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Takoma Park resident alleges civil rights violation during meeting

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — A Takoma Park resident claims that his civil rights were violated on the evening of Wednesday, July 25 during the City Council’s weekly meeting.

Byrne Kelly, 63, says three Takoma Park city employees violated his civil rights when they did not allow him to set up a table in the atrium of the Sam Abbott Citizens’ Center, where the Takoma Park City Council regularly holds its weekly meetings.

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Takoma Park approves junction plan

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Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK — After nearly four years of debate, the Takoma Park City Council approved the Takoma Junction site plan in a 5-2 vote in the early hours of Thursday morning.

“The vote last Wednesday on the resolution allows the draft site to move forward to the county planning board as well as the [State Highway Administration] for review,” said Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart. “We're looking forward to working on this project and [with] residents across the city to ensure that this project is one that reflects Takoma Park.”

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A "Death by a thousand cuts" proposed in Takoma Park

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WPFW TkPk townhall 7 19 2018WPFW hosts Katea Stitt (left) and David Zirin (second from left) talk with guests Andy Shallal (third from left) and Parisa Narouzi (right) PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREVTAKOMA PARK — As the Takoma Park City Council vote on the Takoma Junction redevelopment project approaches on July 25, residents in the city gathered for a town hall on Thursday to discuss equity, economic development, social justice and gentrification.

“Gentrification is what happens when an area that was previously denied resources … resulting in demographic shifts and displacement,” Sabiyha Prince, Ph.D., an anthropologist for the Anacostia Community Museum, said, opening the discussion, which took place at the Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department. “Those resources I’m referring to are primarily loans in the form of home improvement, purchasing of property, improving property.”

The discussion, which was broadcast on air by local radio station WPFW, covered topics such as economic effects gentrification, worker-owned and cooperatively owned businesses, and the effect of development on minority-owned businesses.

In addition to Prince, the panel, which was moderated on air by WPFW hosts David Zirin and Katea Stitt, featured local business owner Kendra Blackett-Dibinga; George Mason University sociology professor Johanna Bockman, Ph.D.; Empower DC executive director Parisa Norouzi; Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op employees Mokie Rovner and Tiffany S.; Busboys and Poets founder Andy Shallal; local writer Sue Katz Miller; student activist Emily Kombe; and four-term Council member Jarrett Smith (Ward 5).

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Takoma Park residents begin recall effort

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Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK — With the City Council set to vote on the Takoma Junction redevelopment proposal on July 25, some residents are mounting a partial recall of the city’s elected officials over the project.

“There are those of us and there are many of us, who feel as though our council is basically ignoring us,” said Byrne Kelly, a Ward 3 resident who is leading the recall effort. “When we go before the council and we get our three minutes at the podium … they look at us with blank faces.”

Kelly explained that he was mounting the effort in response to what he called “gross silence” from the Council in response to a portion of the residents opposing the development proposal.

“We’re doing this for the Co-op, the public land, and the city,” he said.

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Takoma Junction residents make final push in redevelopment

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — With the City Council set to vote on the Takoma Junction redevelopment July 25, supporters and opponents made their final bids in front of their locally-elected officials.

“The development is too big,” Susan Katz Miller, a Ward 3 resident, said during an outdoor protest prior to the City Council’s weekly evening meeting Wednesday. “They [the Council] have taken all the public space; they’re squeezing out the [Takoma Park-Silver Spring] Co-op [and] endangering our most vibrant, diverse retail enterprise.”

Miller gathered with approximately 20 other protesters outside the Sam Abbott Citizens Center with a large sign depicting a tractor-trailer to protest the proposed redevelopment project to turn a city-owned parking lot at the intersection of Grant, Carroll, and Philadelphia Avenues into a two-story building with street-level retail and office space along with an underground parking garage.

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Takoma Park celebrates July 4th

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The First Panamanian Marching Band participated as one of numerous musical groups in attendance.  PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREVThe First Panamanian Marching Band participated as one of numerous musical groups at the Takoma Park Independence Day Parade. PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREV  TAKOMA PARK — With temperatures approaching 90 degrees on a clear day, Takoma Park residents lined the city’s streets Wednesday to celebrate the nation’s independence.

“The July 4th Parade means a great deal to all of us in the city,” said Mayor Kate Stewart, who marched with her City Council colleagues near the front of the parade. “It’s a time when we all come together and celebrate what is really wonderful about our community.”

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Takoma Park corrects boundaries at former Adventist School

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — As the Potomac Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church prepares to sell the former John Nevins Andrews School property, the Takoma Park City Council discovered discrepancies in the boundaries surrounding the parcel.

The former school building, located at 117 Elm Avenue, occupies a 123,425-square foot property adjacent to the City-owned Spring Park. Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, City Manager Suzanne Ludlow explained, the City discovered that a 11,296-square foot portion, consisting of two separate tracts of the former school’s parking lot, was located on City-owned land.

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Takoma Park mayor stays committed to racial equity

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takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — After residents voiced concerns about the potential impact of a proposed development in Takoma Park on the City’s minority community, Mayor Kate Stewart said she is still committed to racial equity as the City Council weighs the issue.

Introduced in April 2017 and sponsored by Council member Jarrett Smith (Ward 5), the Racial Equity Lens establishes that the Council consider the impact each project or resolution would have on minority groups in the city by including a Racial Equity Impact Statement on all agenda items discussed by the Council.

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Takoma Problems Persist

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takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — Tensions between residents and the Takoma Park City Council remain high as the project to redevelop a city-owned parking lot adjacent to the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op enters its fifth year.

“Our county and the world is already affected enough by our cars and our carbon footprint, without trucks adding to it all,” said 13-year-old Ward 2 resident Elizabeth Comfort-Cohen during the City Council's weekly meeting Wednesday. Comfort-Cohen, who goes by the Co-op on her commute to school, expressed concern the proposed Takoma Junction Redevelopment project could have on pedestrians and cyclists. “All I’m asking, council members, is that you think long and hard about the effect this project can make on the community and not just the government.”

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Takoma Park moves forward with tax plan

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The Takoma Park City Council voted unanimously to move forward with a resolution that would exempt 100 percent of inventory from the personal property tax.

The move would create a gap in funding that will have to be met another way. A couple ideas were put into the fray on how to make up the difference.

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