Update on Ward 2 Recreational Parks
In the ANC’s February virtual public meeting, Department of Public Recreation’s (DPR) Chief of External Affairs, Tommie Jones, provided an update on Ward 2 recreational park projects.
Duke Ellington Field has a $3.5 million budget to upgrade its running track, renovate two field houses, install fences and lighting, and improve access for the physically impaired. The designs will be finalized this summer with construction starting in the fall.
Jelleff Recreation Center is budgeted at over $28 million for construction for a new recreation center to serve the Ward 2 community. The design and permits should be finalized by fall 2023. Construction should begin the following winter and conclude by the spring of 2025. DPR is currently working with the community for input on the best design for the project.
Volta Park’s athletic field has a $700,000 budget for field renovation to include new sod and irrigation. Final designs are due this spring with construction starting next summer through the following fall.
The park projects are in the procurement phase, but Jones noted he’s applying pressure to expedite their completion. “I’ve seen what a fully modernized recreational facility can do for a community,” said Jones. So, it’s in the community’s best interest to get these projects done.
ANC Chair Rick Murphy and commissioner Kishan Putta strongly recommended community input teams (CITs) be established to shepherd DPR through the park projects.
ANC 2E Quick Hits
Mayor Bowser’s Office: Looking for free N95 masks? Coronavirus.dc.gov has added a new feature for mask inventory which will assist residents in getting two free masks per day, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office announced. Ward 2 residents are encouraged to visit the ward’s COVID Center, at 926 F Street NW. Small business owners are also encouraged to access the “Bridge Fund” link at Coronavirus.dc.gov. to receive detailed information on special bridge loans available through the $100 million fund set up to assist pandemic-affected businesses and workers.
ANC 2 Council Member Brooke Pinto: Pinto representative, Brian Romanowski, said Pinto is working on replacing traditional city streetlights with LED bulbs. The new lights will not only be energy-efficient, but dimmable (if needed) and monitored so residents won’t have to contact 311 when bulbs go out. The council member also working on streamlining business licensing to alleviate burdens on the commercial sector. Romanowski said Pinto’s 2022 priorities include public safety, helping the homeless receive services and affordable housing, Covid-related business recovery, and improving transportation.
Improving USPS: In response to residents’ complaints of wrongly-addressed mail or parcels not received, the ANC motioned to strongly encourage D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton once again to address problems with service and deliveries in Georgetown by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).
DC Clean Rivers Update: The federally mandated project aimed at reducing sewer overflows into the Potomac watershed must be completed by 2030, according to Project Coordinator Amanda Zander. Work will be focused on the intersections of 31st and K Streets NW, Wisconsin and K Streets NW, and Water and Potomac Streets NW. Along those areas, street closures, parking restrictions and pedestrian detours will occur. Two-way traffic will be interrupted, but flaggers will help direct traffic. The project’s 24/7 hotline can be reached at: (301)772-7358; and website at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brick Sidewalk Maintenance: The commission unanimously resolved to encourage Mayor Bowser to direct the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to repair historic Georgetown sidewalks with brick, not PFP (porous flexible pavement) as legally required per Georgetown’s historic district status. DDOT has already repaired four locations with PFP and the commission is reiterating its previous resolution that such “illegal” repairs be fixed immediately. ANC Chair Rick Murphy noted that the damaged sidewalks have become both unsafe and unsightly.
Cracking Down on Retail Signage: The commission passed a unanimous resolution asking the city to vigorously enforce existing guidelines on storefront signage. According to city ordinance, neon signs are illegal if not within 18 inches of a store’s front window. But the commissioners said illegal neon signs have appeared all over Georgetown. Merchants are also cluttering sidewalks with a-frame signs on already narrow sidewalks, posing problems for pedestrians and the mobility-impaired as well as aesthetic concerns. Illegal and unattractive lamp post signage was also cited.
Small Business Support: Creators of the Grace Street Collective, Jessica and Ezra Glass, joined the meeting to discuss their visions for recruiting new businesses to Georgetown in light of challenges to commercial retail and the ongoing pandemic. Their strategy is to meet and actively recruit business owners to create thriving retail “micro-communities.” They asked the ANC to assist small businesses with permitting processes. “We would love to be in Georgetown,” business owners often declare, but too many red-tape burdens often delay the process compared to other areas in the District, they said.
Renovations Needed for Hardy Middle School: Located at 1819 35th Street NW, the 100 year-old school was last renovated in 2008 and has grown 60 percent over the past five years, far faster than planning projections, according to commissioner Kishan Putta who offered the school-refurbishment resolution. Hardy’s parent-teacher organization expressed concerns about cafeteria overcrowding and long-delayed school repairs including dangerous field turf. A motion to urge the mayor to include funding for renovations in the Capital Budget passed unanimously.
June Race: The commission supported a Special Event Application for the Lawyers Have Heart 10k race and 5k run and fun walk on Saturday, June 11. Although it’s been a difficult race for the community to manage, coordinators are working to mitigate disruptions. Commissioners supported moving the event’s check-off area off Water Street and into Washington Harbour, noise abatement (no audio before 7:00 a.m.) and ensuring building access for workers and residents in the vicinity. Free registration for the event will be offered to the first 100 Georgetown residents.