Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Community Involvment Critical

At our September DNA meeting, we learned of two upcoming meetings that warrant our attention. These are the Mount Vernon Square District Project from the District's Office of Planning and a large-scale public art project that will transform the Gallery Place metro exit at 7th and F streets in Chinatown.

Mount Vernon Square District Project

Patricia Zingsheim, Associate Director of Revitalization and Design, with Emily Yates, Ward 2 Neighborhood Planner from the DC Office of Planning met to discuss the current status of a Project that will impact our needs for public space dedicated to green space, community park space, and playgrounds. Of course, the project covers far more than that - but community space is a critical reason to attend the public open house scheduled fro October 1st from 6 to 8pm at the former Carnage Library located at 801 K Street, NW.

This is a study that warrants our attention. We learned that the project goals are:

Create a distinctive and sustainable place.
Solve traffic and circulation issues to create a multi-modal hub and appealing pedestrian environment.
Maintain a deep sense of history and local meaning
Create clear links in all directions to other key destinations.
Maximize the draw of this area as a local destination.
Improve and activate open spaces.

These are all goals that should resonate with any downtown resident.

Public Art Project
Stephanie Cheng with the Chinatown Community Cultural Center discussed the Chinatown Mural Project. This is a proposed large-scale public art project commissioned from renowned local artist, Martha Jackson-Jarvis. The artist will produce and install this culturally inspired work of art in the Gallery Place Metro at the 7th and F Street exit.

A neighborhood community meeting is being held this Thursday, September 17 from 6PM to 7PM at the Chinatown Community Cultural Center. The artist and representatives from the Center will discuss an overview of the project and the concept of the proposed artwork. If interested in the discussion or what is being planned for the Gallery Place Metro exit, you are urged to attend.

The Center is located at 616 H Street, NW Suite 201. This is an opportunity to interact with the artist and understand what is being planned.

Miles E. Groves
Downtown Neighborhood Association

September Meeting with Chief of Police

Public Safety Draws Interest
We had a nice crowd and some new faces at our September meeting. Not only were we impressed with the bench-strength that accompanied our Chief of Police to our meeting, but we had At-large Councilmember Phil Mendelson and three Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (Commissioners Doris Brooks, Mark Dixon, and Charley Docter.) This was at least the third time Councilmember Mendelson has joined us, so we invited him to return next month to be our discussion leader.

Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier
Our meeting had a full agenda with Chief Lanier and Commander Kamperin updating us on citywide and neighborhood activities. While teens on 7th street continue to be a challenge, the cooperation between MPD, Metro Transit Police, off-duty police and security personnel employed by the Theater, McDonald’s, and Gallery Place helped keep the neighborhood quieter this summer than it was in 2008. One critical change this year was the Chinatown Initiative that started in May. This put Sergeant Peter Sheldon and ten volunteers on the street at night. This group focussed on youth crime and challenges in Chinatown between 5th and 8th Streets, and F and I Streets though they made many adult arrests. Since the inception of the Chinatown unit made over 800 arrests and seized four guns.

There were a host of questions concerning robberies, bicycle and Segway usage, and noise. Overall it was a powerful briefing and discussion.

October Meeting
Our October meeting will be held at the District Chophouse instead of Calvary Baptist Church. Our two discussion leaders will be Attorney General Peter Nickels and At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson. Refreshments will be available.

Miles E. Groves
Downtown Neighborhood Association