GSSD discusses unpaid-membership liens, refurbishing bus stop at Chelten and Greene

Though it didn’t have the quorum necessary to vote on agenda items, the Germantown Special Services District’s board of directors discussed a variety of issues at its regular monthly meeting last Friday.

As the GSSD remains focused on physical conditions of the Germantown and Chelten Ave. business corridors — the Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) nonprofit is on a one-year contract to help with cleaning and beautification efforts — talk turned to implementing an ongoing debris- and trash-removal program.

Late fees discussed

Anthony Dean, GSSD’s executive director, told the board that he has filed liens with the Register of Deeds against property owners who owe annual service fees.

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The GSSD assesses a mandatory fee on commercial properties within its boundaries. The district includes Germantown Avenue between Coulter and High streets, Chelten between Baynton and Morris, along with Maplewood Mall, Market Square and sections of Greene Street and Wayne, Pulaski and Maplewood avenues.

Dean directly distributed notice of lien letters to those property owners.

However, the board agreed that, as a practical matter, collection should be delayed until such time as the accrued interest on the fees exceeds the amount owed to an attorney for the collection them.

Given that many of the businesses are owned and operated by Korean-speaking residents, it was also agreed that the next time that lien notices are distributed, a translator from the city will be present to help recipients.

Transportation/signage issues

The GSSD will meet with representatives of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities on Oct. 30 to discuss the allocation of $17,000 for the renovation of the bus stop at W. Chelten Ave. and Greene St. (near Vernon Park, the Coleman Library branch and the Germantown Life Enrichment Center).

The board discussed reaching out to other organizations for input on directional signage at the stop.

As improvements are made to the district’s infrastructure, they said, uniformity and clarity in signage will become increasingly important.

Clearer, better-designed signs could also bolster attendance at nearby historic and recreational sites.

Other topics of discussion

While a Corridor Enhancement Grant, which would bring non-uniform trash cans with lids and wrap-around signage featuring the district’s branding, is awaiting city-contract completion, funds will be made available immediately once it’s in place.

Lee’s Steaks and Hoagies (5708 Germantown Ave.), a businesses at the center of recent neighborhood nuisance complaints regarding Vernon Park loitering, has been found to be in compliance with city licensing regulations for the coming year.

A neighborhood taskforce for Vernon Park is developing a check-list of suspicious activities in an effort to further facilitate the reporting of future complaints.

RWA workers have observed that increased attention on Vernon Park’s loitering issue may have resulted in increased suspicious activity in the area around Maplewood Mall.

Future meetings

GSSD annual-meeting planning is underway, with the initial round of invitations already sent out.

Scheduled for 6 p.m. on Nov. 11 at Treasurer’s Banquet Hall (5549 Germantown Ave.), board members, city officials and key community partners will be present to help celebrate the GSSD’s first-year accomplishments.

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