The following is a link to the agenda for the October 26, 2016 City Council meeting: https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/city-council-meeting-agenda-wednesday-october-26-2016/ The two most important items are a presentation from DeRionne Pollard, President of Montgomery College, about MC’s building and renovation plans in North Takoma, and a continuation of our ongoing discussion on Police Community Relations. I encourage concerned North Takoma residents in particular to attend this week’s meeting to comment on MC’s plans and to hear Dr. Pollard’s presentation. We will also have votes on “housekeeping” purchases related to the repair and replacement of several Public Works Department trucks, replacement of the wireless microphone system for the Council chamber, and overhauling the City’s door access and security hardware and software. All of those purchases will be made from funds that are already in our budget, and I will be voting in favor of them.
Montgomery College President Pollard. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20161026-1.pdf Last summer, when the College began planning the roll-out of its updated Facilities Master Plan (a document laying out its proposed construction plans for the coming years), the City Council and many residents were concerned that there wasn’t sufficient time for adequate consultation on the Plan (as called for in the 2002 legal Agreement signed by the College, the City of Takoma Park, the County Executive and Historic Takoma). Led by then-Councilmember Seth Grimes, the Council approved a resolution in October calling for more consultation and information sharing.
Since I was elected I have continued the effort -- working with Mayor Stewart and my Council colleagues, along with several County Councilmembers, Historic Takoma, and a number of active residents -- to press for greater consultation. Among other steps, I testified before the College’s Board of Directors and the County Council. Better consultation is important because the new Master Plan puts all construction and renovation in North Takoma, with no building activity on the Silver Spring side of the campus. I recognize the need to modernize buildings on the North Takoma campus, but there should be a more balanced modernization plan involving both Silver Spring and Takoma Park, and that is the approach I am hopeful will come about from a more robust consultation process. Without it, I’m concerned that the residential quality of the North Takoma neighborhood will be damaged.
More recent communications from President Pollard suggest that she may have a growing recognition of the need for both improved consultation between MC and the City, and a better balance between Silver Spring and Takoma Park in the College’s construction plans. Those are two key points I look forward to exploring with her at this week’s Council meeting.
A number of key documents relating to our efforts on the Master Plan can be found here: https://takomaparkmd.gov/initiatives/project-directory/montgomery-college-facilities-master-plan/
City vehicle repair and replacement.
Wireless microphone replacement. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20161026-4.pdf
Door Security Hardware and Software. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20161026-6.pdf
Police Community Relations. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20161026-7-rev.pdfThe need for a greater focus on community policing remains in my mind a top priority for Takoma Park, both to ensure that our Police Officers and members of the community are able to interact with each other in positive ways, and to facilitate greater responsiveness to residents’ concerns about crime, as for example in the recent break-ins in North Takoma. This agenda item will be another in a series of discussions we have had about this important topic, and it will feature updates from both Police Chief Alan Goldberg and City Manager Suzanne Ludlow. I also anticipate that the Council will give further consideration on how to utilize the funds that were set aside in our budget to help promote best practices in community policing, potentially with the assistance of an outside consultant.
Please let me know if you have questions or concerns about any of the agenda items. Also, as a reminder, I have office hours in the Community Center’s third floor conference room this coming Thursday (October 27) from 4:00 – 6:00 PM. If there local issues you would like to discuss with me, feel free to stop by during that period – no appointment is necessary.
Peter Kovar, Takoma Park City Council, Ward One