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.