Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its monthly meeting for March at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library, 1630 Seventh Street NW on March 3, 2020. Commission Chair Rachelle Nigro (6E04) called the meeting to order with Alexander Padro (6E01), Michael Brown (6E02, Secretary), Frank Wiggins (6E03, Vice Chair), Alex Marriot (6E05, Treasurer) and Alvin Judd (6E06) in attendance. There was a quorum to conduct official business.
Tommie Jones, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) External Affairs and John Stokes, Department of General Services (DGS) External Affairs gave a presentation on the maintenance of DPR facilities in ANC 6E. Stokes started by noting that DGS has responsibility for over 800 District facilities and has to process almost 40,000 work orders per year to maintain them. Work orders are supposed to be completed within 60 days, although some repairs may be delayed because they go beyond maintenance and require capital expenditures. In the Shaw neighborhood, DGS has already fixed the lights and trimmed the trees at the park at Seventh and N Streets NW. At the Kennedy Recreation Center, there is an order in to replace a piece of playground equipment and plans to redo the turf and repair the gazebo cover.
At that point, Commissioner Nigro noted a problem with a homeless encampment at New Jersey Avenue and O Street NW created due to the lack of maintenance of a park site there. She wanted DPR park rangers to enforce the District’s anti-camping law. Commissioner Judd said that the lighting at the basketball courts at First Street and New York Avenue NW were inconsistent, being turned on and off at different times.
Then Robert Robinson, the new manager of the Kennedy Recreation Center, was introduced. He said that DPR was scheduled to hold lifeguard training for summer hires. Kennedy is designated to serve as one of the District’s hypothermia centers in winter emergencies until April 15, he added.
Commissioner Marriott thanked Jones for coming to meet with the members of the Mount Vernon CID. Commissioner Padro said that the repair list that Stokes cited for Kennedy was far from complete. Even some things that have been fixed are now broken again. Stokes noted that maybe not everything had been caught, but added that even individual citizens can put in job orders on the DGS website. Padro said that the center’s use as a hypothermia site has increased wear on the building. He stated that he was working with Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) to end its use as a shelter. Kennedy is one of the heaviest used recreation centers and that management there has been a revolving door, Padro stated.
A neighborhood resident at the meeting reported problems related to users of the Bundy playground urinating outdoors. Another added that there should be a ranger at Bundy to close the playground. One question was on the management of the Carter G. Woodson Park on Rhode Island Avenue NW. There is a lot of drug use going there now and it cannot be used by citizens. At the end of the presentation, Jones mentioned that DPR is currently working on its 20-year master facilities plan.
Police Brief Commission
Lieutenant Steven Andelman of the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) First District reported that there had been two shooting incidents on the 1200 block of North Capitol Street in February. There were slight increases in robberies and stolen autos and thefts. He also noted that there was a crime suppression unit deployed to the Sursum Corda area.
Captain Han Kim from MPD’s Third District announced that an arrest had been made that day of someone breaking car windows on the 400 block of O Street NW. Commissioner Nigro asked if there was any information about the homicide in front of Dunbar High School. Third District Commander Stuart Emerman said that it was still being investigated. Commissioner Wiggins asked if there was any intelligence on the fatal shooting in Glick Court NW. The response was that they were still looking at it, as well as the shooting at Ninth and Rhode Island NW the week before. The motive for the shootings was a personal dispute and it is known that the victims from both shootings knew each other as friends. Commissioner Padro mentioned that the homicide victim in the Glick Court shooting lived at Jefferson Marketplace and that his mother is a program manager at Shaw Community Service Center. Padro called for a moment of silence.
Commissioner Wiggins asked why the portable police camera on Seventh Street NW was moved to S Street. Kim replied that it caused a blind spot at its previous location and was hit by a car making a turn. So, MPD decided to move it. Commissioner Padro said that there was a problem with drug dealing in the restroom of the Kennedy Recreation Center. A member of the audience asked whether vice teams were present in the neighborhood. The response was that this work is handled by the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division (NSID), which is more centralized than the old vice teams.
Alcoholic Beverage Licensing
Playoff Pizza (924 Fifth St. NW) asked the commission to support its request to make a substantial change to its license, adding sports wagering and games of skill. Commissioner Marriott noted that there were some concerns about the request in the neighborhood, largely due to the fact that the tavern will be handling cash payouts from the games, which could present a security issue. The owners thought that the payouts would be too small to create a concern. There were also residents of 555 Massachusetts Avenue NW who had expressed worries at the committee meeting the previous week, but those issues were largely related to construction, which could not be included in a settlement agreement. Marriott wanted the commission to protest the request so that he could develop a settlement agreement with the owners. The commission voted unanimously to protest the license modification.
Baan Siam (425 I Street NW) requested support for a new restaurant license. Commissioner Marriott read aloud the standard provisions in the ANC’s settlement agreements. The restaurant is also asking for the license to include a sidewalk café. Commissioner Padro noted that the restaurant was also asking the ANC to support a stipulated license for the establishment. The commission passed a resolution supporting the liquor license and the stipulated license.
The developer of 1212, 1214 and 1218 Fourth Street NW made a request related to a project previously supported by the Commission. The company is restoring an old building and building a new three story building behind it. The plan requires the creation of one new curb cut through the sidewalk and the closing of three existing curb cuts. It also calls for cutting down existing trees, but provides for the creation of two new tree boxes. The commission approved supporting the plan and the communication of this support to the DC Department of Transportation.
Commissioner Padro passed out a resolution on the Shaw Dog Park. He announced that the Shaw Dog Park would be closed on April 1 by DPR in order to support the construction of the new Banneker High School. He said that previous discussions with DPR and DC Public Schools did not mention the possibility of closing the park, the largest one in the District. The resolution called for the closing to be delayed and that DPR and DCPS try to find an alternative site for dog park patrons. Padro wanted the resolution to be sent to the Mayor, DPR and Councilmember Allen. The resolution passed unanimously.
A brief presentation was made by a representative of the District’s 529 Plan, which provides tax benefits to residents saving for a college education. New changes to the plan allow employers to contribute to a college saving plan, the use of funds to pay for private school tuition or to pay off student college loan debts. Single filers for DC income taxes can get a deduction of up to $4,000 per year by using the 529 plan.
ANC 6E announced its next meeting on April 7, 6:30 p.m. at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library. This was before the declaration of a public health emergency in the District. Plans are to have the Commission meet virtually for the length of the emergency. Visit www.anc6e.org for more information.