ANC 2E Notes, Nov. 1, 2022
By November 7, 2022 0 1241•
Falling on the day after Halloween, this month’s ANC2e meeting had lower public attendance than usual (only 14 at the outset). “Not a huge crowd, but not a huge agenda either,” Chair Rick Murphy quipped to begin.
Office of Ward 2 Council Member Brooke Pinto
Per spokesperson Ellen Hanson, Council member Pinto is “focused on improving public safety” and recently held a community meeting on that theme with D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves, MPD Chief Robert Contee and Founder of the T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project dedicated to community safety, Tia Bell. A video of the meeting is at brookepintodc.com.
Council member Pinto has also joined Second District MPD officers on bike patrols this month as they observed P Street, 28th Street and Water Street and discussed safety concerns.
Pinto also held a community bike ride where “everyone had a great time,” Hanson said. At Rose Park, the riders discussed delays in the installation of a Capital Bikeshare station in the park. Commissioner Palmer (2E05) told Hanson, “I have one ANC meeting left in my tenure and would like nothing more than to hear that the Capital Bikeshare station is happening. This has been going on for so, so long. We’ve got to push it through!” Commissioner Lohse (2E06) concurred, noting it would be a shame not to connect the park’s newly refurbished and paved paths with such a station.
Pinto and D.C. Council member Henderson (at-Large) also recently introduced a bill designed to delink the residential parking permit program from political ward boundaries and prioritize parking nearer residents’ homes.
Office of D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson
This month, Chairman Mendelson (D) has been addressing issues in education holding meetings on principal and teacher turnover. On Nov. 30, he’ll be hosting meetings on chronic absenteeism and truancy. Information on these meetings as well as the Chair’s monthly “Meetup with Mendo” town halls can be found at Chairmendelson.com. Don’t skip!
Crime and Public Safety
MPD Lt. John Merzig acknowledged the severity of recent thefts-from-autos and vandalism cases. “I know theft-from-autos and damage to people’s cars has been a big issue in Georgetown,” Lt. Merzig said. “And basically, we’ve shifted around some assets and put some patrols on some side streets that are getting hit frequently. I know we’ve got a lot of cars on 31st, 30th, 29th and 28th Streets. On one street, I think we had 7 cars that got at least their windows broken, if not items stolen out of the car. So, I’m actively looking at the trends and where we need to put our people.”
D.C. Office of Unified Communications (OUC)
Following ANC constituent complaints about the District’s 311 system for residents to request assistance with city services and information, OUC has made concerted efforts to revamp services, Chief of 311 Operations Marcellus Walker, Jr., reported. Commissioner Palmer (2E05) cited significant progress with the system. “We sent a resolution and you all sent back such a thorough response, so we’re definitely thankful for that,” she said. In a Powerpoint presentation called “#DC311AnswersTheCall,” Walker highlighted new 311 reporting features being introduced by OUC, including “311 Vision” which will allow residents to simply take a picture of a problem – say a pothole or a piece graffiti – and the new platform enhancement will use artificial intelligence to “try to point the resident to the right city agency.” Walker emphasized that OUC is “not responsible for the closure of service requests” – a focus of constituent complaints – which are handled instead by the servicing agencies. “The system has improved dramatically over the last two years,” Chair Rick Murphy told Walker. Residents are encouraged to contact OUC.dc.gov to find out more about 311 services and the various platforms residents can use to report concerns.
D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)
DPR’s Chief of External Affairs Tommie Jones began by thanking all the volunteers and commissioners who’ve helped DPR become the nation’s number-one park system with “725 acres of green space in all 8 wards at over 243 sites,” according the Lands for America trust. Addressing major capital projects, Jones focused on the $28 million reconstruction of Jelleff Recreation Center and the $700.000 Volta Park field refurbishment. About Jelleff, Jones effused “Hallelujah’s what I want to say! We are at a moment where we can actually, finally talk about the project” moving ahead. The Department of General Services (DGS) has retained a “well-known, well-respected architectural design firm,” ELR, which has done many projects in Georgetown and for DPR, including the Joy Evans Recreation Center. Commissioners seemed reassured by DPR’s efforts to improve community outreach. DPR scheduled a community input meeting at Hardy Middle School for Monday, Nov. 7 which will “integrate community suggestions and stakeholder comments and will be a robust community engagement process,” Jones said, adding, “It’s critically important for residents to come and voice their opinions.”
For the Volta Park field restoration, Jones confirmed a design-builder has been selected for the project slated to be completed by fall 2023. The firm will take on landscaping and irrigation systems installation.
Gwendolyn Lohse (2E06) requested DPR help with Rose Park’s completion of its own repairs, including Friends of Rose Park commemorative bricks installed, a pathway in front of the softball field completed and repairs to the recreation hut’s bathrooms.
Residents are urged to go to DPRprograms.com for winter program registrations.
Mt. Zion United Methodist Church
2021 Georgetowner of the Year Rev. Selena Johnson, pastor at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, spoke about her congregation and shared news they earned a Sacred Places Award grant along with 15 other historic sites. “We’re proud and excited,” she said. “It really puts the spotlight on Mt. Zion on a national level.”
The church is halfway toward raising $100,000 to receive matching grant funds. Johnson, who has an architectural background, shared that the 142-year-old facility needs a lot of repairs and renovations, so they’re asking for help with this fundraising effort. Community members can donate via their website at Mtzionumcdc.org/giving.aspx.
Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID)
Operations Director of the Georgetown BID John Wiebenson shared a brief preview of Georgetown GLOW now in its 8th season. For 8 weeks, 5 national and international artists will display their commissioned works in “the region’s only free curated outdoor public light art experience.” The holiday season show begins Saturday Nov. 26. For more information go to Georgetownglowdc.com.
Director of Social Media and staff writer for The Georgetowner, Kate Oczypok, also contributed to this story.