Top 8 Town Topics of 2022: Canal Boat, Ukraine, Jelleff, Crime

It was the year of “Getting Back to Normal” in Georgetown after almost two years of lock-down, masks on, vaccine checks and restricted events. In this environment, big things happened, several of them at the center of national and world news. The following are eight of the most significant that The Georgetowner covered in 2022.

1.      A new 80-foot long Canal Boat was officially launched on April 28 before a happy crowd of some 200 Georgetowners at the C&O Canal’s reconstructed and filled Lock 3 with lots of pomp, ceremony and even some swag. Four specially made (organic-based) bottles of champagne were smashed over the bow of “The Georgetown Heritage” by Mayor Muriel Bowser and Georgetown leaders. But six months later on Oct. 5 came the news: the planned water drainage of the Georgetown section of the canal during the winter months repairs was extended up to 30 months — through 2025.

2.      Plans for the new Jelleff Community Recreation Center and public pool at 3265 S St. NW saw progress in 2022 with a confirmed budget of $18.8 million and the approval of a feasibility study for a completely renovated community and sports center and new public pool. The concept design stage, including at least four town meetings, is expected to take until spring 2023, according to Tommie Jones of the Department of Parks and Recreation  and the contractor DLR Group. The permit drawings and permit review process will last between summer of 2023 through spring of 2024. The construction procurement phase will take place spring 2024 and construction will last 2024 though 2025.

3.      A new 1,000-student public comprehensive public high school for Georgetown-Burleith-Palisades area students, grades 9 to 12, was not only announced by Mayor Bowser in 2022, it plans to open in the fall of 2023 in a reconstructed former campus of the private Georgetown Day School at 4530 MacArthur Boulevard NW.  The city purchased the property for $46 million and is planning to invest another $45 for its reconstruction. For school year 2023-24, it will accept 200 students for grades 9, and 50 for grade 10. Current 8th graders at Hardy Middle School have feeder rights to the new school which is being referred to as “MacArthur High School” until a permanent name is chosen.

4.      Streateries were one invention brought about by Covid-19 restrictions that seem now to be turning into a new outdoor dining lifestyle in Georgetown in front of most of the restaurants, cafes, chocolate and pastry shops and other eateries on M St. and Wisconsin Ave. up to R Street NW. The solid platforms extending over sidewalks have been customized in creative ways to provide a lively night life to Georgetown. The far less popular block-long widened sidewalks in front of stores that took away over 100 parking places, on the other hand, are being removed.

5.      Georgetown’s legendary Washington Canoe Club — the green Victorian shingle-style boathouse at 3700 K St. NW designed in 1904 overlooking the Potomac River that has been partially condemned for over five years due to its seriously dilapidated and dangerous conditions — completed the first of three scheduled consulting parties and meetings in 2022 as the start of a years-long process to rebuild and restore it. Along with fundraising efforts, 2023 may see the canoe club elevated while crucial structural repairs and renovations are made and then set back down on a new foundation.

6.      The war in Ukraine has impacted Georgetown personally. The Ukrainian Embassy occupies the historic Forrest-Marbury House at 3350 M St., which played a role in the founding of Washington, D.C. “I feel comfort in that every time I sit in my office at the embassy, I see the Ukrainian flag flying from the windows of the building across the street,” remarked Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova at a Citizens Association of Georgetown benefit for the war-torn nation.

7.      A mural featuring 18 wrongfully detained Americans abroad such as Britney Griner and Paul Whelan has been the focal point of world press attention since detainee families, State Department negotiator Roger Carstens and artists last July pasted larger-than-life black and white somewhat fuzzy head shots, glued with wheat paste onto a craggy brick wall in the alleyway off M Street between 31st Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW. Some of the photos have now been emblazoned with banners saying “freed” on them and have attracted photo journalists and reporters from around the world.

8.      General violent crime is down in Georgetown, but more bizarre kinds of criminal behavior has gone up. Shoplifting and theft from autos has increased despite a year-long campaign and signs around Georgetown not to leave anything visible in the car and to make sure it’s locked. A couple of bizarre kidnappings have also taken place.


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