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MOUNT PLEASANT FESTIVAL: The 10th annual Celebrate Mount Pleasant Festival will turn the neighborhood’s commercial district along Mount Pleasant Street NW, between Irving Street and Park Road, into a street fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 2. The free festival will include four stages for music, children’s performers, local artists and street performers. Clowns, jugglers and stilt walkers as well as crafts vendors and a "Taste of Mount Pleasant" sampling of international cuisine will be part of the day’s featured activities. Organized by neighborhood volunteers for the Mount Pleasant Business Association, the festival celebrates the neighborhood’s cultural and economic diversity. Performers, volunteers or vendors seeking more information may call the festival office at (202) 588-5272.


DOWNTOWN BID SEEKS EXTENSION: The Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District, created in 1997 through imposition of a special-purpose tax surcharge imposed on property owners in a defined area, is seeking extension through September 2007 of its original five-year term.

A public hearing on the request from the organization’s Board of Directors is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 3 in Room 123 of the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The hearing will be conducted by the Office of Eric Price, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, "to inform citizens about the application to extend the term (of the BID) ... and to ensure that interested parties have an opportunity to present their views on the application in a public forum," according to a notice published in the D.C. Register. Individuals who wish to testify should register by noon May 31 by calling (202) 727-6365.

The downtown group, the city’s largest BID, was originally created to enhance cleanliness of public space in downtown D.C. and to provide "street ambassadors" to answer questions from tourists and other visitors. Since its creation, the Downtown BID has extended its activities to include coordination of tourism signage throughout the city and has sought to extend its taxing district beyond the city’s downtown area.


SPEED CAMERA REQUEST: Calling Military Road a "speedway," a unanimous Chevy Chase Advisory Neighborhood Commission voted May 13 to ask the Metropolitan Police Department to immediately install a speed camera on the residential thoroughfare at 30th Street NW.

"Although (the Department of Transportation) installed larger 25 mph signs, rampant speeding and red light running is the norm. Even the police find radar duty on Military Road a dangerous assignment," asserted ANC Chairman Anne M. Renshaw in a May 15 letter to Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey.

Renshaw’s letter notes that police currently issue 200 tickets per month to drivers for exceeding the posted speed limit on Military Road.


TAKOMA PLAN DRAWS FIRE: Many longtime residents of Historic Takoma D.C. voiced their opposition to the city’s proposed Takoma Central District Plan during a May 14 hearing before the D.C. City Council’s Committee of the Whole. More than six hours of testimony by residents on both sides of the issue led Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp to continue the hearing at 12:30 p.m. May 21 in the council chamber, Room 412, at the Wilson Building. At that time, officials representing Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are scheduled to testify about the plan, which would bring more development to the Takoma neighborhood’s central business district. A long-controversial proposal to construct up to 95 townhouses on land adjacent to the Takoma Park Metro station, eliminating green space, remains a major dispute among residents and officials.


PROMOTING HISTORIC BROOKLAND: Last year, the new Brookland Community Development Corp. opened a Brookland Visitors Center across the street from the Brookland Metro station on Ninth Street NE. This year, the neighborhood CDC plans to sponsor a twice weekly Farmers Market on land adjacent to the Metro station at 10th and Otis streets NE. The "producers only" market is expected to feature organic produce, in-season fruits and vegetables, homemade breads and fresh-cut flowers offered for sale by four or five farmers from Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The market is expected to open June 2 and continue every Sunday throughout the summer from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A smaller market, operating from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, is expected to feature one farmer with a wide selection of fresh produce.


TWO "MAIN STREETS" SELECTED: The Barracks Row portion of Eighth Street SE on Capitol Hill, south of Pennsylvania Avenue, and the H Street NE corridor are among five neighborhood commercial corridors that have been selected for the mayor’s special "reSTORE DC" program aimed at revitalizing neighborhood commercial areas. The special designation puts neighborhood groups’ improvement projects in line to receive special technical and financial assistance from the city government. Other areas selected for the program are the 14th and U streets NW area in Shaw, upper 14th Street NW in Ward 4 and the Bloomingdale section of North Capitol Street.


AVERTING DANGER: Benning Heights residents will be joined by Metropolitan Police officers, At-Large Councilman David A. Catania and representatives of Affiliated Computer Services, the District’s photo-radar enforcement contractor, on May 20 to conduct a traffic study near 46th Street and Hilltop Terrace SE in response to repeated complaints about reckless driving and dangerous speeding in the area.

"We have seen cars drive up on the sidewalk, nearly running down students on their way home from the elementary school," said neighborhood resident Jackie Carter.

As part of the morning’s activities, residents also will meet with officials to discuss possible solutions to enhance pedestrian safety. The traffic study is the second coordinated by Catania’s office, which previously intervened in response to traffic complaints from residents of the Lamond-Riggs neighborhood in Northeast Washington.


TENANTS ORGANIZE: More than 200 residents of the 700-unit Wingate apartments recently met with attorneys and housing activists, then voted unanimously to form a new tenants’ association. The association, dubbed "Southwest Hill 2002," was created after tenants received notice in mid-April that their landlord hopes to sell the combination high-rise and garden apartment complex at 4660 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SW to an undisclosed purchaser for $19.9 million. The association was charged with defining options for tenants, which might include the association finding a way to match the purchaser’s offer to buy the building. D.C. law requires that renters be given a "first right of refusal" to match an offer their landlord receives to sell the property in which they legally reside.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator