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WARD REPORTS

(Published July 1, 2002)

WARD 1

HOLIDAY EVENTS: Fourth of July festivities in Adams Morgan this year have been organized to emphasize the neighborhood’s ethnic diversity, according to promoters of the events.

Music begins at 8 p.m. July 4 at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park, followed by fireworks, sponsored by Friends of Meridian Hill Park and Washington Parks and People.

Special arts entertainment will take place on July 6 in Unity Park at Columbia Road, Euclid Street and Chamberlain Street during the Adams Morgan Arts Market, which is a community-building project of the Columbia Alliance for Business, Arts and Neighborhood Advancement (CABANA). The market runs every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the summer. Other sponsors include Safeway, the First Church of Christ, and the Adams Morgan Community Festival of the Council of Latino Agencies. –Krystal Toles

WARD 2

GEORGETOWN PROJECT LIAISON: The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has appointed Karyn E. Good, the current executive director of the Georgetown Business and Professional Association, as its new community liaison for the Georgetown Project, replacing Joel Odum. The Georgetown Project is a comprehensive effort to rebuild the underground utility infrastructure and remodel the streetscape on M Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

Good "will build on her current knowledge of the business and residential communities to make sure that the work that the utilities, the District and the community are jointly planning for Wisconsin Avenue is minimally disruptive for all parties," said Acting DDOT Director Dan Tangherlini.

Adish Nafici, who is DDOT’s project manager, will be responsible for construction and planning until Good assumes her new duties in mid-July. –Krystal Toles

WARD 3

PALISADES PARADE: The Palisades Citizens Association is looking for volunteers to help with its annual July 4th parade and picnic. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Whitehaven Parkway and MacArthur Boulevard NW and end at the Palisades Recreation Center. Floats will be judged and awards will be presented at the picnic, held at the recreation center, after the parade. The picnic will feature live music, a moon bounce, pony rides, hot dogs and watermelon. More information is available by calling (202) 363-7441. –Jonathan Tannenwald

WARD 4

RETIREMENT HOME PLANS: A partnership formed by the Retirement Housing Foundation and Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ is hoping to build a 69-unit apartment building for senior citizens at the corner of Riggs Road and North Capitol Street in Northeast Washington.

The partnership received about $6.6 million of funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to construct the building, which will include a multi-purpose room, garden, library, gymnasium and health suite.

The idea to start a retirement home began in 1999. Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, located on North Capitol Street, purchased the space from Exxon for $800,000 after the community opposed having a gas station built there in 1993. It came to the attention of the church’s pastor, the Rev. Graylan Hagler, that the community wanted to focus on senior housing because it was consistent with the character of the neighborhood.

"People have invested in the community and do not want to leave," Hagler said. "So this offers an alternative to remain as residents and citizens of the community."

Some residents of the area are currently living alone and the retirement home would reduce the risk of any danger that they may face because they are the sole members of their households, he said.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B’s support for the proposal and little opposition makes Hagler believe that they could break ground by November and complete the project within a year, he said. A public hearing July 8 at the Office of Zoning will determine whether the project goes forward.—Krystal Toles

WARD 5

METRO PROJECT APPROVED: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board has approved construction of a mixed-use development project at the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station in Northeast Washington.

The proposed project, detailed last year in The Common Denominator, would contain 270 apartments in a pair of four-story buildings, of which 54 would be "affordable" housing units. The complex would also include a seven-story parking garage and up to 70,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floors of the apartment buildings. Retailers and restaurants that have expressed interest in leasing space include Applebee’s, Foot Locker, Starbucks, Blockbuster Video and Ashley Stewart.

D.C. Councilman Jim Graham, D-Ward 1, who chairs Metro’s Joint Development Sub-Committee, called the project "a wonderful example of transit-oriented development" when the board approved the project on June 20. Councilman Vincent Orange, D-Ward 5, sent a letter last September to community leaders asking them to support the project, which will be jointly developed by Mid-City Urban LLC, A&R Development Corp. and Graimark/Walker.

Neighborhood residents have expressed opposition to the project, fearing increased traffic congestion and skyrocketing real estate taxes. The proposal submitted to Metro’s board indicated that the project’s developers planned to seek partial public funding. –Jonathan Tannenwald

NEW CAMPUS PLAN SUBMITTED: Catholic University of America has submitted a new 10-year campus plan for its Northeast Washington campus to the D.C. Zoning Commission for approval. The commission has scheduled a public hearing on the plan for Sept. 19. A copy of the draft plan is available for public viewing at in Room 237 of the university’s Alumni Center. Members of the public may call Carl Petchik, Catholic University’s executive director of facilities operations, at (202) 319-5500 for further information.

WARD 6

WATERSIDE MALL RENOVATION: Plans to revamp Waterside Mall near the Southwest waterfront have caused a debate on whether Fourth Street should be restored to run through the complex’s center, instead of a walkway. Gene Solon of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly said he believes that a walkway would offer pedestrians access to all of the stores without traffic.

Last Sept. 29, D.C. Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Eric Price, Kaempfer and Forest City Enterprises cosigned a Memorandum of Understanding to reconstruct Fourth Street through the mall to M Street. To date, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2D commissioners and neighborhood assembly members have gathered about 300 signatures against the roadway, according to Solon.

The developers are planning an eight-building complex where the highest is about 130 feet, while neighborhood residents say they are hoping for a "neighborhood-friendly" shopping center. –Krystal Toles

WARD 7

CHAVOUS TARGETS EDUCATION: Councilman Kevin P. Chavous, D-Ward 7, will be the featured speaker at the July 6 meeting of the Hillcrest Community Civic Association. The monthly, two-hour meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Comforter, 3319 Alabama Ave. SE.

Chavous recently announced he will not be a candidate for mayor this year. Despite Chavous’ stated belief that he has enough support and recognition to win a race against Mayor Anthony A. Williams, Chavous said the "time is not now" for him to run.

Chavous said he plans to focus on education as chairman of the council’s Committee on Education, Libraries and Recreation instead. "I am committed to taking charge of education in this city," he said.

Chavous said he also plans to concentrate his efforts toward building a new public hospital on the site of now-closed D.C General, strengthening the University of the District of Columbia, and increasing the number of police patrols.

WARD 8

CELEBRITY TOURNAMENT: The Anacostia Economic Development Corp. will hold its 4th Annual Celebrity Golf/Tennis Tournament on July 22 at Crofton Country Club in Crofton, Md. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the tournament starts at 9 a.m. The tournament, which benefits the Anacostia Scholarship Foundation, gives aid to graduating seniors of Ballou and Anacostia senior high schools. In the last three years, the foundation has raised about $40,000 and helped about 14 students. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average to be eligible for the aid. For more information about the tournament, call Michael Wallach at (202) 889-5100. –Krystal Toles

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator