Berwyn District Civic Association Meeting

May 17, 2018

 

Meeting came to order at 7:40 p.m.  Meeting held at Fealey Hall.  Board members in attendance:  Rose Greene Colby, Bob Catlin, Chad Stern, Jim Nealis, Kevin Young.  Other attendees included PJ Brennan, Monroe Dennis, Harvey Himelfarb, Kelly Jordan, Myles Hicks, Richard Winston, Robert Hunter, Matthew Popadivk, Elizabeth Kuligowski, Richard Douglas, and Christy Dollymore.

 

The meeting began with Angela Alsobrooks, candidate for County Executive, speaking to the group.  The county has under-invested in social services – we have bad diabetes problems, few services for those with mental health and addiction problems.  We have the 2nd highest tax rate in the state, but 70% of taxes come from home owners – need more commercial growth.  Asked why she was running, she said her record in the state attorney’s office is good – lower crimes rates, interaction with local communities, and her main opponent Donna Edwards is too focused on national, not local, issues.  She achieved bail reform, housing for domestic violence victims, etc., while working with both Democrat and Republican governors.  Much of our crime problem and emergency room visits come from drug/alcohol addicts – need treatments for residents with these issues.  We spend nearly $2 billion on schools, so more money is not the only solution – we need to involve families and communities in the schools, additional pre-kindergarten resources.  The county needs more transparency with contractors.

 

 Eric Smith and Cynthia Jackson of the MNCPPC spoke about recreational activities offered at local community centers – fitness and Zumba classes (incl. free fitness classes on Saturdays in May, 9-noon), summer and sports camps, STEM camps, etc.  They also work with UM students on Good Neighbor clean-up projects.  PGParks.com has listings of activities and events – Hispanic Festival, Father/Daughter Ball in October, etc.  They were thanked by Richard Douglas for the work MNCPPC has done to protect the Bladensburg Peace Cross.  Christy Dollymore will work with them on our Oct. bonfire permit. 

 

 County Council member Danielle Glaros said the council is working on a $4 billion budget, trying to get more mental health/human services provided.  PG only has one mental health provider for every 890 people – much worse than the rest of our state.  We are losing five council members and the current co. executive due to term limits, so the massive zoning change plans may not get passed this year.  The new hospital in Largo will bring additional services (such as rehabilitation clinics) to the county.

 

City Council members PJ Brennan addressed the issue of two ‘contract’ police officers recently charged with failing to patrol the city but still charging the city for that service – one has been ordered to repay $75,000 to College Park for ‘breach of trust’.  Area crime is down, and the city wants contract officers to be under more control from the city.  New Cambria Hotel on Rt. 1 nearly finished, repaving of Pontiac Street should be done in late June.  Kevin Young asked if UMPD officers ever patrol in Berwyn or provide numbers to the city about off-campus incidents they respond to – PJ said they do not.  Christy Dollymore said students are crossing Rt. 1 near Tecumseh St. – we need a crosswalk there!  The blockaded intersection of Greenbelt Rd./Rhode Island Ave. should be improved by summer or fall.  Monroe Dennis discussed improved bike lanes and a desire for better use of city cable TV channel.  Mayor Wojahn mentioned ‘bike to work’ day, Hollywood Farmers Market, and a mural being designed for placement along the bike trail under Rt. 1 Bridge over Paint Branch.  A representative from the Paint Branch Elem. School PTA also spoke, encouraged Berwyn residents to be more involved with our neighborhood school and PTA.  This school has a Chinese immersion program and special services for children with autism.

 

Residents are reminded that the BDCA will hold elections for positions at the June meeting, and we are in need of someone to serve as a Neighborhood Watch representative.  Current President Rose Greene Colby will not run for re-election as she plans to move later this summer.  Meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.