Sunday, July 5, 2015

Takoma Notes, plus July 6 at the council: Takoma Junction attorney + community grants

I hope everyone has had a great July 4 holiday, however you spent it. I'll provide a council update, but first --

Takoma Notes

I enjoyed the rain-delayed parade so much I went back for a 2nd go-around, after marching as a council member. I joined Tara Malloy, Preston Quesenberry and his friend Rob, Lorig Charkoudian and kids Aline & Raffi, and my wife, Franca Brilliant, marching in support of Takoma Notes. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10206157525752695&set=a.10204717448433063&type=1&theater

At the 4th of July parade. (Photo by Alan Bowser.)
What are Takoma Notes?

Your opportunity to invest locally.

"Working for over a year with a group of dedicated volunteers and representatives from Colombo Bank, the Old Takoma Business Association created a program which identifies local businesses that would benefit from additional capital and develops specific loan packages to meet their needs. Through the program, the OTBA vets the businesses then raises the money to make the loan by issuing Takoma Notes to local investors.

"The first recipient selected for the program is one of Takoma's newer businesses, MAD Fitness, a fitness studio in Takoma Park, MD which offers functional fitness classes and personal training. The Old Takoma Business Association will be offering $10,000 in Takoma Notes, available in increments of $100 and higher to MD and DC residents. The MAD Fitness series of Takoma Notes has a stated interest rate of 3%."

Visit the OTBA Web site for information and to invest.

Takoma Junction Progress

The city council is slated to authorize a contract with law firm Bregman, Berbert, Schwartz & Gilday, LLC, at Monday evening's council meeting. Attorney Douglas Bregman and his team, who include attorney Francoise Carrier, until last year chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board, will represent the city in our work with the Neighborhood Development Company, our selected Takoma Junction developer.

The city had issued a legal-services RFP, inviting bids. With the help of City Attorney Sue Silber and colleagues, we identified two firms with real-estate expertise that the council then interviewed. Mr. Bregman, Ms Carrier, and their colleagues will provide invaluable assistance moving the Takoma Junction revitalization process forward.

Community Grants

The July 6 council meeting will open with a 7 pm presentation by the Grants Review Committee.

Thanks to committee members Akena Allen, Elizabeth Boyd, Franca Brilliant, Gary Cardillo, Pam Coffey, Lesley Perry, and Jen Wofford for reviewing 38 letters of intent, and then 21 application totaling $317,900, in order to make recommendations for 12 grants totaling $161,000. They were assisted by city staff -- Sara Daines, Roz Grigsby, Jessie Carpenter, and Emily Cohen -- in the process.

The committee's recommendations include funds for Historic Takoma / Takoma Radio, the Youth Development Collaborative, Takoma Ensemble, CHEER for Takoma Park Civic Engagement, the Crossroads Community Food Network, EduCare Support Services (food pantry), the Takoma Park Difference Makers (Takoma Park Middle School teacher Bryan Goehring's service project), and the Dance Exchange. I support funding these projects and would prefer generally to adhere to the committee's recommendations -- we actually allocated $4,000 beyond the recommendation total -- although I do expect the council will make adjustments.

Please do review the recommendations and comment if you wish. It's up to the council to make award decisions.

The council will discuss the recommendations at approximately 8:20 pm, following votes on a number items including approval of the real-estate attorney contract. The full meeting agenda is online.

Public Comment

Monday evening's public comment, on voting and discussion items and all other city topics, is scheduled for 7:30 pm. As always, you may send your comment by e-mail to clerk@takomaparkmd.gov, or contact me directly at SethG@takomaparkmd.gov or 301-873-8225.

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