All posts by Gerald Allen

Join us for our Arbor Day Tree Walk on Saturday, April 22


Join us at Circle Woods for a celebratory gathering and tree walk. The City’s Urban Forest Manager, Marty Frye, will lead the session identifying some of our choice native trees and expounding upon their virtues. We will also have rain gauges and trunk guards for deer protection to give away; first come, first served! Please RSVP on Eventbrite so we can keep tabs on expected attendance.

Read more and RSVP on Eventbrite.

Date & Time

Day: Saturday, April 22
Time: 10:00 am


Circle Woods
6605 Cockerille Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912

About Arbor Day

Arbor Day is also a time to recognize that a city can be a hard place for trees to live, and that they need our tender love and care! It is a time to redouble our commitment to providing our trees what they need to thrive in our urban environment. One of the most important acts you can take to support our urban forest is to plant a tree where there wasn’t one. Residents and property owners across the City are planting trees this season in solidarity with this mission. For the trees you already have, remember that a broad area of woody or leafy mulched soil for the roots to grow in is ideal. And don’t forget to water your new trees. Typically, fifteen gallons once a week is sufficient for a new young tree, though watering twice a week can be a good idea during times of drought.

Maryland Arbor Day

This year, Maryland Arbor Day is April 5, while nationally recognized Arbor Day is April 28. Tree planting is best done earlier in the spring, but any time is a good time to celebrate trees! See the City’s Urban Forestry page to learn more about tree care and City tree programs.


Marty Frye, Urban Forest Manager
Email Marty Frye

Nationwide Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 22


The Takoma Park Police Department will be participating in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Nationwide Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Take Back Day

Takoma Park Police Department
7500 Maple Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912

Date: Saturday, April 22, 2023
Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm


More Information About Drug Take Back Day

This campaign gives the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Collection boxes will be set up in the first-floor police lobby of the City building. Prescription, over-the-counter, and pet medications will be accepted. In addition, vape pens and other e-cigarette devices are now accepted, BUT only after the batteries are removed from such devices.

Although we continue to participate in this nationwide event, as a reminder, residents looking to dispose of excess and expired prescription and over-the-counter medications can visit the safe and secure permanent drop-off location at the City of Takoma Park Police Department. The collection site is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Drugs can be dropped off with no questions asked. Items that CANNOT be left are liquids, inhalers, aerosol cans, regular household ointments/lotions, needles/sharps, and/or thermometers.


If you have questions, please email Cathy Plevy.

Code Enforcement in the Neighborhoods


A primer on how we keep Takoma Park safe and tidy

It’s common to see Code Enforcement staff out and about in Takoma Park neighborhoods, looking for overgrown weeds, derelict cars, peeling paint, and unshoveled sidewalks. It’s also not unusual for neighbors to get upset about code violation notices – the process can be confusing and even alarming. Who wants a notice of a violation? What will the punishment be?

City staff assures residents that the system is not about punishment– it’s about keeping homes safe and in good repair. It’s also meant to take care of the eyesore properties that threaten to pull down property values across the board.

How It Works

The Property Maintenance Code applies to the exterior of all buildings, vacant land, and even sheds and carports. It establishes basic standards for repair only – it does not address aesthetic choices like paint color. You can paint with any color you like!

Among the most common violations: are grass over 12 inches high, an untagged vehicle, peeling paint, trash on the ground or left out on the curb, rotted wood, or broken fencing. If there is a code violation, residents get a Courtesy Notice hung on the door, with the violation(s) listed and a deadline of 15 days for correcting it. The name of the inspector and the phone number is on the notice in case you have questions or need more time. Staff issues notices so that there will be a weekend between the time the notice is posted and the deadline for correction.

If during the initial inspection, the violation noted is a significant item or a justified complaint from another person, a Notice of Violation (NOV) is issued. A major violation could be any life safety issue, extensive peeling paint, trash left out, structure damage, or graffiti. An NOV is also issued if the items noted on the Courtesy Notice are not corrected. It comes by certified mail, involves no fines, and allows seven to 20 days for compliance.

What if a resident can’t make the corrections? Staff urges residents to call to discuss the issue before the deadline for compliance. If there is more than one violation and one or more have been corrected, residents can request more time to take care of the rest. The decision to extend the deadline is made on a case-by-case basis.

Still no progress? The city issues a Uniform Civil Citation for each of the violations not abated and attaches fines to each. Residents have 25 days to correct the violation from the date it is issued and the option of requesting a trial. Even if you pay the fine, the case is brought to a hearing in District Court if the violation is not abated.

And, even if you’ve got a court date, you should continue to work on addressing the violation. Also, be sure to attend the hearing, as it is the District Court judge that makes the final decision on fines and abatement dates.

Courts typically issue an order requiring the owner to correct the violation, and the Judge may also assess a fine. Once the violations have been corrected, the case is closed, and the owner is notified.

Throughout this process, the owner is encouraged to contact the inspector. The city’s goal is to bring the property into compliance with the code, not to go to court.

Code Enforcement in Takoma Park

Information about the Division can be found in the Code Enforcement web section.

Contact Code Enforcement

Concerned about the condition of a property? Contact the Code Enforcement Manager at (301) 891-7113 or submit your concerns online.

Code Enforcement staff are happy to meet with individual citizens or neighborhood groups to provide information about the code enforcement process and answer any questions. Please reach out to us at 301-891-7113 or email Rick Baravechia, Code Enforcement manager.


Housing & Community Development (HCD) announces RFP #HCD-2023-03-14 Rental Licensing and Rent Reporting Software


The City of Takoma Park (“City”) invites qualified firms (“Firms”) to submit responses (“Proposals”) to this Request for Proposals in order to develop two deliverables: 1) the implementation of a new software solution for the City’s Licensing and Rent Reporting Programs, and 2) ongoing maintenance and support. The selected firm will work with City staff to implement the chosen software solution and address ongoing issues as the solution is used by the City to administer its rental licensing and rent reporting programs.

Information Meeting

Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Time: 1:00 pm
Zoom Registration

Publication Date

Request for Proposals (RFP) documents were made available on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. Bid packages may be obtained from the City’s website: Rental Licensing and Rent Reporting Software


Proposals are due no later than 11:59 pm on Friday, April 14, 2023.


Devin McNally
Housing Manager
Email Devin

Library and Community Center Redevelopment Update


In September 2022, the City began preparing for the renovation of the library and community center. Since then, the library has been temporarily relocated to 7505 New Hampshire Ave., solar panels have been removed from the library roof, the library mosaic has been stored, partitions between the library and community center have been erected, interior demolition has been completed, and utilities have been disconnected.

In the coming weeks, prior to the demolition of the library, you may notice less parking availability at the Community Center as contractors periodically visit the site and materials are stored in preparation for the construction of the new building. The impact on parking during this phase of the project, prior to the building demolition, should have a minimal impact on access to the Community Center.

The demolition of the library is pending several final permits and approvals from local permitting authorities, most notably the County’s Department of Permitting Services. All permits and approvals are currently submitted and under review. While the timing of the release of the permits and approvals is subject to each permit authority’s queue, demolition is expected to begin in late March or early April. As the demolition date becomes more certain, notices will be provided to the community at large. Prior to demolition, a construction fence enclosing the entire construction site will be installed; however, the Community Center will remain open, and most of the existing City services will continue.

As a result of the construction, parking at the Community Center will be severely limited for both staff and residents. The City has prioritized parking at the Community Center for residents. Below is a map identifying patron parking at the Community Center during construction. Parking restrictions are expected to take effect about a week prior to demolition and last until the project is complete in Fall 2024.

City staff will park offsite on various private lots and public streets within walking distance of the Community Center. To limit the number of staff vehicles on any single street, City staff have been assigned specific streets and, in some cases, particular blocks to park. These streets include the 100 and 200 blocks of Grant Ave., the 7500 block of Maple Ave., Lee Ave., Sherman Ave., and Darwin Ave. Staff will be parked on public streets from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

There will also be several changes along Maple Ave. to accommodate parking during construction. Immediately in front of the Community Center, adjacent to the bridge and Maple Ave Community Center entrance, parking will be restricted to 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. On the adjacent southbound portion of Maple Ave., approximately three parking spaces will be reserved for City-owned administrative vehicles for the duration of construction. To stay up to date, visit:


A version of this article was featured in the March 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

Director’s Column: Pi Day


As we begin another month in much of the world, a date is abbreviated as day/month/year. The units get increasingly
larger – it’s logical! It makes sense. But, like our resistance to the metric system, American date abbreviations are not logical, as we typically invert the first two numbers: month/day/year.

Why am I telling you this? Because Pi Day relies on the weird American system of abbreviating dates. March 14 is Pi Day: 3/14 (or 3.14…). There is no April 31, so the rest of the world has to use our irrational system to celebrate Pi Day with us.

Sidebar: This is not exactly an aberration, as America tends to assert/impose its cultural hegemony all the time anyway, but I digress.

Second sidebar: Pi, or π as it’s written in mathematics, expresses the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is an irrational number, meaning it goes on forever, infinitely.

There are two popular themes for observing Pi Day, and they are Math and Pie, so I am combining them both to give you pie charts. They are not a cohesive series, just a reflection of some of the things I’ve been thinking about.

*note: “Indoctrination of a social agenda,” which, judging by the context, I tend to read as, “What if this book inspires my kid to engage in critical thinking that might upset my worldview?”

In total, all of these books represent a little more than one-third (36%) of children’s books published in the United States that year. I think publishers can (and need to) do better.


And, just for fun, some random pie charts for our Library!

Our young readers really love fiction! I also love to see our new adult books circulating so much.

Our staff’s language abilities include Spanish, French, and Amharic!


Have a lovely Pi Day, everyone! Celebrate with whatever form of Pi/pie you enjoy the most.

A version of this article was featured in the March 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

A new face in the Recreation Department: Introducing Chris Parker


We are pleased to announce Chris Parker, who joined the Recreation Department in mid-January as the Recreation Manager. He will oversee classes, facilities, special events, and our Community Center front-desk staff. Take a moment to get to know him!

Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your hobbies.
I was born in Philadelphia, raised on the Eastern Shore, and lived in Baltimore for the past 14 years. My hobbies are traveling and sports. Some of my favorite places to travel to are the Virgin Islands and Canada. My favorite sports are basketball, football, and baseball. I ran track in college. I have a daughter who just turned 4.

What recreation programs were you involved in growing up, and how did they shape who you are now?
I was involved in youth sports, and my coaches taught me about sportsmanship and teamwork. These programs helped me learn how to work with different people and adapt to changing situations.

What are you most excited about regarding your new position?
I am excited to learn about all the classes offered by the Department already, but I am particularly happy to be working with the recreation team and meeting new people around Takoma Park.

What have you enjoyed so far about the City of Takoma Park?
The diversity within the community has been refreshing. Coming from my previous position in Loudoun County, VA, it has been nice to see all the different people that live in Takoma Park and interact with them.

What kind of programs and classes would you like to bring to Takoma Park?
I would eventually like to bring a Track and Field program to Takoma Park.


This article was featured in the March 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

Circle Woods Restoration Project Coming


Takoma Park is excited to have been the recipient of a grant from PEPCO to perform environmental improvements on the Circle Woods property.

Circle Woods is located in Ward 2 with pedestrian entrances in the 6600 block of Cockerille Avenue and 6700 Poplar Avenue. The property was acquired by the city in 1995 with the goal of preserving the floodplain from development.

Over the years, various stages of work have been done to improve the site, including stabilizing the streambanks and improving stormwater management. This site is noted as a significant resource to our residents and environment as a naturalized floodplain forest and short grass prairie.

Unfortunately, there are a number of non-native invasive weed species present on the site that pose a threat to this natural resource. As stewards of this property, the city intends to remove invasive species, followed by replanting with locally native plants. The ultimate goal is to increase the diversity and abundance of native plants and improve the aesthetic, recreation, and ecosystem value of the site.

The grant funds will be used to facilitate the removal of non-native invasive species, revegetation with locally native herbaceous and woody plants, and add informational signage about the environmental value of the site.

Opportunities for the community to be involved this spring will include site inventory and weed pull. If you are interested in being involved, email  Anna Mische John.


This article was featured in the March 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

Adventist HealthCare Alternate Care Site to decommission by April 28


In May 2020, Adventist HealthCare worked with the state of Maryland to open a COVID-19 Alternate Care Site (ACS), one of five such sites dedicated to caring for those impacted by COVID-19. Since then, the ACS in Takoma Park at the former Washington Adventist Hospital site has played a vital role in recovering more than 4,000 COVID-19 patients and supported hospitals and health facilities in the region during the pandemic’s surges.

Over the last year, effective vaccines and new treatments have helped to ease COVID-19’s strain. With the end of the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 on May 11 and as our communities continue to transition into a new phase of the pandemic, the capabilities that the alternative care sites provided to the state will be transitioned back to acute-care hospitals and other appropriate care sites.

Admissions to the ACS stopped on Monday, February 20, 2023, and current patients, at the time, in the care of the ACS, continued to receive services there until discharge. Adventist HealthCare will decommission the site by April 28.

Those providers needing support in facilitating critical care transfers in Maryland should continue to use the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) via the Critical Care Coordination Center (C4).

Adventist HealthCare has been grateful to extend its tradition of healing in Takoma Park. As was the case before COVID-19, once the hospital is decommissioned, the health system will explore the best future use of the campus.

For more information, visit Adventist HealthCare’s website. Read the full Adventist HealthCare release on the decommission of the Alternate Care Site (PDF).