Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Summary Notes - Neighborhoods Committee - July 2007

Summary Notes
Neighborhoods Committee
July 16, 2007 – 7:00 pm – Silver Spring Regional Center

Attending: Alan Bowser; Anita Morrison; Mark Woodard, Deborah Linn, Fran Rothstein; Martha Waddy, New Hampshire Estates Civic Association; Wayne Goldstein, Montgomery County Civic Federation; Lisa Dubay, The Johns Hopkins University; Victor Salazar, Northwest Park/Oakview Weed & Seed Program; Luther Hinsley, Avery Park Apartments Tenants Association, Emie Cadet, Northwest Park Civic Association; Lisa Arrington, Hamptons Homeowners Association, Frankie Blackburn, Impact Silver Spring; Jennifer Deseo, Silver Spring Penguin; 3rd District Commander Don Johnson, MCPD; Leslie Hatch, Montgomery County Board of Elections; and Mel Tull, Silver Spring Regional Services Center.

Report on July Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board Meeting and June Neighborhoods Committee Meeting: Alan Bowser reviewed the actions taken by the Board at the July 9, 2007 meeting. The Board adopted letters 1. in support of a community mural at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and Piney Branch Road; 2. expressing concern about proposed parking meter increases in Silver Spring; and 3. expressing concern about the slow pace of safety improvements to the Forest Glenn pedestrian bridge. The Board also heard from Cdr. Don Johnson, MCPD, on local public safety issues and representatives of the Peterson Cos. about the public’s rights on Ellsworth Drive in downtown Silver Spring.

At the June meeting of the Neighborhoods Committee:
• Lt. Steve Auger, MCPD, briefed the Committee on recent public safety developments in Silver Spring.
• Martha Waddy reported on developments with the Northwest Park Oakview Weed and Seed program.
• Gretchen Hilburger, CSAFE, briefed the Committee on the CSAFE project to establish an artistic mural at the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and Piney Branch Road. The Committee endorsed the project and agreed to recommend a letter in support to the full Board.
• Mary Bradford, Director of Parks, MNCPPC, discussed the tentative conclusions of her investigation into the use of contaminated soil in the Nolte Park field renovation project.
• Jim Neustadt, Communications Director of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) briefed the Committee on a recent sanitary sewage overflow on Second Avenue in Silver Spring.
• Stuart Moore, President, Old Blair Auditorium Project, briefed the Committee on developments regarding the Old Blair Auditorium.
• At the request of Marcie Stickle, the Committee noted a County Government plan to change parking meter policies in Silver Spring.

Public Safety Update. 3rd District Commander Don Johnson, MCPD, briefed the Committee on recent public safety developments in Silver Spring. He reviewed Silver Spring crime statistics, noting a decrease in violent crime and an increase in burglaries, and vehicle thefts, over the last year. He said that the MCPD’s efforts to apprehend the person who sexually assaulted a woman in the Oakview neighborhood were the 3rd District’s top priority. Committee members asked questions about police communications including 911 emergency calls, jurisdictional concerns, nuisance abatement, traffic concerns, etc.

Northwest Park Weed & Seed Program. Victor Salazar, Site Coordinator, Northwest Park/Oakview Weed & Seed Program, briefed the Committee on the following elements of the Weed and Seed Program.

I. Law Enforcement

A. Weed and Seed Funded Police Overtime Details:
1. Increased the number of Bike Patrols and other enforcement details in the Weed and Seed area.
2. Recent police overtime details have made 4 arrests related to crack cocaine and the seizure of handguns. SAT Team arrested a person with drugs, weapon and stolen car. Some of these arrests were a result of community members providing confidential tips through the Weed & Seed structure. Hope to continue this trend through Neighborhood Watch training and regional coordination with Sgt. Jerry McFarland, MCPD, Chair of the Weed Committee of NPOWS.

B. Crime Stats/Trends:

Recently publicized in local print and TV media; the sexual assault that occurred on Avenel Avenue.

C. Training:
1. Weed and Seed funding has paid for seventeen (17) officers to attend gang training in Baltimore.
2. Weed and Seed funding has paid for two (2) officers to attend Bike Patrol training.
3. Weed and Seed funding will pay for three (3) police officers and one (1) community organizer to attend a training conference with the Department of Justice in August.
4. Weed and Seed funding will pay for officers to attend Narcotics Training in September.

II. Community Policing

A. MCPD has distributed a press release related to the sexual assault in the Weed & Seed area.

B. Neighborhood Watch Training has been scheduled for July 17th, 24th and 31st at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. Neighborhood Watch training will include resident representatives from homeowner associations both in and outside of the Weed and Seed area.

C. The Northwest Park Apartment Community Association continues to work towards having traffic calming measures installed at Northwest Park Apartments. The residents of the complex have opined that a Stop Sign is needed at Beacon and Southampton and other traffic calming measures must be utilized to slow traffic.

D. Montgomery County Police Department participated in the June community meeting at Northwest Park Apartments and a request has been submitted to participate at Avery Park on Wednesday, July 18th.

E. A nuisance abatement initiative continues to be developed for the Oakview Community to enforce code and zoning ordinances in the area.

F. National Night Out, August 7, 2007: Northwest Park Apartments is a site within the Weed and Seed area that will host an event. Will ask residents at Avery Park if they would like to hold an event at their next community meeting. Hampshire West Apartments manager has expressed an interest in holding a very small event.

III. Prevention/Intervention/Treatment Programs

A. Camp Gateway, a summer camp program for elementary school students has been operational and servicing over 100 students at Broad Acres, ES.

B. Career Exploration: Weed and Seed has funded a workshop for Middle School Youth that will be presented by JJFAIR at the YMCA/Linkages to Learning site. The kick-off for this event was today.

C. Safe Haven/Community Center, NWPA:
1. YMCA/Youth and Family Services have been providing activities to students over the summer:
a. Middle School Students have participated in YETI (Youth Employment Training Initiative).
b. Elementary School Students have participated in a camp setting.

2. Weed and Seed funding is being utilized to provide a Case Manager to families in the Weed and Seed Community. Recently the center case manager has referred families to: Educational services (GED), job training, job search, food-bank referral to Manna Foods, referrals to MCPS to enroll children in Head Start and healthcare services.

D. Currently reaching out to potential new partners who can provide services to families in the Weed and Seed area:
1. MCPS Study Circles: A school based program has been presented to potentially help new administrators at Broad Acres Elementary School develop a parent organization or resurrect the PTA.
2. The Department of Consumer Protection has reached out to NPOWS. They have been doing work in the Langley Crossroads area and have requested to attend meetings in NPOWS.

E. NPOWS Site-Coordinator participates in Out of School Time Task Force meetings to assist in the development of a comprehensive after-school program for Montgomery County youth and children.

F. Broad Acres Elementary School:
1. Have held two meetings with the new administrators at Broad Acres Elementary School. School administrators have recommitted support for the Weed and Seed Program and working with the program. Additionally, Weed and Seed is currently working with school administrators to design an outreach strategy to make the school the “center of the community.” Preliminary planning topics have included placing exercise classes in the school, holding community meetings in the school, and installing an in-door soccer league for students.

2. Community meet & greets and coffees are being scheduled with new administrators. The first one being tomorrow, July 17th, 2007.

IV. Neighborhood Restoration Projects

A. The community summit sub-committee will be meeting July 26th, 2007.

B. The Public Art Project (New Hampshire and Piney Branch Mural) will be meeting on July 25th at the substation on Piney Branch. Language for a Memorandum for Understanding must be drafted; the SHA is inquiring with their legal department to clear the project for construction and maintenance; community focus groups must be planned.

C. Playground Renovations at Northwest Park Apartments: The final report and recommendations are being formulated this week and will be forwarded to Kay Management.

D. Conducted a security walkthrough with Lisa Arrington, Hampton’s Homeowner Association, to discuss security breaches in fence between Avery Park and the Hampton’s. Will research the potential of placing public art on the fence to deter continued defacing and destruction of fence.

E. Have met informally with MNCPP regarding the sector plan at Langley Park to begin planning for the Langley Park Transit Center. Would like to get together to hold joint community meetings to discuss project and get community input. May integrate into Community Summit.

Report from Neighborhood Associations. The Committee was briefed on community developments in the Northwest Park Oakview Weed & Seed neighborhoods by officials of three civic associations. Emie Cadet, President, Northwest Park Civic Association,
Luther Hinsley, President, Avery Park Apartments Tenants Association, and
Lisa Arrington, President, Hamptons Homeowners Association discussed issues of concern to their neighborhoods. Chief among their concerns were public safety and cooperation with the Montgomery County Police Department. They described several incidents in which the MCPD or PGPD were late in responding to telephone calls, failed to respond to telephone calls for service or where community members had difficulty in contacting the police. They also expressed general concern about code enforcement, and quality of life issues, notably traffic.

• The Committee agreed to support a letter to the County Executive and County Council expressing concern about the slow pace of park renovation at Broad Acres.

• The Committee agreed to support a letter to the County Executive and County Council expressing concern about the difficulty that Northwest Park/Oakview residents have in contacting law enforcement in times of emergency.

Montgomery County Election Judges. Leslie Hatch, Montgomery County Board of Elections, said that the County needed Election Judges for the 2008 Primary Election. The State’s Election Day has been moved to February 12, 2008, and some regular election judges will not be able to work. You can get information about the requirements at the county’s Board of Elections website, at the following link.
The deadline to register for the primary election is January 22, 2008.

Adjournment The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm.

Next Meeting September, 17, 2007

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