The College Park City Council decided to wait for more community feedback before proceeding on the Hollywood Streetscape project, following a concept presentation Tuesday night.
"Initially, when the planning study was presented to the community, there was a lot of enthusiasm for this," Terry Schum, the city's planning director, said during the meeting. "Otherwise this design effort won't be under way. We're at the critical moment in the project when we have to decide how we want to move forward."
Created in October 2014, the project aims to revitalize College Park's Hollywood Commercial District by adding more public spaces and improving existing features to make the area more attractive to residents and visitors.
Missing or narrow sidewalks, overhead electric lines and stormwater drainage problems were among a few of the area's difficulties identified in a presentation from the Hollywood Streetscape Revitalization group at an April 13 community meeting.
The project's first phase looks to improve Rhode Island Avenue usability and upgrade the intersections of Rhode Island Avenue and Niagara Road, as well as Edgewood Road and Narragansett Parkway.
Another large feature is a wellness circuit aimed to run between Narragansett Parkway and Muskogee Street. The outdoor fitness trail is designed around the existing playground and resources and will feature exercise stations to assist with workouts.
District 1 Councilwoman Christine Nagle referred to the proposal as "a very attractive plan" and asked about potential recurring upkeep costs for the exercise equipment.
"This equipment is made to be in the elements," said Megan Maffeo, a senior associate and landscape architect with Floura Teeter. "We don't expect a lot of maintenance will be needed."
On May 1, District 1 Councilman Fazlul Kabir posted on his website that the Hollywood Streetscape Project will be allocated $1 million in the city's budget for fiscal 2018.
The second phase of the project includes transitioning service roads into linear parklets with shaded pavilions, bike racks and potentially a bike repair station.
"These service roads, because they are unnecessary for access, present a really unique opportunity to do something really great for the commercial district — something that has been lacking in the downtown," Schum said.
Floura Teeter, a landscape architecture firm based in Baltimore, was hired for concept preparation and design work. Zolna Russell, the firm's sustainability director, incorporated room for public art in the designs and emphasized its potential uses.
"Public art really enlivens places," Russell said, "and Prince George's County certainly has an amazing wealth of local artists who are more than qualified to create something unique for Hollywood."
Even with the outline in hand, some council members, such as Nagle and Kabir, expressed concern that not enough resident input had been incorporated.
"I don't think the delay would be significant if we took some time to have a community meeting and put this information online for feedback," Mayor Patrick Wojahn said.
Once the city approves the plans, architects will prepare construction documents.
"I'm sorry for slowing you down but I think that we really need to get the community on board with this," said Scott Somers, the city's manager. "I just don't feel like we're quite there yet."