By HEATHER WRIGHT — As 2018 ebbs away, we take this opportunity to look across the expanse of the receding year, reflecting on what we as a community lost and what we gained.
In 2018, we said goodbye to a number of people who served the City of Hyattsville long and well. In July, two paragons of police and community service stepped down: Col. Douglas Holland retired from the Hyattsville City Police Department (HCPD) after almost 20 years of service as chief of police, while Sgt. “Suzie” Johnson retired after 25 years with the HCPD.
Dave Hang, who spent more than 23 years with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD), retired in September, after serving for 13 years as the department’s chief.
And Paula Perry retired from the city council in December, following more than 20 years as a councilmember (Ward 4).
We said goodbye to a few businesses, as well. Although Old Maryland Grill still exists at The Hotel at the University of Maryland, as of this past October, it is no longer run by Mike Franklin, longtime owner of Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store. And in this edition, there’s an article about the December closing of The Tire Place, which had operated on Baltimore Avenue since 1999.
And while we said these farewells and more, we also welcomed in the new.
Amal Awad began serving as interim HCPD chief of police in July and was sworn in as Police Chief Awad in December. As you’ll read in this edition, Awad is Hyattsville’s eighth chief of police and the first female and first African-American chief in the city’s 132-year history.
Following Fire Chief Hang’s September retirement, the HVFD board of directors unanimously appointed former HVFD Deputy Chief Mitchell Kannry to serve as interim fire chief.
Hyattsville continued to be a hot spot for new business ventures and restaurants. Last winter, two coworking spaces, Dream Village and CAMPspace, opened their doors, following the worldwide trend of flexible work spaces meeting demands of entrepreneurs, freelancers and others who work remotely. The Mall at Prince George’s continued its rebranding and renovation efforts with the addition of Five Below and eateries including Chipotle, &pizza and Mezeh Mediterranean Grill. Marco & Polo, which opened this fall in University Town Center, now serves Uyghur (pronounced “WEE-gur”) and Turkish cuisine.
And although it’s a bit premature to fully greet the new Hyattsville library branch, its construction is underway following the Nov. 19 groundbreaking ceremony.
Hyattsville also saw a number of alcohol producers pour onto its scene in 2018. In July, Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. became the first brewery on the East Coast, and only the second in the U.S., to be deaf-owned and -operated. And Maryland Meadworks held its grand opening in October as the first meadery in Prince George’s County. Then in December, just under 2018’s wire, Sangfroid Distilling opened its doors as the first distillery in Prince George’s County since Prohibition. I don’t think living in Hyattsville causes people to drink, but if one does imbibe, there are now even more local opportunities to partake in high-quality craft alcohol.
If coffee is your drink of choice, you can now satisfy your craving at Vigilante Coffee Company’s second location, which opened in College Park in March. Or if you can’t decide between brews, maybe you can still try out the coffee stout that Vigilante and Streetcar 82 launched together. Hello, indeed!
Robert Harper Books was closing its Riverdale bricks-and-mortar store just as 2018 began, and many mourned that departure well into the year. But, wait, there’s more! Robert Harper teamed up with Sue Older-Mondeel to open My Dead Aunt’s Books in Older-Mondeel’s Tanglewood Works on Baltimore Avenue. Welcome back, Robert Harper!
A number of us had hoped to greet — with cheers and, yes, sighs of relief — a new traffic signal at the intersection of Nicholson Street and Queens Chapel Road this past year. But with the delay of this installation, all we can manage are fearful, taking-our-life-in-our-hands screams as we inhale deeply and plunge across Queens Chapel Road. May 2019 bring us, if not world peace, then at least a new traffic light!