First Look: College Park City Hall interior designs

Again without much discussion, College Park City Council took one last procedural vote clearing the way for the city to borrow $19 million to build a new City Hall (approximately $14 million of the cost) and to renovate and redesign Duvall Field (approximately $5 million). The measure was approved with councilors Fazlul Kabir (District One) and Denise Mitchell (District Four) voting against. The vote occurred at College Park’s Sept. 10, 2019, meeting. During discussion Kabir said he was concerned about how the borrowing would affect the city’s ability to execute other projects down the road. 

“We have a limited ability to spend, and if we spend too much it limits our abillity to do more in the near future,” said Kabir. “The residents do have wishes about other projects.”

City Hall renderings available

College Park city officials have released the presentation of proposed interior designs for the new city hall.

Bird scooters take roost in College Park

VeoRide isn’t the only scooter game in College Park, it seems. Dockless escooter titan Bird has recently been seen in College Park hawking its “micro mobility” devices to newly-arrived students here for the fall semester. 

Last week, an eagle-eyed reader spotted Bird representatives showcasing their scooters at an event in the parking lot of Vigilante Coffee on Baltimore Avenue. According to city officials, Bird scooters is not planning to launch a dockless scooter system in College Park. Rather, they are marketing their monthly scooter rental plans. Unlike a dockless system, subscribers are issued their own personal Bird-branded escooter for about $25 per month. Bird did not respond to media inquiries for this story. In August, College Park launched a new semi-dockless bike and scooter-share program with Chicago-based VeoRide.

Whistle-blown: Mount Rainier IDs worker who complained of sexual harassment

Mount Rainier city officials appear to have publicly identified a former employee who filed sexual harassment complaints against the city. The identification of the former employee by city officials comes amid new media reports of allegations of sexual harassment and financial irregularities within the Mount Rainier City Police Department that first came to light in 2018. Such a revelation also runs counter to state personnel record disclosure laws, potentially exposing the city to legal liability. Maryland state laws, particularly its Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights, Public Information Act and Open Meetings Act, grant broad protections against the disclosure or public discussion of personnel records of government employees by government employees. Mount Rainier city officials have recently used these laws as the legal justification to withhold the identities of officers and police staff who may have been the subject – either as accused or accusers – of 2018’s investigations.

College Park Council notes: ‘Nuisance law’ eyed to combat college parties; City Hall updates

College Park, anticipating the construction of a new city hall, met for the first time in Davis Hall in northern College Park. The meeting was a worksession for City Council, which saw the body discuss such issues as design elements for College Park’s new City Council chambers, and a proposed “unruly social gathering” nuisance law under consideration. It’s not only Council that has left for new digs: the entire operations of College Park have been disbursed throughout the city in anticipation of the City Hall’s construction. Davis Hall is named for the second Mayor of College Park, Dr. Charles R. Davis. During the meeting, City Manager Scott Somers praised city staff for their work to relocate the city’s offices and infrastructure from City Hall to Davis Hall and other facilities. 

“They’ve done a lot of work trying to bring all of the logistics to this room.

New filings reveal College Park Marriott details

A new filing with county planners has revealed more details about a planned Marriott Hotel near College Park’s Metro station. 

Earlier in August, developers filed a preliminary plan of subdivision to redevelop a site at the northwest corner of Campus Drive and Corporal Frank S. Scott Drive in College Park. 

According to those documents, developer Soltesz has filed an application seeking approval of a preliminary plan of subdivision for the project. The has been received by planning staff, after emerging from a pre-acceptance phase of review. Further, a natural resource inventory – a kind of catalogue of the site’s natural elements to be preserved, accommodated or compensated for its removal during development – was filed and later approved by Prince George’s County Planning Department staff in December. New filings now reveal the scale of the proposed development. According to the documents, Soltesz plans to build a 123,400 square-foot hotel and commercial development at the site. 

Additional design details are not known at this time. 

Hyattsville swaps emergency alert services

Hyattsville will phase out its Nixle emergency alert system over the next several months in favor of a new emergency alert messaging company named CodeRED. Hyattsville has been using Nixle to distribute emergency alerts for more than seven years, according to message records. However, it lacked the ability to reach landlines or residents without cell phones or email access, Hyattsville City Police Department Chief of Police Amal Awad said during a recent community meeting. The new service will allow police to distribute emergency notifications and public safety alerts by text message, robocall and email. It also has teletype option for deaf subscribers.

Hyattsville borrows for police, public works HQs

Hyattsville City Council approved a measure to issue $13.8 million in debt for the renovation of the city’s Public Works Facility and the construction of a new police headquarters on Hamilton Street. As a result, it may be hard to borrow for other infrastructure projects in the city in the future. The vote happened at a special session of Hyattsville City Council held Aug. 28, 2019. The measure was unanimously approved, though Mayor Candace Hollingsworth and City Councilors Joseph Solomon and Carianna Suiter were absent. 

$3.3 million will be allocated to the Public Works Facility.

Major property sale in North Brentwood

Is a multifamily developer eyeing North Brentwood for a major redevelopment project? A recent property sale in North Brentwood’s Rhode Island Corridor suggests so. According to state property records,, a corporate entity named NP 111 LLC purchased several parcels near the 4550 block of Rhode Island Avenue in North Brentwood in a two transactions recorded July 12, 2019. NP 111 LLC is a holding company of RSE Capital Partners LLC, a real estate investment trust focused on multifamily properties in the Washington, D.C., area. NP 111 LLC bought approximately one acre of land for $4.9 million in separate transaction with two other real estate ventures registered to real estate developer Langon Drew Hample: 4550 Rhode Island LLC and Congressional Commercial LLC. 

The properties are presently zoned for mixed-use-infill development. One is a presently home to a Beacon Roofing Supply warehouse, the other is an abandoned storefront that recently hosted an antique plumbing supply store.

After 4th murder of 2019, Hyattsville residents push for answers

In the wake of Hyattsville’s fourth firearm homicide since January, city officials attempted to assuage community concerns during a meeting held August, 23, 2019. The meeting came in the wake of the murder of 26-year-old Yuri Echavarria Jr., on Aug. 13, 2019 inside his apartment building on the 4200 block of Oglethorpe Street. During the meeting, led by Hyattsville Chief of Police Amal Awad at the First Baptist Church on 42nd Avenue, Awad provided an overview of details of the incident, much of which had already been disclosed. She noted her officers were not handling the case directly.