Monday, November 12, 2012

Updated Street Sense Proposal for 3200 Block Rhode Island Ave Redevelopment

On Thursday, November 8, 2012, the Mount Rainier City Council voted to award the contract for redevelopment of the 3200 block of Rhode Island Avenue to Street Sense and the Neighborhood Development Company. This is a $55 million project featuring 210 Apartments, 18,255 square feet retail, and 250 total parking spaces. Project timeline: land closing 2Q 2013, project delivery 4Q 2014, project stabilization 4Q 2015. See below for the updated visuals for the proposal, but first some additional info from Thursday's meeting that is not reflected in the graphics.

Guy Silverman of Street Sense stated that:
  • Based on feedback from residents and council, they plan on at least LEED Gold for this project and are considering Platinum
  • With about 18,000 square feet of retail, we can expect small stores and there probably will not be an anchor tenant
  • During the design phase they will be sensitive to the needs of Perry Street residents who back up to the 3200 block redevelopment. These concerns were so strong that they are actually incorporated into the Mixed Use Town Center Plan update that was issued in 2010. (The design below reflects a great deal of massing at the rear of the property, creating the potential for looming over and/or shading homes.)
  • They will consider expanding the parking garage to add capacity that serves the entire town center area (which some consider underparked because the existing commercial stock dates from streetcar days.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Canvassing for Marriage Equality

Last weekend my wife and I were proud to take our son out for his first taste of social justice when we canvassed for Marylanders for Marriage Equality. There were about two dozens volunteers there, young and old, giving up their Saturdays for the cause. After the "how to canvass" talk from the organizers, College Park council member Patrick Wojahn and state Delegate Justin Ross fired up the crowd.
College Park council member Patrick Wojahn, my family, and Delegate Justin Ross

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Barricade at 31st and Perry Streets

In July the Neighborhood Design Center presented a concept plan for making the barricade at 31st and Perry permanent. (At the time of installation, the council promised to make the barricade permanent if it worked as intended - now we are trying to follow through.) The barricade has reduced cut through traffic to basically zero, which is terrific given all the kids who have come to Perry Street in the last few years. It has also significantly reduced MRPD service calls for suspicious activity, and we think a permanent barricade that can't be moved will reduce shady activity even further.
Schematic of proposed improvements to public space around 31st and Perry Streets
The city hopes to accomplish multiple goals with this plan: 1) replace the ugly barricade with something permanent and more attractive, 2) address stormwater runoff resulting from the grade of the intersection and inadequate drainage, and 3) beautify the corner area and the triangular "park" so it's more than just an weed choked empty lot. We currently have money that can only be used for public safety purposes and hope to use that plus grant funding to support this project.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September 8 Cleanup & Celebration Along Rhode Island Ave

Come out Saturday, September 8 and show Rhode Island Ave some love! Mount Rainier is working across Eastern Ave with DC's Friends of Rhode Island Ave (FoRIA) to clean up our mutual main street. At 10am Mount Rainier volunteers will meet at Bunker Hill Fire Station, and FoRIA volunteers will meet at South Dakota Ave, to commence picking up litter along Rhode Island before coming together at the corner of Eastern Ave and Rhode Island Ave at noon for a cross-border celebration!

The celebration will be in conjunction with the Mount Rainier Farmer's Market (in front of the Citizen Paint Project at the corner of Eastern and Rhode Island Aves) and will include food trucks, live music, and socializing with our neighbors from across the way. Thanks to the Mount Rainier Youth and Recreation Committee for providing activities for children! Working together we can make the Rhode Island Ave we all want - bike and people safe and filled with vibrant commercial spaces!

Come to the clean up, come to the celebration, or come to both!
10am-noon - clean up along Rhode Island Ave starting at Bunker Hill Fire Station and working toward Eastern Ave
12-2pm - celebration at the corner of Eastern & Rhode Island with food trucks, live music, and friends!

Sign up at the new Gateway Arts District volunteer page on Facebook!
And the Facebook event is listed here: Rhode Island Avenue Clean Up 

Friday, August 3, 2012

National Night Out - Tuesday August 7

It's America's Night Out Against Crime!

The "29th Annual National Night Out" (NNO), a unique crime/drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 6-8pm at 3700 block of Otis Street and Wells Avenue. We cordially invite you and your community to be a part of our NIGHT OUT 2012 team.

Last year's National Night Out campaign involved citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials from over 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. In all, over 37 million people participated in National Night Out 2012.

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to:
  • Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
  • Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
  • Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
  • Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vote in the Route 1 Ride Bus Wrap Contest!

The Route 1 Ride is the new name for The Bus route 17 which runs from Mount Rainier to IKEA, serving a huge portion of the Route 1 corridor than many of us eat and shop in. They are calling on all corridor residents to vote for the design of the bus "wrap" that will serve to distinguish these special buses and call attention to corridor communities like Mount Rainier:
The Route 1 Ride Collaborative, in an effort to make a bold statement about the Route 1 corridor, solicited artistic designs which would be used to wrap the buses that are used on the corridor.  There were over 38 submissions (from 27 artists) and a jury of 14 reviewed and ranked the amazing array of artistic statements.  Now its your turn!  We need your vote to choose the winner of our three finalists. Voting closes Sunday, September 9th, 2012. You can vote now or read more about the artists and their work.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Open Studios a Big Success Once Again!

This past Saturday, May 12, 2012 was the 8th Annual Gateway Arts District Open Studios Tour. I don't know what the official attendance numbers will show but it seemed like record attendance to me. I stopped by Alan Binstock's home studio, Brewer's Arcade, the various spots at Artists on the Tracks including Red Dirt and Flux Studios, Emily Greene Liddle's home studio, and DC GlassWorks. There were good crowds at each spot and all of the artists seemed to be pleased with the outcome of the day.

I was also really pleased by the turnout at the after party held at the Gateway Arts Center - I would estimate attendance at well over 150 artists and neighbors. It was a great moment for our community!

Alan Binstock's home studio on the Gateway Open Studios Tour:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Funeral Home Mural - Great Press for Better Block Project

Great article about plans to paint a mural on the old funeral home at the corner of Eastern Ave and Rhode Island. This will be a key part of this year's Better Block Project, organized by Joe's Movement Emporium and Gateway CDC to demonstrate the potential of our Rhode Island Avenue corridor.
Photos courtesy of Joe's Movement Emporium, via

Friday, February 24, 2012

Electronics Recycling Event March 17

The city will host an Electronics Recycling Event on March 17, 2012 at Mount Rainier Public Works, 3715 Wells Avenue.

Click to add to your calendar:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Route 1 Ride AKA The Bus 17

There's an exciting new initiative to increase connectivity in the Route 1 corridor and get people from parts north down to us in the Gateway Arts District.  Called Route 1 Ride, this is a Prince George's County transit initiative to increase service on The Bus 17 route and hopefully have people trade car trips for bus trips.  Running from Mount Rainier to IKEA for just $1, and free to University of Maryland students, this is a forward thinking initiative to make our county more sustainable, our local economy more healthy, and provide affordable alternative transportation.

Map and stop finder

There is also a plan to "wrap" the buses in an eye catching design to reflect the route's origin in the Gateway Arts District and highlight the unique charm of living in a Route 1 community.  Call for artists to design the wrap is here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mount Rainier’s
 Youth and Recreation Committee
    February 27, 2011

6:15 p.m.
@ Mount Rainier Police Department
The Mount Rainier Recreation Committee aims to facilitate multi-generational recreational opportunities in the areas of sports, appreciation of our natural environment and the arts. The committee supports the work of activity specific recreational committees and ad hoc interest groups as needed. The Committee is the steward for the City of Mount Rainier recreational resources insuring that residents have full access and take full advantage of our neighborhood treasures.
This and all other City Committee meetings are open to the public, we hope to see you
For More Information E-Mail the committee @ or Tyrese Robinson @

Click to add to your calendar

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mount Rainier's own Margaret Boozer, live from New York!

From the good news in the Gateway Arts District department:

My friend Margaret Boozer of Red Dirt Studios has a really cool piece (which I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak of) in a major show in New York City - Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary Art and Design.

Margaret has pictures and a great explanation of the piece, Correlation Drawing / Drawing Correlations, up on her website.

W Magazine
Core 77

Day Job Blog Post On Greater Greater Washington

A peak into the world of my day job at Anacostia Watershed Society, were advocated for a clean, healthy Anacostia River for the benefit of the communities around it.  I made the big time today with this post at Greater Greater Washington:
The Anacostia River is widely called DC's "forgotten river," a term coined by Anacostia Watershed Society's founding president, Robert Boone, to reflect the river's second-class status in our nation's capital city.
The Anacostia should be a community asset: a river safe for swimming and fishing, per the federal Clean Water Act. In many ways the Anacostia River is not forgotten anymore, but rather a well-kept secret for the recreational opportunities it does offer, including biking, paddling, and surprising beauty and solitude.
My organization, the Anacostia Watershed Society, has been working to improve the Anacostia for 20 years. We and the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association will discuss the river and its recreational future with local leaders and residents at a public forum this Saturday.
Click here for the full post

Meeting Summary - February 7, 2012 City Council

The February 7, 2012 meeting of Mayor and Council was held at Rainier Manor senior apartments, 3001 Queens Chapel Road, as part of the council's effort to occasionally hold meetings away from city hall to allow more residents to participate.

The major old business was approval of Ordinance 2-2012, Approving transfer of funds from the city's reserve fund in the amount of $438,500.  The major expenditures included replacement of the emergency generator at Mount Rainier Police Department using $185,000 of restricted public safety funds from the speed camera program.  The city also allocated $211,000 to complete construction drawings for the civic center project, which will make the project "shovel ready" and more attracted for grant funding.

New business included appointing David DeRosa, Ashley Herbert, and Pastor Brian Adams to the Youth and Recreation Committee (which has really taking off lately!) and appointing MaryLee Haughwout and Joseph Jakuta to the Environmental Protection Board.

The council also voted to send a letter to the General Assembly in support of full funding for the Heritage Areas program.  Mount Rainier is in the Anacostia Heritage Trails Area (ATHA) and the program has funded many good projects in the Gateway and Port Towns area.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Public Meeting Monday 1/9 - Mount Rainier Sustainability Plan

This Monday, January 9, 2012, at 7pm, the Mount Rainier city council will hold a public meeting to discuss the town's proposed Sustainability Plan.  This plan was created to help highlight the many things Mount Rainier is already doing to create a more sustainable community, and also to create a vision to further our goals for environmental and economic sustainability.  We have integrated the city's own goals with the statewide Sustainable Maryland Certified program for municipalities.

Click the button to add the meeting to your calendar

Further details from the city's website at (scroll to the very bottom of the page):