First Friday Launches in Park View on May 5th

Posted May 4, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Community, Small Businesses

Tags: , ,
The lower Georgia Avenue businesses are launching First Friday tomorrow, on May 5th, from 6-8 pm. This will be a monthly recurring activity with a growing number of businesses offering specials, highlighting DC artists and musicians. Check out the First Friday Facebook page for more details and a list of participating businesses.

First Friday is organized by Georgia Avenue Thrive, which is partnering with the Petworth Arts Collaborative on this with a vision for a vibrant First Friday from Upshur to Euclid in the hopefully not too distant future.

Funk Parade Hits U Street on Saturday

Posted May 3, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Celebrations, Sports leisure and entertainment

Tags: ,

The 2017 Funk Parade is schedule for this Saturday, May 6th! In addition to all the fun and festivities, those traveling in the areas should be mindful that streets along the parade route will be closed from approximately 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm (full list of street closures and performance areas here).

Of note, the Festival will feature activations including:

Interested in going? Check out all the information on the Funk Parade’s Web site.

Overview of Pepco’s Capital Grid Project

Posted May 2, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Development, Engineering, Pepco

Tags: , ,

Diagram showing existing (green) and new (yellow) substations that will be involved in Pepco’s Capital Grid Project.

On the evening of May 1st, Pepco hosted Ward 1 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners to brief them on their upcoming Capital Grid Project. The project’s goal is to build an underground transmission route through the District from the north to the south. This is necessary to create multiple pathways of power supply to connect multiple substations in the Capital area with higher electrical load capacity. In short, this creates a “networked system” that improves reliability and resiliency.

The underground transmission lines will be constructed from the Takoma Substation in Prince George’s County through the District to the Waterfront Substation. The feeders will travel approximately 10 miles, connecting five substations: Takoma, Harvard, Champlain, Mount Vernon (proposed) and Waterfront. The flexibility this will create will support faster service restoration and reduce the potential impact of major unforeseen event.

In our area, work will begin around Fall 2018/Winter 2019 in the area of New Hampshire and Georgia avenues and move south along Georgia Avenue through the Spring/Summer of 2019. On Georgia Avenue, the scope of work will close two of the four lanes as new transmission cables are put underground via trenching. Each night steel plates will cover the trenches. Work will continue down Georgia to Harvard or Gresham, before turning west to the Harvard Street substation.

The Havard Street Substation will also be upgraded and expanded as part of this project, with work commencing as early as 2019 and estimated to be completed around 2022 or 2023.

I will continue to share more information about the construction aspect of this project as we get nearer to the start date. Pepco will also be sharing information directly to the community.

Next Community Cleanup Scheduled for May 6th

Posted April 28, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Community Involvement

Tags: ,

Georgia Avenue Thrive will hold its next cleanup at 10am May 6 at the corner of Georgia and Irving.

Immediately following the cleanup, volunteers will meet at Colony Club to enjoy free coffee or iced coffee (depending on the weather). It’s a neighborhood get-together, a great chance to socialize, chat with neighbors and come together as a community.

See the flyer below for details.

New Cafeteria for Park View School on Track for Fall 2018

Posted April 27, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Restoration repair and maintenance, Schools

Tags: ,

At the April 26, 2017, School Improvement Team (SIT) meeting for the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View Elementary School, the Department of General Services announced the architects, builders, and timeline for the new cafeteria project. The project is aiming to break ground in the winter of 2017 and be completed by August 2018, in time for the new academic year. The architect chosen is Shinberg Levinas with Winmar Construction chosen as the general contractor.

The scope of the project includes a full kitchen, a larger dining space, a new loading zone, and a regrading of the parking lot at the rear of the building along Newton Place. Leading up to construction, the design team will be developing the plans and getting permits. During construction, there will be times when there will be no off street parking for the school’s teachers. No plan was shared at the SIT meeting on what, if any, accommodations would be made for teachers during the reconstruction of the parking lot. Another issue that was raised was the configuration and condition of the alley behind the school, which is currently very narrow and difficult for school deliveries and regular trash collection.

The estimated schedule for the project is below. The entire slide deck from the meeting and additional information and updates are/will be available at the Bruce Monroe @ Park View school modernization Web page.

Washington’s 1967 Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim Pools

Posted April 26, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Children, History, Sports leisure and entertainment

Tags: ,

In May 1967, Vice President Hubert Humphrey announced that Washington would get 15 new swimming pools. The new pools would be 20-by-40-foot pools and were expected to be completed by July. The pools were designed to be shallow pools and to be located on playgrounds or community centers (including Park View), where they would be intended to be used by small children for wading and learning to swim.

The Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pool at Park View Recreation Center.

Image of Watkins pool with leaked water — from the Washington Evening Star, July 16, 1967.

The total cost budgeted for the new swimming pools was $40,000. The first three — at Watkins Recreation Center, Barry Farm, and Deanwood — were completed and open by July 16. However, they were found to have a design flaw that caused water to flow out of the pools and onto the grass surrounding them. The worst conditions were at Barry Farm and Watkins. At Watkins, the water ran to the sidelines of the softball diamond. At Barry Farm, the water ran downhill onto a children’s play area and directly under a set of swings. Efforts were undertaken to correct the problems and adjust construction of the other twelve pools then being built.

The final six pools opened in mid-August, behind schedule. They were the pools at Wilson, Benning Stoddert, Parkside, Lincoln-Capper, Garrison, and North Michigan Park.

While the pools were considered a success, when children began to enter the pools after hours the recreation department adopted a process of emptying each pool on a nightly basis, with each pool holding between 14,000 and 35,000 gallons of water — a very wasteful and time consuming practice. It also meant that the pools were not filled or used at all in 1977 due to an area water crisis.

With the pools now reaching their 50th anniversary, I reviewed the sites of each pool and discovered that only four of the original 15 pools still exist. These are at Park View, Watkins, and Lincoln-Capper. The map below shows the location of all 15 pools, with existing pools in blue and pools no longer existing in red.

Reviewing the locations of the Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pools also provides insight into the changing nature of playgrounds in the District of Columbia. For example, some pools have been replaced by aquatic centers (Barry Farm and Deanwood), some merely are gone while the playgrounds still exist, and in some cases the entire playground/recreation center no longer exists. An extreme example of the latter is with the old Garrison Playground which is nothing more than an empty field today.

(To the south of Garrison Elementary School is an empty field which was once the location of the Garrison Playground.)

It is difficult to tell what the future may hold for the remaining four Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pools. While the ones at Park View, Happy Hollow, and Watkins still appear to be going strong, the playground around the old Lincoln-Capper pool is currently surrounded by work to upgrade the surrounding playground, presumably to partially accommodate the neighboring Van Ness school.

Below are photos of Watkins and Lincoln-Capper as they currently appear.

(Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pool at Watkins.)

(Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pool at Lincoln-Capper.)

Columbia Heights Farmers Market 2017 Season Underway

Posted April 25, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Public space, Small Businesses

Tags: ,

The 2017 season of the Columbia Heights Farmers Market kicked of on Saturday, April 24th. The market will be a regular feature at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm.

Beginning on May 31st, 2017, the market will also be open on Wednesday evenings from 4-7 pm. You can see a list of this year’s vendors here, and a few photos from this year’s opening day below.


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