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Ward 4 Dispatch: Budget Updates, Red Line Closures, and Pride

Dear Neighbors,

This was a major week for the budget process. While the final budget is not yet approved, the Council, in a difficult year, has put together a budget that reverses cuts that would have been devastating and makes big investments that will transform the lives of District residents who are struggling.

Here’s the latest news on the Council and Ward 4:

First Vote on the FY25 Budget

On Wednesday, the Council held its first vote on the revised FY25 budget. The budget was approved and includes some major wins that seemed near impossible when the Mayor released her proposed budget eight weeks ago.

Here are the wins we delivered even in a tough budget year.

Ward 4 Wins:

  • Added $2 million to bring library resource space to Kennedy Street 
  • Protected the $18 million I won for Whittier Elementary’s modular swing space 
  • Added $1 million to replace the playground at Lamond Recreation Center 
  • Added $482,000 to renovate the locker rooms at Takoma Aquatic Center 
  • Added $975,000 support the completion of grading and land improvements at Powell Elementary School 
  • Added $25,000 for technology upgrades for Fourth District’s community room 
  • Added $46,000 for Old Takoma Business Association 
  • Protected DPR projects, including upcoming modernizations for Upshur Rec. Center, Emery Heights Community Center, installation of a new Walter Reed outdoor pool, and renovation of the splash parks at Takoma and Fort Stevens recreation centers  
  • Protected DCPS projects, including upcoming modernizations for Truesdell Elementary, Whittier Elementary and LaSalle-Backus Elementary, a new cafeteria at Coolidge High School, and a complete addition to Barnard Elementary 
  • Protected DDOT Projects, including Grant Circle, finishing Metropolitan Branch Trail, rehabilitation of Eastern Ave NE, Reconstruction of Kennedy Street Part II

Committee Wins:

  • Added $1 million to support maintenance work order reduction across the DGS’ full portfolio, including schools, parks, police stations, and senior centers, including $250,000 dedicated to support responses to lock and door requests in DCPS buildings
  • Restored $1.24 million to fully fund the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children to continue this invaluable resource for families involved in the traumatic child welfare system
  • Restored $1.35 million to fully fund Safe Shores, the District’s Child Advocacy Center, to continue its work to prevent and end child abuse and neglect
  • Added $400,000 for CFSA’s home visiting programs to support parents who are at risk for child abuse and neglect
  • Added $200,000 for Healthy Families, Thriving Communities Collaboratives, who are the primary community responders to the 211 Warmline
  • Added $100,000 to the Grandparent Caregiver and the Close Relative Caregiver programs to support kin caregivers who step up to raise children in the District
  • Restored $416,000 for the monthly clothing allowance for people with disabilities in residential placements

District Wins: 

  • $70 million to fully restore OSSE’s Pay Equity Fund to give our hero early childhood educators the pay they were promised and deserve
  • Restored an 85% match of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit 
  • Established a new Child Tax Credit for households with at least one child below age 6 
  • Additional $20.0 million for 477 new vouchers for families and individuals 
  • Protected Schools First and adds $29.6 million across 100 schools 
  • Additional $17.5 million for the DCPCS facility allowance 
  • Restored $4 million to DOEE for maintaining bio-retention beds installed by DDOT 
  • Added $140,000 to outreach to employers of domestic workers under the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Act 
  • Restored $31.7 million for Access to Justice to provide 40,000 low-to-moderate income District residents legal representation in civil cases, including eviction proceedings 
  • Added $247,000 to DACL’s Connector Card program to support transportation for seniors
  • Added $500,000 for to help strengthen DOEE’s capacity for invasive species management at publicly-owned forests
  • Added $312,000 and 4FTE for DPW’s Sold Waste Education and Enforcement (SWEEP) team for targeted enforcement of adequate waste collection requirements in private hauling properties

There’s still work to be done. This budget does not do enough, particularly for our seniors, and I am going to continue to fight from now until the second vote on June 12th to get seniors the raise to their SNAP benefits they need and deserve.

Red Line Closures Starting This Weekend

WMATA’s summer construction work is starting on June 1st, which will close Red Line service between Glenmont and Fort Totten until June 29th, and between Glenmont and Takoma until August 31st. This will mean Ward 4 residents who use the Red Line will have to plan for other travel accommodations. To learn more about the travel alternatives being offered by WMATA during this time span, click here.

DC Water Updates For Week of June 3rd

1300 block of Hamilton Street NW

  • Monday, June 3 – Wednesday, June 5
    • DC Water will be performing pressure testing, chlorination and water quality sampling of newly installed water main at this location
  • Thursday, June 6
    • DC Water will be preparing the site at Hamilton and 14th Streets NW for tie-in of newly installed water main
  • Friday, June 7
    • DC Water are scheduling to perform the aforementioned water main tie-in

Please keep in mind that these construction activities are highly dependent upon favorable weather conditions.

Community Resources

DPR Summer Programs 

Registration is open for DPR’s summer programs! These programs are geared towards people of all ages, and include programs for yoga, theater, nature photography, aquatics, and so much more. Additionally, reduced rates are available for qualifying families. Check out the full list of programs and register here!

Ward 4 Roll Off Day

On Saturday, June 1st, from 10am to 2pm, the Mayor’s Office of the Clean City and the Department of Energy and Environment will be holding a roll off day at the Emery Heights Rec Center for community members to dispose of bulk trash and other waste. Community members will also be able to drop off and properly dispose of covered electronic equipment, including TVs and computers. Learn more here. (Note: Due to expected rain, this event was postponed from its prior date of May 18th.)

DOEE Resource Fair

On Saturday, June 1st, from 12pm to 4pm at Kingsman Island, the Department of Energy and the Environment will be holding a resource fair to provide District residents with educational materials, interactive programming, engaging activities, and exciting giveaways. Stop by to get involved in your community and make a positive impact on the environment!

Justice Access at Shepherd Park Library

On Sunday, June 2nd from 1:30 to 3:30pm, community members are invited to Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library to speak to a law librarian with Justice Access. Justice Access is a nonprofit mobile law library providing print and online legal information resources. Join to get help finding the right answers to your questions, understand possible steps to resolve your issue, and receive information and referrals. Be advised that Justice Access librarians provide legal information only, never legal advice.

Annual Great Graffiti Wipeout

This week through July 12, DPW’s graffiti abatement team will be power washing and painting walls as it removes graffiti markings and illegal posters and stickers from thousands of public spaces throughout DC. Ward 4’s clean-up will begin on June 3rd and continue through the entire week. Learn more and see the full schedule here!

Better Bus Network Meeting for ANCs

On Thursday, June 6th, WMATA will be hosting a meeting for all ANC commissioners city-wide to present its Better Bus Network Proposal and detail its proposed changes. The meeting will be held from 6 to 7:30pm at WMATA’s headquarters in the Board Room on the first floor. The meeting will also be offered virtually. Commissioners can email to RSVP and indicate your preference for in-person or virtual attendance. 

DPW Helping Hand Neighborhood Clean-Up

Each year from March 1st to October 1st, DPW supports community groups organizing Saturday neighborhood clean-up projects through the Helping Hand Program. The program lends toolkits with five rakes and brooms, two shovels, and 20 trash bags. DPW will send trucks to collect the bagged trash and a SWEEP (Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Program) inspector will collect the tool kit. To receive an application for a Helping Hand toolkit for your neighborhood clean-up project, contact the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311.

DPR Boost Camps

Registration is open for the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Summer Boost Camps! Boost Camps are specialty enrichment camps geared toward tweens ages 11-13. Each day is a combination of enrichment and social-emotional learning with additional access to physical activities like swimming, dance, and group fitness. There will also be time for arts and crafts, games, puzzles, and free play. Click here for more details and to register.

Apply for Tuition Support from DC

Applications are open for DC Futures, DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DC TAG), and the Mayor’s Scholars Undergraduate Program. These are three popular tuition support programs for DC residents pursuing higher education. Applications will close on Friday, September 6th. Learn more and apply!

Disputing a DC Water Bill

A number of community members have expressed confusion or concerns about how to dispute charges with DC Water.  After receiving a charge, occupants have a 20-day period to submit a dispute and should submit it in writing with reasons why the bill is believed to be incorrect. Disputes can be filed via mail, email, or through DC Water’s dispute form. Learn more here.

Free Counseling Services for Medicaid Recipients

Olive Tree Counseling Services provides District youth and families with mental and behavioral health supports and offers convenient telehealth visits without the lengthy delay for appointments. This is a free service funded via Medicaid. Olive Tree takes a trauma informed approach with licensed professionals expanding access and reducing barriers to assistance with continuity across the patient’s medical care including family therapy to strengthen the family unit. Learn more on Olive Tree’s website here.

Neighborhood Events

Truck Touch 2024

On June 1st from 8am to 2pm, stop by for a day of excitement and innovation at the Annual Citywide Truck Touch 2024 at RFK Stadium Lot 8. Kids will get the chance to get up close with all kinds of vehicles, like fire trucks and snowplows. Plus, free meals for children under 18!

Barnard Elementary School Career Day

On Wednesday, June 5th, from 9am to 3pm, Barnard Elementary School will be hosting its annual Career Day! Barnard is looking for volunteers to attend and give presentations sharing what they do for work and answering questions from students. Sign up here to volunteer for the event!

Summer in the Parks at Carter Barron

Every Thursday evening in June, Rock Creek Park and Rock Creek Conservancy will be hosting free, family-friendly events at Carter Barron. Come out and join us for music, fun-for-all-ages games, and activities. The first event will be on Thursday, June 6th, from 6 to 8pm. Learn more and register here

Live Jazz on Kennedy Street

Over the next few months, Home Rule Records will be organizing monthly live jazz performances on the 700 block of Kennedy Street NW, with sponsorship from Uptown Main Street, DSLBD, Realtor Eddie Suarez, and others. Performances will be continuing through September with free live jazz performances each month. The next performance is on June 12th at 7pm with saxophonist Elijah Easton!

Home Rule Music Festival

The third annual Home Rule Music Festival is just around the corner! The main event is an all-day outdoor, family-friendly music festival that includes a Youth Village with kid-focused activities and games, a Record Fair with local shops and vendors, superb food trucks and drink vendors, and of course terrific live jazz and go-go music. You can get your free tickets for June 22nd at The Parks at Walter Reed here. Mark your calendars to celebrate the best of Washington, D.C.’s music and culture!

For more local events, check out DPR, DC Public Library, and NPS.

Ward 4 in the News

Petworth News: DDOT responds to Grant Circle safety improvements suggestions from ANC 4C

Next Stop…Riggs Park: Art Place Construction Notice 5/27/2024 – 6/1/3024

ABC 7: Great Graffiti Wipeout: DC begins 8-week-long project to clean up neighborhoods

Next Stop…Riggs Park: Met Branch Trail is Open North to Riggs Road

I want to congratulate Kelly Shuy from Ledo Pizza, Commissioner Vanessa Rubio, and Commissioner Paula Edwards on receiving the Chief of Police Special Award, which is given to community members who have built strong partnerships with the police to reduce crime.

As we enter June this weekend, I also want to wish Ward 4 a very Happy Pride!

Of course, Pride is a time to celebrate diversity, equality, unity, individuality, and progress of LGBTQIA+ communities. But it is also a time to meaningfully reflect on the ongoing struggle for basic rights and visibility for LGBTQIA+ people and to commemorate and honor the sacrifice and resilience of LGBTQIA+ communities past and present. Pride also serves as an essential platform for advocacy and education and offers an opportunity to engage in dialogues, support local LGBTQIA+ businesses and organizations, and participate in cultural and social events that highlight the vibrant spirit of each unique LGBTQIA+ community.

I look forward to celebrating Pride with you all throughout June!

Yours in Community,