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Westminster Playground Design Workshop
As many of you know, the Westminster Neighborhood Association (WNA) received a $178,101 grant to renovate the playground on Westminster Street. WNA has a playground committee which is working hard to make the new playground a reality both for children and adults. To gain as much community input as possible to how the playground will be renovated, WNA is having a Playground Design Workshop on Saturday, October 17
The Design Workshop is the chance for the community to work with Thadani Hetzel Partnership, the architects hired by WNA to come up with a plan for the playground. The Design Workshop will last from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and lunch will be served. The architects will listen during the morning session to ideas presented by members of the community and then will draw conceptual plans to be discussed and refined in the afternoon. The final design will come from the architects continuing work on these ideas with the WNA playground committee.
WNA is encouraging all community members to attend the Playground Design Workshop. Those wishing to participate should meet at the playground on Westminster Street at 9:30 on October 17. If you need child care, arrangements can be made if WNA is notified in advance. For further information, call Glenn Melcher on (202) 307-1099.
Historic District Application Completed
The hearing to present our case for the Greater U Street Historic District was held in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on September 24, and went exceptionally well! A two hour presentation seemed to win over the Board that included slide presentations on architectural history (yours truly), socially prominent historical figures that lived in our community (Anne Sellin), and the African American experience on U Street (historian Kathy Smith). Nine testimonies followed in support of the district by members of the community and the DC Preservation League. One of the persons giving personal testimony included Charles Cassell, son of architect Albert Cassell who designed buildings in the district including the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge at 1 0th and U Streets.
Incredibly, the only dissenting vote came from resident Norman Wood, who opposed the effort only because he wanted the district expanded into the 5th Street area. His view was supported by ANC 1-B Chairman Lawrence Guyot, who represented the ANC but gave testimony in complete contrast to what the ANC had voted in August, which was a unanimous vote to support the District. Luckily, two ANC commissioners were on hand to correct Chairman Guyot with a tape of the August meeting passing the resolution, and many members of the audience that attended the ANC meeting also agreed. It's rare during a historic district hearing that dissenting votes did not come from those within the proposed district, evidence that we did an outstanding job of community outreach and education. Catch the Post's coverage in the Metro Section of the September 25th issue.
The Board will keep the record on the case open until October 16, and make a designation determination at the October 22 HPRB meeting. It looks like everything is in our favor, and the nine years of effort are about to come to the successful designation of the historic district! Congratulations to all of those who worked on the survey, research community outreach effort, and all those meetings! I hope to be able to announce soon that we all proudly reside in a historic district!
Minutes of September 10 Meeting
CSNA Treasurer, Chuck Baxter, announced a bank balance of $1,085.34 and requested that $234.00 be set aside for the ongoing graffiti abatement project. A motion was made and carried. The next graffiti clean up will be September 26 at 8:30 AM. Call Chuck Baxter for more details (202) 232-7921.
3-D Commander Jose Acosta introduced himself and touched lightly on changes occurring within the police department and announced the 3rd District Town Hall Meeting will take place October 8 at 6 PM at the Crampton Auditorium at 2455 6th Street, N.W. Call 6736820 for more information.
Representatives from Donatelli & Klein announced the commencement of their project at the Old Children's Hospital Site. Included in the plan is a supermarket which, due to contractual obligations, they were unable to name at that time. However, they did eliminate the likes of Fresh Fields, Shoppers Food, Safeway and Giant and said they would announce the tenant in the next few weeks. The commercial space will have 300 parking space, occupy 43,000 square feet and abut the residential project. The builder anticipates building approximately 45 duplex townhomes with 68 parking spaces. Each unit will have hardwood floors and incorporate classic materials such as brick exteriors and wood windows. The residential portion could begin as early as spring of 1999.
CSNA member Jennifer Dhore has been working on changing the zoning on the commercially zoned nuisance lot between 13th & 14th Streets, between V and W. The property owner, George Kalish has been reluctant to maintain the property to code and residents, led by Ms. Dhore, are working on changing its use and asking for CSNA help and support. A proposal was made and seconded for CSNA establish a committee to review the situation and decide on a course of action. Jennifer Dhore will chair the committee. For more information Ms. Dhore may be contacted by e-mail at DHOREJ@Howrey.com.
Mr. & Mrs. Palmer Jackson have filed for a rezoning of the 1900 block of 9th St., N.W. from R-4 to Arts C2B. They have owned the property since the mid-1980's and wish to put a business or businesses in their property at 1901 9th. At this time they have the support of other property owners on the block and are looking for CSNA support. Topic will be revisited at next CSNA meeting.
Project Change, a non-profit group dedicated to restoring the historic Howard Theatre, announced its vision for the property and wished to establish relations with CSNA to gain support for this project. At present, the Howard is city owned and is in need of total renovation. Project Change is seeking an endowment for the restoration and has met with various groups and financial institutions. Project Change will keep CSNA informed of its progress.
Manna presented its plan for converting scattered site housing into home-ownership through D.C. Public Housing Authority. At present, homes on 9th and French Streets, as well as Columbia Heights, are being renovated under this plan. CSNA member Jim Gray is organizing a fundraising effort "Neighborhood Leaders for Manna" which will be presented to CSNA at a later date.
December Meeting and Party
Finished your holiday shopping yet? Hah! just kidding; we're not that close yet. But we do need to start thinking about our December meeting and Holiday Party. We need:
NEWS AROUND U
Become A Neighborhood Leader for Manna
Manna Inc., probably the city's most efficient nonprofit developer of affordable housing has done most of its work in the CSNA area and elsewhere in Shawl Everyone knows about the Whitelaw and most know Victory Way, the beautiful homeownership properties on the 1300 block of S. NW. In addition to giving hard-working people a chance to own their own home, Manna's work helps the entire neighborhood by transforming dilapidated and vacant properties.
Now is your chance to help Manna with this important work and simultaneously, meet more of your neighbors! An inexpensive only $20 fundraiser is being held on Tuesday, October 13 at the DC Convention Center. There is an amazing array of raffle prizes, plus beer, wine and live jazz are all included. If you would like to buy a ticket, or just find out more about Manna, call Catherine Luzio during the day at 832- 1845.
The Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street the old Anthony Bowen YMCA building) held its ground breaking ceremony on Thursday, September 24 at 11 :00 a.m. This was the beginning of a $5.5 dollar renovation of the building which eventually will house the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage. The main floor gym and first floor will be restored as a heritage center with exhibits and displays capturing the vitality of our community's distinctive history. The remainder of the building will house a range of community, family and youth service including the headquarters of For Love of Children (FLOC). For more information: (202) 4628686 x350.
Hearing for Childrens Hospital Site
A tentative hearing is scheduled for October 28 about the disposition of the Old Childrens Hospital Site. Chris Donatelli promised that Donatelli & Klein, selected developers for the site, will make an announcement by Monday, 7 October, naming the supermarket which D&K has signed for the retail part of the project.
DONATIONS NEEDED: For a Good Cause
I am on the board of a Shaw after-school program called New Community After-School and Advocacy Program. We are expanding into some new space and have several things on our "NEEDS" list. If you have any of these things and are willing to donate them (it's tax deductible!), please let me know.
We are also always looking for volunteers to tutor kids, help with field trips, etc. Call me if you have some time to volunteer or if you know someone else who would. I can be reached at (202)588-6278 or e-mail me at Denise_Johnson@NTHP.org. THANKS!
Neighborhood Nuisance Business
CSNA has been asked to lend its support in petitioning the District government to revoke a 'special exception' to a zoning designation which was approved in 1992. The property involved is located in the alley between the 1300 blocks of V Street (to the south) and W Street (to the north). The property is zoned R-5-B but received an exception in July 1992 which would allow for a variety of automobile and autobody-related repair facilities. The approval of the application was subject to a number of conditions being met and with the property being in compliance with a variety of regulations. Six years later, those requesting this action were unable to provide proof that any of the conditions have been met.
As of July 1998, the property was not in compliance with fire and electrical code regulations. The Fire Inspector cited the property owner for seven violations. Among those violations, the inspector found "electrical lines and other objects hanging from sprinkler pipes," "combustible or flammable materials" were not confined to approved storage areas, and that "fire department access was blocked." Also cited were "Unsafe Building" and "Unsafe Conditions." Additionally, the owner is not in compliance with some of the general conditions which restricted the (i) hours of operation, (ii) storage of materials, and (iii) trash control, to name a few. Although the hours of operation are restricted to Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., the operators routinely operate seven days a week and are always open past 5:00 p.m. frequently as late as 11:00 p.m.
The business is not a welcome member of the community from an environmental aspect as well. The Fire Inspector noted waste oil throughout the area (for which they were cited) on the street and into drainage pipes as well as inside the individual bays. They have routinely been observed by residents performing autobody work outside the bays which is not permitted by law. Additionally, there is a substantial increase in traffic and difficulty in parking for residents due to the amount of business generated in the alley.
This building is particularly troublesome because of its proximity to houses and an elementary school. It is bordered on the north and south by residential housing and the east by the former Harrison Elementary School which now houses the charter school, Childrens Art Studio.
This has become a priority for the residents adjacent to the property not only because of the blatant violations; but, also because we understand (from the fire inspector) that the property owner is going to make an application to the Board of Zoning to have the conditions of approval lifted, which would allow for longer hours of operation and an increase in the number of cars to be repaired all of which would lead to more traffic to and from the buildings, more cars parked on the street awaiting repair and increased pollution.
Pains have been taken to document the non-compliance of the property. A short presentation on this property will be given at the next CSNA meeting along with supporting documentation.
ATTENTION: U STREET RESIDENTS, MERCHANTS, ORGANIZATIONS, CHURCHGOERS, LEADERS, AND FRIENDS:
As fall approaches so do the holidays, and Funds for the Community's Future (FCF) is gearing up once again to plan Festive Funk on U Street. Last year FCF (the same people who started up the annual U Street Clean Sweep with CSNA) teamed up six businesses with over 40 young people from Cardozo High School and Meyer Elementary School to decorate U Street for the holidays, sell Christmas trees at the Reeves Center, carol up and down the block, and raise money for scholarships. The participating businesses were:
We want this year to be BIGGER AND BETTER but that can't happen without your support. The more people involved, the more holiday spirit created and the more money raised for scholarships. All money raised will be doubled by FCF that means a tree bought for $25 becomes $50 for scholarships, a $50 donation becomes $100 for scholarships, etc. Last year almost $3,000 was raised; this year it can be much more.
Everyone can get involved and make a difference. YOU can get involved and make a difference. Businesses can have students decorate their storefronts and/or interiors in exchange for a donation into the scholarship fund, churches can bring out their choirs to sing, organizations can supply volunteers, residents can buy a tree or help plan, the list goes on and on.
Festive Funk on U Street is going to be bigger this year. There will be more caroling, more young people, more businesses being decorated, more trees being sold, more press coverage, more more more!
To get involved, please call Kristen Kainer at FCF (331-0592) or come to the November CSNA meeting to hear more.
More Fast Food Anyone?
Regarding efforts to keep a fast food franchise from becoming a tenant at the historic 1330 U Street; at the last meeting, we learned: No further historic preservation review was requested for 1330 U Street in anticipation of Papa Johns. Emeka Egwu talked at length with Marvin Jawer, owner, and learned that supposedly he does not foresee renting the place to Papa Johns (we've heard that before), and instead suggested he renovate it for a homeless shelter. We felt this was a threat to make fast food seem like a good idea....anyway, Jawer said the building remains for sale, this time at $400k (rising $1 00k in just 6 months). Emeka continues to pursue Papa Johns franchise information.
The "Papa Johns Committee" decided to write a letter to Jawer to try to capitalize on his "concern to appease the community" to ask that he at least paint the building. Paul Williams agreed to draft a letter for the next meeting (and will refer to the new demolition by neglect legislation).
Paul distributed copies of the historic nomination and community outreach efforts to save the buildings. Paul distributed petitions to the Wallach Place group, Emeka, and to Polly's for gathering signatures (let him know if you want the electronic version PKelsey@aol.com ) to use for a variety of purposes.
John Matthews gathered information on zoning issues that is excellent info!
Dan Knauf sent out electronic inquiries to ask for advice on web bulletin boards; Paul posted one to the old DC:Story (now firstname.lastname@example.org ), and had meetings put in the community column of the InTowner.
A CSNA member informed the committee that she heard the owner of the 1100 block, Mike, was looking at putting in a Burger King at the corner of 11th and U!!!!! Paul expressed the need to keep the petitions generic in an effort to cover all fast food outlets so that we can easily adapt our efforts to fighting all of them.
Personal Touch at McKeys, by Jim Gray
Have you noticed the handsome man who sits in front of his store at 1902 14th St., NW patiently refinishing furniture? That man is John McKey, proprietor of McKey's Antiques. John has been in business for 10 months, offering solid, well made furniture at reasonable prices. John focuses on the furniture people use, like tables chairs and lamps, more than decorative pieces or pieces with narrower uses like buffets and china cabinets.
McKey's Antiques is part of a trend of antique businesses in the neighborhood, along with Rough & Ready and Good Wood. John's business is different in a couple of respects: 1) He's the only one open all week John is open Tuesday through Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and 2) John buys rougher pieces and does more of the refinishing work himself. John reasons that he must be at the store anyway, so he might as well spend his time refinishing he prices based exclusively on value, rather than trying to factor in his refinishing labor. Also, John offers a refinishing service!
In addition to owning a business here, John also resides on the 1300 block of T. in the heart of Cardozo- Shaw. John is continually upgrading his stock and warmly invites CSNA members to stop in his store. Tell him that you are a member of CSNA and he will give you a 10% discount on merchandise purchased in October!!!
Save the Date!
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