Shaw Streets

321
The Howard University Marching Band and Cheer Leaders celebrate the opening of the Chase Bank branch at Howard University. Photo: Alexander M. Padro, Courtesy Shaw Main Streets.

Shaw Main Streets held its annual meeting on March 21. The annual meeting is the public forum for the organization to review its work and outline its plans for the future. Due to the COVID crisis, this was the first annual meeting since 2019. Even so, the meeting was held virtually as a Zoom session this year. 

After Shaw Main Streets Board Chair Gretchen Wharton greeted attendees, there were messages of welcome from Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau; Kristi Whitfield, Director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development; Salah Czapary, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture; and Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto.

Then Alexander Padro, Executive Director of Shaw Main Streets gave a presentation on the state of Shaw businesses. He reported Shaw lost 34 businesses since the outbreak of the pandemic, but that there has been a rebound since most vacant restaurant spaces have since been leased to new tenants. There were 23 new business openings in Shaw in 2022, with the neighborhood getting 53 new businesses since January 2020.

Over the past year, the Shaw Clean + Safe Team has expanded to 11th Street and Shaw Main Streets has been able to bring back the Shaw Open House in June, Art All Night in September and Small Business Saturday in November. It has also completed three major murals in the neighborhood. Shaw Main Streets has also been able to support businesses affected by the construction of the Northeast Boundary Tunnel by DC Water, a project that should end in the fall of 2023.

The meeting ended with an election of members to the organization’s board. The slate of candidates included a new member, Dr. Robert Johns of Howard University. The slate was elected unanimously.

Chase Bank Opens New Branch in Shaw

Chase Bank opened a new branch at Georgia Avenue and W Street at the Howard University Research Building at 2201 Georgia Ave. NW on March 23. The opening was the second branch for the bank in Shaw and the 20th in the DMV. Besides JPMorgan Chase Bank leaders, celebrants included Howard University President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick and DC Member of Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton, along with entertainment from a Howard University band and cheerleaders.

The bank took the opportunity to announce that they were awarding a $3.5 million grant to the Congress Heights Community Training and Development Corporation. The grant will support the organization’s work to establish a small business incubator hub for Black female innovators, as well as its employment readiness program, which provides economic stability for at least 400 Ward 7 and 8 residents. The new Chase branch will be managed by Presley Nelson, Jr., a graduate of Howard University.

Shaw Cleanup with Council member Pinto April 22

Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto is inviting volunteers to support a cleanup effort to commemorate Earth Day. After a successful cleanup last year in Dupont Circle, this year’s cleanup will be in Shaw. The Shaw Clean Up will be conducted on Saturday morning, April 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Pinto will host the effort, partnering with Shaw Main Streets and the group District Cleanups to help organize the event. The Shaw cleanup will start at the Bundy Dog Park on the 400 block of P Street and work its way to Dacha Shaw, at Seventh and Q, where there will be a social event for participants. Visit shawmainstreets.org for more information on the cleanup.

Mayor’s Budget Includes Seaton Elementary

While the austere Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 District Budget that Mayor Bowser has proposed missed some Shaw priorities such as a new environmentally friendly truck for the Shaw Clean + Safe Team and a new Circulator route to serve the neighborhood, it did include one improvement. The modernization of Seaton Elementary School (1503 10th St. NW) will be moved up a year. Pre-design for the project will now start in FY 2025, design in FY 2026, and construction in FY 2027 and 2028, with completion of modernization in FY 2029.

T Street Taskforce Meets

The T Street Taskforce, a group of DC agency personnel, local businesses and Shaw neighborhood leaders devoted to arresting the deteriorating environment on the 600 block of T Street, held its monthly meeting on Thursday morning, March 30. Originally formed by Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau, the group will now be managed by Salah Czapary, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture.

Czapary announced that he wanted to do a walkthrough of the area to develop a list of issues before he brought the relevant DC agencies to work on problems with the group. This disappointed some of the taskforce members, who thought that they had already spent months identifying problems on the block. One developer noted that the valuation of his property has gone down by $20 million and that some commercial tenants were trying to get out of their leases because their employees were being assaulted by miscreants from the street.

There are still some hopes for improvement. A niche at the rear emergency exit of the Dunbar building, which has been used for questionable activities in the alley, is now secured by a steel door. There are also discussions to activate the vacant city-owned lot at the east end of the block as a miniature golf course to encourage more positive activity on the street.

Eat. Drink. Shaw. Scheduled for June 14

Shaw Main Streets will resume holding its annual food and beverage showcase, Eat. Drink. Shaw., on Wednesday evening, June 14 at the Howard Theater. At Eat. Drink. Shaw., the neighborhood’s renowned restaurants and bars show off what they do best, allowing ticket holders to eat and drink to their stomach’s content.

This is the first time this event has been held since 2019, as result of the Covid pandemic. This year, 300 attendees will be able to enjoy unlimited samples of food and drink items from at least 25 Shaw drinking and dining establishments for two-and-one-half hours. For more information, visit www.eatdrinkshaw.com.