CITY OF BOWIE
The Bowie City Council at its July 23 meeting approved a lease/purchase agreement that will enable the city to finance construction of a recycling facility next to the Public Works Department, at Routes 450 and 301. The contract also provides for the city to buy a forklift and a portable ramp for loading the materials onto trucks and a glass crusher for recyclable glass items.
Under the agreement the equipment will be leased from Maryland National Leasing Corp.; it and the building will be paid for at the end of five years at a cost to the city of $275,000.
In other business, council members approved a technical revision in the design of the University of Maryland Science and Technology Center, located in Bowie. A change in the blueprint was necessary after the developers recently purchased an adjacent tract of land and added it to the 460-acre development, representing the final addition to the center.
The owners of the center, Colton and Laskin, Bob Depew Associates and the University of Maryland Foundation, have set aside 100 acres bordering the Patuxent River as environmentally protected land.
The center currently houses the Institute for Defense Analysis, a computer think tank, and other high-tech firms are being sought to locate there. Long-range plans include adding several restaurants and a hotel.
The council unanimously agreed to set up a task force to study a proposal to establish a Science and Natural History Museum in Bowie. The idea was proposed by Councilman Gary Allen, who believes the city is growing rapidly enough to support such a museum.
The council is seeking volunteers for the task force, which will examine issues such as costs of the proposed museum and historical and scientific objects it might feature.
CITY OF LAUREL
The Laurel City Council at its July 23 meeting held a public hearing on a bill to make recyling mandatory for city residents. No one expressed opposition to the plan, which would require residents to sort their garbage and discard recylable materials at a designated place for pickup by the city. Laurel officials expect to complete details of the plan, including the projected cost, in the next several weeks.
The council also agreed to amend the city code to officially give Mayor Dani Duniho authority to set alternative dates for employees' observance of legal holidays when they fall on weekends. The city plans to continue following the federal holiday schedule in which government employees are given a weekday off if a federal holiday falls on a weekend.
A resolution was introduced that, if passed, would allow the Green at Patuxent Country Club to build a storage building adjacent to its golf course. The council's approval is needed to construct any buildings there because the land is in a flood plain.
In addition, a public hearing was held on a proposal to amend the city charter to annex 33 acres of property on the southeast side of Laurel-Fort Meade Road (Route 198) and the southwest side of the Patuxent River. The land is owned by the city but is just outside the city limits; therefore, it must be incorporated within city limits before the council can rule on a developer's request to build a golf range on the site.
CITY OF GREENBELT
The Greenbelt City Council at its July 24 meeting voted to return jurisdiction of North End School to Prince George's County, which plans to renovate the unused facility as an elementary school. North End, at Ridge and Research roads, was transferred to Greenbelt in 1984 when the county had a surplus of schools.
The renovated North End school will accommodate students from Greenbelt Center School, at 15 Cresecent Rd., which county school officials have decided to close because they believe needed repairs would be too costly. No schedule has yet been set for the renovation and reopening of the North End school.
In exchange for transferring the North End school to the county, the city will be given the Center school, which Greenbelt hopes to use as a community center. In urging the transfer, County Executive Parris Glendening told the City Council that once the new elementary school is built, he will work to help the city solicit $400,000 in state and federal funds to convert the Center School into a community center.
City officials said no schedule has yet been set for renovating and reopening the North End school.
The council also reviewed and approved the initial plans for Schrom Hills Park, which will be built in the new section of Greenbelt East where several residential developments were recently constructed. In a referendum in June, city residents approved setting aside $1 million in city funds for construction of the park, which will include a playground, a picnic area and a baseball diamond. City officials said the new park is still in the design stage and construction plans have not been set.