A quick update from the Mayor...
With Labor Day behind us, the school season beginning, and summer coming to an end, it is fitting to provide each of you with a quick update on recent events and town priorities. And, as I am new to the mayoral role, this is also my first communication to you via our town's CivicEngage platform.
First, please support our town's new annual event, "University Park Goes Purple"! Adorn your home or porch with purple lights or simply swap your porch lights out for purple lights. By doing this, you join communities across Maryland and the Nation who are displaying purple lights around this time of year to raise awareness about opioid addiction and suicide prevention. Chances are good that someone you know has been touched by one of these issues, and by raising awareness, we can collectively provide support. 9-8-8 is a new, national hotline for suicide prevention help. Like 9-1-1, this new number will connect the caller with immediate suicide prevention assistance. Similarly, in Maryland, 2-1-1 will connect callers with mental help and substance abuse resources. If you know of someone in need, let them know about these resources.
Second, we now have an online form for residents to submit a request for a rebate - up to $100 - for battery- or electric-operated lawn equipment. The Council adopted this rebate program to compensate for the ban on gas-powered leaf blowers that goes into effect on January 1, 2024. To claim a rebate, please submit your proof of purchase receipt via the new online form at this link. Rebates will be provided as long as funds exist. I anticipate funding in future years for this program as well.
Third, University Park is proud to call itself a "Welcoming Town". Part of that mission is that we affirm that all people are welcome, valued, and respected in our community. So, in case you missed it, this past June, beginning two days after I assumed office and through the end of the month, Town Hall flew the Pride Flag in honor of the many people who struggled and continue to fight for equality.
Finally, crime seems to be on an uptick across the country, but also here at home. In this year alone, there have been two homicides in the PG Plaza Mall, and we have had some other unsettling incidents within our town boundaries. The Council appropriated two additional police officers in the last budget cycle to better respond to criminal activity and events, and our Chief of Police, Harvey Baker, is consistently making improvements in the way our police serve our community. For example, he has engaged the University Park Elementary School leadership and our neighboring police forces to conduct what will become annual, coordinated, multi-jurisdiction active shooter response training. He is holding our police officers accountable for providing excellent service to our residents; officers who fail to live up to our high standards will not be retained. And, he has recently hired some incredibly sharp officers who are already making a positive impact in town. Additionally, Chief Baker and I routinely discuss public safety concerns and will explore opportunities to give our police additional tools to keep our community safe while also being good stewards of our financial resources.
Below are some recent photos of Town Hall. One is from our event in June and the other depicts our Town Hall for the month of September. University Park is Purple!
Please share this with neighbors who may not be on the Mayor’s email list. University Park residents wishing to be added to this list or removed from it can subscribe or unsubscribe via the Notify Me feature on the Town website at www.upmd.org. You may email me directly at MayorBiermann@upmd.org.
Mayor, Town of University Park
301.351.0553 - Cellular (text for a faster response)
301.927.4262, Extension 100 - Office