Monday, October 14, 2013

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Rhode Island Ave Trolley Trail

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Rhode Island Ave Trolley Trail

The Trolley Trail has been on the various approved master plans since the early 1990s.  College Park has opened their segment of this important north-south connection, and now the M-NCPPC Department of Parks and Recreation is beginning construction of the trail further to the south, where it will ultimately connect to the Anacostia Tributaries Trails Network, provide multi-modal access between College Park, Riverdale Park, and Hyattsville, and serve as a bicycle alternative to US 1.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quick Summary of Utility Work in Bunker Hill Road Vicinity

Quick Summary of Utility Work in Bunker Hill Road Vicinity

On Thursday, October 15, 2013, Mayor Miles, Councilman Tarlau, and myself met with representatives of WSSC, Washington Gas, and their contractors. The following is a top line summary of the status of the utility work in the Bunker Hill Road area. Please contact me if there is anything more specific you would like to know.

The good news: Utilities are committed to finishing this work this year

So what does this mean?

Full restoration and paving of impacted roads requires hot asphalt. Most years the asphalt plant goes offline for the winter around the third week of November, give or take a week with good or bad weather. This means the utility crews have to be done with their work by mid-November in order for the roads to be fully restored before this winter.

Fortunately, per today's meeting, WSSC and Washington Gas believe that they can hit this deadline barring unforeseen circumstances. So far this project has had precious little luck, and we are going to need a little luck to hit the asphalt deadline. Mount Rainier is over a hundred years old and some of the utilities being upgraded are also nearly that age, so problems with the work are unfortunately somewhat inevitable.

That being said, I am confident that the crew leaders for the utilities are committed to meeting this deadline so that residents can be driving on a smooth new road this winter. In fact, Washington Gas has already allocated a second crew to this project.

What's next?

October 14-18 - WSSC completes testing of the new sewer lines in the 3000 block of Bunker Hill. If the lines test 100%, that block will definitely receive a base layer of asphalt by the end of the week. This testing and paving will close WSSC's involvement on this project. (If the lines don't test 100%, there is sill the possibility of WSSC closing out that week if the needed excavating / repairing is fairly minor.)

October 14-November 18 - Washington Gas upgrades its remaining mains to high pressure, and upgrades the service lines to individual homes, starting at 33rd and Bunker Hill and ending at 30th and Bunker Hill. The 3800 and 4000 blocks of 32nd Street will also see work on the level of Bunker Hill during this time frame - the main and the service line to each home on those blocks will be upgraded to high pressure. See attached map.

Mid-November asphalt paving deadline - If Washington Gas's work is going to plan on the 3100 and 3000 blocks of Bunker Hill, they will notify WSSC with sufficient lead time to ensure that the paving occurs before the asphalt plant shuts down for the winter.

Washington Gas scope of work: As of October 10, 2013, the green and yellow lines have been completed.
The lines in red will be completed October 14-November 18, 2013.

How does this impact homeowners?

If you live on a block that is going to be upgraded by Washington Gas over the next month, someone will need to be home TWICE during that time: once to run the service line to your house, and once to relight your service when your house is tied into the main. WG will be working directly with individual homeowners to schedule convenient times for this work to occur, and with a month total I think we can make this work for all residents. WG has also committed to coordinating with me to make sure that residents are adequately notified.

I plan to print out some materials and walk this around to as many of the affected blocks as I can reach over the next few days. I don't have emails or contact information for all residents so please let your neighbors know how to find this blog post or share it with them directly.

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather!

If the weather is mostly ok, and the utilities find no more major surprises when they dig, we could be driving, biking, and walking on a brand new Bunker Hill Road by Thanksgiving. That would truly be something to be thankful for!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Watching City Council Meetings Online

Watching City Council Meetings Online

Don't have cable TV? Thanks to the hard work of MRTV Department Director Graciela Carbonell, city council meetings can be watched live via online streaming at

We also have a video on demand service at where all council meetings are archived within two days. On that site there are folders that contain City Council meetings, On Air with the Mayor, People, Places and Possibilities, and City of Mount Rainier “Then & Now”.

Friday, October 4, 2013

County Rebate Program for Property Owners

County Rebate Program for Property Owners

Property owners interested in going green and helping the Anacostia River should be aware of a new program from PG DER, Rain Check. The program provides rebates for installing water friendly practices like rain barrels at your property. These newly installed practices can then be used to apply for a credit against the county's Clean Water Act Fee, which has been levied to improve water quality in our streams and the Anacostia River.

There will be a workshop nearby in Bladensburg on October 22, 2013, 6:30-8:30pm at the Bladensburg Community Center, 4500 57th Ave, Bladensburg, MD.
Prince George’s County is committed to improving the quality of life for its communities by promoting green solutions to stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff occurs when rain (or snowmelt) flows over the land picking up pollutants such as oil, grease, sediment, and nutrients which make their way into local streams and rivers. The Rain Check Rebate Program allows property owners to receive rebates for installing Rain Check approved stormwater management practices. Homeowners, businesses, and nonprofit entities (including housing cooperatives and churches) can recoup some of the costs of installing practices covered by the program.
PG DER Rain Check Workshop Flyer - October 22 in Bladensburg

Thursday, October 3, 2013

County Bans Plastic Yard Waste Bags

County Bans Plastic Yard Waste Bags

Attention Mount Rainier residents - beginning January 1, 2014 Prince George's County will no longer accept yard waste in plastic bags. Although Mount Rainier Public Works is responsible for yard waste pickup in the city, the collected yard waste is taken to the county facility so city residents must comply with this policy. This is a good policy shift because it moves the county away from unsustainable single-use plastics, and also because it facilitates better composting of yard waste at the county facility.

City residents have two options for yard waste going forward:
1) Use the large brown paper yard waste bags that can be purchased cheaply at many retailers
2) Designate a garbage can or similar reusable receptacle for yard waste. Please clearly mark such a container as "Yard Waste" and please use a lid to prevent trash and/or rodents from getting into the container.

County DER Flyer on Yard Waste Policy

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hyattsville Library Meeting

Hyattsville Library Meeting

There will be a presentation on the rebuilding plans for the Hyattsville library at the Hyattsville library on Tuesday August 13th from 7-8:30PM in the meeting room. 

One area of interest is the amount of space allocated to the book collection in the new library. The Hyattsville library has already undergone a large reduction in the book collection and space allocation under the new design could further reduce the collection, including the children's collection. 

This meeting is an opportunity review the plan and provided feedback to the architects. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Gateway LGBT Meeting - Saturday August 10

The Gateway LGBT and Allies will be getting together this Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 10 a.m. at Urban Eats (map) to socialize, and to discuss concerns about homophobia in our communities, how it manifests, and what we can do about it.

This group is open to all people, gay and straight. 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dedication of 37th Street Neighborhood Park

Dedication of 37th Street Neighborhood Park

After months of work, the fully renovated 37th Street Neighborhood Park is open for play!
Click here for map
The park will dedicated on Friday, July 26, 2013 at 1:30pm. Municipal representatives will be on hand, as will representatives from Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Please join us!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

PGAAMCC’s June Unwind Wednesday

June Unwind Wednesday

Join Maryland State Delegate
Michael Summers,
District 47


June Unwind Wednesday

June 5, 2013
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
4519 Rhode Island Avenue
North Brentwood, Maryland 20722

PGAAMCC Members: Free
Non-Members: $10

Complimentary parking, wine, refreshments, and entertainment are
provided. Enjoy networking with community members and leaders.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Final FY 14 Budget Meetings

Final FY 14 Budget Meetings

The Mount Rainier Mayor and Council will conduct two final meetings on the FY14 budget:

1.     Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - Special Work Session of the Mayor and Council at 7:00 pm to finalize discussions and recommend amendments to the FY 2014 Budget Ordinance.

2.     Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - Regular Meeting of the Mayor and Council  vote to accept/approve amendments, as well as the second reading and adoption of Ordinance 5-2013 (budget ordinance).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Candidate Forum Night - April 18

Candidate Forum Night - April 18

Mount Rainier residents, mark your calendar for the Candidate Forum Night on Thursday, April 18, 2013, 6-8pm, at the Mount Rainier Nature Center. This will be an opportunity for you to ask questions of the candidates for the open city council seats.

As a reminder, the Mount Rainier City Council is composed of two Wards (PDF) and a Mayor elected at-large. The four year terms are staggered so that one representative of each Ward is elected every other year. Up for election this year is the Mayor, the Ward 2 seat held by Ivy Thompson, and the Ward 1 seat held by Bill Updike (who is stepping down).

Nominating petitions are due to the election board on the night of April 1, so stay tuned to find out who will be competing in these races!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Giant Closing at Queens Chillum Shopping Center

Giant Closing at Queens Chillum Shopping Center

As first reported by Hyattsville Patch, the Giant at 3104 Queens Chapel Road will close permanently at 6pm, Thursday, April 4, 2013. Pharmacy operations will cease earlier, at 6pm, Wednesday, MArch 27, 2013.

This closing is a blow to Mount Rainier residents who have patronized the store for decades. Of particular concern is nearby seniors at Rainier Manor as well as residents living without cars in the city's many apartment units along Queens Chapel Road.

Residents are already having robust conversations about what they would like to see in place of the Giant.

Press Release


Giant Closure and Arrival of New Fast-Casual Seafood Restaurant Among the Many Changes Coming to The Shops at Queens Chillum

HYATTSVILLE, Maryland (March 13, 2013) – The Shops at Queens Chillum, on Queens Chapel Road in West Hyattsville, is seeing a number of changes this year.

The Giant Food store located at 3104 Queens Chapel Road announced that after over 50 years at that location, it will not be renewing its lease and will close its doors effective April 4, 2013.

The Shops at Queens Chillum has since received several expressions of interest from a number of national and regional grocers interested in this premier location.

In addition, Mid Atlantic Seafood, a popular family-owned, fast-casual seafood restaurant with 6 locations in the Washington, DC / Baltimore area will soon open a 6,000 square foot restaurant at the center. Payless Shoe Source, having recently extended their lease, has reopened having undergone an interior renovation.  In addition, the Barber Shop is opening under new management, having done an extensive remodel.
Customers who have been using Giant for fulfillment of their prescriptions are encouraged to switch to the CVS Pharmacy located in the shopping center at 3130 Queens Chapel Road.

According to representatives of The Shops at Queens Chillum, there has been an investment of over $1.35 million in renovations to the center since 2007 and the goal is to continue investing in the center, to meet with prospective merchants and continue to work with the community.

The Shops at Queens Chillum is an 80,000 sf neighborhood shopping center located in West Hyattsville at the corner of Queens Chapel and Chillum Road, ¼ mile from the West Hyattsville Metro station.  The center opened for business in 1954 and was renovated in 2007.

Media Contact
Janine Nickel

Thursday, February 28, 2013

March 2 Community Garden Work Day

March 2 Community Garden Work Day

This past Sunday afternoon I joined the organizers of the Mount Rainier Community Garden for their regularly scheduled meeting. Spots are still available for those who are interested in having a garden plot of their very own!

The location is Richardson Park, on 31st Street between Windom and Arundel Roads, and plots available will be 4 feet by 10 feet (that's a really nice size for a community garden!)

There will be a volunteer work day this Saturday, March 2, 10am - 2pm, and the first Saturday of every month thereafter.

More information on how to get involved is available at: (under construction)

Contact by email

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 Mayor and Council Meeting

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 Mayor and Council Meeting

7:00 PM

                                                                 New Business

M-NCPPC Presentation on Mount Rainier Parking Study (download)
   Faramarz B. Mokhtari, Ph. D.
            The Prince George’s County Planning
            Transportation Planning Section

Resolution appointing Supervisor and Election Clerks to Mount Rainier Election Board (First Reading/Vote)
Vote to approve expenditures for roof at Public Works Garage
Vote to approve Support Letter for Prince Georges County Memorial Library System

Work Session Discussion Items

Audit Draft Report                                                        Diane Mock and Associates
Recycle Bins                                                                Bill Updike
Storm Drain Paint Project                                            Brent Bolin

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Amount of City Budget Shortfall

Amount of City Budget Shortfall

From a report by the City Treasurer:
The Assessable Real Property Base has gone down by $57,757,585.  The Constant Yield Tax Rate (CYTR) for the City is $0.9272.   The City will receive less real property taxes by approx. $456,000 in FY 2014.
For the Fiscal Year 2012 budget year (FY12) all of the taxable real property in the city was assessed at about $376 million. That means the projected $58 million decrease in the real property tax base represents a loss of just over 15% of the city's property value.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

City Budget Calendar and February 12, 2013 Public Meeting

City Budget Calendar and February 12, 2013 Public Meeting

Citizens should be aware of the city council's meeting schedule for the FY14 budget process. As I feared last year, we are anticipating significant loss of property tax revenue due to the latest round of decreased assessments on property in the city. Unfortunately we do not expect the actual numbers from the state for several more weeks, but the city treasurer is projecting a revenue shortfall in the range of 7-8% of the city's total budget.

At my request the council added a meeting on February 12 to give citizens an opportunity to dialogue with the council regarding your priorities for your city government. It is unfortunate that we won't have accurate revenue numbers on hand to guide the discussion, but given the size of the budget hole we are projecting I believe we need to have a serious dialogue about city services and what citizens want from the city. We can't have our cake and eat it too.

I hope you will come out February 12 and make your voice heard.

FY 2014 Budget Calendar
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Staff Presentation to Mayor and Council on revenue and expenditure analysis based on current property assessments and other data
Friday, February 8, 2013      
Deadline for all City Departments (including Bunker Hill Fire Department to submit FY 2014 budget requests to City Manager.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Special Meeting of the Mayorand Council to hear public comment on budget priorities
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Deadline for Notice to Port Towns Gazetteabout FY 2014 Budget Presentation Scheduled for March 5, 2013.  Notice to appear February 28, 2013
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Notice in Port Towns Gazetteabout March 4, 2013 FY 2014 Budget submission and March 5, 2013 Budget Presentation.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Regular Meeting of the Mayor and Council; City Manager presents proposed FY 2014 Budget and Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for all city departments
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
FY 2014 Budget work session and discussion on proposed constant yield tax rate
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Deadline for submission of April 11, 2013 display ad on proposed Constant Yield Tax Rate and  notice of public hearing on FY 2014 Budget
Thursday, April 11, 2013                                
Notice in Port Towns Gazetteabout Public Hearing on proposed FY 2014 Budget and Constant Yield Tax Rate scheduled for April 23, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Mayor and Council Meeting;special work session on FY 2014 Budget
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Public hearing and public comment on
proposed FY 2014 Budget and Constant Yield Tax Rate;Special Meeting for First Reading on FY 2014 Budget
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Mayor and Council Meeting;Second Reading and Vote on FY 2014 Budget and Constant Yield Tax Rate

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February 5, 2013 Mayor and Council Meeting Agenda

7:00 PM

Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance
Review and Approval of Agenda
Review and Approval of Minutes
Official Reports
            City Manager
            Department Heads

General Public Comment (limited to three (3) minutes per person per subject matter)

MNCPPC- General Plan Briefing for 2013

Markita Bryant – applicant for membership on the Youth and Recreation Committee
Jacqlyn Riposo – applicant for membership on the Youth and Recreation Committee
Matt Mcgamity – applicant for membership on the Youth and Recreation Committee

New Business

Resolution appointing members to the Youth and Recreation Committee
Resolution appointing Bryan Knedler to the DRB Committee

Storm Drain Painting Project

Council expected to vote to adjourn to go into Executive Session to discuss the Singer Building a
nd Land Distribution Agreement regarding the 3200 Block of Rhode Island Avenue Development