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DHCD Funds $15 Million in Local Improvements
DHCD Funds $15 Million In Local Improvements
The Department of Housing and Community Development, acting quickly to disburse over $70,000,000 of federal funds on a "use it or lose it" basis, earlier this week announced the awarding of $15,569,000 to the U Street / Columbia Heights Task Force Area. In excess of $8,200,000 in grants and loans went to businesses and nonprofits within the boundaries of CSNA. Of particular note are the following:
The Westminster Neighborhood Association, propelled by the diligent efforts of Circe Stumbo, Ellen Kardell, Chuck Baxter and Glenn Melcher, was awarded $178,000 for renovation of the playground on Westminster Street.
The Historical Society of Washington, developers of the "Remembering U Street" fence in the 1300 Block of U. was awarded $100,000 for commemorative signage for 15 historic sites in the U Street area.
The Thurgood Marshall Center Trust will receive a grant of $ 1,000,000 to be used for renovation of the old 12th Street YMCA for a variety of community services.
Source Theatre at 1835 14th Street was awarded $500,000 for redevelopment and renovation of the facility and facade.
Children's Studio School will receive $180,000 for development of space in the renovated Harrison School on 14th Street, for use as a suburban arts complex for children, artists, writers, and architects.
Developers of the True Reformer Building were given a $500,000 loan to aid with renovations of the 35,000 square foot building.
A consortium of non-profits received a grant of $2,000,000 to be used for the renovation of 78 scattered site houses, many of which lie within CSNA's boundaries.
DHCD will use $3,000,000 for the construction of a 184 space parking garage at the Old Children's Hospital Site at 12th & V Streets and $500,000 for facade improvements to more than 150 commercial properties..
Let's hope for great progress from all the awardees!
The March CSNA meeting featured Camille Barnett, the new City Manager. She attended the March 12th meeting along with several of her top department heads, including David Watts, in charge of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). Barnett spoke about her strategy to vastly improve the city services, morale among city employees, provide management reform, and meet budget targets. She informed attendees that her goal within the next two years is to improve customer service for local citizens by focusing on getting critical or other highly visible items or residential concerns fixed, introduce computerization and technological updates, and fire those individuals who warrant such an action.
Following her short presentation to a crowded meeting room, Barnett invited attendees to comment and record their grievances on a multitude of problems and frustrations. Paul Robertson suggested the group supply Barnett with a list of five areas or specific needs to which her new management reform initiative might demonstrate its new role, from paving an alley to providing additional city garbage cans, a list that will be created and voted upon at the April meeting. Barnett has been on the job only eight weeks, and is currently meeting with community groups at the grassroots level to glean input from residents. CSNA members informed Barnett and other top city officials on myriad problems, including garbage collection, loitering laws, the infusion of public telephones, city worker attitude, and other concerns.
Police Report: Officer Ruth Fullard provided crime stats for the period from February to March, and indicated a reduction in overall crime in PSA 306 by 7%. They included one robbery, six thefts from autos, one theft from a residence, one stolen auto, and two assaults.
The president announced that he had received notification of CSNA's resolution in support of Children's Studio School's proposal for use of Harrison School building. Officials would give our recommendation added consideration.
April 18: Hands-On DC Local School Rehabilitation. Volunteers needed to paint and repair local elementary, middle, and high schools. Equipment and volunteers needed.
April 24: Deadline for applications for FCF scholarships. Applicants must attend Cardozo HS or live in surrounding area.
On-going: Grants for local community-building projects sponsored by Home Depot. Provides $10,000 in grants for local projects involving youth, improving the neighborhood, and raising funds for youth scholarships.
For info on any of the above items, contact John Brill or Maureen Holla of FCF at (202) 331-0592.
CSNA Vice President and "off-the-beaten-path" tourguide Paul Williams reports that for all of you who missed out on the behind the scenes tour of the new airport and the Ronald Reagan Building that he had told you about in the past, here is another cool opportunity to see some of Washington not accessible every day.
Climb the Washington Monument! That's right, an organized tour on April 20 at 6 PM will show off the inside restoration work on the commemorative stones (you didn't know they were all inscribed on the inside, did you?). It will be hosted by the Association for Preservation Technology, DC Chapter, free to members, a mere $5 bucks to nonmembers. The tour will be walking up and back down the 550 foot high stairwell, so wear sensible shoes...and bring a flashlight, because Paul warns it's dark in there as well. Call this number to reserve a space! (after the 2-minute message) 202-889- 2783.
Peter Means reports that a non-profit called Community Action International Alliance has moved into the property at 2008 10th Street. The group focuses on various programs within the Metro DC School System dealing with kids at risk, environmental justice issues, and community action projects. Peter has made it part of their lease that they had to join the CSNA (how is that for conniving?). Joan Hechsler is the executive director and Zyan McLean is the program manager. They will begin attending our meetings in April and perhaps at the April meeting, if so, will be introduced as new members. Peter mentions that he is delighted to have them as tenants, and expects that they will be a strong asset to the neighborhood.
Peter also mentioned that his company is currently doing a project out in Brentwood. He expects to be back in this area soon working on a single-family house on 10th Street and a condominium conversion of the First African New Church. Peter promises to check back with CSNA as these progress.
Thanks to all members (new and renewed) who have paid their 1998 dues! It was noted in the last newsletter that CSNA voted to move to a calendar year (January to December) for membership dues. It seems that the pre-addressed envelope enclosed in the last newsletter helped in collecting the dues. Thank you for your support. If you haven't renewed, please link to the form to submit now! If you have, perhaps you could share this newsletter with your neighbors. Don't let them miss out!
Bell Atlantic Directory Services is offering a free "Internet Learning Day" to individuals who do not currently have access to Internet training. "The Internet Learning Day" will be held on Saturday, May 2, 1998 at Howard University with one-hour sessions running from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Classes will be limited to 25 participants per session. Participants will be asked to complete a program evaluation form that will qualify them to participate in a drawing for a free computer. To register, call Jennifer MacLeid at (301) 309-9404.
What new feature was installed at Polly's Cafe recently? Its a copper bar-top. Paul Williams won a beer for being one of the first people to notice the cool, sleek, and urban feature. Who knew?
The house fire at 908 T Street seems to have been worsened by the fact that the closest fire hydrant was out of order, a commonly known problem in the city nobody seems to be addressing. . . . The long-abandoned house at 1901 Vermont Avenue should have work beginning on it shortly, to return as a single family residence.
The building at 11th and U is finally being painted, and what an improvement! . . . . John Chambers Chapman was sentenced on April Fool's Day (appropriately!) to 5 to 15 consecutive years for the burglaries at Paul Williams house . . . which means Chapman is not eligible for parole for another 14 years! Whew-Who! (adds onto 9 to 27 for previous crimes).
For those of you that don't know about the U Street Clean Sweep, this is the fifth year that CSNA has partnered up with Funds for the Community's Future (FCF) to clean and plant throughout the neighborhood. FCF is a nonprofit group that works with high school students to do community service work in order to raise money for their own college scholarships. CSNA provides block captains who raise money in their neighborhoods to go to the fund while FCF provides student volunteers and uses its resources to get tools, mulch, paint, material for tree boxes, flowers, etc. Last year's clean-up raised $9,000.00 in scholarship money while painting over graffiti, cleaning up alleys, planting flowers, building tree boxes and removing 340 yard dumpsters full of bulk trash. It is a fabulous win-win situation for both the community and its youth.
I am extremely pleased with the initial interest members of CSNA have shown so far, and I can easily say that this year's project will accomplish more than last. At the planning meeting held on March 16, block captains were given their tasks which included designating sites for bash removal, graffiti removal, painting, planting, etc. Those sites will be finalized by April 16. Here is a list of what we have so far:
BFI (the waste removal company) has already pledged its support again as well as Home Depot which has so far allotted us a $2,000 budget for materials. Peter Means, a CSNA member and local developer, is trying to establish a wildlife habitat around Garnett Patterson Intermediate School. If it goes through, it will be the only one of its kind in the city. Mr. Means' properties on 10th Street are also being landscaped with native plant species to this region. In combination with this effort, G.R.O.W. and Thumbs Up, local non-profit groups that teach urban youth aspects of planting mixed with entrepreneurship, have signed on to sell herbs as well as many of these native plants. Their stand will be set up at the Garnett Patterson staging area and will be available from 10 am to 12 noon.
Here is a basic time line of events prior to the clean up:
U Street Clean Sweep Schedule of Events:
At present, here is a list of the current block captains and the areas they are involved in.
Paul Robertson, 1300 Wallach-1300 T St.
We need volunteers to assist in gathering donations, getting T-shirts printed (i.e. is there anyone who will give us a break on printing them up?), food donations for the barbecue, napkins, etc. Block captains will need people with pick-up trucks to retrieve material and unload bulk trash at designated sites and we will also need assistance in writing snazzy press releases to make sure that the media makes it out.
If you are a block captain or wish to be one and are not on this list or you are unclear about any of the information listed above, please feel free to contact Derek Kowalczyk at 265-8385 or Buck Clarke at 387-5937.
Derek Kowalczyk, Clean Sweep Chairman
Have you ever thought it would be great if you could send a wish-list of neighborhood fix-up projects to the D.C. government and the projects were actually completed? Well, here is your chance (or so we hope!).
CSNA is asking residents to nominate up to three small-to-medium size projects in the neighborhood that they wish the D.C. government would complete such as: paving an alley, fixing a traffic light, cleaning a junk-filled lot, providing trash cans on a few specific corners, etc. At the May meeting of CSNA, we will review and discuss the nominations, and vote to pick the top five projects to be submitted as CSNA's "Wish List." The list will then be submitted directly to Ms. Camille Cates Barnett, D.C.'s new top administrator. This idea was suggested publicly to Ms. Barnett, by a CSNA member at the February 12th CSNA meeting. Both CSNA members and Ms. Barnett liked the idea, and Ms. Barnett seemed to indicate that the city would try to live up to its part of the deal.
If you want to nominate up to three projects, describe them separately on the form on the linked page (be specific and include addresses). Also, you may want to explain the importance of each project as it relates to your community or the city at large. Finally, be sure to come to the May CSNA meeting to vote for the projects you think are most worthy.
Won't it be great if at least some of our wishes come true?!
Nominate projects in order of importance to you with #1 being most important.
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