Berwyn District Civic Association Meeting

September 17, 2020


Meeting came to order at 7:35 p.m.  Meeting was held via ZOOM on the internet. BDCA Board Members in attendance: Bob Catlin, Chad Stern, Jim Nealis, Lily Fountain, Kelly Jordan, Tim Triplett, Karyn Keating, Ron Cameau. Other attendees included Brian McAllister, Sandy Tyler, Llatetra Esters, Ryan White, Robert Thurston, Monroe Dennis, Gina Tomko, Mayor Wojahn, Liesl Koch, Alex Lins, Janet McCaslin, Aaron Proia, P.J. Brennan, Aimee Olivo (Danielle Glaros rep.).


Chad delivered the Treasurer’s Report as of August 31st – the BDCA had a balance of $1,392.70.


Mayor Wojahn addressed issues of equity, diversity and racial justice facing the city.  City staff has worked with the D.C. Council of Governments on these issues.  There have been two ‘community discussions’ and two more are planned – the next will discuss equity in providing city services and the last will discuss Lakeland’s place in city history, the urban renewal program there and ‘restorative justice.’  Covid 19 continues to pose a threat, and the city is concerned with the safety and health of residents.  Also, there are concerns with the economic impact to residents and businesses. Some aid is available from the Cares Act funds (including up to $15,000 for struggling businesses, $5,000 for homeowners).  The mayor encouraged folks to report violations where more than 50 persons have gathered.  Furthermore, the average home and surrounding yard should not have more than one person for every 200 sq. feet of floor space in the home.  To report violations, call 240-487-3588. Most students are following mask guidelines and UM is being proactive on this issue, even ticketing students who violate mask requirements. But concerns remain about downtown restaurant and bar crowds.  PG Co. Dept of Health is also doing random inspections. 


The Lakeland Civic Assn. has ideas about a memorial or tribute, and Lily stated perhaps we should contribute to a memorial?  Chad asked the mayor where the city was looking to find ‘racist’ acts in the city.  The mayor said the city is trying to ensure that the city treats everyone with respect, respects diverse cultural values, especially in areas regarding code enforcement, and languages used in city statements.  Chad wondered if the city had a required number of speakers in various languages which would force the city to have translators available, and also wanted to know if the city had a way of letting police personnel know that most citizens support what they do?  Wojahn said we have good relationships with local law enforcement, we just need to improve some practices.  Chad asked if College Park tracks city Covid cases?  No, but PG Co. tracks them by zip code and UM tracks their student cases.


PJ Brennan, who is leaving the city council soon, said he has appreciated his opportunity to serve Berwyn, and thanked his neighbors and the city staff he has worked with.  He was happy with infrastructure improvements - Greenbelt Rd./ RI Ave. intersection, extending the trolley trail over the gravel lot along Berwyn Rd., trail and sidewalk improvements, more trees near Lake Artemesia, etc.  Liesl asked about a fence near the parking area by the trolley trail – PJ urged her to contact Scott Somers.  PJ’s fellow council member Monroe Dennis gave his phone number (301-474-6270) to those who need assistance during PJ’s departure.


Jim reported the Census Bureau had counted 94.8% of Maryland addresses, and enumerators are currently knocking on doors in the area.    Chad encouraged folks to pay their BDCA dues ($10 per individual, $15 per family) by mail or on-line at  Payment in Sept.-Dec. will cover you through December 2021.  Karyn announced National Night Out activities, already delayed from August, have been cancelled this year.  The Berwyn Bonfire this fall is also cancelled.  She also wants feedback from Berwyners about the recent yard sale – we had 16 sellers participate.


PJ Brennan said the Branchville Gardens work-force apartment building near the VFD was approved by the city council.  A proper turning radius for BVFD trucks has been added, but the building will not have on-site, live-in management.  Chad asked if the parking area will be fenced since many work vans/trucks in the lot may tempt thieves.  PJ said part will be fenced.


New Business:  Ron Cameau and Llatetra Esters – both candidates for PJ’s vacant seat – will speak at the October BDCA meeting.  The election will take place Nov. 8th at the College Park Community Center.  Lily mentioned the desire of folks on 48th Ave. to have permit parking.  The city will consider this issue on Sept. 22nd.  There are 48 parking spaces for 22 homes along that street, but usually each home gets 5 permits per house plus 2 visitor permits.  Alex Lins lives nearby and said he opposed extending such permits along Pontiac St. near his house – he felt it was not fair to restrict student parkers this forcefully.  Bob Catlin said University Club Apts. on Berwyn House Rd. wants to add two new buildings with perhaps 200 apartments to their property.  Bob also offered to replace Larry Wenzel as Berwyn News distributor along part of Berwyn Rd.  Ron Cameau said he will help install BDCA meeting signs each month.  BDCA still needs someone to run the ZOOM meetings.  Christy Dollymore will be collecting donated food on Friday, Sept. 25th, 2-4 p.m., at the church on 48th at Tecumseh.   PG Co. has free meals for elderly/disabled residents over 60.  The BDCA may host a ‘virtual’ Halloween costume contest, but we expect trick-or-treaters will go door-to-door.  But Wojahn said PG Co. may issue Halloween rules in a few weeks.  BDCA is considering a holiday decorating contest this winter – see October’s newsletter.  Also considering various craft activities – maybe wreath-making?  Maybe a vintage car rally?  Sharing poems and recipes in the newsletter?  We are always looking for new suggestions from our neighbors!


The meeting ended at 9:25 p.m.


Notes compiled by Jim Nealis