A new report by the College Park Restorative Justice Commission calls for the city council to establish a scholarship fund for Lakeland residents.

In a presentation to the council on March 5, the city’s racial equity officer, Kaya Carter, also said the commission would like to rename Lake Artemesia and the College Park Community Center.

The scholarship and name changes would “not only preserve [the Lakeland] legacy but also educate future generations about the important role that this area has played in shaping the city,” Carter said.

Carter added that council support for the commission’s requests would be an acknowledgment of the “enduring spirit and resilience of Lakelanders.” 

The city council established the commission in 2021 to create a process for restorative justice for Lakeland.

“This community is a historic part of College Park and has been significantly affected by various urban renewal issues over the years,” Carter said.

An urban renewal initiative undertaken by the city from the 1960s until the mid-80s resulted in the demolition of 104 Lakeland homes.. That project effectively halted the spread of generational wealth through homeownership and displaced families. 

“These changes, [which] aided in development, led to the alteration of the community’s landscape and historical assets,” Carter said.

Carter presented the four-part report, which called on the council to adopt the Lakeland Legacy Scholarship Fund to open avenues of knowledge for Lakeland residents.

To be eligible for scholarship consideration, individuals must  have lived in Lakeland for at least 10 years and must be committed to restorative justice education, vocational education or traditional higher-level education.

The commission proposed that the council ask the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission to rename Lake Artemesia Natural Area and the College Park Community Center. The suggested new names are Lake Artemesia Natural Area at Lakeland and Lakeland College Park Community Center.

Councilmembers said they would consider the commission’s report. 

“I just want to thank you all for the very thoughtful steps to try to address some of the harder parts of our history here in College Park, but also trying to pay homage to the brighter future that we have,” Councilmember Jacob Hernandez (District 1) said.