Berwyn District Civic Association Thursday, September 17, 2015


  1. Agenda Item 1. Remembrance of Chuck Ireton. BDCA President Kevin Young led a moment of silence to remember Chuck Ireton, who recently passed away. Chuck had been a long‐time resident of Berwyn and a member of the Board of Directors for five years.


  2. Agenda Item 2. Officers Present. The following BDCA officers were present: President Kevin Young, Recording Secretary Liesl Koch, Treasurer Nick Brennan, Board of Directors Members Dan Blasberg and Bob Catlin, Neighborhood Watch Director Nick Brennan, and Welcome Committee Chair Christy Dollymore.


  3. Agenda Item 3. Special Guest: Jane Hirshberg, Community Engagement Manager, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Jane Hirshberg, Community Engagement Manager of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, gave an overview of activities the Center is engaged in. She distributed pocket calendars that list all the Center’s performances for the fall 2015 season. The Center is training and mentoring the next generation of artists. It is representing countries from all over the world in its performance scheduling. Tickets for performances are now a flat price of $20 per performance for those who are “Next Level” members (which costs $50 per year) and $10 for students.

    The Center has started a student matinee series. Last year it included two events; this year it is five. The series gives local schools an opportunity to bring groups of students to see performances. The Center can even pay for transportation of the students to and from the University.

    The Center has created satellite partnerships with Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mt. Ranier and Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville.

    The University hopes to open ArtHouse in the former Barking Dog location within a year. There will be a restaurant on the first floor and programming on the top floor. The Center will be forming a community advisory committee so they can learn what kinds of things the community thinks they should provide in ArtHouse to make the arts more accessible. They would be interested in collaborating with churches, too. Nando’s Peri‐Peri, which is taking over the old Ratsie’s space, wants to be involved as well.

    The Next Now Fest is a program the Center puts on at the beginning of the semester to welcome students back. It’s completely free and gives students a chance to show their art.


  4. Agenda Item 4. Introduction of Some of the Candidates Running for Office.

    Vivian Conway is running for City Council for District 2. Her parents and grandmother were all from this area. She is the mother of six, grandmother of seven. She moved to Lakeland five years ago.

    Dan Blasberg is also running for City Council for District 2. Originally from Ohio, he moved to Berwyn with his wife in 1999. He has been a member of the BDCA board for 5 years. He manages Berwyn’s annual bonfire each October. With Christy Dollymore, he helped to combine Berwyn Day and the Berwyn Bonfire into one event.

    Patrick Wojahn, currently City Councilman from District 1, is running for Mayor. He helped start College Park Day (coming up on September 26th) five years ago. He and Denise Mitchell, also running for Mayor, will answer questions on October 10th at 3pm at a forum at the Branchville

    Fire Department. He is excited about the future of the city.


  5. Agenda Item 5. Approval of Minutes. A motion was made to accept into the record the minutes from the June 18, 2015, meeting. The motion was seconded, and passed by a show of hands.


  6. Agenda Item 6. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Nick Brennan made the following financial report:


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    The cost of printing the September newsletter is not included and has not been paid yet – it will be

    $329.40. A motion was made, seconded, and passed to accept the treasury report into the record


  7. Agenda Item 7. Membership Drive. President Young thanked Membership Director Dan Stafford for organizing a very successful membership drive over the summer. He thanked the volunteers who also went door‐to‐door for the membership drive.


  8. Agenda Item 8. Old Business. There was no old business.


  9. Agenda Item 9. New Business. There was no new business.


  10. Agenda Item 10. Councilmember Reports. Councilman Monroe Dennis referred to Councilman Brennan’s column in the Berwyn News for a summary of recent City Council activity. Much of the summer was spent on the search and hire of the new City Manager, Scott Summers, who’ll be

    onboard in October.

    Councilman Dennis invited Berwyn to attend activities of the Lakeland Community Heritage Project this weekend. Friday night will be a “Skate and Go” activity, where the gym of the recreation center will be turned into a skating rink. Heritage Family Day will take place on Saturday. There will be a picnic in the afternoon. The project intends to collect and preserve the history of the Lakeland community. Oral histories will be collected. There will be a bake‐off.

    Saturday evening there will be a basketball game, where Lakeland youth play against police. The next day will be “Community Sunday,” which will include a worship service and meal.

    Councilman PJ Brennan announced that the College Park tennis club has donated six free lessons to anyone 18 or older ‐ a prize to be given away at Maryland Day.

    Community‐oriented policing has been very successful for us. A new wellness center is opening on Berwyn Road.

    The owner of Plato’s will soon announce his plans to open a performance space, where he can sell wine, in the old auto parts store across the street from Plato’s.

    There is a new church at the end of Berwyn Road. Some have expressed concern about the potential traffic that will result. We will keep an eye on it.

    The sign welcoming people to Berwyn that Sandy Tyler was instrumental in getting made for us is gorgeous, with an iron base and mosaic sign stating the name of Berwyn and the year it was established (1896). Andrea Carpentier, on whose property the sign is, is giving an easement to the City.

    The new pedestrian bridge to replace the one that was damaged will be delivered in November and installed hopefully before the snow season.

    The new security cameras on the trolley trail have been installed; they just need to be activated. The police are grateful to us for getting grant money to purchase them.

    New trashcans, with recycling options, will be installed along the Trolley Trail in October, as well as two dog bag dispensers.

    The Parks Department should be able to put a recycling bin in the park.

    There is a Noise Board hearing next Thursday at 6:30pm. Anybody can go to these hearings. There was a party recently at the top of Berwyn Road. Over 200 people attended. Citations were handed out for disturbance of the peace and for marijuana. A referral was made to the Student Code of Conduct.


  11. Agenda Item 11. Party Disturbance. One of the students who lived in the house where the party mentioned by Councilman Brennan occurred asked if he could address the audience. He apologized on behalf of his landlord and everyone else who lives in the house with him for what happened that night. It was supposed to be a birthday party, and someone posted information about it on social media. He and his roommates were as surprised as everyone else at the number of people who just showed up. They were cited for noise only.for the party and the disturbance it caused.


  12. Agenda Item 12. Neighborhood Watch. Neighborhood Watch Director Nick Brennan reported that the neighborhood has been pretty quiet of late, other than a few thefts from autos where windows were smashed in. He stressed the importance of not leaving valuables in cars. Usually around the time of school breaks there’s an uptick in thefts, especially from student houses.

    Do not call the COPS officers when it’s an emergency – only to discuss something that is not an emergency. You can call 911 even if you’re not sure something is an emergency – let them decide if it is or isn’t (the same people pick up the non‐emergency and 911 calls). The P.G. County Police

    non‐emergency number is 301‐352‐1200.


  13. Agenda Item 13. College Park Academy. Bob Catlin, who is a member of the College Park Housing Authority and Treasurer of the College Park Academy, said that the University might buy property on Metzerott Road for $20 million for the College Park Academy.


  14. Agenda Item 14. Movies in the Park, Bonfire, etc. “Director of Fun” Christy Dollymore announced that the last “movie in the park” for the season would take place on Friday, September 25th, at 7:30pm. The neighborhood bonfire will be on October 24th. Hot cider and s’mores will be provided. They will start setting it up at 2pm and the bonfire will be lit at 6pm. Firewood can be taken to the Dollymores’ house on Tecumseh Street, or it can be picked up by them. Berwyners can start dropping off wood at the park itself on the Monday preceding the bonfire. Please do not bring pressure‐treated lumber or poison ivy.

    Refreshments will be provided at the candidate’s forum at the next BDCA meeting.


  15. Agenda Item 16. Miscellaneous Announcements/Information. Vivian Conway and her election committee will be meeting at the Clarion next Wednesday from 7pm to 9pm if you would like to join them.

Nick Brennan is on the board of the College Park Foundation. The foundation received 11 applications for grants before yesterday’s deadline On Saturday, December 5th, the Foundation’s Third Annual Awards Gala will take place at the College Park Marriott.

Patrick Wojahn announced that College Park had seen a 28 percent reduction in crime this past year. The contract police deserve a lot of credit.

The sidewalk along Route 1 in front of the old Koon’s Ford site is very scary to walk on right now. UMD is going to eliminate a lot of parking lots in the future.

Since April, seven houses have sold in Berwyn, all to owner‐occupants.

The BDCA Board sent letters to Joe Nagro, thanking him for his service as City Manager, and to Steve Halpern, thanking him for overseeing the gutter replacement project.

The BDCA Board sent a letter of opposition to let the Cruz development erect a 6‐ft. chain link fence.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:35pm.


Meeting attendees (from sign‐up sheet):


Beth McAllister Patrick Wojahn Dan Blasberg Vivian Conway Richard Valentich

B. Valentich Monroe Dennis

Jane Hirschberg Bob Catlin Nick Brennan PJ Brennan

Christy Dollymore Janet McCaslin Carter Stinson

Chris Gordon Isabel Smith Doug Hunter

Margaret Himmelfarb Karyn Keating‐Volke Chad Stern


Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.