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A Mid-Winter Chat

With one and a half snowfalls behind us and who-knows-what to come,
it is time to catch up on a few things.

Poplar Park
The Mayor is determined to fit out a system of safe bike and walking paths. On the one end, it could link up to the Academy Bridge and then to the B&A Trail. On the other end, one could ride or walk from downtown to the hospital, the Mall, and out to Waterworks Park. 



The Poplar Park Path is a crucial segment. If the Poplar Park Path is extended beyond Admiral Drive, more people will be using it. If more people use it, it must be widened. And the stormwater issues must be addressed.

The Mayor took a walk in Poplar Park the other day. He was accompanied by the Director of Public Works, the Deputy City Manager for the Environment, the City stormwater expert, the Chief of Comprehensive (i.e. future) Planning, and me on behalf of you.

I stressed that bicycle riders do not mix well with walkers and mothers pushing strollers. I suggested that narrower equals safer. I suggested we consider routing the faster bicyclists off the Path and onto Poplar Ave. We discussed if that is possible, where the diversions would be, and where the Path can be widened and to what width and where it cannot be widened. 

One must keep in mind that, in order to obtain bicycle path grant money, the pathway must be quite wide. Research will be done to determine if the on-street paths will count towards the required widths.  Before anything is done, the City will come to us with a draft plan for our consideration and comment. 

It’s a tightly-knit park. The asphalt needs rejuvenation. The pathway can take some widening, but not too much. The stormwater retention areas can become part of the charm of the park. If it all is done sensitively, and if we put our collective good minds to the task, it can be done right. 

While we are talking asphalt, you might have noticed the water main work is ALLLL DONE. Leaving us with some pretty rough streets. The repaving cannot be done until the weather warms and the asphalt plants restart their fires. My guess is April.


 
Mosquito Control
While we are talking April, I received the following email from the Department of Natural Resources.

From: sarahm.smith@maryland.gov <sarahm.smith@maryland.gov> On Behalf Of Mosquito Control -MDA-
Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2021 2:34 PM
Subject: Exemption from ULV Mosquito Fogging

Good afternoon,
You are receiving this email because you have requested that your property be exempted from ULV mosquito fogging performed by the Maryland Department of Agriculture. The request was filed in 2016 and is still active.  Please confirm whether you still want your property to be exempt and that you have not moved since you file the exemption request.

Have a great day!
Sarah S.
Mosquito Control Section
Maryland Department of Agriculture
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401
mosquito.control@maryland.gov
(410) 841-5870 (O)

If you want your property exempted, send the email.

If you are unsure, the mosquito spraying kills lots of things, not just mosquitoes, including beneficial insects and bugs that are bird food. To keep mosquitoes down, get rid of standing water. And mosquitoes travel, so if one person sprays but not his neighbor, the spraying does no good while still doing harm. 
Studio 39 Update
While on the subject of natural resources, people who live within three blocks of Studio 39 (the Old Old Germantown Elementary School whose cornerstone was laid in 1939) are well aware that the school furnace exhausts clouds and plumes of oily smoke and potentially toxic vapors. Replacement of the furnace is perennially on the school system’s fixit list.

This year Kirsten Chapman and Craig Kellstrom and a few others have been pushing hard to get it to the top of the list, and then to the fixed list. They have written letters to the system administrators, lobbied Lisa Rodvien, our County Councilwoman, and Joanna Tobin, our rep on the School Board, testified to the Board and the Council, and kept records of the emissions. If you wish to report an emission or to help them, contact Kirsten at ghca21401@gmail.com
Experts in the Neighborhood
While talking about resources, we have expert resources right in our neighborhoods. For a few years we have run Experts in the Neighborhood; a person with expertise will give an informal talk. We had talks on the Antarctic (with a live feed to penguins doing their penguin things on the ice), oceanic wind energy, solar energy, self-driving cars, and even quantum computing and a beginner’s intro to jazz with live music. 

With Studio 39 shut down, we have to punt to an alternative.  We propose broadcasting live from the presenter’s home onto Facebook Live. We need:
  • Technical help
  • A scheduler to put it together
How about cooking classes, resume writing, a tour of the Baltimore Aquarium, …. All can be done and you and your kids can watch it from the pleasure of your couch. Volunteers? Ideas? Let us know at ghca21401@gmail.com
 
Calling Volunteers
While talking about volunteers, one of these fine weekend days, the Poplar Park Posse will convene to continue caring for the trees in our public spaces. Watch the Facebook page for the whistle to saddle up.

We also could really use another representative from Homewood on the Steering Committee and a rep from the S. Southwood-Homeland neighborhood. It’s not heavy lifting – just one meeting a month. Reveal your interest at ghca21401@gmail.com.

 
General Meeting
While on the subject of volunteers, it is time for a General Meeting. We need to elect the four officers for the Board and to introduce the Steering Committee and generally report on the health of the neighborhood. The meeting will be Tuesday, March 23 at 7:30 pm via a Zoom webinar. The details will go out by email and Facebook. 
Germantown Homewood Real Estate Update
2020 was a good year….in real estate that is.  In the midst of a global pandemic, real estate demands only grew as people sought more space to stretch out during quarantine while working remotely and overseeing distance learning for students of all ages. We saw an influx to the suburbs of Annapolis from urban areas near and far, a trend we expect to continue.  In Annapolis, over a billion dollars of real estate was sold with an average sales price of $584,828, an 8% increase over 2019.  

In Germantown-Homewood, prices held steady with a 14.29% increase in units sold over 2019.  The average sales price in our community for the Q4 of 2020 was $582,357 with an increase of16.67% in units sold over the 4th quarter of the previous year.  Lots of new neighbors to welcome to the hood!

Michele Deckman
GHCA Board/Steering Committee member
Time to Pay Your Dues
Lastly, while on the subject of health, the Association is poking along quite well. We have some money in the bank; the web site, www.germantownhomewood.com, is pretty darn good; we are recognized as a large and well-run association whose views are taken seriously. I daresay we are doing better than merely surviving.

It is a new year. It is time to pay your dues – by PayPal, by Venmo, or by check. See the website to see how easy it is to spend your money. And it is time to give something back to your community. If nothing else, it makes you feel good. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

 

Yours,
R. Henry Waldman, Chair

Tim Doyle, Vice Chair
Anne Woods, Treasurer
Kathleen Doyle, Secretary

Steering Committee:
Antonia Barry
Michele Deckman
Peri Lane
Susan Rensted
Leon Shapiro

www.germantownhomewood.com 
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