Mayor Bowser Comes to Shaw to Present Budget Plans
Mayor Muriel Bowser used Shaw as a backdrop to the first presentation of her budget for the next fiscal year when she came to the neighborhood the morning of March 17. Before making her presentation, the mayor went around the corner to the Intersect at O construction site at 1336 Eighth St. NW to visit Denzel Grandson, a construction worker who was a participant in a program to welcome returning citizens into the workforce. Then Mayor Bowser went to the front of the Kennedy Recreation Center to make her pitch for the new budget and its promises to increase the District’s stock of affordable housing and improve public safety.
Among the budget items highlighted were a proposed $1.7 million Life Coach initiative and a $13.5 million investment to drastically expand recreation services for young people. “These investments will help us build a safer, stronger DC by creating more opportunities for residents of every age to participate in activities that keep them safe and engaged,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that there is a relatively small group of people in our community who are at the highest risk of being involved in gun violence. The Life Coaches will play a significant role in reaching those residents and providing the intensive services they need to escape cycles of violence. And by drastically expanding recreation opportunities we are going to get more kids and teens into programs and sports that keep them safe and involved in activities they enjoy and that equip them with critical life skills.”
The new budget includes a number of benefits for Shaw. There is funding for the construction phase of a planned renovation of S Street between Seventh Street and New Jersey Avenue, creating wider sidewalks and safer streets. Most importantly, it provides for a “new Center City Middle School,” otherwise known as a replacement for the long-closed Shaw Junior High School. Plans are to open the middle school by the 2028-29 school year.
Shaw Restaurants Gets Lit
The restaurant scene in Shaw continues to revive as the pandemic fades. Oyster Oyster, Shaw’s premier plant-based restaurant, made the finals list for Best New Restaurant in the nation in the James Beard Foundation Awards competition. The winner of the title will be announced on June 13.
Previously closed restaurants are reopening. Estuary at the Conrad Hilton Hotel has brought back its local, sea-based culinary theme, although under a new chef. Hanumanh, Shaw’s Laotian spot, is reopening after a long hiatus, bringing back co-owners Seng Luangrath and Bobby Pradachith along with famed beverage director Al Thompson.
There are also new eateries. Mariscos 1133 has opened on the southeast corner of 11th and M streets NW. Owned by Alfredo and Jessica Solis, who also have El Sol in Shaw, Mariscos 1133 features seafood specialties from Latin America. Mariscos 1133, along with Hanumanh, has made Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema’s recent list of his seven favorite places to eat in DC. Cracked Eggery, noted egg sandwich specialist, is opening its second outlet in Shaw at 1921 Eighth St. NW. Finally, Motown Square Pizza, previously located in Edgewood, is moving to Shaw, joining the Prescription Chicken incubator at 1819 Seventh St. NW.
Events DC Announces New Kiosks
Events DC is completing four retail kiosks on the west side of the Washington Convention Center and is now looking for tenants. The kiosks, lined by red glass walls from Italy, are on the 1200 block of Ninth Street NW and are part of the effort to enliven the streetscape around the Convention Center. Each of the kiosks measures approximately 285 square feet and could potentially fit 19 people standing or 10 seated.
Events DC is seeking retail, service and non-vented food operators to occupy these beautifully designed kiosks. A marketing brochure is available at https://retailproperties.cbre.us/property/output/document/view/id:57343. There is also a Request for Proposal survey for those who are interested in leasing a kiosk at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/792FJZD.
Ward 2 ANC Redistricting Taskforce Report
The Ward 2 ANC Redistricting Taskforce submitted its final report to the DC Council on April 1. It recommends the boundaries of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) and single member districts (SMDs) in Ward 2 for the next 10 years. The previous redistricting split most of central Shaw between two wards, preventing coordination of public policy in the neighborhood. Now that Shaw and Mount Vernon Square have been reunited in Ward 2, the community will have an ANC, called ANC 2G, to provide a single forum for discussing issues of development, regulation and service delivery.
The new ANC 2G has some notable features. Because of the area’s population growth, there were enough residents north of Rhode Island Avenue to create a new SMD, providing that area with a single voice on the ANC. There is also an SMD that covers the three blocks of the Washington Convention Center, including the residents on the west side of the 1200 block of Seventh Street, along with the Convention Center Hotel and Mount Vernon Square, where the Carnegie Library is under a lease from Events DC. One SMD includes the Blagden Alley/Naylor Court Historic District, which will join ANC 2G and put the commercial activity on both sides of Ninth Street under a single authority. ANC 2G will have a total of six SMDs.
Now that the Ward 2 Taskforce has submitted its report, the DC Council will hold hearings over the next month for comment on the proposed new ANC map. The DC Council will vote in June 2022 to put the new ANC boundaries into law.