MPD Redistricting Raises Questions
It’s been seven years since the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) examined its district borders and updated the boundaries of response areas. Scheduled to take effect in January 2019, the boundaries will change, providing patrol and respond to both the Bloomingdale and Truxton Circle neighborhoods – with uncertain effects on the relationship between the police and residents.
Police Chief Peter Newsham announced the changes at a DC Council meeting on Oct. 23, and the mayor facilitated the discussion among the councilmembers. Images of the new districts were shared via Twitter by Deputy Mayor Kevin Donahue.
The Third District will now extend all the way to North Capitol Street, from New York Avenue as the southern border and Michigan Avenue as the northern border. That means that all of Bloomingdale and Truxton Circle will now be in the Third, and not the Fifth, District.
What does that mean for the community? At this point no one can really say, but it is certainly going to make a difference to the residents, who have come to know and work with the officers who patrol the Fifth District. It will impact community groups that coordinate with specific liaisons for the districts, and it will change who responds to calls and patrols in those areas.
Chief Newsham made clear to the Council that it was a priority to have community meetings in the areas that will be most affected by the changes. At the time of publication, the Bloomingdale Civic Association had not been contacted by MPD or the mayor’s office to set a time to bring this issue to the community, but President Teri Janine Quinn said she would welcome them to make a presentation.
LeDroit’s Doors Open for Tours
LeDroit Park opened its doors for its first ever house and garden tour, showing off its history and modernity through eight diverse houses. The event hosted over 230 people from around the DMV, allowing them to learn about the unique features of LeDroit Park, a nestled neighborhood often overshadowed by its larger neighbors.
The tour featured mostly detached homes but also showed off row homes and converted condos. Perhaps the most impressive house is one of the most historic in the neighborhood. Once nicknamed the Juke Joint, 525 T St. NW used to serve as a lodging house for artists performing at the Howard Theatre who were unable to stay in the whites-only hotels in the neighborhood. The home was built in 1890 and stood vacant for a number of years, but it has been brought back to life and holds a host of historic features, such as refinished hickory-crown moldings, historic windows and the original clawfoot tub.
The event was the brainchild of Ethan Arnheim, president of the LeDroit Park Civic Association, and was accomplished on the backs of the large network of volunteers active in the small neighborhood.
Arnheim explained this event was really a coming together of the entire neighborhood through a network of contacts who all wanted to show off what their streets have to offer. “I have been on a number of neighborhood house tours and I thought that our neighborhood is just as special, it has so many wonderful features and is diverse.
People want to visit LeDroit Park.”
Along with co-chair Dina Lewis, dozens of volunteers and a handful of sponsors, Arnheim was able to find eight homes that exemplified the diversity and history that LeDroit Park could share. “People were hesitant at first since we hadn’t done this before. But once they learned more about it and about how it could bring people to learn about our community, they were on board.” There was also a focus on restoration and renovation. “People have done such great work on their homes, we wanted to celebrate that.”
Though logistically complicated, the event went smoothly as over 200 people walked throughout the neighborhood with their house-guide booklets in hand. Some were apparently confused about the “change in location” for the start of the tour, as they didn’t realize that this was not the Bloomingdale House Tour they attended last year. Arnheim chuckled at the comparison, noting his joy at helping define LeDroit as its own community.
When asked if this will be a yearly event, Arnheim explained that they received so much help and support from their Bloomingdale neighbors they don’t want to trample on that event. He hopes the LeDroit Park House and Garden Tour will complement the Bloomingdale House Tour, each taking its own year to celebrate its own unique value.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; @rtaylorb.