Newly elected and re-elected College Park council members have some major projects looming ahead, most of them having to do with the perennial issue of development.
With most of the seats taken by incumbents, the next two years will see continuation of projects started in the last term.
“There’s a lot happening in College Park as far as development,” said re-elected Councilwoman Stephanie Stullich (Dist. 3), who is joined by newcomer Robert Day. “It’s important that it be done right, because development can always be good, or it can create new problems.”
Stullich’s district includes the already densely developed Old Town area, and like the rest of the council, her attention is on redevelopment of the U.S. 1 corridor.
“What we do on Route 1 in the next two years is really important,” said incumbent Christine Nagle (Dist. 1), who is only nine votes ahead of challenger Fazlul Kabir after the unofficial tally.
More than 30 outstanding absentee and provisional ballots could tip the scale in favor of Kabir, a local blogger and secretary of the North College Park Citizens Association, at the official count Wednesday evening. That count was tallied after press deadline, but is available on www.gazette.net.
With a 28-vote lead, incumbent Patrick Wojahn looks to have safely secured the first District 1 seat, and he’s looking to make progress on the Hollywood neighborhood’s commercial area at Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Avenue.
Wojahn’s first step will be to revisit streetscape options to make the area, which he said currently is a maze of access roads and parking lots, more pedestrian-friendly.
“I’d like to see more sidewalks, trees, benches, maybe even a pedestrian plaza to make the area more walkable,” Wojahn said.
Mayor Andrew Fellows, who ran without opposition, said that development projects are going to be challenges for the city long into the future.
“Revitalization of Route 1, development at College Park Metro, development at Greenbelt Metro, these are all going to take longer than two years or four years,” he said.
These projects include redevelopment of vacant buildings along U.S. 1 and mixed-use developments around the Metro stations, which are still in initial planning stages.
For District 3 council members, public safety is another major concern.
Newcomer Day, who has been involved in several committees and is the president of the College Park Estates Civic Association, has focused his campaign on the future of public safety.
“We’re seeing more and more crime in College Park,” Day said. “We need to start growing resources toward a police force,” rather than continuing to rely indefinitely on the seven full-time contract police forces that patrol the city from Prince George’s County.
Another newcomer, Monroe Dennis, president of the Lakeland Civic Association, said he also is going to focus on public safety, though he’s not convinced a College Park police force is the way to go.
“I could be in support of a police force, but we’ll just have to see how that develops,” Dennis said.