Category Archives: News

Category for general news items.

Statement from the City regarding ongoing NDC and Co-op dispute

 

Over the past week, the City of Takoma Park has been actively involved in discussions to bring about a resolution to an ongoing dispute between the Neighborhood Development Company (NDC) and the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op (Co-op). This dispute is regarding the Co-op’s use of a City-owned parking lot at Takoma Junction for deliveries and parking. This lot is leased to NDC which, in turn, leases it to the Co-op.

Last week the City formally asked NDC to rescind its earlier demand that the Co-op immediately discontinue its use of the parking lot site. The City also asked NDC to not interfere with the Co-op’s use of the City-owned parking lot for its deliveries and parking for its customers, so that the Co-op could continue with its current sublease arrangement.

The City set a deadline of Friday, April 23 for NDC to comply with those requests. On Tuesday, April 27, attorneys for the Co-op filed suit against NDC and the City of Takoma Park. As a result of that legal action, the City is currently evaluating possible courses of action, while at the same time continuing to seek a resolution of the issues between NDC and the Co-op.

“As Mayor, I am extremely disappointed that NDC and the Co-op have been unable to successfully resolve these issues, and that this dispute has now moved into a court of law,” said City of Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart. “NDC must abide by its existing agreements with the City. The City is exploring all possible options to find a solution to the situation.  It is in the best interests of our residents that these issues get resolved as quickly as possible.”

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Tables Painted by Trap Bob at the Takoma Streetery 

Three tables at the downtown Takoma Streetery have been painted by artist Trap Bob with her original designs celebrating the power and resilience of Black women.

The City of Takoma Park hired Trap Bob to paint the tables to illustrate the City’s commitment to public art and racial equity, Arts and Humanities Coordinator Brendan Smith said.

The three tables feature Black women wearing goggles surrounded by colorful rays of light. “The characters I use in my work, I refer to them as my ‘girls’ because they are representative of myself and every Black woman. They are proud, powerful, and resilient,” Trap Bob said. “The goggles represent their superpowers because they are everyday superheroes.”

Another table painted by Trap Bob was vandalized last year by a white woman who scraped off the portrait of a Black woman’s face and the word “Justice.” That table was part of a separate project by Main Street Takoma.

“The Arts and Humanities Division paid Trap Bob to repaint the vandalized table, and then we commissioned her to paint three more tables at the Takoma Streetery to feature more of her inspiring artwork,” Smith said. “We also wanted to send a clear message that racism won’t be tolerated here.”

Trap Bob said local residents were excited to see her painting the picnic tables at the Takoma Streetery, a pedestrian area and popular lunch spot at the intersection of Laurel Avenue and Carroll Avenue in downtown Takoma Park.

“I think it’s important to show the community that change can’t be stopped and to further emphasize Black people’s resilience,” she said.

You can learn more about the City’s public art projects and see an interactive map here.

 

April 23, 2021, Updated Statement Regarding NDC and Co-op

 

April 23, 2021 Update:

As previously indicated, the City of Takoma Park has been working to address matters related to communications between the Neighborhood Development Company (NDC) and the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op (Co-op) regarding the Co-op’s use of the City-owned parking lot at Takoma Junction for deliveries and parking.

In pursuit of this goal, the City sent correspondence to NDC requesting that it:

  • rescind its earlier demands,
  • continue to permit the Co-op to use the City-owned parking lot to facilitate its deliveries and for parking for its customers,
  • and allow the Co-op to continue with its sublease.

In that correspondence, the City requested that NDC do so by noon on April 23, 2021.  NDC did not respond to the City’s request within this period.  Therefore, the City is presently evaluating its potential courses of action, while continuing to communicate with both NDC and the Co-op concerning the issues previously identified by both parties.  The City remains committed to seeking a resolution of the issues between NDC and the Co-op in order to ensure the Co-op remains operational.

 

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The City of Takoma Park has been working to address matters related to communications between the Neighborhood Development Company (NDC) and the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op (Co-op) regarding use of the City’s lot at Takoma Junction for deliveries and parking. The City’s March 10, 2021 “Site Conditions and Limitations” Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, referenced in those communications, has already been removed from the City’s website. It is hereby retracted in full and is without effect.

The City will continue to work with NDC and the Co-op to seek to ensure the Co-op can continue to use the lot for deliveries, consistent with agreements that are in place.

Art on the Move Posters Bring Public Art to Bus Shelters

 

Bus shelters across Takoma Park are brighter now with large posters featuring a diverse range of artwork by regional artists in a project that transforms public transportation with public art.

Several bimonthly art exhibitions at the Takoma Park Community Center have been delayed since the Community Center closed last year due to coronavirus restrictions. The City of Takoma Park wanted to share some of that artwork now so local residents and visitors could enjoy it, Arts and Humanities Division Coordinator Brendan Smith said.

“Riding the bus is a great form of public transportation, and local bus shelters are small art galleries now that can brighten people’s day with a fun and healthy dose of art,” Smith said.

Smith worked with graphic designer Charlotte Mann Lee to design seven different posters featuring 14 artists in the Art on the Move series. Four posters include work by individual artists, while three posters focus on groups of artists in upcoming exhibitions of figurative art and abstract art, as well as an exhibition highlighting four Black female artists.

The posters are located in bus shelters across Takoma Park, primarily on Maple Avenue between Philadelphia Avenue and Sligo Creek Parkway and New Hampshire Avenue between Eastern Avenue and University Boulevard.

The featured artists are excited to share their work with the public in an unusual venue that takes art out of museums and directly to people where they live and work. The artists’ names and websites are included on the posters to support their businesses.

Local resident Julius Kassovic (photojulius.com) has photographed nature along Sligo Creek for 15 years, creating rich, textural images through reflections in the shallow water. He said he looks a little crazy with a tripod and collapsible stool belted to his waist and two cameras slung around his neck.

“This project is a fantastic opportunity to help people feel good about being in a bus shelter where they can see something beautiful and thought-provoking,” he said. “It’s also a great opportunity to promote community pride. Bravo to the Arts and Humanities Division for organizing it.”

Samantha Viotty (viottycollection.com) paints portraits of famous Black artists in an homage to them. “A bus shelter with artwork transforms a place of waiting and impatience to provide a few moments of escapism,” she said. “Art often feels so removed from the spaces that we occupy. The bus shelters ground the medium in a different way.”

Shana Kohnstamm (shanakohnstamm.com) crafts beautiful felt sculptures which can’t be displayed outdoors so the posters are an ideal way to reach the public.

“It provides instant accessibility to my work and hopefully a nice surprise for those who are out and about,” she said. “If there is any one lesson from this past year, it’s that art in all its forms is essential to our wellbeing. It enriches our human experience. The posters are a brilliant method of outreach, and I’m so pleased to be a part of this project.”

The posters will be on display for three months, and a map of the bus shelter locations is available here. In addition to the artists mentioned above, the posters feature work by Debra Ambush, Stephanie Firestone, Michelle Frazier, Deborah Grayson, Sarah Louise Hyde, Michael Hyman, Frederik Langhendries, Craig Moran, Doug Schulte, Michael G. Stewart, and G. Jackson Tanner.

Statement Regarding Communications Between Neighborhood Development Company and TPSS Co-op

The City of Takoma Park is aware of the communications between the Neighborhood Development Company and the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op regarding the Takoma Junction Redevelopment Project. The City staff and City Attorney are working together to formulate options regarding a path forward. Council will address the matter as appropriate. Staff notes that the FAQ page that the communications referred to had been removed from the City’s website for review over a week ago, but the link remains in a cached mode at this time.

Takoma Junction Project Review Is On Hold

 

A review of the City’s Takoma Junction Redevelopment Project is on hold pending consideration of information in a letter provided today by the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA). The letter, first dated April 6 and then changed to April 13, raises a number of concerns with the design of a layby on Carroll Avenue, proposed to allow for deliveries for area businesses.

MDOT SHA was to have submitted its comments for the Montgomery County Development Review process by June 2019. Without an indication of MDOT SHA’s position on the layby, City and County officials had proceeded with the review of the project plans, including holding a special City Council meeting yesterday, April 12.

Due to the need to review the comments received today, Takoma Park City Council’s review of the site plan will not go forward on the dates that had been announced to the public: April 14, April 28, and May 5.

Information about the proposed project is on the City’s website. The letter from MDOT SHA has been posted at that link.

 

 

Recreation Department Childcare Programs Are Open!

 

The before care and aftercare programs through the Recreation Department are now open for registration. There is limited space available due to COVID restrictions. New this year is Before the Bell (a morning care program) at the Recreation Center (7315 New Hampshire Ave)! Part time and full time recreation department staff have just been through two full days of COVID safety training to prepare. Scholarships are still available for Takoma Park residents and those that have recently lost their job due to COVID may have the program fees waived.

Participants will be divided into pods from TPES and PBES.  If you are a virtual learning and need some socialization and fun, consider registering as well.

For more information go to the Childcare page. 

 

Choose from:

  • Community Center (Maple Ave)
    • Morning Addition
    • Afternoon Addition
  • Recreation Center (New Hampshire Ave)
    • Before the Bell
    • After the Bell

 

A Message From Mayor Stewart on the Recent Shooting and Arrest in our Community

 

Mayor Kate Stewart

On Wednesday, our City witnessed the violent taking of life. Dominique Williams and James Lionel Johnson were shot and killed at the hands of an off-duty Pentagon police officer. We are horrified by these events, and acknowledge this is all the more painful for those who have and continue to experience profiling based upon their appearance and brutality at the hands of those sworn to protect us.

There has been too much pain, trauma, and loss of life. It needs to end. From my perspective, there is no justification for what this person did. We do not and cannot tolerate violence. Our City is committed to ensuring justice is served. And it will be.

In Takoma Park, we must continue our work towards creating a just community. We are committed to reimagining public safety and ending this cycle of violence and trauma.

I want to thank our Police Chief and the detectives who swiftly investigated this case to get the shooter charged. I know many of us have had questions and have been anxious for a result as they conducted a full investigation of this heinous crime.

I also want to thank the many residents who reached out to us over the last couple of days. Your voices and commitment to justice in our community will serve to ensure continued dedication to protecting people’s lives and dignity in our City.

I want to extend my sympathies to the families of Mr. Williams and Mr. Johnson and to Mr. Thomas. To the residents who live in the Takoma Overlook and Hampshire Towers neighborhood where this violence occurred, we are here for you. Our community is here for you.

 

Takoma ARTery Spring Art Fair this Saturday at Girl & the Vine

Takoma ARTery Spring Art Fair 

Saturday, April 10 from 11 am-5 pm
Girl & the Vine at 7071 Carroll Avenue

You can celebrate spring and support local artists at the Takoma ARTery Spring Art Fair this Saturday. Fifteen local artists will be selling their work across a wide range of mediums in this covid-conscious free outdoor event. Some artists also will create artwork live and explain their artmaking process. Masks are required and 35 people will be allowed into the art fair at any time.

The City of Takoma Park’s Arts and Humanities Division is providing city funding and promotion for the ARTery, which also arranges storefront displays with artwork by a diverse range of local artists. The displays, which feature changing bimonthly exhibitions, can be seen at at the Historic Takoma building at 7328 Carroll Avenue at the Takoma Junction and the Takoma Masonic Center at 115 Carroll Street in downtown.

The storefront displays support the livelihoods of local artists and improve the appearance of local business districts by filling vacant or underused storefronts with arts and handicrafts from Takoma Park’s creative community. Artists arrange sales directly with buyers and aren’t charged any commission. Artists who are interested in showing their work or anyone with possible locations for more storefront displays should email takoma.artery@gmail.com. There also is more info at takomaartery.com.

“The City of Takoma Park is happy to support the Takoma ARTery’s important work,” said Arts and Humanities Coordinator Brendan Smith. “Artists are small business owners who are responsible for Takoma Park’s reputation as an arts-friendly city, and they stimulate economic development both for the city and other businesses. We’re hoping for a good turnout at the Spring Art Fair this Saturday.”

Historic Takoma Window Display