Bloomingdale Bites – October 2017

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Traffic and pedestrian detours throughout the Northeast Boundary Tunnel (NEBT) project. Photo: DC Water

Drinking for Social Justice at Showtime
Coming on the heels of a successful fundraiser for the Women’s March in November, Showtime Lounge once again played host to a social justice event. This time, Showtime owner Paul Vivani helped raise money for the March for Social Justice, which occurred on Sept. 30.

Showtime Lounge opened in 2012 at 113 Rhode Island Ave. NW and quickly became a staple of a neighborhood in desperate need of a watering hole. The bar is named for Showtime Hair Design, the much-loved barbershop that previously occupied the space.

Known for the inviting (even to four-legged friends) atmosphere and cheap drinks, Showtime is most famous for its juke box and house band, Granny and the Boys, led by 83-year-old Alice “Granny” Donahue.

Now Showtime is a go-to safe space for progressive causes and political thought. It proudly displays a rainbow flag torn down by an alt-right protestor during a political rally earlier this year. Through hosting fundraisers, it supported the Women’s March and now the March for Social Justice.

The September march was organized by grassroots protesters and chaired by Valerie Castile, mother or Orlando Castile, who was killed by a police officer in St. Anthony, Mo. As the mission statement describes, the march was “open to the public and all who are ready to work toward dismantling the oppressive structures, institutions, and practices that exaggerate inequality and dehumanize people of color.”

Activists and neighbors alike express their delight at Vivani’s use of his space for social causes. The locals consider Showtime Lounge their haven away from home and continue to support its efforts in the local and national communities. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/showtimebardc/. 

Another McMillan Milestone?
The Zoning Commission has again approved redevelopment of the McMillan sand filtration site, moving the project one step closer to fruition. In December, the DC Court of Appeals vacated the commission’s approval of the development plan, citing failure by the developer, Vision McMillan Partners (VMP), to account sufficiently for the effect of the plan on the surrounding community.

The plan provides for 531 apartments, 146 townhouses, and a 52,000-square-foot Harris Teeter. Plans also include a 17,500-square-foot community center, an eight-story medical building, and possibly an eight-acre park.

In March, VMP issued a statement saying, “The project, as currently designed, represents the only feasible alternative that can retain a substantial part of the [planned-unit development] site as open space and make the site usable for recreational purposes, while at the same time balancing the interest in leveraging this site to advance objectives for housing, economic development, and community facilities; improving tree canopy and reducing urban runoff; and promoting high-quality design.”

During the hearing, the Zoning Commission again justified the density and height of each proposed building, moving the process again into the hands of the mayor’s agent. If the agent approves, VMP could finally break ground, again.

Rhode Island Ave. Construction: Only the Beginning
If you think construction traffic on Rhode Island Avenue in Northeast has been frustrating, you haven’t seen anything yet. DC Water has just announced the final stages of its plan for the largest component of the Clean Rivers Project. All that work that’s already been done? That was just prep. Prepare yourself for five years of the construction chaos that will be the Northeast Boundary Tunnel (NEBT) project.

The NEBT is “a large, deep, sewer tunnel that will increase the capacity of the existing sewer system in the District, significantly mitigating sewer flooding and improving the water quality of the Anacostia River,” as described by DC Water. “The NEBT will connect with the First Street Tunnel and Anacostia River Tunnel to provide a complete gravity system from Northwest DC to Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, where all flows captured by the tunnel system will be delivered for treatment prior to discharge to the Potomac River.”

The great news for residents is that the creation of the tunnel is meant to address the major flooding issues that have plagued neighborhoods, most notably Bloomingdale and LeDroit. The bad news is that the project is scheduled for completion in 2023.

DC Water has been holding block meetings to brief residents about how they will be affected during the construction. Part of T Street will be removed from use for five years (minimum) to house construction equipment.

Residents took the opportunity to express their frustration with the traffic, noise, and foundation rumbling that the current construction has caused. Many are worried that lack of parking will affect both daily life and possibly the resale value of their homes over the next five years. DC Water reps walked people through each phase of upcoming work and informed them that Tunnel Forum Meetings beginning in March will provide an opportunity to voice concerns.

The timing of everything remains unclear. Preparatory work now being done to move the utilities out of the way was scheduled to finish in late spring, but that date has been moved to November. There is no fixed start date for the construction of the actual tunnel, though it is estimated to be completed in August 2023.

DC Water is encouraging those affected to attend the Tunnel Forum Meetings and keep up with news through their website: https://www.dcwater.com/projects/northeast-boundary-tunnel-project-0.

Two Big Upcoming Events
The 5th Annual Boundary Stone Bike ride will take place on Oct. 14. Each year, Boundary Stone DC (www.boundarystonedc.com) sponsors a bike ride around the District’s oldest federal monuments, its boundary stones. History, bike, and beer nerds alike can register at https://www.bikereg.com/bsride2017.

The Annual Bloomingdale House Tour will be on Oct. 28 and promises to be a day full of workshops, historic home tours, and merriment. For information go to www.bloomingdalecivicassociation.org/events/housetour/.

 

Taylor Barden Golden is a real estate agent with the Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates Inc. A former Hill staffer, Taylor lives in Brentwood with her husband, two dogs, and a cat. She’s always on the lookout for new places to explore and ways to spend time outside. Get in touch: taylor@midcitydcnews.com; @rtaylorb.