By Melissa Silverman
At a January 9 meeting, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission members representing the Southwest Waterfront officially began their new term with a monthly meeting and election of officers. Following redistricting, the single-member districts of Ward 6 saw shifting lines that changed the boundaries of areas represented by incumbent commissioners.
Incumbent commissioners Ron Collins, (6D02) Fredrica “Rikki” Kramer (6D07) and Rhonda Hamilton (6D08) are rejoined by former commissioner Gail Fast, who returned to represent a redistricted 6D03 that includes the Southwest Duck Pond and, as she noted, its 54 non-voting waterfowl.
Newly elected commissioners include Bob Link representing 6D01, which includes the liveaboard community at Gangplank Maria and other buildings along the waterfront. New commissioner Ashton Romer represents a redistricted 6D05, which includes Greenleaf Gardens, Midrise and Greenleaf Senior, as well as the public buildings such as the DMV, Fire and EMS station, post office, library and recreation center.
Housing south of M Street SW on the west side of 4th Street SW, including Tiber Island, Harbor Square, Riverside, and Channel Square will be represented by new ANC 6D06 commissioner Bruce Levine, replacing the long-serving Andy Litsky.
The ANC 6D04 seat remains vacant and will require a special election to be filled. Petitions can be picked up by candidates interested in holding the post beginning February 8.
In addition to making introductions, the first ANC business meeting of 2023 threw new commissioners into the deep end of pending community issues, including the planned redevelopment of the Greenleaf community by the DC Housing Authority.
Housing Authority Executive Director Brenda Donald and several members of her staff joined the meeting to provide an update to the commission, and heard directly from neighbors and community leaders about ongoing maintenance issues plaguing families currently living at Greenleaf.
With the planned redevelopment stretching at least a dozen years into the future before full completion is expected, Director Donald emphasized a commitment to ensuring safe, healthy and dignified living conditions in the short term, but information shared by her team also highlighted the large-scale challenges the agency faces in meeting that commitment.
Agency data shared at the meeting indicates that there are currently 673 open maintenance tickets for Greenleaf Family/Greenleaf Gardens and another 14 for Greenleaf Senior. This is after a “summer blitz” by the housing authority closed over 1,300 open work orders across the two properties between June and December of 2022.
Housing Authority planners looking ahead to the redevelopment advised the commissioners that although the multi-phased project was expected to start with the renovation of Greenleaf Senior by the end of 2023, rising interest rates and construction cost uncertainty, as well as a change in DC Housing Finance Agency policy to only accept financing applications twice a year, may present challenges to getting financing in place, and as a result, the closing may not happen until 2024. The Housing Authority committed in writing to continue capital improvements for Greenleaf residents in the meantime, including new elevators and common space improvements.