Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

Officials seeking input on new $31.5 million city hall

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The city plans to spend $31.5 million on a new city hall and police station near Bowie Town Center.

And they are looking for input from the very people whose money they will be spending — Bowie residents.

The city will host three meetings this month to gather community input on the new facility.

The first meeting, for community members in the immediate area around the new city hall site near Bowie Town Center, is scheduled for Wednesday and another for the entire community to give input on city hall is scheduled for Feb. 7.

A third meeting is planned for Feb. 21 for additional questions and comments from the community.

‘‘It’s a dialogue in a way. We’re communicating what we have in mind, and the community is feeding back to the architects in terms of what they would like to see,” said John Fitzwater, assistant city manager.

Fitzwater said the architectural firm Grimm and Parker stressed the importance of community involvement in its interview with city officials. Among the firm’s recent projects are the new Rockville library, the county services facility in Montgomery County and the West Springfield police station.

‘‘They have a wide range of experience in these types of facilities,” he said.

All three meetings will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at Bowie City Hall, 2614 Kenhill Drive.

Residents who cannot attend the meeting but have questions or comments on the new city hall can contact Fitzwater at 301-809-3075 or via e-mail at jfitzwater@cityofbowie.org.

City Council adoptsupdated rules

Citizens who attend City Council meetings will get two additional minutes to speak, as a result of rules passed by council at its Jan. 22 meeting.

After several weeks of discussion and strokes of pens as council members edited wording and debated changes, council approved the rules, by a vote of 6 to 1, which will govern the body throughout its two-year term.

Previous council procedures permitted speakers to talk for three minutes, though council consistently allowed speakers to talk for more than three minutes.

‘‘By extending the rule from three to five minutes now people should be able to say what they need within the five minutes and they shouldn’t need additional time,” said Councilman Todd Turner (Dist. 3).

The new procedures also limit the amount of time staff and applicant presentations can take during the meetings to 30 minutes.

The rules allow the mayor to extend the time limit if necessary.

Councilman Dennis Brady (At-large) voted against the new rules.

Green team now complete

City Council swore in the final four members of the newly-created Environmental Advisory Committee on Jan. 22.

The committee is charged with implementing the city’s Environmental Infrastructure Action Strategy Plan.

The new members are Christine Gordon, Thomas Sykes, Michael Bottega and Karin Taschenberger. The committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting Feb. 6.

E-mail Megan King at mking@gazette.net.