Archive for July 2017

Checking on Progress of Park Road Church Project

July 31, 2017

The project to redevelop the old church at 625 Park Road, the surface parking lot, and the rowhouse at 633 Park Road is making good progress. Work began in earnest in January 2017 following approval from the Board of Zoning Adjustment in July 2014.

The approved plans are for new construction connected to the historic church to create 38 new housing units in the neighborhood.

Below are views of the construction in progress.

SATURDAY – Open Studio for Anthony Dihle/Victory Dance Creative 2 Year Anniversary

July 28, 2017

You may recognize Anthony Dihle’s artwork from his neighborhood posters hanging in Walls of Books or in local farmers markets (40 different neighborhoods and counting!). Or remember his work for the Georgia Ave Winter Fest and Fall Fest posters. Now’s your chance to see where the magic happens at his 2 year anniversary celebration this Saturday evening:

DC Poster Project: Exhibit and Open Studio
This Saturday, July 29, 5-8 pm,
Edgewood Studios
703 Edgewood Street NE, #2, Washington, DC 20017
(Mess Hall Building—look for the door about 20 paces uphill from the Mess Hall sign)

The space is shared with two other fine young printmakers, Bethany Hansen and Chris Haughery. In addition, space of other artists who work out of the Edgewood Studios, one of the longest-running art studio spaces in DC.

There will be air conditioning and cold beer, soda, etc. About 8 minute walk from Rhode Island Ave Metro, and street parking should be plentiful.

SWEAT DC Block Party on Saturday at 3400 Georgia Avenue

July 27, 2017

Jump in and Join Coach G. for a blockbuster fitness work out from 10-12 pm, Saturday, July 29th! at 3400 Georgia Avenue (old Murry’s Parking Lot). You’ll have not one, but two opportunities.

  • Work Out 1: 10:15 am
  • Work Out 2: 11:15 am

Come and get fit with a live DJ, food samples from Sweetgreen, and more!

The Conversation Continues of Balanced Public Use of School Athletic Fields

July 26, 2017

Yesterday, the Kojo Nnamdi Show had a segment that focused on access to recreation spaces as a follow up to the recent dust up at the Harriet Tubman athletic field. Guests included Rachel Sadon (Editor-in-Chief, DCist @rachel_sadon), Omar Gonzalez (Member, local pickup soccer group), and Alex Bearman (Executive Director, District Sports @DistrictSports).

The issue of community use of the Tubman field was settled when ZogSports decided to relinquish use of the field after the public outcry. However, similar issues can still happen in the future based on the current permitting process from the Department of General Services. I called in to the show and shared that a number of things could be changed to the permitting process, including requiring permits to have a letter of support from the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission and working with the community to determine a balanced plan for which days should be reserved for open community and school use and how much time should be identified for permitted organized sports clubs.

You can listen to the Kojo Nnamdi show segment here.

(Commission Boese addressing the community on July 19th at Tubman Elementary School with DGS’s Jackie Stanley (left) and OLA’s Eduardo Perdomo (right).)

Look at First Park View Boot Camp

July 24, 2017

Georgia Avenue Thrive and the Luray-Warder Neighborhood Association sponsored their first FREE Boot Camp class on the old Murry’s Parking Lot with Coach Liz of Fitness4Life on Saturday, July 22nd. I stopped by to check it out and was happy to see that the hot muggy weather didn’t keep people away. Below are a few photos of the event.

DC Water Main Replacement Has Begun

July 21, 2017

I previously reported that DC Water would be replacing existing 12-inch and smaller cast iron water mains on Park Road and Morton Street between Georgia Avenue and Park Place. That work began earlier this week at the intersection of Park Place and Park Road, as shown by the photo below.

Tubman Field Permitting Creates Conflict with Community Use: Meeting Seeks Solutions

July 20, 2017

Early this July, the Department of General Services (DGS) issued a permit to Zog Sports reserving the athletic field at Tubman Elementary School for an organized soccer league on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The permit runs through August 31st. A Bocce league currently has a permit to use the field on Tuesdays. The permits for these leagues have effectively closed use of the field to the neighborhood pick up soccer games that have occurred nightly at Tubman for many years.

This conflict of use was brought to the attention of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A on July 12th when an incident occurred on the field during their meeting. While most recreational areas are under the Department of Parks and Recreation, athletic fields on DC Public Schools property are part of DCPS and supervised by DGS.

Over the past week, I’ve been working in collaboration with DGS, the Mayor’s office, and the Office of Latino Affairs (OLA) to find both short- and long-term solutions to this issue. The community members organized a meeting on Wednesday, July 20, to continue the conversation with representatives of DGS, OLA, the ANC, and the Mayor’s office to follow up on where things currently stand.

(Commission Boese addressing the community at Tubman Elementary School with DGS’s Jackie Stanley (left) and OLA’s Eduardo Perdomo (right).)

DGS’s Jackie Stanley came prepared with an initial short-term solution that included reserving the field for the community on Friday evenings and Saturdays as well as before 6 pm on weeknights. Based on the community’s response, this proposal doesn’t meet the neighborhood needs, and Stanley listened to feedback from the residents so that she can continue to work from within DGS to find a solution.

I addressed the assembly stating that I believe there is both a quick fix to prevent this conflict occurring in the future and suggested a need to review the underlying cause that allows for school athletic fields to be permitted in the first place.

The simple solution moving forward would be to change DGS’s process to require that permit applications be reviewed by Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and have a letter of support from them as part of the application process. This is currently standard practice for DPR permit applications. When a permit application is reviewed by the local ANC the community is able to identify use conflicts before an application is approved. In short, this provides the necessary oversight to ensure that the community is not adversely impacted by the issuance of the permit.


(Commissioner Boese discussing the need for ANC review and letters of support for DGS/DCPS school field permits.)

The practice of issuing permits to use DCPS athletic fields dates back to 1982, with the establishment of the DCPS Realty Office as a result of D.C. Law 4-158, the District of Columbia Board of Education Leasing Authority Act of 1982. The purpose of this law was to grant permission to the Board of Education to enter into lease and other agreements for the use of DC Public Schools buildings and grounds, to defray costs associated with the operation and maintenance of public school buildings, and for other purposes.

I believe that this 35 year old law no longer adequately serves the best interests of the community or the District of Columbia as a whole. It was established during a period when the District population, and our tax revenue, was in decline. As the District has grown, so has its budget. This has resulted in many school fields being renovated for the benefit of the community. However, this also makes these athletic fields more desirable for organized sport clubs which are also looking for places to play.

Because of this, we need to go back and review the 1982 law as well as the entire permitting process with the goal of amending both to ensure that we continue to have fair and balanced access to school fields for all who wish to use them.

 


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