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Editor asks, ‘Who’s in charge — you or your phone?’ P. 2

St. Jerome Academy announces major expansion By Lindsay Myers

In a move to cut lengthy waiting lists for admission, St. Jerome Academy (SJA) has announced an expansion plan that will begin this fall with the addition of a third Montessori pre-K class and a second kindergarten. An additional class will be added each successive year until enrollment — currently 333 students — caps at around 530 in the 20272028 school year. “When we began making admissions this winter,” said SJA Principal Danny Flynn, “there were four applicants for every opening in our two Montessori Primary [pre-


City council voted on the 2019 property tax rate. Read more in the news briefs. P. 6

GOING TO MARKET Farmers market has a new home at Summer Jam. P. 9


Vol. 15 No. 5

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

May 2018

The former Washington Surburban Sanitary Commission building is the subject of a lively debate among residents — is the Werrlein plan progress or a problem?

ST. JEROME continued on page 3

Popular annual Historic House Tour returns on May 20 By Maria James

The 39th annual Historic House Tour, hosted by the Hyattsville Preservation Association (HPA), will be held on Sunday, May 20, from 1 to 5 p.m. The self-guided walking tour starts at the Hyattsville Municipal Building, located at 4310 Gallatin Street, where participants will receive an informative booklet that includes a map of the houses on the tour. All of the houses featured on the tour are within walking distance and may be seen in any order at the visitor’s own pace. The city TOUR continued on page 10

Community divided Hyattsville shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity to beautify, unify

Hyattsville can do better than the Werrlein proposal

By Will Seath

By Tim Davis

Werrlein Properties’ proposal for the long-neglected former WSSC property would restore the Historic District’s pattern of traditional residential development to a site where it previously existed, stitching the surrounding neighborhood back together with a sensible, attractive streetscape while removing a dangerous eyesore. Though I take its opponents in good faith, their arguments risk missing an opportunity to

Werrlein Properties’ proposal for the redevelopment of the former WSSC headquarters has engendered lively public debate. As a professional historian, preservationist and longtime Hyattsville resident, I believe the proposal’s purported benefits are significantly outweighed by the damage it would do the city’s historic character, community identity, and social and environmental sustainability. Neighbors

WERRLEIN-FOR continued on page 12

WERRLEIN-AGAINST continued on page 11


Reach every consumer in Hyattsville ... for less! Contact or 301-531-5234

Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781


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Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018


Your phone: a time-sucking labyrinth By Heather Wright

When’s the last time you checked your smartphone? How long can you go before you feel compelled to check it? I admit that I’ve been judgmental of dining couples who seem more into their phones than one another. And of pedestrians hypnotized by their phones, creating a world — not of faces and eye contact — but of craned heads bent over colorful screen backs. And of parent friends around our Vigilante

A community newspaper chronicling the life and times of Hyattsville Mailing address: PO Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781 Hyattsville Life & Times is published monthly by Hyattsville Community Newspaper, Inc., 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 below. Managing Editor Maria D. James Associate Editor Heather Wright Digital Editor Krissi Humbard Webmaster Lindsay Myers Layout & Design Editor Ashley Perks Copy Editor Nancy Welch Advertising 301.531.5234 Writers & Contributors Victoria Boucher, Tim Davis, Juliette Fradin, Will Seath, Fred Seitz Board of Directors Joseph Gigliotti — President and General Counsel Chris Currie — Vice President Emily Strab — Treasurer Rosanna Landis Weaver, Gretchen Brodtman, Debra Franklin, T. Carter Ross Maria D. James and Krissi Humbard — Ex Officios Circulation: Copies are distributed monthly by U.S. mail to every address in Hyattsville. Additional copies are distributed to libraries, selected businesses, community centers and churches in the city. Total circulation is 9,300. HL&T is a member of the National Newspaper Association.

table on school mornings who constantly check their phones (you know who you are). However, as I learn more about tech companies and their attempts to keep us on our devices, I’m developing more compassion for those hooked on their phones — as well as an understanding of why, after a busy HL&T production week, I’m pressing and swiping my phone more. When I’m driving, I trust that the road was designed to facilitate safe, efficient travel. Traffic circles, onand-off ramps, speed limits, road signs, guardrails and the like exist to support this goal. Sure, there are other considerations — such as economizing and working with and around the landscape — but overall, those who plan and design roads strive for the common good. In contrast, the design of many commercial stores is for the business’ good vs. the common good. Owners want to get us in their store and keep us there as long as possible, buying more than we planned along the way. Grocery stores locate produce in the entryway so that we feel good about ourselves, lowering our defenses for our later encounters with potato chips and ice cream. Staples — bread, milk and eggs — are placed far away from the entrance, giving us the opportunity to pick up a few extra items along our journey. Or think of the IKEA labyrinth. The store is overwhelming, and arrows on the floor soothingly promise they’ll eventually get us to where we’re going, while somehow taking us past every showplace item on our way. When we finally make it to the checkout, we’re confronted by huge bins of cheap, colorful items. Our energy to resist is depleted by the hours spent weaving around the store. Surely, one more item won’t really matter.

Mobile technology works similarly and revolves around the attention economy. The longer sites keep our attention, the more likely we’ll buy something, either from them or from an advertiser. And even if we don’t buy something, we’ve given them loads of data which they can use later or sell to advertisers. Many Silicon Valley executives and developers are well aware of the addictive qualities of the technology they’ve helped create. And they take strong steps against their own — or, sometimes more tellingly, their children’s — use of such technology. Bill Gates’ children couldn’t have their own cell phones until they were 14, and Steve Jobs kept his children from using the iPad when it was first released. Nir Eyal, the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, had a device installed in his home that cuts off access to the internet at a set time every day. And when Justin Rosenstein, the co-creator of the Facebook “like” button (which he describes as providing “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure”), bought a new iPhone, he asked his assistant to set up a parental-control feature that would prevent him from downloading any apps. An October 2017 Guardian ar-

ticle described how Rosenstein and others like him have grown concerned about their inventions and how the mobile tech industry is geared toward capitalizing on addictive behavior. For example, Facebook’s “like” feature, according the article, “caused engagement [to soar] as people enjoyed the shortterm boost they got from giving or receiving social affirmation, while Facebook harvested valuable data about the preferences of users that could be sold to advertisers.” Tristan Harris, former Google design ethicist and product philosopher, was told by a friend working at Facebook that their alert feature started off as blue. “But no one used it,” according to Harris. “Then they switched it to red and, of course, everyone used it.” Harris describes red as a “trigger color.” Think sirens and fire trucks and stop signs. Red declares, “Pay attention and take action!” Harris also described how the most effective design uses the concept of variable rewards, the behaviorist finding that makes gambling so consuming: Maybe you’ll get a big reward at the pull of a lever, the touch of a red alert button, and maybe you won’t. You’ll just have to keep pulling, keep pushing and

swiping, and find out. It’s obviously working. The average U.S. user spends about five hours daily on their mobile devices, according to Flurry Analytics. A 2016 study by Common Sense Media found that 50 percent of U.S. teens and 27 percent of their parents reported feeling addicted to their mobile devices. A good first step in gaining control of our mobile device use is knowing that the information superhighway is not a road designed to get users safely and efficiently where they want to go. It’s more of a labyrinth that keeps us following its arrows, clicking its links, turning corner upon corner upon corner until we emerge … hours later … with a sense of groggily waking up and wondering where the time went. The Center for Humane Technology, an advocacy group founded by Harris and other former tech insiders and CEOs, makes a number of other recommendations such as charging devices outside the bedroom, going grayscale, limiting notifications and banners, and setting homescreens to tools only (no apps). The group also recommends a variety of apps designed to cut down on distractions by, for example, temporarily turning a smartphone into a dumb one, or tracking time spent on devices or on specific apps. Common Sense offers research, advice and tools to parents, teachers and children to promote positive media and tech usage. Schools are beginning to grapple with how they can assist students in taking control of their digital worlds. I’m now very curious about Hyattsville-area schools and if and how they’re helping students become masters of their devices, versus being mastered by them. Please let me know if you have some of the answers; I think I’ve found my next article pitch.

MyTwoCents: Letters to the Editor I found [the April Letter to the Editor concerning the Werrlein Properties’ proposal] to be in extremely poor taste. I don’t object to [the writer’s] opposition to the proposed Magruder Pointe development, although I support [the development] and believe our neighborhood will be enhanced by new faces and homes in place of a vacant, deteriorating building. My issue is with [the writer] calling out Karl Granzow. Yes, it’s true that he is a convicted felon. But so what? He has served

his time and is now employed by a reputable company, Werrlein Properties. His past has no bearing whatsoever on this project. If nothing else, the debate over the development should be devoid of personal attacks and insults. Each of us has a perfectly valid reason for supporting or opposing it without bringing up someone’s past mistakes. My husband and I own one of the new houses that Werrlein Properties built on Hamilton Street. We’ve heard those that oppose this proj-

ect refer to the homes as “insignificant infill” and “drab,” among other things. We are sorry some residents of Hyattsville feel this way. We love our new home, and we feel lucky to be a part of this amazing community. We hope the discourse involving the Magruder Pointe development can be more high-minded. Elizabeth Daigneau is a Hyattsville resident and an editor and writer with Governing magazine in Washington, D.C.

Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018


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K] classes, and three applicants for every spot in our kindergarten. We weren’t even able to admit all of our sibling applicants. Clearly, there was a pressing need to expand capacity.” Flynn said that SJA has received between 175 to 200 applications each year for the past few years, and is on track to exceed those totals this year. Some families are even moving across the country to attend SJA. Flynn noted that in the last 12 months alone, at least eight families contacted school staff for help in finding housing and were successful in renting or buying a home near SJA. After conducting a feasibility study, the school received approval for the expansion plan from the Archdiocese of Washington in April, according to Flynn. In the current economic and educational environment, a Catholic school adding students is almost unheard of. According to the National Catholic Education Association, within the last ten years, Catholic elementary school enrollments have declined by 27.5 percent in urban dioceses. And yet, after eight consecutive years of the school’s increasing enrollment — and despite the expansion — 56 students remain on SJA’s waitlist for the 2018-2019 school year. Nine years ago, SJA nearly closed because of budget shortfalls and low enrollment. The local archdiocese gave the school one year to close their budget and enrollment gaps. The parish rallied, raising more than enough money to save the school. Meanwhile, a group of parents came together and pitched a radical idea: What if SJA abandoned the standard archdiocesan curriculum and adopted a classical model of education? Classical education draws from a 2,500-year legacy of education in the Western world, beginning in ancient Greece. Students study the most enduring texts of civilization in an approach that emphasizes the interconnectedness of all areas of knowledge. Grades at SJA are organized around a historical time period, and the core class for the students each year examines that time period through historical documents, literature, music and religion.

Classical schools have been on the rise since the 1980s, gaining mainstream attention in the early 2000s when Great Hearts Academies, a public charter version of classical education, opened a network of schools in Arizona and, later, in Texas. Before SJA made the transition to classical education in 2009, few Catholic classical schools or curricula existed. While the curriculum committee consulted existing Christian classical curricula, they wanted something tailored for the needs of a Catholic school in the 21st century. “Being able to offer the fullness of Catholic culture in the school is important,” said Flynn. “I think the takeaway the [curriculum committee] had was that if we are doing this, we need to do something really unique for this community and not just grab an offthe-shelf program and try to get everyone on board. If we are trying to lead everybody to ponder the truth, we need to give them something beautiful to ponder in the first place.” The curriculum at SJA isn’t just for the students. This year, the school offered a curriculum-based monthly book club for parents. The group studied Homer’s Odyssey, which first- and sixth-grade students at SJA also read, albeit in adapted versions. Jane Murphy, one of the book club coordinators, emphasized the importance of parental involvement in classical education: “SJA recognizes that parents are the primary educators of their children, and that these parents can better reinforce the curriculum when they are familiar with the texts.” Flynn says it’s the fruits of the classical model that parents and children find so appealing. “Classical education speaks to the true, the good and the beautiful. Ultimately, you’re offering a chance to discover truth in a way that is in harmony with the way a child develops,” said Flynn, adding, “It is not perfect for every single family, but the overwhelming majority of people who have pursued [classical education] have come here with an open mind, and it’s been a really good fit. I think that if you have something really good and people want it and are willing to wait outside in line for it, then you should expand to meet the demand.”

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Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018


Take it slow, escargot

By Fred Seitz

Spring appears to finally have arrived and, with it, some of our more unusual, and sometimes disliked, outdoor critters — snails and slugs. These terrestrial mollusks are often disparaged by gardeners because they eat leafy vegetables, strawberries, beans and citrus fruits, as well as other garden plants. Although snails hibernate during the winter, slugs can remain active, though much of their cold-weather action is underground. These two beasties are essentially the same; it’s just that snails come with their shell home, which they will retreat into when frightened or threatened. Mom Nature chose not to be definitively decisive, as there are also semi-slugs that do not have a snail’s full shell, but rather a small protective partial shell (made of the same calcium carbonate as

the full shell) embedded in their skin. Snails, slugs and semi-slugs are all gastropods (gastropod means “belly foot”), which is an apt description of what each one is truly about — a foot which moves along (slowly) and eats. Most of the snails and slugs on the East Coast are non-native and came over on plants shipped from Europe. They are usually about half an inch long and live about five years. They can only move about 50 yards an hour. Snails and slugs are believed to have evolved some 600 million years ago from oceanic mollusks, their aquatic cousins which still exist and are ubiquitous, whether in aquariums and oceans, or in ponds and streams. Even for land snails and slugs, a fair amount of water is essential for survival, and dehydration is a death sentence. In order to maintain a humid environment and re-

duce their exposure to the sun’s drying rays, they often nestle under boards or rocks laying on the ground. Land snail and pond snail eggs can sometimes be seen on leaves near or in our local bodies of water. Interestingly, snails and slugs are hermaphroditic, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs. While they are capable of reproducing by themselves, there are also multihour courtships involving chemical “communication,” which often result in the fertilization of both participants. While infamous villains among gardeners, snails and slugs are food for mice, rats, birds, insects, turtles and other snails. They consume dead animals and other decaying material. Snails especially are a famous delicacy for humans, and are reported to be high in protein, low in fat. While I have eaten neither snails

Snails and slugs are essentially the same — but snails have a shell home.

nor slugs, those who advocate for their consumption emphasize the importance of carefully cleaning them with multiple boilings and changing the water for each boil. Apparently, their diet may include parasites that can be quite harmful to humans. There are numerous recipes

and instructions for cooking the beasties. And their well-known mucous has reportedly been used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans and others. For more information about these unusual critters, The Secret World of Slugs and Snails by David George Gordon makes for an enjoyable read.


Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018

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Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018


Clockwise from top: Northwestern High School band members perform during Hyattsville’s anniversary parade on April 14; the Tinkus Kay’sur USA Dancers won the city’s award for “Best Appearing Entry” in Hyattsville’s anniversary parade; Soap Box Derby participants drive in Hyattsville’s anniversary parade. JULIETTE FRADIN PHOTOGRAPHY



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LYLES PROTECTED OUR COUNTY • Associate County Attorney, Prince George’s County Office of Law

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Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018

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VISIT HYATTSVILLELIFE.COM FOR MORE COUNCIL VOTES TO SET 2019 PROPERTY TAX RATE On April 16, the Hyattsville City Council voted to set the fiscal year 2019 real property tax rate. The rate remains unchanged at $0.63 per $100 of assessed value. For the tax year beginning July 1, the estimated real property assessable base will increase by 4.75 percent, from $1,897,161,294 to $1,987,237,231. With the rate unchanged, real property tax revenues will increase by 4.75 percent, resulting in $567,478 of new real property tax revenues. For a breakdown of the tax rate, read the full article online at BUS TRANSPORTING NORTHWESTERN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS CATCHES FIRE On April 22, a bus transporting Northwestern High School (NHS) students back from New York City caught fire on the New Jersey Turnpike. The fire started in the wheel well of a bus carrying students from the NHS Visual and Performing Arts program home from a weekend trip to New York City. The fire temporarily shut down all lanes in the southbound direction of the New Jersey Turnpike, just north of Route 168. During the incident, TV personality and cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Oz happened to drive by and pulled over to confirm the students were safe.

There were no injuries, and the students returned to school that afternoon. Many personal possessions were lost in the fire, including musical instruments. The high school’s PTSA has established a GoFundMe account, asking for $5,000 to assist students replace lost items. In the first three days, the account received 43 donations and raised a little over $3,100. Officers of the 2017-2018 NHS PTSA will distribute financial awards following a yet-to-bedetermined application process. To contribute, visit, or contact NHS at 301.985.1820. FOREVER 21 COMING TO MALL AT PRINCE GEORGES IN 2019 Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), owners of the Mall at Prince Georges (MPG), announced it will add fashion retailer Forever 21 to its growing list of new tenants. “Forever 21 marks another milestone in the robust remerchandising efforts at MPG, where PREIT has undertaken a multi-million dollar investment to reimagine the shopper experience,” the company said in a press release. The 8,000-square-foot store is expected to open in late 2019. This will be the first Forever 21 in Prince George’s County.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018


Hyattsville Reporter No. 362 • May 8, 2018 • 301-985-5000

Budget Presentations

Trash Collection Changes

• Council Meeting: May 21, 8 – 10 p.m. Introduction & First Reading: FY2019 Budget Ordinance • Council Meeting: June 4, 8 – 9 p.m. Second Reading & Adoption: FY-2019 Budget Ordinance Be on the look out for the City’s Budget Guide, which we will send out in July!

Dogs for the Arts

It’s budget season here in Hyattsville! All meetings take place in Council Chambers on the third floor of the City Building, 4310 Gallatin Street.

City offices will be closed in observance of Memorial Day, Monday, May 28. Emergency services will continue. There will be no yard waste collection this week, and compost will be collected on Tuesday, May 29. Trash collection will follow its normal schedule. If you have any questions, please call (301) 9855000. Join us in Magruder Park at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 9, for the annual Dogs for the Arts Celebration! The City of Hyattsville, the Prince George’s Arts Council, and the Maryland National-Capital Park and Planning Commission invite you and your furry friends to compete in paw painting, costume, talent, and dog/owner look-alike competitions. The fun is free (though donations to the “Lively Arts in Hyattsville” are gladly accepted) and prizes will be awarded! Registration is required. To register, please call (301) 699-5440. Please note that all dogs must be on a leash and under the control of their owner. Dog owners under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Community Survey

Invitations to take the City’s community survey have been mailed out, seeking your feedback and suggestions on City services and local quality of life. Not all residents will get to participate, as the survey is conducted by a third party, who takes a random sample of addresses. ALL SURVEY RESPONSES ARE ANONYMOUS. If your home is selected, we’d greatly appreciate you filling out the survey online or by mail. Doing so will help your government make Hyattsville even better. If you have questions, please call (301) 985-5020.

Seniors On The Go

Street, at 12:30 p.m. You can purchase a ticket in advance for $10 on the third floor of the City Building through May 18, or purchase a ticket the day of at 4310 Gallatin for $15. We accept cash, checks, and money orders. For more information, please visit or call (301) 699-5440.

Casino lovers should plan to join us Thursday, June 14, for a trip to Harrington Casino and Raceway in Delaware (and bring Lady Luck with them!) The cost is $15. Rebate for slot machines and food voucher included. Space is limited and so registration is required on a first come, first served basis. Registration is open May 15 – May 30. Reservation is confirmed upon receipt of payment in person at 4310 Gallatin Street or by mail. We accept cash and checks made out to the City of Hyattsville. Bus pick-up is at the City Building (4310 Gallatin Street) at 9:30 a.m. and at Friendship Arms Apartments at 9:40 a.m. We’ll return by 6:30 p.m.

Coaches in Training

International Fest

Family Resource Workshops

You can keep your family healthy and happy with various low-cost, bilingual resources in our community. Join us at any or all of the below workshops, and visit www.hyattsville. org/workshops to see more upcoming events. Wednesday, May 9, 8 – 9:30 a.m. Family Health, University Park Elementary (4315 Underwood St.) Wednesday, May 16, 8 – 9:30 a.m. Personal Finance, Hyattsville Elementary (5311 43rd Ave.) Thursday, May 17, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Parenting & Online Safety for Kids, Edward M. Felegy Elementary (6110 Editors Park Dr.) Wednesday, May 23, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Parenting & Education Resources, Rosa Parks Elementary (6111 Ager Rd.)

Having a blast at the City of Hyattsville’s 132nd Anniversary Festival ~ Disfrutándose de la Festival del Aniversario 132º de la Ciudad de Hyattsville.

Bike to Work Day

Friday, May 18, is Bike to Work Day, celebrating a cleaner, healthier, and more fun way to commute in our area! Visit and sign up to make a pit stop in Magruder Park from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. The City, Arrow Bicycle, and other community partners will be there to give you water, organic snacks, t-shirts, and much more!

Summer Jam

Youths ages 13 – 17 that are interested in working with children and developing leadership skills are invited to take part in Camp Magruder’s first ever Camp Coaches in Training program. There’ll be two training sessions this summer – July 9 to July 27 and August 6 to August 24. Participating can help satisfy at least 75 hours of the State of Maryland’s community service learning requirement, and could help you get a future job with Camp Magruder! The program is $75 upon acceptance through an application and interview. Applications are due May 18. Visit

Our Summer Jam Series is BACK on Friday, May 18, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., at the City Building! Come to 4310 Gallatin Street to Free Transportation jam out to R&B tunes old and new with N2N Hyattsville residents can ride all the Univer- Band. If that wasn’t enough jammin’ for you, sity of Maryland Shuttle Routes for FREE! we’ll have the Jammin’ Flava Jamaican food Route 113 loops through Hyattsville, stops truck, local beer, our moon bounce, and more. at the Prince George’s Plaza Metro, and then Can’t make it? No problem! The June 15 heads to the University. To get a pass to ride, Summer Jam is also just around the corner, bring photo ID and proof of residence to the featuring Nigerian-American artist JaneCity Building, 4310 Gallatin Street, Monday lia and her soul/jazz fusion band, Janeliathrough Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Passes Soul! Visit are issued the same day. Route maps and to check out the details on our whole 2018 schedules are available at Summer Jam Series, running the third Fri- Candidates Debate day of each month from May to September, On May 24, 6:30 p.m. at 4310 Gallatin Senior Art Classes and be sure to watch our social media for any Street, the City of Hyattsville’s Education Hyattsville Is Home – that’s the theme of updates! Advisory Committee will host a debate for the spring 2018 session of FREE senior the individuals running for District 3 of the arts classes the City is offering in partner- Micro Farmers Market County School Board. District 3 stretches ship with Art Works Now. Join us to get in Each of this year’s Summer Jams will have a from Hyattsville, Mt. Rainier, Brentwood touch with your creative side every Tuesday special opening act: The City’s Micro Farm- and North Brentwood west through Chilfrom May 1 – June 12, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 ers Market! Be sure to come to Opening Day lum, Rolling Crest, and Carole Highlands p.m. Seating is limited and registration is re- on May 18, 4 – 8 p.m., at 4310 Gallatin Street and north through Adelphi. All are welcome quired. For more information or to register, for the best in fresh, local produce. Then to join us in person, watch via Comcast 71/ please contact Beryl Johnson at (301) 985- stick around for good music, delicious food Verizon 12, or stream online at www.hyatts5058 or and drink, and tons of family fun! For more We need your help drafting questions for information or to become a Micro Farmers Movin’ with the Mayor Market vendor, please contact Ellarose Pres- the debate! Please visit www.speakuphvl. Break a sweat with Mayor Candace Holling- ton at or visit www. com/forums before Saturday, May 13, to sworth in a FREE Square Fit Boxing & Con- share the questions you’d like the candidates ditioning Class by Kfit Consulting Group! to answer. The debate moderators will use Join us Saturday, May 12, 10 – 11 a.m., at Historic House Tour the information provided to create a final set the City Building (4310 Gallatin) for this fun The Hyattsville Preservation Association’s of questions. Please note that the City does conditioning class that can improve cardio- annual Historic Hyattsville House Tour will not endorse any candidate in this election, vascular health and muscle tone, as well as take place on Sunday, May 20, 1 – 5 p.m. and is assisting this event only as a service increase your stamina. Be sure to wear com- The tour will depart from the Multipurpose to residents. fortable workout attire! Room at the City Building, 4310 Gallatin

It’s almost time for the City’s annual International Festival! Join us in Heurich Park (2800 Nicholson Street) on Saturday, June 2, 5 - 9 p.m., to celebrate the diversity that makes our community great with music, dance, food, and drink from around the world. No passport needed to get to this family fun destination! Visit to see what’s in store. Civic groups, churches, craft vendors, schools, and other organizations in our community should also visit that website to find out how they can get involved. For more information, please contact Cheri Everhart at or at (301) 9855021.

Money For Your Business

Looking to invest in new growth for your business? Through the generous support of a Community Legacy grant from the State of Maryland, the City of Hyattsville can once again match local businesses dollarfor-dollar, for an amount between $5,000 and $50,000, on exterior development projects. This includes re-painting, exterior shutters, gutters, windows, siding, doors, masonry, finishes, lighting, and signage. Applications are due to the City by 4 p.m. on June 13, 2018. Visit www.hyattsville. org/facade-improvement to learn more and apply today!

We’re Hiring

Serve your community by working for our local government! We’re currently seeking police officers. For more information and to apply, please visit

Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018

Page HR2


Reportero de


No. 362 • 8 de Mayo, 2018 • 301-985-5000

Presentaciones Presupuestarias

de los Caídos. Continuarán los servicios de emergencia. No habrá recolección de residuos del jardín esa semana, y el composto se recolectará el martes, 29 de mayo. El horario de recolección de basura seguirá normal. Cualquier consulta, llamen al (301) 985-5000.

¡Es la temporada presupuestaria aquí en Hyattsville! Todas las siguientes reuniones tendrán lugar en la Cámara del Concejo Municipal, tercer piso de 4310 Calle Gallatin.

Perros Para las Artes

• Concejo Municipal: 21 de mayo, 8 – 10 p.m. Introducción y Primera Lectura: Ordenanza Presupuestaria de FY-2019 • Concejo Municipal: 4 de junio, 8 – 9 p.m. Segunda Lectura y Adopción: Ordenanza Presupuestaria de FY-2019 ¡Manténganse al tanto de la Guía Presupuestaria de la Ciudad! ¡Se la vamos a mandar en julio!

Cuestionario Comunitario

La Ciudad ha enviado por correo las invitaciones a participar en nuestro cuestionario comunitario, pidiéndoles sus opiniones y comentarios acerca de los servicios y la calidad de vida local en la Ciudad. Todos los residentes no podrán participar, ya que un grupo tercero va a realizar la encuesta con una muestra aleatoria de direcciones. TODAS LAS RESPUESTAS SON COMPLETAMENTE ANÓNIMAS. Si su hogar está seleccionado, agradeceríamos mucho que completaran el cuestionario en línea o por correo. Hacerlo va a ayudar a su gobierno en hacer que Hyattsville sea aún mejor. Si tienen preguntas, por favor llamen al (301) 985-5020.

Charlas Comunitarias

Se pueden mantener sus familias sanas y felices con varios recursos bilingües y de bajo costo en nuestra comunidad. Reúnanse con nosotros en cualquier de los talleres siguientes y visiten a para ver los próximos eventos. Miércoles, 9 de Mayo, 8 – 9:30 a.m. Salud Familiar, University Park Elementary (4315 Underwood St.) Miércoles, 16 de Mayo, 8 – 9:30 a.m. Finanzas Personales, Hyattsville Elementary (5311 43rd Ave.) Jueves, 17 de Mayo, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Crianza y Seguridad de Niños en Línea, Edward M. Felegy Elementary (6110 Editors Park Dr.) Miércoles, 23 de Mayo, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Crianza de Niños y Recursos Educativos, Rosa Parks Elementary (6111 Ager Rd.)

Transportación Gratis

¡Residentes de Hyattsville pueden tomar todos los autobuses de la Universidad de Maryland GRATIS! La Ruta 113 pasa por Hyattsville, con paradas en la estación de metro de Prince George’s Plaza y al fin en la Universidad. Para obtener su pase para el autobús, presentan una identificación con foto y prueba de residencia a la Ciudad en 4310 Calle Gallatin, lo que está abierto lunes a viernes, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Les podemos dar el pase el mismo día de su visita. Mapas y horarios de la ruta del autobús se los pueden encontrar en

Clases de Arte Para Mayores

Hyattsville Es Nuestro Hogar – este es el tema de la próxima sesión de clases de arte GRATIS para mayores, ofrecidas por la Ciudad en conjunto con Art Works Now. Únanse a nosotros para explorar su creatividad cada martes entre el 1 de mayo y el 12 de junio, 10:30 a.m. – 12: 30 p.m. Espacio está limitado y se requiere inscripción. Para obtener más información o inscribirse, por favor contacten a Beryl Johnson al (301) 985-5058 o

A number of competitors from the Soap Box Derby, an annual tradition organized by Hyattsville residents, make their way down Hamilton Street in the City’s Anniversary Parade. ~ Varios competidores del Soap Box Derby, una tradición anual organizada por los residentes de Hyattsville, andan por Hamilton Street en el Desfile Aniversario de la Ciudad.

¡Acción con la Alcaldesa!

¡Hagan ejercicio con Alcaldesa Candace Hollingsworth en una clase de acondicionamiento y boxeo GRATIS de Kfit Consulting Group! El sábado, 12 de mayo, 10 – 11 a.m., vamos a estar en el Edificio de la Ciudad (4310 Gallatin) para esta clase divertida en que se puede mejorar la salud cardiovascular y el tono muscular, ¡además como aumentar su resistencia! ¡Asegúrense de llevar ropa de ejercicio cómoda!

Montar en Bici al Trabajo

El viernes, 18 de mayo, es el Día de Montar en Bici al Trabajo, celebrando una manera más limpia y sana además de más divertida de llegar al trabajo en esta área. Visiten a e inscríbanse para hacer un “pit stop” en Parque Magruder ese día entre las 6 a.m. y las 9 a.m. La Ciudad, Arrow Bicycle y otros socios de la comunidad estarán ahí para darles agua, bocadillos orgánicos, camisas—¡y mucho más!

Summer Jam

¡Nuestra serie de fiestas del verano ESTÁ DE VUELTA el viernes, 18 de mayo, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., en el Edificio Municipal! Vengan a 4310 Calle Gallatin para disfrutarse de música R&B en vivo de N2N Band, comida jamaicana, cerveza local, nuestra brinca brinca para los niños y mucho más! ¿No pueden venir esta vez? ¡Ningún problema! La fiesta vuelve el tercer viernes de cada mes entre mayo y septiembre. A la vuelta de la esquina está el Summer Jam del 15 de junio, con música de artista nigeriana americana, Janelia, ¡y su banda de fusión soul/jazz, JaneliaSoul! ¡Vean más detalles www.hyattsville. org/summerjam y en nuestras redes sociales!

Mercadito de Hyattsville

Este año, cada Summer Jam tendrá un telonero muy especial: ¡El Mercadito de la Ciudad! Vengan a nuestro lanzamiento el 18 de mayo, 4 – 8 p.m., en 4310 Calle Gallatin para lo mejor de productos frescos y locales. Luego, quédense allí para disfrutarse de música y comida muy buenas, ¡además de mucha diversión familiar! Para obtener más información o convertirse en un vendedor del Mercadito, visiten a farmersmarket o pónganse en contacto con Ellarose Preston en

Recorrido de Casas Históricas

La Asociación para la Preservación de Hyattsville tendrá su Recorrido Anual de Casa Históricas de Hyattsville el domingo, 20 de mayo, 1 – 5 p.m. El recorrido saldrá del

Multipurpose Room en el Edificio Municipal, 4310 Calle Gallatin, a las 12:30 p.m. Se pueden comprar entradas por adelantado hasta el 18 de mayo por $10 c/u, o se las pueden comprar por $15 c/u en 4310 Calle Gallatin el día del evento. Aceptamos efectivo, cheques y giros postales. Para más obtener más información, por favor visiten a o llamen al (301) 699-5440.

¡Entrenadores del Futuro!

Jóvenes de 13 – 17 de edad que están interesados en trabajar con niños y en desarrollar sus capacidades de liderazgo están invitados a participar en el primer programa de Camp Magruder para el entrenamiento de entrenadores y consejeros de campamento. Habrá dos sesiones de entrenamiento este verano –el 9 de julio hasta el 27 de julio y el 6 de agosto hasta el 24 de agosto. Participación puede satisfacer por lo menos 75 horas del requisito de aprendizaje-servicio del estado de Maryland. Aun mejor, ¡esta es una gran manera de ser competitiva para una posición de empleo en Camp Magruder! El programa sale $75 después de ser seleccionado por un proceso de solicitación y entrevista. Se aceptará solicitaciones hasta el 18 de mayo. Más información:

Debate de Candidatos

El 24 de mayo, a las 6:30 p.m. en 4310 Calle Gallatin, el Comité Asesor de la Educación de la Ciudad de Hyattsville organizará un debate entre los candidatos presentándose para representar el Distrito 3 en la Junta Escolar del Condado. El Distrito 3 se extiende desde Hyattsville, Mt. Rainier, Brentwood y North Brentwood al oeste a través de Chillum, Rolling Crest y Carole Highlands y al norte a través de Adelphi. Todos están bienvenidos a asistir al evento en persona, verlo en Comcast 71/Verizon 12, o ver la transmisión en ¡Ayúdennos preparar preguntas para el debate! Por favor visiten a antes del sábado, 13 de mayo, para compartir lo que ustedes quisieran preguntar a los candidatos. Los moderadores del debate utilizaran la información que ustedes proveen para crear la lista finalizada de preguntas. Por favor tengan en cuenta que la Ciudad no respalda ni endorsa a ningún candidato en esta elección, y ayuda a este evento sólo como servicio a sus residentes.

Cambios a la Recolección de Basura

Las oficinas de la Ciudad estarán cerradas el lunes, 28 de mayo, en observación del Día

¡Reúnanse con nosotros en Parque Magruder a las 9:30 a.m. sábado, 9 de junio, para la celebración anual de Perros para las Artes! La Ciudad de Hyattsville, el Concejo de Artes de Prince George’s County y Maryland NationalCapital Park and Planning Commission les invita a ustedes y a sus mascotas a entrar nuestras competiciones de pintar con patas, disfraces, talentos y perros/dueños parecidos. La diversión es gratis (pero se acepta donaciones a “Lively Arts in Hyattsville” con gusto) - ¡y habrá premios! Se requiere registrarse. Para registrarse, por favor llamen al (301) 699-5440. Les informamos que todos los perros deben estar en una correa y bajo el control de su dueño. Dueños menores de 16 años deben estar acompañados por un adulto.

Excursión Para Mayores

¡Aficionados a los casinos de juego deberían unirse a nosotros el jueves, 14 de junio, para una excursión a Harrington Casino and Raceway en Delaware! La oportunidad sale $15 e incluye reembolso para máquinas tragamonedas y cupones para comida. Espacio está limitado, así que se requiere la registración y se la acepta por orden de llegada. Registración se abre el 15 de mayo y se cierra el 30 de mayo. Su registración no está confirmada hasta que recibamos pagamiento en persona en 4310 Calle Gallatin o por correo. Aceptamos efectivo y cheques hechos al City of Hyattsville. El autobús recoge a los participantes en 4310 Calle Gallatin a las 9:30 a.m. y en Friendship Arms Apartments a las 9:40 a.m. Volveremos para las 6:30 p.m.

Festival Internacional

¡Ya viene muy pronto la Festival Internacional de la Ciudad! Reúnanse con nosotros en Parque Heurich (2800 Calle Nicholson) el sábado, 2 de junio, 5 – 9 p.m., para celebrar la diversidad que hace que nuestra comunidad sea tan grandiosa. Habrá música, baile, comida y bebidas de todo el mundo. ¡No necesitan pasaportes para esta destinación de diversión familiar! Vean más en Grupos cívicos, comunidades de fe, artesanos, escuelas y otras organizaciones comunitarias pueden unirse a la diversión del día por visitar ese sitio también. Para más información, por favor contacten a Cheri Everhart al (301) 9855021 o en

Dinero Para Su Negocio

¿Quieren invertir en el crecimiento de su negocio? Gracias al apoyo generoso del Estado de Maryland mediante una subvención de Legados Comunitarios, la Ciudad de Hyattsville nuevamente puede igualar, dólarpor-dólar por una cantidad entre $5,000 y $50,000, a negocios que realicen proyectos de desarrollo en sus exteriores. Se incluye re-pintura, contraventanas exteriores, canales, ventanas, revestimiento, puertas, albañilería, refinamiento, iluminación y señalización. Hay que entregar sus solicitaciones para las 4 p.m. el 13 de junio de 2018. ¡Visiten a para ver más y solicitar hoy!

Estamos Contratando

¡Sirvan a su comunidad y trabajen para nuestro gobierno local! Estamos buscando oficiales de policía. Para más información y para solicitar, por favor visiten a

Page 8

Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018


Spring Fest. Celebrating all things pizza and beer. $20 advance, $25 at the door includes three 6-ounce pours. $50 advance, $55 at the door includes a souvenir glass and unlimited 6-ounce pours. Free for children under 10. Noon to 5 p.m. Pizzeria Paradiso, 4800 Rhode Island Ave.

May 15

Figure Drawing Group Meeting. Bring your own materials, paper and easel. No experience needed. $20/session or $80/5-session punch card. 6 to 9 p.m. Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 4318 Gallatin St. 301.608.9101

May 19

Flower Arrangement Help. Bring your clippers and help make flower arrangements for the homes featured in the Historic Hyattsville House Tour. 9:30 a.m. Hyattsville Municipal Building Multi-purpose Room, 4310 Gallatin St. 301.699.5440

May 20

39th Historic House Tour. Self-guided walking tour of

homes throughout the Historic District. Tickets are $10 until May 19 and $15 on May 20. Purchase at Franklins General Store, 5121 Baltimore Ave. Pick up map of homes on the tour at the Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin St.

June 2

Afternoon Aviators. Explore different aviation-themed topics through STEAM-based, handson activities. This is a drop-in program for children. $5, includes admission and supplies. College Park Aviation Museum,

1985 Corporal Frank Scott Dr., College Park. 301-864-6029

June 16 and 17

Freedom of Expression Dance Project. Lesole’s Dance Project, in partnership with The South Africa Embassy, honors South Africa’s Youth Day and Juneteenth. $40 for VIP, $25 for general admission, $15 for children under 15, students and seniors. June 16 at 8 p.m. and June 17 at 4 p.m. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mt. Rainier.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018

Page 9

GoingToMarket Hyattsville Farmers Market finds new home at Summer Jam By Lindsay Myers

After several seasons of lackluster sales and attendance, the Hyattsville Farmers Market is changing dates and location for the 2018 season. This year, the market will take place on the third Friday of every month in conjunction with the city’s Summer Jam celebrations, held this year at the Hyattsville Municipal Building on Gallatin Street. The benefits of shopping at a farmers market are well known — fresh produce harvested the same day that it’s sold, meat and fish sans ethical debate, local vendors who know your name. Recently, however, farmers markets have become about more than just the food. Local markets, like those in Riverdale, Cheverly and College Park, have turned shopping

the market into an event. Offering live music, food tents, story hours and even the occasional pop-up library — these markets have become places for neighbors to come together and while away long summer days. This is what Ellarose Preston wants for the Hyattsville market, too. In 2016, Preston said that she wanted the market “to be the place to be on Tuesday [nights].” During the three years it was held at Redeemer Lutheran Church on East-West Highway, however, the market never attracted the crowds that Preston, her colleagues at the city and, most importantly, her vendors, were hoping for. Lack of walkability and visibility seem to have been contributing factors in the market’s spotty attendance. Catherine Calvi, a resident of Hyattsville and a frequent patron

of local farmers markets says she wasn’t even aware that the Hyattsville market was there. “I have never been to the Hyattsville market because I never saw it and never knew where it was,” said Calvi. While other local markets are not necessarily visible, many are tucked into walkable neighborhoods or have grown in reputation as “the place to be” because of the live music, good food and activities for kids that keep families around after the parents have finished shopping. Partnering with Summer Jam brings all of these elements to the Hyattsville market. Preston says she hopes the “captured audience” at Summer Jam will help the market increase its sales and enter the 2019 season strong. After struggling to find vendors who wanted to renew

their contracts with Hyattsville, Preston had to rethink the city’s approach. Tracey Nicholson, the city administrator, was the first to propose a marriage between the market and Summer Jam. She and Preston are hoping that the live music, flowing taps, and energy of the event will kick-start sales, incentivizing vendors to stick around for another season. “As much creative planning and manpower and resources were put into this market, we still weren’t really seeing enough numbers in our participation to keep good vendors,” said Preston. “If you don’t have good vendors, then people don’t want to come, but if people don’t come, you can’t attract good vendors. So we made some changes to try to preserve the market, because we do see a need for it.” The Hyattsville market is the oldest in the county, celebrating its 27th season of bringing fresh produce to residents, some of whom are food insecure. Among farmers market managers like Preston, the Hyattsville market has a reputation for innovation; it was the first in the

country to partner with Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters, a D.C. nonprofit that educates low-income families about eating well on a budget. Last season, Preston was awarded $7,000 from Share Our Strength to distribute $10 vouchers to patrons of the market. Preston plans to implement the voucher program again this year, though it likely won’t start until July due to Share Our Strength’s 2018 grant distribution schedule. To receive a voucher, patrons of the market attend a 5-minute nutritional tour of the vendors during which they can learn what produce is in season and how it can be prepared. As the Administrative Support and Wellness Programs coordinator for the city, Preston’s primary goal for the market is expanding access to healthy food. “My goal and expectation for the market this year is that the sales will increase with Summer Jam and, most importantly, that it will reach a greater amount of people who are in need of fresh local produce that’s not too expensive,” said Preston.
















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Offer good only at designated location. $100 discount applied to the cost of one implant. Coupon must be presented at time of initial payment and cannot be combined with any other coupon, discount, package price or prior order. Offer may change or end without notice. Limit one coupon per person. Minimum estimated value of Consult and X-Ray is $75, and covers a traditional 2-D X-Ray. Same-day service on Economy Dentures in most cases, call for details. Additional fees may be incurred depending on individual cases. 10% off All Denture discount valid through 08/31/18. No coupon needed.

Page 10

Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018


The Historic House Tour is a popular event, welcoming over 500 visitors to the city from surrounding towns such as Takoma Park, College Park, University Park, Mount Rainier, Brentwood and Washington, D.C. HPA describes the neighborhood tour as a kaleidoscope in terms of the range and variation of houses it showcases. There are 10 homes on this year’s tour, ranging in style from small bungalows to Queen Anne-style and Victorians. One home even turns 100 this year. “Not only do the homes range in style, but the owners’ personal aesthetic does too,” said HPA Vice President Randy Fletcher. “The colors and textiles that were chosen, the artwork that hangs on the walls, [along with the] furniture and other collections, all tell a unique story of who the homeowners are and how they fit into the fabric of this really cool town. The tour is truly a celebration of Hyattsville and its residents.” “We hope that all that come to visit will experience the City of Hyattsville’s tremendous community spirit and pride in our town,” said Felix-Thompson.

continued from page 1

also provides a bus that continuously circles the tour route to assist those who need a ride. “We hope that residents and visitors will enjoy meeting our creative and resourceful homeowners [and] that they will appreciate the way these homes have been adapted for today’s lifestyle, but yet maintain some of their original features,” said HPA President Gloria Felix-Thompson. Creative and resourceful are appropriate words to describe homeowners Nigel and Stephenie Brooks-Maynard. The couple decided to showcase their home, which was built in 1909, for the first time on the tour after completing extensive renovations. The Maynards say a previous homeowner renovated the house in the early 1990s and ripped out most of the original molding, light fixtures and detail, which provided them with a clean palette. “As a result, our house is relatively modern on the inside with faucets, appliances and other tiles from Spain, Germany and Italy. The exterior retains the traditional charm of the neighborhood,” said Nigel. “This house is perfect for the way my wife and I live, but we also love this neighborhood. The people are really friendly, the town is engaged with the community, and we can walk to almost COURTESY OF THE HYATTSVILLE PRESERVATION ASSOCIATION everything we need. We just love This year’s Historic House Tour features 10 homes in a “kaleidoscope” of styles and colors. living here.”



Burgers • Food Trucks • Hot Dogs Refreshments • Musical Entertainment Face Painting • Moon Bounce • Mandy The Clown

May 18 N2N Band June 15 JaneliaSoul

July 20 Run Come See


SUMMER JAM Hamburguesas • Bebidas • Perros Calientes

Camiones De Comida • Entretenimiento Musical Pintura De La Cara • Brinca Brinca • Mandy La Payasa

August 17 Jimi Smooth Band

18 de Mayo N2N Band

September 21 The Roustabouts

15 de Junio JaneliaSoul

Opening Act Every Summer Jam: MICRO FARMERS MARKET 4 - 8 p.m. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 4310 Gallatin Street This is a rain or shine event! For more information visit Prince George's Public Schools is not sponsoring, endorsing or recommending the activities announced in this flyer/material.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 the day of the tour. Advance tickets can be purchased at Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery and General Store. Cash or check only. Visit or call 301.699.5440 for more information.

20 de Julio Run Come See

17 de Augusto Jimi Smooth Band 21 de Septiembre The Roustabouts

Telonero Cada Summer Jam: NUESTRO MERCADITO 4 - 8 p.m. 6:30 – 8:30 PM 4310 Calle Gallatin ¡Este es un evento de sol o lluvia! For more information visit Las escuelas publicas del condado de Prince George no estan patrocinando, endosando, o recomendando las actividades anunciadas en este promocion.

Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018

WERRLEIN-AGAINST continued from page 1

are understandably concerned about the long-empty buildings, but the urge to do something — anything — with the WSSC site does not justify this ill-conceived attempt to replace historically significant buildings and community-oriented open space with a speculative housing development that affords no public benefit and exerts additional pressure on already overburdened roads and schools. From Franklins to Vigilante, Pyramid Atlantic and hundreds of historic homes, residents and commercial interests have collaborated to combine social and economic vitality with the preservation and celebration of Hyattsville’s unique natural, cultural and architectural heritage. The WSSC site affords an ideal opportunity to continue the community-oriented, context-sensitive development that has earned Hyattsville a reputation as one of the most desirable areas in the Washington region. The current proposal seeks to capitalize on this success with-

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out embracing the underlying principles. The developer’s assertions that local historic values will be preserved by slapping porches onto supersized homes and gussying up town houses with allusions to Charleston, S.C., are as untenable as contentions that WSSC buildings are historically insignificant and unsuitable for adaptive reuse. As documented in a Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties report, the WSSC headquarters is an impressive illustration of Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern architecture with long-standing ties to the community. Ensuring the preservation of this important aspect of Hyattsville’s heritage is by no means incompatible with economic constraints. The buildings are in remarkable condition given their long period of disuse. Retrofitting existing buildings uses fewer resources than new construction, exemplifying the city’s commitment to environmentally sustainable growth. One worthy incarnation would be a combination municipal office building/community center offering convenient access to

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an enlarged Magruder Park. The proposal’s impact on Hyattsville’s park and recreation resources would be an even greater travesty. While the current parking area is privately owned, it has long functioned as a public amenity, hosting events of local and national significance, from the city carnival to the 1913 Suffragette motorcade described in the April issue of the Hyattsville Life & Times. In 2004, the city council unanimously agreed the parking area should be designated as protected open space, a decision that retains widespread support. Werrlein Properties wants to get around this restriction by manipulating other aspects of the complex county-planning process. Allowing private development to usurp an area that affords the last best opportunity to expand and improve Hyattsville’s park and recreation resources would be a terrible mistake. We have been waiting a long time for market conditions to

support a high-quality development on this site — one that embodies the social, environmental and community heritage goals expressed in multiple planning documents and vision statements generated over the past twenty years. The proposed development contradicts numerous aspects of the city’s recently approved Community Sustainability Plan, flouting directives to grow in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner, protect and preserve historic assets, incentivize the reuse of vacant buildings, promote and retain affordable housing, improve community facilities and encourage highdensity development in existing commercial areas. The primary argument for accepting Werrlein’s proposal is that it’s a firm offer and the only one that is currently on the table. Some say that as a minor municipality in an economically challenged county, Hyattsville should welcome any and all forms of development. That logic has prevailed in the past,

but Hyattsville has become one of the hottest communities in the greater Washington region. Why would we lower our standards now and accept a proposal that falls short on so many fronts, from historic preservation and open space retention to sustainability, affordability and practical concerns such as traffic flow, school crowding and other strains on civic services? We have built an incredibly vibrant community by embracing Hyattsville’s historical character, socioeconomic diversity and unique sense of place. Our leadership should demonstrate its pride in Hyattsville’s achievements and commitment to the city’s future by insisting on creative solutions that value community character and environmental sustainability over quick profits and political expediency. We can do better. Tim Davis is a National Park Service historian specializing in historic structures and cultural landscapes.






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beautify and reconnect the neighborhood, leaving us indefinitely with an unproductive monstrosity and a barely used parking lot. Advocates for renovating the WSSC building for use as a school know that the county has shown no interest in acquiring the site. Planning standards typically rule out new schools on parcels the size of the property’s two lots. No other proposed reuse for the building has made achievable progress. After nearly two costly decades of vacancy and structural decay, prospects dim further. It is unwise to allow further deterioration — and lost

property tax revenue — waiting for unlikely rehabilitation while land values rise and a decent alternative waits on the table. Preservationists want to save the WSSC headquarters for its supposedly irreplaceable architecture, even without a reuse proposal. The building’s principal Mid-Century Modern style, ever-present in suburban civic and commercial development, is not endangered, nor is the WSSC building an especially good example of the style. The Hyattsville Preservation Association — which opposes the building’s demolition — tacitly acknowledges its insignificance by omitting it from their Historic Hyattsville House Tour (which

does, however, showcase several Victorian great-grandmothers of the homes designed by Werrlein’s architect, Michael Romero). The WSSC building is in discord with its surroundings. Its ugliness alone may not be sufficient cause for the wrecking ball, but neither should its morgue-like ruins stifle improvements to neighborhood character and connectivity. Opponents who are rightly protective of Magruder Park unfairly dismiss private development’s ability to enhance nearby public space. Walkways through the site would form pleasant new entrances into the park from Gallatin Street. Handsome double-galleried town houses at the park’s eastern edge would be consistent with the scale of other nearby buildings. They would define a space that currently bleeds over a chain-link fence into an asphalt sea and the unsightly backside of the WSSC building. Werrlein’s proposal does not encroach on the park, as some have incorrectly suggested; satellite imagery of the site is slightly mis-

aligned with property lines in the conceptual plans. For some, the proposal raises fears of urban density, parking scarcity and traffic. However, its overall density is comparable to the block of bungalows across Hamilton Street (10 units/acre vs. 8 units/acre). Typical D.C. row house blocks are more than twice as dense; the adjacent Top of the Park Apartments are three times denser. Werrlein is providing more off-street parking than required, plus potential additional on-street parking. Traffic studies show the new homes’ minimal impact on existing neighborhood traffic patterns — far less than what a school would generate. Arguments that the site’s partial Open Space zoning and flood plain designation automatically preclude the amendments needed for development lack perspective. The site has previously been zoned for residential use (until 2004, circa Douglas Development’s purchase) and remains within an overlay zone

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that encourages various types of residential development. Werrlein must follow an approval process incorporating stormwater management and FEMA requirements for building in a floodplain. The Riverfront at West Hyattsville Metro, also on a flood plain, is proceeding with similar site design approaches. The least compelling arguments against the proposal concern Douglas and Werrlein profiting from the site’s sale and development. In Douglas’ case, this is cutting off our neighborhood’s nose to spite its face over an old feud. Neighbors who seriously question whether Werrlein ought to earn money from improving their property are welcome to contact me with fair asking prices for their own homes, especially if they bought several decades ago. My family lives directly across the street from the WSSC site. We will face the noise, dust and general inconveniences of a lengthy phased construction, plus likely higher assessments of our home; yet we still support Werrlein’s proposed development. The longterm benefit is a pleasant and walkable development of the site which will bring us new neighbors. It is hard to imagine that any of them will be as unfriendly as the one we have now. Will Seath is a Hyattsville resident and a project architect with McCrery Architects in Washington, D.C.

Hyattsville Life & Times | May 2018

Page 13

MissFloribunda Dear Miss Floribunda, Unlike “Not a Tree Hugger” in last month’s column, I like trees and appreciate the ones in my front yard, but my backyard is completely unshaded. There must have been some trees there at one time, because I have noticed a couple of decaying stumps. As it is, I’d just as soon crawl into an oven as go out back of my house in summer. My budget can’t include tree purchases. One of my neighbors told me you can get a free tree from the City of Hyattsville. I looked at the municipal website but didn’t see anything about tree giveaways, although I did learn how to contact “Miss Utility” (any relation to you?) to make sure I don’t dig into an underground pipe when I plant a tree. So do you have any inside information on this, or is my neighbor just putting me on? Overbaked-Backyard Owner on Oglethorpe Street Dear Overbaked-Backyard Owner, Your neighbor must have lived in Hyattsville for quite some time,

because it has been many years since trees have been given away outright. However, the Hyattsville City Council and Environmental Committee and have been working to establish a rebate program for tree purchasers. If you have questions about this initiative, please email Julie Wolf of the Hyattsville Environmental Committee at In the meantime, you can get a $25 coupon offered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to help defray the expense of buying a tree. Print out the coupon from this site: Pages/MarylandersPlantTrees/ Print-Your-Coupon.aspx. The site also provides a list of local nurseries that honor the coupon. In addition, if you join the Hyattsville Preservation Society, you will be given a contractor’s card that authorizes a 10- to 20-percent discount at these nurseries. Prince George’s County offers a $150 rebate to participants in its stormwater management program for each purchased native tree measuring at least 5 feet high. Go to

county-rain-check-rebate and then click on “Urban Tree Canopy.” You might also call 410.974.2941 ext. 114 to speak with a helpful and knowledgeable associate, or send an email to rebate@cbtrust. You would also be reimbursed for installing rain barrels or cisterns; replacing your impermeable driveway with a permeable covering; creating a green roof; or turning your lawn into a rain garden. The total reimbursement per household for tree planting on residential property and any other approved ecological project would be $4,000. Be advised that there is a restriction on the time of tree planting, which must be done between October 1 and May 1 of the following year. The tree you choose should be an approved native species that would grow to a height of at least 25 feet. Through May 31, you can obtain an absolutely free tree through a program Pepco is financing through the Arbor Day Foundation. Go to, or call 1.888.448.7337 to apply. However, only three varieties are being offered: northern red oaks, red maples and river birches. However, if you are willing to spend

$10 to become a member of the Arbor Day Foundation, you can get a package of 10 free native tree seedlings from a much wider selection: aspx?page=memberships. I must emphasize that most of what is offered are tall shade trees, although some smaller ones are included in the flowering-tree package. The intent behind tree gift and rebate programs is to improve the ecosystem with a pest-free, lowmaintenance native tree canopy, or urban forest. As mentioned in last month’s column, an urban tree canopy cleans the air, muffles noise, nurtures beneficial birds and insects, absorbs storm water run-off and improves property values. Now, however much you appreciate a majestic tree canopy gracing the street in front of your home, you might prefer to shade your backyard with a more varied and less overwhelming landscape. While smaller native trees and shrubs are not included in the rebate programs, you can very inexpensively obtain such charmers as redbud, persimmon, summersweet and winterberry trees at the Ninth Annual Hyatts-

ville Native Plant Sale sponsored by the Hyattsville Elementary School PTA. It will take place on Saturday, May 19, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hyattsville Elementary School Gymnasium, 5311 43rd Avenue. See for the selection. If you miss this sale, Wendy Wildflower and Dave Greenfinger of the Hyattsville Horticultural Society inform me that they will be working at the Chesapeake Natives sale on Sunday, May 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the grounds of Mount Airy Mansion, 9640 Rosaryville Road in Upper Marlboro. For a wealth of selections, check chesapeakenatives. org/. There will be no meeting of the Hyattsville Horticultural Society (HHS) in May, but HHS members will meet on Saturday, May 19, at the Hyattsville Municipal Center to arrange flowers for homes opening their doors for the Hyattsville Preservation Society’s annual Historic Hyattsville House Tour. The tour takes place on Sunday, May 20, from 1 to 5 p.m. This is a unique opportunity to see some of Hyattsville’s most interesting homes and gardens.

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May 2018 Hyattsville Life & Times  

Pro and con of Werrlein proposal for former WSSC headquarters; St. Jerome Academy begins major expansion; preview of Historic Hyattsville Ho...

May 2018 Hyattsville Life & Times  

Pro and con of Werrlein proposal for former WSSC headquarters; St. Jerome Academy begins major expansion; preview of Historic Hyattsville Ho...