About fifty people, in addition to the commissioners and staff, attended the March ANC meeting.

It was reported that the National Cherry Blossom Festival will run from March 20 to April 14 this year. You can see or ride all kinds of boats, including paddleboards, paddle boats, sail boats with pink sails, dragon boats, houseboats decorated with pink lights and cruise ships. The National Park Service is predicting that the cherry blossoms will peak March 26 to March 30 this year, just at the beginning of DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival. Most of the blossoms are around the Tidal Basin and Hains Point, right here in Southwest.

Saturday, April 6 is the Southwest Waterfront part of the Festival, starting at 1 p.m. and culminating with fireworks. Events are all on the Washington Channel. The ANC endorsed a request to have a beer garden for April 6 between the former Zanzibar building and the Kastles Stadium. Barbara Ehrlich, Secretary of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, told the commissioners about the planned events. Jay Nickerson spoke in support of approval for the Beer Garden.

Saturday, April 27 is National Take Back Prescription Drug day. It lasts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This occurs only twice a year, but DC police stations will accept unwanted drugs any time. They prefer them in the original container, but any tight container will do. Our police station is at the old Bowen school location at 101 M St. SW.

Andy Litsky thanked Martin Welles, the president of the Amidon PTA, for alerting Commissioner Ron McBee to a meeting on December 6 that resulted in DC programming $1,770,000 for new windows for Amidon-Bowen school.

DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2014 budget will be presented to Ward 6, our ward, on Thursday, April 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Logan School at 215 G St. NE.

The commissioners endorsed three projects for our parks.

Felicia Couts reported that the playground project for the park at 3rd and I St SW, just north of the library, is going to add swings. They will have four swings, two with bucket seats for babies or those with special needs and two with strap seats.  Also, there will be a large butterfly structure for climbing, a special log structure as a tunnel, mushroom shapes to climb on and leaves that spin. The group has raised $88,000 and will get $250,000 from DC for infrastructure improvements, such as revitalization of the large trees on the site, leveling of the sidewalks and other improvements, including drainage. They hope to start construction in six months, getting memoranda of understanding with the various parts of the DC government that will be involved with the project, and have continuous fundraising for maintenance of the park.

Jessica Seeperstad said that the PAWS of Southwest is proceeding with their project for a dog park in Lansburgh Park, north of the police station. They have raised money and are now fully funded. The park will have a 2,000 square foot area for small dogs and 8,000 square feet for large dogs.

The community garden project, also for Lansburgh Park, won the top prize in the Fiskars national community garden contest. The prize is up to $50,000, which will be used to help establish the garden this year.

The commissioners endorsed the petition by Ramsey Meiser and Lyle Blanchard for the Forest City developers to continue using three sites in SE for parking lots for five more years, until development is feasible.

The commissioners voted to write a letter to Mayor Vincent Gray asking him to call on Congress to honor the law they passed in 2009 to eliminate all coal burning in the District, permanently, by 2011. The Capitol Power Generation Plant now burns coal to heat and cool the Capitol and other federal buildings. It is the only remaining coal burning facility in the District. The District’s Department of the Environment is considering an application to increase emissions so that the plant can be expanded to produce electricity for the first time in decades. They wanted the plant to use gas instead. Commissioner Donna Hopkins abstained from the voting. She wanted more time to study the question. She mentioned that fracking for gas may also cause environmental problems.

The commissioners unanimously endorsed all the other issues, including a resolution in opposition to DC legislation that would mandate an existing bus and car parking lot on Buzzard Point.

They endorsed the petition by Justin Ross of Justin’s Cafe to have a block party with beer on Saturday, April 13. That is the first Nationals home game this year. They also agreed to a new voluntary agreement presented by Michael Fonseca, a lawyer for Ziegfield’s Secrets that adjusted their operating hours.

They endorsed the petitions for the 10th Annual Race to Stop the Silence on Sunday, April 14; the Race for Hope on Sunday, May 5; and the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 27.

Diane Shultz noted that there were big signs for bus parking near the parking lot for the Spirit Ships. She wanted the DC Council to tell the District Department of Transportation to get rid of bus parking there. A representative of that department was at the meeting, so she took it up with him.

The next ANC meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on April 8 in the DCRA Conference Room at 1100 4th Street SW.

By B. K. Lunde

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