Meeting Attendees: Committee Members -- Anderson, Abrams, Fryer, Gabaree, Joseph, Lynne, Mara, Murphy, Pelz, Petersen, Rubin, Sheard, Statland and Tretter. County Officials and Staff: Cantor, Wrenn and Smith. Members Absent: Morrison, Bushwick-Malloy, Ceasar, Charles, D'Arruda, Dwyer, Eisenstadt, Glynn, Greenberg, Grossman, Guinan, Hall, Hokanson, Horowitz, Kramer, Levin, Moy, Scaggs, and Wilson.
Co-Chairperson Anderson chaired the meeting
Major Items Discussed:
Guest Speaker -- Commander John King of the Wheaton/Glenmont Police District, addressed the group. Commander King reported that the staffing at the Police District was critically low due to the loss of officers to the private sector, other police departments, the P.G. County School system and a number of officers on injured duty status. He indicated that even though staffing was low, statistics have not reflected an increase in crime in the County in general and the Wheaton CBD in particular. He indicated that the Hot Spots grant allows for supplemental weekend overtime coverage. He further indicated that the Wheaton Hot Spots program has been highlighted by the State because it has been managed so well and the grant for that coverage will continue. Commander King answered questions from the Committee regarding District boundaries; how officers are deployed through a single communications facility; the status of the prosecution of illegal activities at massage parlors; the improvements in security at Westfield Shoppingtown/Wheaton; better lighting to give the perception of greater safety; the need for higher entry-level salaries for officers, affordable housing for new recruits, additional officers and new technology such as computers in cruisers.
As a related matter, Natalie Cantor reported that the Department of Public Works and Transportation did a lighting survey last year and funds were allocated by the County to add 14 lights and substantially upgrade upgrade 69 lights. A formal request was made to PEPCO on July 13, 2000 to do the work. However, PEPCO has not yet responded. Ms. Cantor requested the Committee's help in trying to expedite a response from PEPCO.
In response to a question from the Committee, Commander King indicated that the creation by the County of an Urban Crew/Service Corps in Wheaton would be beneficial in terms of providing additional official visibility in the area and increasing the sense of safety in the area.
Guest Speaker -- The victim of an armed robbery at the Wheaton Metro Station garage related the general facts relating to his experience for the information of the Committee. The speaker was unable to give details because the case is on-going.
Doug Wrenn mentioned that it may be a good idea for the Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Safety to look at ways to coordinate the resources of the County Police, Metro Police. Potentially a Wheaton Service Corps could supplement existing police resources in terms of surveillance and the appearance of an official presence.
Marketing and Business Development and Executive Committee -- Sam Statland noted that the next meeting of the Subcommittee will be devoted to working on a web page. That meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on January 3, 2001 at the Anchor Inn. In addition, the Subcommittee plans to work on establishing a logo for Wheaton in the early part of 2001 and will be working with local businesses to try to establish some prizes and keep them involved in that process. The latest estimate for the completion of the marketing brochure is February 2001. The Department of Economic Development is trying to coordinate the development of numerous brochures at one time.
Transportation and Public Safety -- Sean Gabaree reported on the walking tour of Wheaton which included Al Genetti Director of the Department of Public Works and Transportation, members of WUDAC, the subcommittee, the Mid-County Services Center, the Wheaton Redevelopment Office and the Department of Housing and Community Affairs. There were comments made during the tour from Mr. Genetti indicating that some areas of concern could be handled on the County level but that he would have to talk to the State about some of the others. Marian Fryer noted that WUDAC has been working on these issues for some time and because the issues are so interrelated, the Subcommittee was now included as part of the WUDAC Task Force on Transportation.
Based on the earlier comments by Natalie Cantor regarding PEPCO's lack of response to the request for lighting improvements, Vicki Anderson requested that the Subcommittee head up a letter writing effort to provide a template or form letter which could be signed and sent personally by individuals to members of the County Council and/or the County Executive's Office to use their good offices to help urge PEPCO to take action.
Housing and Education -- The Housing and Education Subcommittee meeting for December was cancelled.
Urban Design and Image -- Carl Tretter reported that the Subcommittee meeting was used to basically set up a general process for examining the charrette materials. Each Subcommittee member was to make notes on a copy of the charrette and bring it back in January for further discussion. It was also mentioned that the Subcommittee is working on a site visit to Ballston, Virginia to look at the successful redevelopment efforts that have taken place in that area which is very similar to Wheaton and discuss strategies that were used in achieving that development.
Outreach and Community Development -- The Outreach and Community Development Subcommittee has drafted a letter to send to various community groups with information on the WRSC and subcommittees and recruiting new subcommittee members which it will bring to the Steering Committee in January for approval. The subcommittee has submitted a story for the next issue of the Wheaton Sparkler and plans to continue submitting stories to the Sparkler for each subsequent issue. The Subcommittee has also gotten the Gazette to print an item under People and Places recruiting new members for the subcommittees. After the marketing brochure and web site have been completed, the Subcommittee proposes to have its members attend various community organization meetings to present information on the WRSC. The subcommittee is completing the adopt-a-stop application for the bus stop in front of the Safeway. No meeting of the Subcommittee was scheduled for December. The start time for all future Subcommittee meetings will be at 5:30 p.m. in the Wheaton Redevelopment Office Conference Room.
Carl Tretter indicated the interest of the Urban Design and Image Subcommittee in any articles or other information items on similar efforts in other jurisdictions and requested that Committee members share any such information that they may find. Vicki Anderson requested the staff to provide a table in the room where resource materials can be made available to other interested Committee members.
Some concern was expressed by Committee members that not all Committee members were actively participating in the meetings. It was suggested that those members not participating on a regular basis be approached to step up their active participation and that new members be recruited to fill the spots which have been vacated.
Doug Wrenn announced that the position of Operations Manager, Urban District has been filled. The Operations Manager is responsible for the maintenance of the Urban District and establishing a Clean and Safe Program which includes the creation of an Urban Crew and Service Corps. The position will be filled by Joe Callaway who has successfully served as the Operations Manager in Silver Spring for approximately ten years. Mr. Callaway will come on board in the early part of January and will provide a valuable asset for the Wheaton Redevelopment Program.