Mount Rainier lowers voting age to 16

Mount Rainier will allow residents as young as 16 years old to vote in city elections.

P.G. Plaza Metro gets new name (that everyone hates)

The Prince George’s Plaza Metro Station will be renamed to Hyattsville Crossing, and many people hate the new name. 

The proposal was approved in a Nov. 19, 2020, vote by Metro’s board of directors. Along with Hyattsville Crossing, Tysons Corner will be renamed to simply “Tysons.” With the significant caveat that it’s not a scientific survey, survey data collected from the public before the name change vote showed only 33 percent of respondents like the new Hyattsville Crossing name, 48 percent did not like the name (with 35 percent saying they “strongly” disliked the name). The move is the culmination of a years-long effort by city economic development officials to develop a more cohesive identity for the neighborhood anchored by the Metro station. 

In a June vote, Hyattsville City Council approved a measure directing city staff to request the name be changed on official Metro maps in advance of the planned opening of Phase II of the Silver Line, which will require all Metro maps to be reprinted. The Metro station derives it name from the former Prince George’s Plaza mall, known today as the Mall at Prince George’s and branded as simply MPG by its owners REIT.

College Park city manager resigns

College Park City Manager Scott Somers will resign effective Dec. 23, 2020, city officials announced Friday. The move ends Somers’ more-than five-years leading College Park’s city staff.  “This was a very difficult decision;” said Somers in a statement. “the past five years that I have worked for the City have been the most challenging and rewarding period of my career.”

Somers is resigning to take a new position as CEO for Green Valley Recreation, Inc., a southern Arizona nonprofit that provides recreation, social, and leisure services for its members.

College Park special election hinges on absentee ballots

Election day came and went, but voters in College Park’s District Two will have to wait days to learn who their new City Council representative is as election officials there wait to count absentee ballots. Sound familiar? Preliminary results released Nov. 8, 2020, show Llatetra Brown Esters leading with 69 votes compared with rivals Ron Cameau and Lindsay Dively, who got 50 and 11 votes, respectively. But those were only votes cast at the College Park Community Center on election day Nov.

College Park won’t ask landlords for lease relief

College Park City Council voted down a measure that would have seen the city endorse a letter from area elected officials calling on landlords to be lenient with student tenants who may not be returning to campus this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The vote took place during a special voting session held after Council’s regularly-scheduled Aug. 4, 2020, worksession. College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, explaining his support for endorsing the letter, said University of Maryland officials expect about half of their students to attend class remotely this fall. Some students, as reported by The Diamondback and The Baltimore Sun, are now scrambling to cancel their plans to live on or near campus as a result of the pandemic’s impacts on in-person schooling.

Mapping & graphing COVID-19 in Maryland as of May 3

Prince George’s County continues to be the epicenter of Maryland’s coronavirus outbreak, with at least 7,333 confirmed cases and 265 deaths as of May 3, 2020. Statewide, Maryland counted 25,462 cases and 1,182 deaths since the start of the pandemic, with 989 cases and 26 deaths confirmed between May 2 and May 3. !function(){“use strict”;window.addEventListener(“message”,(function(a){if(void 0![“datawrapper-height”])for(var e in[“datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.getElementById(“datawrapper-chart-“+e)||document.querySelector(“iframe[src*='”+e+”‘]”);t&&([“datawrapper-height”][e]+”px”)}}))}();

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The 20783 ZIP Code, which covers the Prince George’s County neighborhoods of Adelphi, Langley Park and Chillum, has the highest-per-capita rate of confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, a Route 1 Reporter analysis reveals. Using its 2010 Census population numbers of roughly 44,500 residents, 20783’s 817 cases equals a normalized incidence rate of 1,738 cases per 100,000 residents. It’s important to remember that county and state health officials emphasize we don’t know the full extent of the outbreak in Maryland, so these numbers are considered to be the tip of the iceberg.

College Park nixes City Hall water wall

College Park’s new City Hall will not have a water feature in its main plaza. College Park’s City Council voted four-to-three against a measure that would have directed designers to proceed with plans to incorporate either a water wall or a synchronized pump-jet fountain. The proposals for such a hydrolic feature were controversial in College Park for the additional cost, which would have ranged from between $400,000 for the less-complex water wall and $685,000 for a pump-jet fountain, though the cost would be split 50-50 with the University of Maryland, which is partnering with College Park to build the new City Hall, which will have offices for both the city and the college, in addition to ground-floor retail space. 

City Council’s vote came at its Nov. 19, 2019, meeting. Councilors Fazlul Kabir (District One), Dustyn Kujawa (District Four), and District Two Councilors P.J. Brennan and Monroe Dennis voted against a motion from District Three Councilor John Rigg, seconded by fellow District Three Councilor Robert Day, to include a water wall in the plaza designs. 

The vote followed a presentation from represenatives of Design Collective, a Baltimore-based architectural firm College Park has contracted with to design the new City Hall facility.

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.

Inside Studio 3807; A photo tour of Route 1’s newest mixed-use apartment complex

Studio 3807, the new 147-unit mixed-use apartment complex that’s been under construction at – appropriately – 3807 Rhode Island Avenue,  is about to have its grand opening this coming Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Before this weekend’s grand-opening festivities, members of the Brentwood Area Business Association were privy to a meeting and tour of the nearly-complete facility. Route 1 Reporter got to tag along and explore the new apartment complex, a bright yellow, white and gray building. To put it briefly: this place is swanky.

Bikeshare expansion; Ervin sues over ballots; Pepco rates cut – Prince George’s News Roundup

Also in today’s News Roundup: Home sales prices climb up and down the Route 1 corridor. WRC: Capital Bikeshare expands to Prince Georges (finally)
“Prince George’s County is the sixth jurisdiction to join Capital Bikeshare, according to the website.” WJZ: Gubernatorial Candidate Valerie Ervin Sues To Get Democratic Ballots Reprinted
“Valerie Ervin, who was the running mate of the late Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, has been told by the board of elections that the ballots are already printed and it’s too late to change them.” Bethesda Magazine: Utility regulators approve electric rate decrease
“In the previous two years, the commission approved Pepco rate increases of $52.5 million and $33.9 million respectively after the utility requested more money to upgrade power lines and trim trees and for other infrastructure improvements.” Diamondback: College Park wants to be a top-20 college town.