College Park’s committee plans to hold an event in June to celebrate National Pollinator Week, providing pandemicrelated restrictions ease by then. Members also hope to create pollinator-friendly traditions such as No Mow May, a month-long period during which homeowners step back and allow their yards and gardens to simply flourish as natural habitats. The City of College Park’s Pollinator Committee will continue to meet virtually on the second Wednesday of every month. In March, the committee plans to discuss interactive volunteer projects and the prospect of establishing a garden at City Hall. “I’m hoping that once we get our committee up and going, we can serve as an example … [to help] this movement spread in this area,” Hew said.