Berwyn District Civic Association Meeting

April 15, 2021

 

Meeting came to order at 7:35 p.m.  Meeting was held via ZOOM on the internet. BDCA Board Members in attendance: Jim Nealis, Bob Catlin, Chad Stern, Karyn Keating,  Lily Fountain, Mary Najmi, Tim Triplett, Emily Shofi. Other attendees were Brooks Boliek, Jim Quindlen, Mayra Martinez, Liesl Koch, Dan Alpert, Alex Lins, Kayla ?.  Other attendees included: Llatetra Brown Esters, Mayor Wojahn, Monroe Dennis.  Speakers included Jim Rosapepe, Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Mary Lehman, Denise Valladares (Rosapepe asst.),

 

Meeting began with a round of introductions, then words of condolence for BDCA Board Member Kelly Jordan, whose mother had just passed away. 

 

First speaker was State Senator Rosapepe:  He serves on the Covid Oversight Committee, and said we are in a health and economic crisis.  But the economy last year had not been as bad as feared, especially with infusions of federal aid.  Such aid would be even higher under the new administration, with aid going to local governments, unemployment and rental assistance programs.  Maryland is in a better fiscal situation than expected.  Next speaker was Delegate Peña-Melnyk:  She is Vice-chair of the Health Committee.  Our county still has the highest Covid numbers and the disease has hit poor and immigrant communities hard.  One bill she passed requires “implicit bias training” for health care workers.  We need health “equity”, access to more telemedicine, etc.  Third speaker was Delegate Lehman:  Their delegation brought millions of dollars to our district, including two million for renovations at Attick Tower.  She supported a ‘Climate Action Now’ agenda to tackle global climate change, but it did not pass.  She thinks it will be broken into smaller bills and come back next year for consideration.  One bill that passed requires planting of 5,000,000 trees across Maryland by 2031, many in urban, lower-income areas.  Our state bus fleet will move to ‘zero emissions’ soon.  The move to ban plastic shopping bags did not pass.  Also, there is no longer a requirement that local governments must “match” bond funding since many local governments are hard-pressed to find extra money.

 

Brooks Boliek said ‘drag racing’ on Greenbelt Rd. late at night is getting bad – what can be done?  He claims since it is a state road, the city and county seem to have little interest in this problem.  Rosapepe said he will talk with the state police about this.  Lehman said a bill about drag racing (Speed Control bill) was discussed last year due to similar racing near West Laurel and the Beltway/Ikea store area, but it did not pass.  Jim Qindlen added a comment that much racing seems to start at the car wash on Rt. 1 near Berwyn Rd., and noise laws concerning loud mufflers may help.  Boliek thought medians and a light where the bike path crosses Greenbelt Rd. would help.  Rosapepe will look into this, and Peña-Melnyk wants the State Highway Admin. to be involved, and she will set up a meeting with the state and city.

 

Alex Lins does not want ‘No Parking’ or controlled parking signs along Pontiac St. between 48th and 49th Ave.  He says the current parking along one side helps slow drivers who might race down that hill.  Lily Fountain said she feels the street is so narrow that walkers might get hit – she does not agree that the parked cars slow drivers down.  Llatetra Esters encouraged residents to attend an upcoming city work session to discuss these concerns.  Chad Stern asked Mr. Rosapepe about some 156,000 fraudulent unemployment claims filed in the state – could it happen again with the new unemployment relief plan?  Rosapepe claimed most of those were ‘cyber security’ fraud, not dishonest individuals. They are working to fix this.  Lily asked where the elected officials stood on the proposed “Maglev” train connecting Washington and Baltimore?  She worries about the impact on Patuxent and Agricultural Dept. preserves. Lehman and Peña-Melnyk oppose it – they worry about the impacts on local communities and the environment.  They said Metro and MARC trains need more support.  Rosapepe likes the technology aspect but also expressed concerns over the impacts.

 

The Meeting Minutes for March were discussed – Tim moved to approve, Chad seconded, they were approved.  Chad gave the Treasurer’s report – we had a balance of $1,836.00, having spent about $972 in March on new BDCA yard signs, Easter/Spring egg hunt, gift cards for holiday decoration winners.  The Treasurer’s Report was also approved by vote.  Tim Triplett mentioned $144 was still in our problem-plagued Paypal account but he will transfer that to our new account soon.  Lily Fountain received our ‘Good Neighbor’ award for providing delicious lasagna dinners to several Berwyn residents who had been hospitalized or affected by loss of a family member in recent weeks.

 

Old Business:  The Egg Hunt had about 20 kids participate, lots of volunteers, and everyone practiced safety and distancing – it was a great success!  On May 1 (rain date May 8) we will host a Berwyn Yard Sale, 8 a.m. – Noon.  You can register on the BDCA Facebook page.  Maps of participating addresses will be available.

 

New business: COPS Officer Nuñez sends Karyn a weekly crime statistics page – it can also be viewed on Next Door.  Karyn hopes someone can contribute an article or two to the next BDCA newsletter about spring gardening and cicadas?  Lily suggests protecting small trees/saplings from cicadas damaging branches.  Alex wondered if the city can help pay homeowners some of the costs of tree trimming, and also if fruit trees are available from the city?  Nobody was sure – Rosapepe suggested city would benefit from some state tree programs.  Also, the Purple Line bill authorized some tree replacement funds.  Rosapepe thought assistance in covering trimming costs was a good ides, and Monroe Dennis said he will check with our city arborist and tree/landscaping board on these issues.

 

Karyn reminded folks we need a slate of candidates for the BDCA Board of Directors for the May meeting – all members of BDCA can run and should contact the BDCA if interested.  Bob noted the College Park Arts Exchange was hosting a concert on Sat. the 17th at 4902 Quebec St. from 4:00 – 8:00.  Mayor Wojahn said the city budget will be presented on Apr. 27th with a hearing on May 11th.  Federal funds are coming shortly to help replace lost revenue from lower hotel/motel occupancy and canceled UM events.  There will be help for local businesses, families struggling to pay rent, etc.  (www.hiphomes.org may be able to help also).  And we are in a city-wide ‘contest’ to save water.  Rain barrels can catch water from rooftops for use in gardens, but Karyn noted that killed some of her plants last year!  See www.mywaterpledge.com.

 

Monroe Dennis mentioned Apr. 30th is Arbor Day – our city is a “Tree City USA” and we want to keep that designation.  See his post in the April BDCA newsletter on p. 5. Also, he encourages folks to attend the May 11th budget hearing.  Llatetra Esters reminded us that Sat., Apr. 24th is an April ‘Clean-Up’ day.  You can get free compost – see her column in April’s newsletter, also on p. 5.  Karyn stated that trash continues to be a problem along county roads (not so much in College Park, though) – she hope PG Co. can do more to remove trash.  Alex said he opposes the city requiring a list of items for bulk trash pick-up.  Mayor Wojahn said there is a clean-up along Paint Branch this weekend.

 

Tim Triplett noted we now have a more secure web site – https://myberwyn.org.

 

Tim motioned to close the meeting, Chad seconded – meeting was ended at 9:26 p.m.

 

Notes compiled by Jim Nealis