The College Park City Council last week approved a city committee report suggesting ways to revitalize the busy downtown area, a two-block strip adjacent to the University of Maryland.
Revitalization of the commercial strip on U.S. Rte. 1 will be done by a partnership of the city and downtown businesses, said Jack Calahan, director of urban development.
Under the plans, business owners would upgrade their stores' facades to conform to an overall theme based on the university's architecture, he said. The city would make public improvements, such as widening sidewalks and providing some benches.
"The city and the businessmen want to induce more shoppers to patronize downtown," Calahan said. "Once we rehabiltate the downtown area, the concept can be applied to the city's other business districts."
The project will take several years, Callahan said. The College Park Economic Development Committee, which developed the report, is drafting a timetable for implementing its recommendations.
Callahan said strict standards will be applied in the redevelopment for such things as size and placement of signs. "A city ordinance with teeth will, in effect, encourage businesses to participate," he added.
In other business, the council awarded a $232,900 contract to local contractor Ernest Sines to rehabiltate Davis Hall, a city meeting place.
A $96,960 contract was awarded to H.L. Taylor Construction Co. to build an elevator for the handicapped in the College Park Municipal Center.