On behalf of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly, I’d like to thank those who responded to our letter in the June Southwester and sent in contributions.  We rely on your support to remain a going concern.  We always welcome new members and volunteers for our various activities.

History Task Force – Historic Landmarking Hearing

The Historic Preservation Board unanimously approved our application to nominate Tiber Island to the National Register of Historic Places. Moreover, the majority of the Board Members expressed a particular interest in recognition of the larger Southwest Urban Renewal district – from a social, political, economic and physical perspective.  In light of the hearing and interest among Southwest residents, the Assembly’s Task Force has decided to apply for a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to document and communicate these historical perspectives.

Southwest Waterfront Redevelopment

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission did not endorse the development proposal at its June meeting. Concerns cited include the lack of a bus management plan, construction management plan, Wharf Center operations plan, landscaping/arborist plan, pedestrian connections plan, interim parking plan, a recreational water sports plan, a D.C. Heritage plan, and provisions to support a live-aboard community and D.C. Sail within the new development.  The Assembly continues to help flesh out a number of these details, particularly D.C. heritage planning.

The Zoning Commission is considering the case on 4 dates:

  • June 28 – General Comments, Parcel 2A, and 2B, Co-Gen Plant, Parcel 1 Temp uses, Transit Pier
  • July 2 – Parcels 3A, 3B, District Pier, Pier and Avenue Mews
  • July 12 – Parcels 4A, 4B, Capital yacht Club, CYC Plaza, Piazza Mews, Jazz Alley, 7th St. Park
  • July 23 – Parcels 11A, 11B, Waterfront Park

Transportation Improvements

WMATA is proposing to extend its Route 52 service into Southwest, providing direct access to Takoma Park and all points in between.  The agency is now looking for input on specific terminating points in Southwest or the Navy Yard.  We encourage Southwesters to provide comments to info@metrobus-studies.com or attend the study’s final public meeting: June 21, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Metrobus’ Northern Division community room at 4627 14th St. NW.

DDOT’s M Street SE-SW Transportation study is proceeding.  The second public meeting May 24 indicated DDOT will be proposing to create a more multi-modal, with less emphasis on automobiles. 

Parks and Recreation

ANC 6D Commissioner Ron McBee and I had a walk-through at a King-Greenleaf Recreation Center with staff members from the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and Department of General Services (DGS).  We were thankful to see a working  relationship has been established between DGS and DPR’s King-Greenleaf staff such that maintenance backlogs are getting addressed.  However the two-hour walk-through revealed many outstanding items.  And the most disappointing news was that DGS staff didn’t provide us with their contact information so that we could follow-up—nor have they followed up with us on their own accord.  We’re hoping we’ll have better oversight of DGS now that Councilmember Muriel Bowser chairs DGS’ oversight committee.

Over the past several months we’ve seen a consistent pattern of improvements at the Department of Parks and Recreation.  One area of continued concern is the permitting office.  It’s not unusual for Ron and I to find out about high-profile permitted events at DPR facilities on the day they occur—and in some cases after.  Often it’s by word-of-mouth.  Additionally some of our recreation fields have been double-booked for seasonal sports.  If you have any concerns or questions, contact Jackie Alvarado, who manages DPR’s Permits office.

With respect to Lansburgh Park, we continue to inch closer to our goal of an activated park.  The Assembly is working on a fiscal sponsorship agreement with the Lansburgh Park Community Gardeners.  For the past two weeks I’ve been trying to schedule a meeting with Councilmember Tommy Wells’ staff so that we and our partners like the SW PAWS can host special events like movie nights.  Stay tuned for the date of the upcoming Lansburgh Park charrette.

We often get questions on the status of the tennis courts around Jefferson Middle School. Thankfully, the Ninth and G Street courts finally have been completed. The Washington Kastle’s court contractor is still working on a cost-effective solution to redo the Seventh Street courts, since the estimated $50,000 rehabilitation cost isn’t in the budget.  Contact jennifer@venturehousegroup.com if you know of any local businesses that would be interested in partnering with the Kastles on the project.  DPR is aware that the Kastles want to redo the courts and will be able to help with the approval process once we’re ready.

SW ArtsFest

Last fall, the Assembly co-sponsored the SW Artsfest, which featured neighborhood walking tours, hand dancing at Arena Stage, the (e)merge art fair & the Marcātus Creative Art Market, the D.C. Jazz Preservation Festival, a film festival, an outdoor sock-monkey art studio, St. Augustine’s End-of-Summer Fair, a Southwest church musical showcase and an arts-oriented flea market.

Planning for this year’s festival, to occur on Sept. 29, is underway.   It will feature an open-air Central Art Market along Fourth Street SW.  SW ArtsFest is now seeking an experienced manager for the Central Art Market and a graphics designer to create an enhanced web presence.  For further information, including the Central Art Market RFP, email swartsfest@gmail.com or go to www.swdcartsfest.org.

Amidon-Bowen Elementary School

Thanks to the efforts of the Assembly, Amidon PTA, CBCC and ANC 6D to shine a light on the need for enhanced investment in our only elementary school, Amidon-Bowen has received a substantial amount of financial support over the past year, including:

  • $5 million for Phase I interior renovation (in progress)
  • $750,000 from Target Foundation for Literacy Improvement
  • $260,000 from D.C. Public School’s Proving What’s Possible grant fund
  • $200,000 from Target for School Library renovation (completed)
  • $150,000 from DPR to move Amidon’s adult-oriented basketball courts to Lansburgh Park (by Sept. 30,2012)
  • $20-50,000 (promised) from Mandarin Oriental for in-classroom reading libraries with age-appropriate books and materials
  • $ 10,000 for landscaping and painting of playground from Generation Hope Project

Most recently, the D.C. Council set aside $500,000 in the District’s budget to fund the renovation of Amidon’s playground

Despite the success, there is still a greater need, including:

  • $350,000 to restore the 2012-13 operating budget to 2011-12 levels
  • $500,000 to renovate the playground by installing artificial turf soccer field/football field, relocating/replacing the playground equipment to I Street lawn, and installing adjustable basketball hoops.
  • $10 million for Phase II and Phase III renovation

We encourage Southwest residents to help continue the rebirth of Amidon-Bowen, whether it’s through monetary contributions, volunteering your time, or enrolling your kids at Amidon.

–By Kael Anderson, President Southwest Neighborhood Assembly

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