All posts by Donna Wright

Takoma Park Street Festival has been canceled

 

Takoma Park Street Festival
Location:
Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park

For the latest info, music line up and vendor list: WEBSITE

The Takoma Park Street Festival is a little over a week away for its 41st year in Takoma Park on Sunday, October 2nd and will fill the streets with music, artists and makers, community groups, green companies and great food.

 

Local Music:
The event will kick off with a drum circle at the Gazebo Stage (all welcome to join!) and then move into 18 performances on 3 stages, offering a mix of soul, blues, roots rock, reggae, folk and more for a day of local music. For the first time in festival history, the event will kick off with a kids’ set by multiple Grammy award-winning duo, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. For the entire line up check out the festival WEBSITE and the attached graphic.

 

Vendors:
Over 150 booths extend all along Carroll Avenue. Repeating the success from last year, booths will be on one side of the street only to create a spacious, enjoyable stroll from end-to-end. The festival starts at Eastern Avenue, NW on the Washington, DC border to Philadelphia Avenue in Takoma Park, MD with work from local artists and makers including art, jewelry, stationary, home decor, clothing, personal care products, plants, and much more. Community groups and green companies participate as well with info to share. Visitors may explore Takoma’s unique local shops along the way.

 

Food:
There will be many great food options from Takoma restaurants, food trucks and festival food favorites all to be enjoyed on the Takoma Streetery on Laurel Avenue. The Takoma Park Farmers Market runs during the festival with 25 additional vendors in an adjacent parking lot. Entrance to the farmers market is at 6931 Laurel Avenue.

 

Festival Entrances:
Entry may occur all along the festival route, but there are two main entrances at either end of the festival:

(1) Carroll Avenue at Eastern Avenue, NW: Take Metro’s Red line to the Takoma station or park in the Metro parking lot. Entrance is 3 blocks away.

(2) Carroll Avenue at Philadelphia Avenue: Free parking lot hosted by the TPSS Co-op at 201 Ethan Allen Avenue. Festival entrance is .5 block away.

 

Thanks to 2022 festival sponsors

 

Event hosted by:
The Old Takoma Business Association, Your Main Street Takoma

 

Library Closed on Wednesday, August 24

A New Chapter Begins…

Great news! We are building a new Library. The new Takoma Park Maryland Library, new Computer Center, and improved Community Center facilities are happening at last. After years of conversations and planning, we have dates on the calendar that will impact Library, Computer Center, and Community Center, and our patrons.

Library Closing:

Wednesday, August 24, 2022, was the last day to visit the Library and Computer Center before the facilities relocate to a temporary space for the duration of construction. For more information, please visit: Library and Community Center Renovation

QR Code:

Use the QR for up to date news and updates on the progress of the Library Renovation

New Email Address

Email:  new library
newlibrary@takomaparkmd.gov

ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) Staff-Recommended Spending Plan

Staff-Recommended ARPA Spending Plan

Based on a six-month needs assessment, project review, and project prioritization process, staff has identified 20 projects that are being recommended to the City of Takoma Park City Council utilizing ARPA/SLFRF in the amount of $13,495,100. The Staff-Recommended Spending Plan is now available for public review and comment.

The Staff-Recommended ARPA Spending Plan (Spending Plan – (updated 1/19/22) was presented to City Council on January 12 during the regular session. Now, we want to hear from you!  Do you think the staff spending plan meets the needs of Takoma Park residents?  Do you have questions or thoughts on how the City should spend the ARPA funds?

We have several opportunities coming up for discussion and public comment and we hope you can join us.  See dates, times, and registration links below. For more information on upcoming public feedback opportunities, visit the City Council Upcoming Agenda page and the ARPA Webpage to learn more.

Discussion and Public Comments

Past meetings:

Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Public Hearing – Hosted by the City Council during its regular sessions


Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Hosted by the City Council during its regular sessions


Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Community Meeting on Staff Recommended ARPA Spending Plan


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Public Comments and City Council Meeting
Hosts include City staff and City Councilmembers

HCD announces RFP#HCD 2022-01-05 – Contract for Services: Public Space Management Plan – Proposals due no later than 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb 2, 2022

 

Purpose:

The City of Takoma Park invites qualified consulting firms to submit responses (“proposals”) to this Request for Proposals in order to assist the Department of Housing and Community Development in the completion of the Public Space Management Plan. The selected consulting firm will work with City staff to develop a data-driven and equity-infused framework for managing public spaces around the City of Takoma Park.


Publication:
Date:
Request for Proposals (RFP) documents will be available beginning Wednesday, January 5, 2022. Bid packages may be obtained from the City of Takoma Park’s website at Bids and Contracts.


Deadline:
Proposals are due no later than 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, February 2, 2022


Information
Meeting
Wednesday, January 19, 2022 – 1:30 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. EST
via Zoom: Zoom link: https://tinyurl.com/PublicSpaceRFP


Contact:
Alex Freedman, Planner Housing and Community Development Department

City of Takoma Park
7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
Email: planning@takomaparkmd.gov
Phone: 301-891-7213

AFSCME Local 3399 and the City of Takoma Park Reach Agreement on Compensation

 

AFSCME Local 3399 and the City of Takoma Park reached an agreement regarding a wage adjustment and other compensation for fiscal year 2022.  The agreement includes a 3% wage adjustment retroactive to July 1, 2021, a $2,500 end of year bonus to employees, and, in recognition of the contribution of frontline workers who continued to work on-site during the pandemic, a $3,400 bonus payment to frontline workers using American Rescue Plan Act funds.

AFSCME members ratified the memorandum of agreement (MOA) on December 14, 2021.  City Council will meet to appropriate the funds agreed to as part of the MOA in January 2022, however, some of the funds have already been approved.  As part of the ARPA Interim Final Rule, premium pay may be provided for employees who physically came to work and were relied upon to maintain the continuity of operations.


Statement from City Manager Jamal Fox

“Both sides worked diligently to find common ground and reach meaningful compromises. We absolutely value our City employees and the critical services they provide to residents of Takoma Park. This agreement recognizes that while also honoring the responsibility we have to ensure City programs are administered efficiently and effectively. I am incredibly proud of the work of our team’s efforts and thank AFSCME’s team for their partnership. The agreement for compensation in fiscal year 2022 is unlike any in the City’s history and recognizes the contribution of all City employees.  These were challenging negotiations, but the agreement demonstrates the success that can be achieved when we work together.  The City looks forward to building upon that success.”

New Beginnings… A Message from Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart

 

This time of year is one of transitions and reflections. We look back on 2021 and forward to 2022. Over the last year, there has been a great deal of change in the City. We have said goodbye to long-time residents, who helped shape the community we live in today. We have welcomed many new families and businesses.

As we reflect on 2021, I ask, as you read this, to pause for a moment to recall those who we have lost this year — members of our community who cared for others, championed the causes of justice and fairness, and made our community so much better for being a part of it.

Now, let us look back on 2021. A significant change in the City was welcoming a new City Manager. After conducting a thorough national search and an extensive interview process, the City Council selected Jamal T. Fox as the new City Manager. Mr. Fox began work at the City of Takoma Park on August 2, 2021.

Another significant shift in the second half of 2021 was the re-opening on August 23 of many City facilities. The Recreation Center and the Community Center returned to regular building hours while the Library, Computer Center and Passport Services offered extended hours. A mask mandate is still in effect for all facilities and will continue until further notice.

Even though we had to follow COVID-19 restrictions for much of the year, City staff did a fantastic job of safely bringing our community together, and here are a few samples:

  • National Night Out – first open event for the City
  • Public Space Values Workshop – Parks and Playgrounds
  • Drives (Winter Coat, Pet Drive, Domestic Violence Care packages)
  • We Belong Here: Race Equity Walk
  • Monster Bash with Trunk n Treat

The City also continues to partner with various organizations, health and wellness clinics, and federal agencies to bring FREE COVID-19 Vaccines to the Community.

These partnerships include:

  • Partnering with Small Things Matter for Free Vaccine Pop Up Clinics in front of the Community Center
  • Collaborating with Southern Management/Park Ritchie Apartments, FEMA, the National Guard, and Food Justice DMV for apartment-based clinics.
  • Working with the Office of Community Partnerships, FEMA Strike Team and the 2020 Complete Count Committee to bring the FEMA Mobile Vaccination Units to the City and sending bilingual volunteers door-to-door in the community to let residents know that the units were available, free and interpreters were there to answer questions.

Throughout 2021, the City continued to address food insecurity and assist residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, we have been working with nonprofits to get food for those in need.

We also know residents need assistance paying their rents or condo fees, receiving unemployment benefits, and much more. Our City staff continues to provide one-on-one support. Personally, I have seen them in action late at night and on the weekends. Together, we have been on the phone, talking with building managers and owners to ensure buildings are properly maintained during the pandemic and assisting residents with accurate information in different languages.

As we look back on 2021, we have excelled in our work on housing. Homeownership is possible thanks to the City’s Home Stretch Down Payment Assistance Program, which provides financial assistance to eligible individuals and families seeking to achieve homeownership. Ten thousand dollars is available for down payment assistance per qualified individual or household on a first-come, first-served basis. This year our tenth family was able to purchase a home in the City of Takoma Park utilizing this program.

This year also marks Habitat for Humanity’s first home project in lower Montgomery County, thanks to a partnership with the City. Through this partnership, an existing multi-family rental property will be fully renovated into a duplex (one two-bedroom home, one three-bedroom home), using sustainable materials and following the City’s Climate Emergency Response Framework guidelines. In addition, Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland will incorporate energy efficiency standards into its building practices, such as continuous spray foam insulation for the entire structure, water sense fixtures, LED lighting, smart thermostats, and Energy Star mechanical equipment and appliances. This rehab will also be the first example of gas abandonment in residential development in the City. Once development is complete, Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland will sell the duplex homes to two local families unable to afford a home through the traditional market.

Reimaging public safety was a focus of our work in 2021. The City of Takoma Park appreciates all of the hard work done by the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force (RPSTF) and the thoughtful recommendations. The City of Takoma Park is committed to reimagining public safety in Takoma Park. This involves a comprehensive staff review of all of the RPSTF recommendations and a holistic approach to how the City can best provide public safety services. Specifically, as we move into 2022, the City will be looking at how best to provide mental health services in our community.

A major accomplishment on the City Council was a multi-year effort to reimagine our committee structure. Council members and staff worked to create and support more diverse and representative Council-appointed committees.

We took measures this year to put in place:

  • A fresh approach to recruitment and appointment of Committee members
  • Address financial and social barriers that committee participation for residents of color face disproportionately higher rates than white residents
  • Improvements in training and operations of committees – a critical component to ensure that committees and members function in a welcoming way for all residents
  • Bolster committee’s capacity to apply race equity considerations to their work.

We have also seen an increase in new businesses in our community. On November 13, thanks to Main Street Takoma and Takoma Langley Crossroads, we held 21 ribbon cuttings for businesses that had opened since COVID-19 began.

We have also seen façade improvements and a new mural along New Hampshire Avenue. The City was awarded a Facade grant from the State to partner with commercial property owners on New Hampshire Avenue to renovate their properties. The funds leveraged reinvestment for the Takoma-Langley Crossroads Center, which is undergoing a significant upgrade for the businesses’ facades.

In addition, the City completed Community Engagement for the Takoma Park Recreation Center and will be moving forward with plans for the site in 2022.

Looking forward, 2022 will be an exciting year for the City.

We will:

  • Continue to work to address the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and residents and focus on how best to allocate the federal funds to become a Resilient Takoma Park post-COVID. Join us on January 12, 2022, for the Council work session and presentation from staff.
  • Begin construction and renovation of the library!
  • Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Unification of the City in July 2022.
  • Continue plans for the renovation of the New Hampshire Avenue Recreation Center.
  • Advance priorities and continue to implement:
  • Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan
  • Climate Emergency Response Framework
  • Race Equity Framework
  • Recommendations on Reimaging Public Safety
  • And so much more!!!

This time of year, my family observes Advent, and each Sunday evening in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we light a candle in our Advent wreath. When my children were younger, they wrote this poem that we recite when lighting the candles each week:

  • On the 1st week, I have hope.
  • On the 2nd week, I have love.
  • On the 3rd week, I have joy.
  • On the 4th week, I wish for peace for all, through winter, spring, summer, and fall.

As we enter the final weeks of 2021, I wish you all hope, love, joy, and peace for the coming year.

—Mayor Stewart

Statement Regarding Ongoing Union Negotiations

 

The City very much values the important work being done by Takoma Park employees and is committed to continuing the collective bargaining process with AFSCME. The COVID-19 pandemic has created hardship for many and caused uncertainty regarding the fiscal climate. The recent rise in inflation is one of the many unforeseeable impacts of the pandemic on our employees and residents alike.

With uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City continues to work to promote a safe work environment for our staff and ensure they are supported, as well as continue to provide services and programs, such as rental and food assistance, to residents who have been most impacted by COVID-19.

Specifically, for City employees, the Council worked with City staff to:

  • Provide hazard pay to:  Police Patrol Officers, other front-facing officers, and some command staff, Police Dispatch; and Public Works employees in Sanitation, Building Maintenance, Custodial staff, Equipment Maintenance, Right of Way Maintenance, Vegetation Maintenance, and Urban Forest.
  • Avoid layoffs, retain and continue to pay staff who were unable to perform their job duties in light of pandemic-related complications.
  • Pay administrative leave to those who could not work due to COVID-related program closures.
  • Offer a retirement incentive to anyone eligible for retirement in an effort to avoid layoffs.
  • Increased the amount of vacation leave employees could carry over into the calendar year 2021, from 240 hours to 300 hours, given the impact of the pandemic on travel/vacation.

We will continue to find ways to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our employees and the whole community, and the City looks forward to the opportunity to continue the discussions with AFSCME. The City and AFSCME will be continuing mediation soon and the City looks forward to continuing that process.

Additional Information:

  • The City is roughly halfway through a three-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and during the wage negotiations earlier this year under the terms of that CBA, the City offered to increase the pay scale for employees in the AFSCME bargaining unit by 1.8%. The City provided the same percentage adjustment to non-union employees, and Takoma Park’s police union agreed to that same pay adjustment earlier this year.
  • The City Code sets out the process for resolving issues if we are unable to reach an agreement during negotiations, which includes mediation. Two mediation sessions with AFSCME and City representatives were held recently in an effort to reach an agreement.
  • Regarding ARPA funds, City staff and Council are actively considering how to allocate funds the City received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA federal funds can be targeted to assist the most vulnerable in our community (both short and longer-term), as well as provide hazard pay for front-line workers, replace lost city revenue, and improve water and broadband infrastructure, but cannot be used to reduce taxes, increase salaries, or fund regular ongoing City programs and services.
  • Regarding current compensation for City employees:
      • For full-time City employees, the lowest salary is $43,340, with health, dental, and vision plans provided with no premium cost to the employee for employee-only coverage.
      • The City provides a competitive benefits package beyond paid health insurance premiums for employee coverage, which also includes: a variety of paid leave options, availability to flexible spending accounts, a City match to an optional 457 deferred compensation account, three employee assistance programs, tuition reimbursement, and more.
      • The City is also about to conduct a compensation study and will adjust salaries as needed during our next budget discussions in the Spring.

City Manager Fox Continues Mask Mandate for All Employees and Visitors to City Buildings and Facilities Until Further Notice!

 

City Manager Jamal Fox has implemented a mask mandate for all city buildings and facilities in the City of Takoma Park. The mask mandate applies to all employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, and all visitors until further notice. 

Please be advised that all employees and visitors will wear a mask for all indoor public spaces while in the city buildings and facilitates such as;

  • Community Center/Police Department
  • Takoma Park Maryland Library and computer center
  • Public Works
  • Recreation Center
  • Heffner building

The City will take a healthy approach to stay the current course with our Mask Mandate policy for reasons listed below until further notice! 

  • Due to many reports regarding the potential serious flu season and COVID-19 surge over the next few months through the holidays.
  • Public health professionals say there is a new and more contagious COVID-19 variant, Delta Plus (as described in the media), now in the nation.
  • Vaccines for children ages 5-11 are in the early stages of deployment and will need time to be effective.
  • CDC is considering “test to stay” in school programs, an alternative to quarantining students. This will allow students who test negative to continue to attend classes at school rather than be quarantined at home. This program potentially would have an impact on our recreation programs.

Read the original mandate here

If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact:

Donna Wright, Communications Manager
donnaw@takomaparkmd.gov  |  202-754-2963

The City Council is Accepting Applications for City Board and Committee Volunteers

 

Please apply if you would like to take an active role in the community and help make Takoma Park a more livable, environmentally sustainable, equitable community.

For more information and to apply, visit: City Boards and Committees

 

Listen to Keli Cochran, Grants Review Committee Member as she says why joining the Grants Review Committee was the best decision she ever made!

Committees

Arts & Humanities Committee focuses on matters relating to the arts and encourages the appreciation and participation of City residents in the arts and humanities.

Emergency Preparedness Committee assists in City planning and preparations for emergency operations and engages residents in how to plan, prepare and recover from emergencies.

Grants Review Committee reviews and recommends grant applications for the Community “Quality of Life” Grants awarded annually to nonprofits and business associations that serve City residents by providing greater access and opportunities for participation in the arts and sciences.

Sustainable Maryland Committee (Green Team) supports City efforts to achieve Sustainable Maryland certification, which in turn helps the City Council to meet its environmental goals and priorities.

Recreation and Community Engagement Committee concentrates on serving the varied recreation needs of our residents, emphasizing youth, seniors and diverse resident backgrounds, on uses of City facilities, and on a wider range of related community needs such as health, leisure, education, enrichment programs. 

City Boards

City Boards and Commissions have specific regulatory or quasi-judicial responsibilities in an area of City law.

Board of Elections plans and conducts all our City elections in coordination with the City Clerk. The Board also does voter education and outreach in our community, and reviews City election laws and procedures after an election to recommend changes as needed.

Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs (COLTA) represents the interest of tenants and landlords and hears cases in matters affecting rental housing in Takoma Park.

Ethics Commission certifies compliance with state and city ethics requirements, hears complaints on potential City ethics violations, and advises on how the City ethics law applies to covered individuals.

Tree Commission hears appeals of City tree permit decisions in keeping with the City’s goal to preserve, protect and promote our community’s urban forest.

 

Boards and committees are important because they:

  •  Provide the Council with tangible recommendations in key priority areas or fulfill the City’s regulatory functions and
    requirements
  • Leverage residents’ technical expertise and lived experiences to inform City policies and programs
  • Ensure that the Council has regular and timely information to use when considering its priorities or important issues
  • Provide an opportunity to engage residents on issues that are important to them as well as enable residents to assist in community education and engagement activities in priority areas.

Please visit the City Boards and Committees webpage for more information.

Takoma Park Police Release Arrest and Traffic Stop Data from 2015-2020 and Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) calls from 2018-2020

 

Chief Antonio B. DeVaul

Chief Antonio B. DeVaul is pleased to announce the release of Arrest and Traffic Stop Data from 2015-2020 and Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) calls from 2018-2020.

The Takoma Park Police Department has traditionally released information on all arrests, traffic stops, and calls for service data in the department’s annual report. The information released goes beyond the basic data previously released.

The release is consistent with one of the recommendations made by the Takoma Park Reimagining Public Safety Task Force to increase transparency and awareness surrounding public safety data and the department’s goal to be fully transparent with our community.

The City of Takoma Park has prepared interactive web pages with data on police interactions with the public. The arrest information is interactive and is broken down by race, gender, age, residency, initiation, type-specific, and offense. By race, the information is disaggregated by type of arrest, race, gender and race, age and race, initiation and race, specific type and race, and offense and race. We are also disaggregating the data for residents of Takoma Park by race, race and gender, and Ward of residency.

The traffic stop information is disaggregated by stops overall for race, the outcome of stops, outcome of stops over time, residence, the reason for the stop, gender, and age. The stops are also disaggregated by race for outcomes of stop, the outcome of stops over time, the reason for the stop, gender, age, race, age and gender.

The Takoma Park Police Department is committed to transparency and accountability. We remain committed to treating every person in Takoma Park equitably with dignity, and respect. To ensure transparency and accountability, on an annual basis the department will release arrests, traffic stops, and Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) call information.

Policing Data: Webpage and Release Link https://takomaparkmd.gov/government/police/policing-data-release/