Berwyn District Civic
February 18, 2021
Meeting came to order at 7:30
p.m. Meeting was held via ZOOM on the
internet. BDCA Board Members in attendance: Jim Nealis, Bob Catlin, Chad Stern,
Karyn Keating, Kelly Jordan, Lily Fountain, Mary Najmi,
Tim Triplett joined later. Other attendees included: Liesl Koch, Sandy Tyler, Llatetra Esters, Kyle and Emily McCormick, Joe Theis, Janet
McCaslin, Steve Bradford, Maddie and Jason Koenig, Mary Ann Hartnett from Oak
Springs, Maxine Gross from Lakeland,
Mayor Patrick Wojahn joined later.
Karyn announced she has “I’ve
been Vaccinated” buttons if anyone wants one.
Introductions were made. The
Secretary’s report on January’s meeting minutes is on our web site. Lily motioned to accept it, Bob seconded,
motion passed. Chad gave the Treasurer’s report –
we had a balance of $2,764. Last month
we paid $455 for printing costs (Berwyn News), but this covered several months,
including back payments for fall when our Paypal
issue was being resolved. Lily motioned
to accept, Bob seconded, motion passed.
Old Business – still seeking a volunteer
to be a correspondence secretary. BDCA
reps had a conversation with Terry Schum about “improvements” for the
neighborhood under Program Open Space (POS).
Our ideas included a garden with paths/benches, adult exercise station,
dog park or community garden. Llatetra (city council member) said she and Monroe Dennis
have submitted suggestions from us, as well as for Lakeland and Oak Springs – the city staff is
looking at prices, feasibility, etc. Llatetra also suggested texting MD Ready to 898211 for
information on the Six Flags park COVID vaccination site. You can also pre-register for vaccinations at
this site: https://covid19vaccination.princegeorgescountymd.gov/
No neighbors were cited for
special recognition this month, but maybe we can recognize a local
business? This will be considered. Mary mentioned Saturday’s virtual upcoming
‘Berwyn Social Hour’ at 8:00 p.m. Mayor
Wojahn joined us to discuss the Purple Line.
The contractors had pulled out of the project due to overruns and a
dispute with the state. In December an
agreement was reached, but construction is still on hold, adding more costs and
delays. Hoping to open in late
2024/early 2025. Most legal disputes are
now resolved so construction should resume by this fall. Lily asked about disruptions we might see
this fall. Wojahn said Campus Drive should
reopen, but more work will be seen near Rossborough Dr. Another question came from Chad, who asked
about the new Tempo Apartment building at the old Burger King site – how did
Gilbane Co. get a tax credit they were not qualified for? The mayor said the city staff mistakenly granted
“revitalization” credit – but the city code had banned those for student
housing projects after 2015! Gilbane
wants the city to change the code – Wojahn said the city may give them the
credit since it was a “city mistake.” Chad
implied this makes the city look bad.
Lily then asked why Gilbane should get a credit since they have a $500
million investment in the city? Wojahn
claimed a credit encourages development which lowers taxes for remaining city
residents. Karyn thought the city should
not go back on its word with Gilbane.
Liesl asked about planned Guilford Woods development proposed by UM and
Gilbane. Wojahn said it is high-density
residential, located outside city limits, but city supports it to provide
affordable graduate student housing.
Liesl said too much woodland is being lost to development, but Wojahn
said it had been approved years ago, but developers must mitigate damage by
planting more trees than they cut down – but those trees don’t have to be
planted in our city. Lily said much
biodiversity will be lost in that area, and saplings don’t replace 150-year-old
trees. Patrick said he hears her
concerns. She then expressed concerns
about the Bozzuto complex where Plato’s used to stand. Wojahn say it will have a gym, public space,
good storm water management, but Lily was concerned about future flooding
problems there. Joe asked about the new FBI Building
– might it come to our area? Wojahn is
in touch with Congressman Hoyer, who wants it in his district. Finally, we were told that P.G. Co. should
have enough COVID vaccine for all residents in Phase B in next two weeks. Please register for your shots!
Maxine Gross mentioned a new
percussion piece by a UM student called ‘Shadows of Lakeland’, which includes
some oral histories of the community. Go
to to UM’s Clarice Smith web site for more
information. The mayor said the city is
forming a steering committee to establish a ‘restorative justice committee’
Chad asked if COPS officer Nunez
can speak at a future meeting – if so, Joe asked if the officer can address the murder that took place on the Trolley Trail
nearly a year ago. Lily and Liesl hope
city development coordinator Bridget Johnson can speak, and someone else asked
if a person from the city/university partnership could speak? Chad asked the mayor if any new
funds were available for local businesses affected by COVID, and Wojahn said a
new bill before Congress may give our city $6 million for businesses hit hard
by COVID, but they must show proof of harm.
Janet McCaslin said the city can plant trees in the right-of-way in
front of your home (row is usually space between the sidewalk and curb). But many streets here lack sidewalks, so
Wojahn said the city’s ‘tree canopy’ program will pay up to $150 for trees you
plant in your yard. Karyn said home
values are up in Berwyn. Liesl asked about a dog park in Cherry/Berwyn
Park, but she was told that is MNCPPC land.
Janet noted a new dog park is opening near the city Public Works Dept. Lily noted that Berwyn neighborhood improvements should be
supported by folks throughout the community, not just BDCA meeting attendees.
Chad moved to adjourn the meeting;
Jim seconded. Meeting adjourned at 8:57
Notes compiled by Jim Nealis