ANC 2E Highlights: Leaves to Literacy  

The Georgetown-Burleith-Hillandale Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2E) held its February meeting on Jan. 30 and addressed more than a dozen issues, ranging from leaf collection to literacy rates — onto and to local projects, old and new, from Jelleff to a new sushi restaurant. The ANC considered comments from a number of invited guests, government spokespeople and residents, asked questions and made resolutions adhering (amazingly) to an agenda that actually proposed the minutes to be spent on each item and kept to the schedule pretty well.

Fall curb and sidewalk leaf sweeps in Georgetown by the Department of Public Works was reported to be making its way down from Dent Place — following the slow pace of the never-ending fall with temperatures still in the 50s on some days. The long leaf pick-up delays were criticized for causing safety hazards, as residents dutifully filled up the designated paper bags on their curbs that then rotted and became slippery globs after intermittent rains. The ANC sent city officials a letter. But there was no word if D.C. would take-up the ANC’s written recommendation to announce neighborhood leaf bag pick-up dates a week or so before the actual collection date.

Georgetown’s favorite Recreation and Parks official Tommie Jones appeared at an unannounced portion of the agenda (and a bit unprepared, that was unlike him) for an update of the 28 million (Or was it $27 million? Jones asked) reconstruction project of the Jelleff Sports and Recreation center and pool into an expanded community center with two full indoor courts and a completely renovated swimming pool. The funds were approved in 2021. Two of four promised community meetings were held in 2022. At the end of 2022, a contractor was introduced. But Jones did not report anything new. The commissioners became stonily quiet as they thanked Jones for his promises to get them more information in the next four to six weeks when he said he would be able “to engage on some issues the ANC was anxious to address like parking.” Jones insisted that everything was and would be on time. “It getting to be a bit chicken-and-egg like,” Miller said — what comes first and what depends on what or project ideas and costs?

Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto’s spokesperson addressed concerns and even possible legislation about growing vehicle noise: “We’re getting a lot of complaints. But we need more specifics from residents in the next two weeks in time for the legislative team to write proposals. We may be looking at ticketing noisy cars at a certain level.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s spokesperson announced that budget engagement forums are being set up in the next few weeks so that residents can have a voice on budget priorities for 2024-5.  He also commented on the new justice and police reform act, passed by the D.C. Council, that will reduce mandatory sentences on many crimes and require jury trials for some misdemeanors. (It’s gotten a lot of national press.): “But there is a lot of misinformation, and it won’t go into effect until 2025.”

Commissioners reacted with concern to the shocking news by Ward 2 Representative on the State Board of Education Allister Chang that only a mere 29 percent of D.C.’s public school fourth graders were reading at grade level and that about 27 percent, on average, could pass a standard fourth-grade math test.  “The urgency to confront this is dire,” said Chang, who is a literacy specialist.

The former Georgetown resident emphasized the need for increasing reading training for teachers and tutors. “Just because one knows how to read doesn’t mean they know how to teach someone else to read,” he said. Funding is being developed for more trained tutors and to establish a new literacy task force with knowledge of the many improved tools and techniques for reading, added Chang, who organized many reading events in Rose Park for children during the pandemic. The Board of Education is focused on developing learning goals and standards for D.C. public schools.

Commissioners took note of the media buzz that “Georgetown is cool again” and examined the proposals of a high-end restaurant — Kyojin Sushi — coming to 3315 Cady’s Alley NW in the former space of L2 lounge and the Ledbury shop. “The proprietors are asking for late closing hours – around 2 a.m. on weekends,” Mimsy Lindner said. “They say they are aiming for less of a club vibe, and since this is a location that is unlikely to cause many issues with late hours [few residences are nearby], I believe they will open with the hours they ask for.” Restaurant co-owner Jeff King said Kyojin Sushi had been looking to a mid-March debut but would likely open in April.


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