By MEAGAN MILLER — Two pillars at the corner of Albion Road and Route 1 were tied together by a red ribbon at 8:30 a.m. on April 5. Folks from the neighborhood and representatives from around the county snacked on donated Pike’s Place brew coffee from Riverdale Park Station Starbucks and blueberry, strawberry, blackberry and cheese pastries from Riverdale Park Station Whole Foods as they celebrated the opening of a 300-foot multi-use side path. The path was built to soften the perceived divide between College Park, University Park, Riverdale Park and the University of Maryland.
If these pillars could talk, they might let you know that they mark the location of the former MacAlpine House. Charles Baltimore Calvert built the MacAlpine House in 1863, and it later become the Longfellow School for Boys. Calvert’s father, Charles Benedict Calvert, a direct descendant of Lord Baltimore, founded the University of Maryland as the Maryland Agricultural College in 1856.
Many local and state representatives participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, Riverdale Park Mayor Alan Thompson, University Park Mayor Lenford Carey, College Park City Manager Scott Summers, College Park City Engineer Steven Halpern, College Park City Councilmember John Rigg, former College Park City Councilmember Stephanie Stullich, University Park Chief of Police Michael Wynnyk and Prince George’s County Council Chair Dannielle M. Glaros.
State Sens. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s) and James C. Rosapepe (D-Anne Arundel and Prince George’s) attended as representatives of the state delegations that awarded the $350,000 bond bill to the College Park City-University Partnership for the path project.
“The word of the day today is collaboration. [It took] the city, the town, the state, the county, the developer and the university working together to make this happen,” said College Park City-University Partnership Executive Director Eric Olson. “Thanks [also] goes to WMATA, because this actually goes across WMATA land, so they were also involved.”
Speakers repeatedly singled out Halpern for his work on the project. Comments included, “Steven tackled many, many issues and problems and made them work out. It wouldn’t have happened without [his] work on the ground” and “This guy can get it done. He can make the most complicated problem seem easy. He really does make it look easy because he handles it with a level of calm.”
Glaros said, “It truly did take a village to get us here.” She thanked Olson “for stepping up to the plate because at the time when we were doing this partnership between the county, between the developer, looking at finding an entity that could actually be the entity to manage the bond bill, it was the partnership that stepped up to the plate with the City of College Park to manage all of that.”
Glaros then also noted Halpern’s invaluable contribution to the project, delivering a signed proclamation to him that highlighted his 27 years of service to College Park, his solution-oriented focus and his “crucial leadership to deliver critical infrastructure projects to improve pedestrian and bicycle access to city residents and visitors.” The proclamation concluded by praising “Halpern’s unflagging determination to stewarding to completion the multi-use path of Baltimore Avenue between Albion Road and Riverdale Park Station, [which] will benefit residents and visitors for years to come.”
As folks gathered for final photos, the air of collaboration was thick with thanks.