By the SWDCCC Community Engagement and Communications Committee
The Southwest DC Community Center (SWDCCC) that is planned to open in our neighborhood in the next few years will serve as a vibrant, central hub for the Southwest and Capitol Riverfront communities. It will provide an inclusive space for a wide range of services and activities that foster personal and collective growth. As a way to get to know your neighbors who are volunteering their time to bring the SWDCCC to life, we present the Meet the Team series. These profiles will highlight each member of the SWDCCC Board of Directors and Community Engagement and Communications Committee. Don’t be shy, when you see us around the neighborhood, say hi!
Name: Gail Fast
Please tell us about your background: I was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in New York. I’m a graduate of the University of Maryland (bachelor’s degree) and Trinity University (master’s degree) and spent 27 years in the health and wellness field. I currently work at the Office of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission as a program specialist.
How are you involved with the SWDCCC?: After serving seven years on the Board of Directors of Carrollsburg, A Condominium (five as president), I knew I wanted to take the next step. So, in 1996 I launched a campaign to run for ANC commissioner for 6D01, which is the single member district that represents all the residences west of 4th St. SW to 14th St. and north from Maine/M St. SW to Independence Ave. I won and was re-elected in 2018. I served as chair until my tenure ended in 2020. The location of the SWDCCC was in my single member district so I was very involved in solidifying the Community Benefit Agreement that will become the SWDCCC.
Why did you become involved with the SWDCCC?: I also was tapped as a member of the advisory group that worked with the Office of Planning to develop the Southwest Small Area Plan. It was during meetings with the community that we heard that there was a need for a place where neighbors could gather, meet, and socialize. The idea of a community center was born from those meetings.
What do you hope the SWDCCC will offer to the community?: What it was intended to be—a place to gather with friends, a place to meet new ones, and a safe place to socialize and have fun.
What’s your favorite part of our neighborhood?: The Southwest Duck Pond. During my time as ANC commissioner, I worked hard to get funding to begin to make renovations to the park. We now have a duck habitat, peninsulas that don’t flood, new lighting, and fountains. It is one of the great gems in Southwest.