EDMONSTON ROAD RAIN GARDEN
The Edmonston Road Rain Garden is a $321,000 storm water management project to be developed in partnership with Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation, the Department of the Environment, UMD School of Landscape Architecture, and MD Department of Housing and Community Development. The Edmonston Road Rain Garden project offers CKAR the opportunity to promote environmental education and amenities through the integration of a forest edge garden; state-of-the-art storm water infiltration; native perennial trees, shrubs and vines; installation of benches; litter receptacles with sensors for prompt trash removal; a small foot bridge; bi-lingual interpretive signs; new pervious stone walkways; and a trellised bus stop shelter with integrated seating.
CKAR manages this project opportunity to develop an environmentally sensitive gateway with aesthetic appeal. Capital amenities and plantings are gap funded through a $90,000 MD Department of Housing & Community Development Community Legacy Award to CKAR.
Implementation will be two-phased. In the first phase, CKAR partnered with End Time Harvest Ministries Wellness Youth Ambassadors and UMD Graduate Students from the School of Landscape Architecture to plant 14 trees at the forest edge of the garden. In the second and final phase, the contractor will complete all infrastructure work, hardscaping, installation of the capital amenities, and planting of remaining trees, vines, and shrubs. UMD students and the community will complete the ornamental garden in the dedication ceremony. This highly visible project along Kenilworth Avenue is situated at the southern gateway to the Greater Riverdale Sustainable community.
CKAR’S TREE CANOPY PROJECT
In this project, CKAR partners with Prince George’s County Department of the Environment (DoE) and The Chesapeake Bay Trust. In our linkage of this campaign with DoE’s Tree ReLeaf program, DoE reminds our community that trees are known to provide numerous public health and social benefits. Trees clean the air, beautify neighborhoods and landscapes, help to conserve energy, reduce water pollution and soil erosion, cool city streets, increase property values, and provide food and habitat for wildlife, among other benefits. 52% of the County’s 485 square miles are covered by forest and tree canopy as noted in a 2011 assessment based on 2009 data (O’Neill-Dunne 2001). According to the assessment, of that 52%, 44% is forest canopy and only 8% is tree canopy.
CKAR was awarded a $50,000 Tree Canopy Support grant from The Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Department of the Environment for a pilot project to develop technical assistance and a workable strategy aimed at increasing tree cover on residential, apartment complex, commercial, and municipal properties in the Towns of Riverdale Park, Bladensburg, and Cheverly, and in the TNI communities of Bladensburg/East Riverdale/Beacon Heights. This grant award involved the planting of over 100 trees in spring 2017 and a pilot outreach effort to test and inform the future tree planting program focusing on private individual residential property. This award was intended as a first phase of a larger residential private property tree planting effort that continued in fall 2017 and into the spring 2018 planting season and beyond.
Additionally, the tree canopy project will build county-wide awareness and support for sustainable tree planting initiatives, offer environmental education, and establish a pilot program to serve other communities in Prince George’s County.
GREATER RIVERDALE CAREER EMPOWERMENT CENTER
Through the Empowerment Center, CKAR proposes to get people currently out of work, working again. At our new 2,800 SF center, CKAR will collaborate with Prince George’s Community College to offer certified occupational skills training; with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) to offer transportation skills learning; with Family Restoration and Healing Center (FRHC) to offer job readiness skills training; with independent mental health therapists to offer case management, assessments and mental health therapy to overcome certain barriers to employment; and with Centro de Apoyo Familiar (CAF) to reach the Hispanic community and deliver post-employment services to Greater Riverdale and adjacent communities. Within the center, clients can receive ESOL training, bi-cultural support and career counseling, and brush up on their computer skills. They can learn how to prepare for an interview, and after job placement they can continue as our client to receive financial coaching, credit rebuilding, and information on healthy eating and living through our partnership with CAF.
We must be prepared- investment in workforce training and development is imperative to achieve the economic benefit we desire.
Refugees receive certificates for completing an ESOL class at the Greater Riverdale Career Empowerment Center
SKYNEAR CULINARY ARTS TRAINING CAFE
CKAR will renovate a vacant space once used as a small cafeteria in the office park where CKAR maintains its offices, located across from The Greater Riverdale Career Empowerment Center. This opportunity to expand our job training program, through certified culinary arts training, will allow our clients to be attractive employment prospects for employers such as upscale grocery operations and restaurants within the Washington Metro Region.
More importantly, our clients can choose to work locally and walk or bike to work daily through their job engagements at the new developments underway in our community and nearby neighborhoods – for example, Whole Foods, Southern Management hotels, Safeway, and small bakeries, restaurants and other retail opportunities. These employers have indicated that applicants with culinary training have a greater opportunity for employment with their companies. CKAR has made this possible, again, in partnership with Prince George’s Community College. In the future, we will add a breakfast/lunch operation alongside the culinary training program to serve a market of 600-800 office workers, providing CKAR with a means for sustainability and growth.