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Ward 4 Dispatch: Budget Updates, Senior Housing, and Summer Concerts

Dear Neighbors, 

As we head into the weekend, here is the latest on what’s happening in Ward 4 and DC!

Ward 4 News

NPS Opens Public Comment Period on Upper Beach Drive

Ward 4 encompasses more of Rock Creek Park than any other Ward, so it’s important that our residents have a say on determining the future of Upper Beach Drive. Yesterday the National Parks Service held a public meeting and opened the public comment period for whether Upper Beach Drive should reopen to cars and during which time periods. The comment period will last until August 22, so you have until then to weigh in. NPS presented on their process for making this decision and shared two concepts under consideration: one that reopens Upper Beach Drive and connected streets to cars on non-holiday weekdays, and a second concept that would permanently close Upper Beach Drive to vehicular traffic seven days a week. NPS is also considering creating additional concepts that vary closures by sections of the park, time of day, day of the week, and season. Your feedback will shape the proposal that NPS ultimately brings to the public for review in the fall, so be sure to submit public comment and encourage your neighbors to do the same. In the meantime, NPS will maintain the current closures of Upper Beach Drive as this process moves forward.

Petworth Summer Saturdays Free Concert Series Starts Tomorrow

If you are itching to relive the magic of Petworth PorchFest or are sad you missed it, Petworth Summer Saturdays is here to meet your needs! Starting tomorrow, July 10, every Saturday from 5pm-7pm there will be free concerts on the 800 block of Upshur Street in front of Willow Fashion. The concerts will run all summer and conclude on September 18. They will feature musicians and other performing artists from Petworth and the DC area. Head down to enjoy live music, the company of your neighbors, and all that our local restaurants and shops on Upshur Street have to offer. Thank you to the volunteers, local business owners, and Commissioners who came together to make this vision a reality. I hope to see many of you there tomorrow as we launch the summer series at 5pm! Here is the concert lineup for July:

New Affordable Housing for Seniors on Kennedy Street

Wednesday was a great day for Ward 4 seniors! A ribbon-cutting was held for Todd A. Lee Senior Residences, a 38-unit, all-affordable senior community located at 809 Kennedy St. NW in Brightwood Park. Apartments are reserved for residents who are 55 or older and earn no more than 50% of area median income. This income threshold is aimed towards seniors who live on fixed incomes. The building is named after Todd A. Lee, the former director of the DC Housing Finance Agency, who dedicated his career to housing programs, with a special dedication to housing seniors. It will have several amenities, and seniors there will benefit from our great small businesses on Kennedy Street. Here is the application link for residents who meet the age and income criteria.

Updates on Our Budget Work and Georgia Avenue Traffic Safety

The Council huddled this week in a marathon work session to discuss the budget changes made by each Committee and highlight additional areas where funding is needed. These changes included new investments in a just recovery such as cash payments to residents who struggled to receive unemployment benefits, violence interruption programs, expansion of paid family leave, assistance to excluded workers, and much more. As we work to finalize the budget I am fighting for greater investments in programs to end homelessness, child care, the funds needed to overhaul DCRA, school librarians, support for tenants, and aid for our immigrant community and other excluded workers – as well as a range of specific projects for Ward 4. I’m grateful that we have already secured funding to support small businesses in Takoma and Petworth and $1.7 million earmarked in traffic safety upgrades for Georgia Avenue. The traffic improvements on Georgia were highlighted by WUSA9 News.

Independence Day with Friends and Neighbors at Soldiers Home

And I hope all of you had a wonderful 4th of July Weekend. It was great to see so many friends, neighbors, and families enjoying the holiday together at our local celebration at the Soldiers Home. Here is a glimpse of the view we had of the National Mall Fireworks. Thank you to all the volunteers and neighbors who made it such a fun day!


Neighborhood Events

Battle of Fort Stevens Reenactment! On Saturday, July 10 from 10am-1pm the Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington and the National Park Service are teaming up for a live commemoration of the Battle of Fort Stevens – the only Civil War Battle in the Nation’s Capital (July 11-12, 1864) and only time a sitting President (Lincoln) has come under direct enemy fire. They will have excellent speakers, military and civilian reenactors, period music, and activities for children.

Petworth Summer Saturdays Live Music! On Saturday, July 10 at 5pm-7pm the organizers of Petworth PorchFest are launching a weekly live music series that will take place on the 800 block of Upshur Street NW (outside of Willow) featuring musicians and other performing artists from Petworth and across the DMV. The series is organized by a group of volunteer neighbors and local business owners, including Adrian Ferguson from Art of Noize. The series will run from July 10 to September 18!

2021 Riggs Park Art Crawl! On Saturday, July 10 throughout the day Culture Coffee Too and The Parks Main Street are hosting on all-day art crawl in Riggs Park. This will feature live painting from 10am-12pm at Culture Coffee Too (300 Riggs Road NE) and Riggs Wine & Liquor (5581 South Dakota Ave, NE). Then from 10am-4pm there will be activities and vendors outside of Culture Coffee Too, including music, dancing, a lemonade stand, crafts, double dutch performers, and One Life Fitness. And at 6pm-9pm there will be a Party for Ms V’s 70th Birthday with DJs, food, a cash bar, and a special surprise at 9pm (wear yellow).

Outdoor Movie Night at Fort Stevens Recreation Center. On Saturday, July 10 at dusk DPR will host an outdoor viewing of Joyful Noise (featuring Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton!) at Fort Stevens Rec Center (1327 Van Buren St, NW). This movie is presented in conjunction with their Platinum Saturdays series for senior residents. More information on future Platinum Saturdays programs can be found here.

More than 90 Events Planned at The Parks at Walter Reed. Our friends at The Parks at Walter Reed have more than 90 events lined up in the coming months for residents and neighbors to enjoy. These include theater productions, outdoor movies, Jazz in the Parks, a weekly produce stand, service days, a playground popsicle party, fitness classes, a music festival, and more! Check out the details on their website.

Outdoor Movie Night at Shepherd Field. On Saturday, July 17 at dusk DPR will host an outdoor screening of the animated movie SOUL (decided by community vote) at Shepherd Field (1500 Kalmia Rd NW). Get your bug spray, snacks, blankets, and yard chairs ready and bring the whole family! And please avoid bringing chairs or tables with sharp edges that could damage the turf.

Summer in the Parks: Every Thursday in July at Fort Circle Park. On every Thursday this month (July 15, 22, and 29) from 5pm-8pm the Rock Creek Conservancy is hosting Summer in the Parks, a celebration at Fort Circle Parks in NE DC with food trucks, music, and family-friendly themed activities. Learn more on their website. Come celebrate our urban oasis!

Friends of Shepherd Park Library Meeting. On Thursday, July 15 at 6:30pm the Friends of the Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library are hosting their first in-person meeting since before the pandemic at the at the library itself (7420 Georgia Ave NW). This is a members-only meeting with a $10 cost to becoming a member (or $15 if you sign up online). The group is working to preserve Shepherd Park Library given long-term plans to eventually replace it with a new library in the Brightwood Park or Manor Park neighborhood.

Save the Date: Open Streets Returns to Georgia Avenue! On Saturday, October 2 from 10am-3pm Open Streets will return to Georgia Avenue in Wards 1 and 4. During that time period, a miles-long stretch of Georgia Avenue will close to cars and will instead host an urban festival of activities ranging from food, drinks, fitness classes, obstacle courses, children’s games, live music, and other educational and entertainment programming.

Ward 4 Weekly Farmer’s Markets. We have: 


Community Resources

DC Has a New Online Visitor Parking System. This week DDOT launched a new online parking portal to make visitor parking easier by allowing residents to print out their own parking permits for visitors. If you don’t have a printer at home, you can print out a pass at a police station, public library, or DDOT kiosk. And if you don’t have a computer or smart phone, there is a 24-hour helpline available at 202-671-2631. Tip: remember that 2020 Annual Visitor Parking Passes remain valid DC-wide until September 30, 2021 in case you need to use that.

Intermittent Lane Closures for 16th Street NW Bus Lanes Project on July 12-17. From July 12 through July 17 DDOT will be intermittently closing northbound and southbound travel lanes on 16th Street stretching from Arkansas Ave NW south towards Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant. These intermittent lane closures will occur one lane at a time during off-peak hours. This work is part of the 16th Street Bus Lanes Project that will stretch from Arkansas Avenue NW all the way down to H Street by the White House.

Temporary Closure of Beach Drive Between Shoreham & Tilden. Starting July 12, DDOT will temporarily close Beach Drive between the Shoreham Drive NW and Tilden Street NW between 10am-3pm from July 12 through December 20, 2021, weather permitting. This temporary closure is necessary to construct the new pedestrian bridge and multi-use trail on Beach Drive over Rock Creek as part of the Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail and Pedestrian Bridge project.

Get $51 to Help a DC Resident Be Vaccinated or Be Vaccinated Yourself! Until July 31 DC residents can cash in on getting vaccinated or helping another DC resident be vaccinated. All you need to do is accompany an unvaccinated friend to one of these three sites to get their shot: RISE Demonstration Center at St. Elizabeth’s, Anacostia High School, or Ron Brown High School. Both the person being vaccinated and the person accompanying them will receive a $51 gift card. DC residents who are at least 18 years old who receive the vaccine at any of these three sites will also be entered into a drawing to win: $10,000 for groceries, a year of free Metro bus and train, and a new car (one winner each week)! Learn more at taketheshotdc.com and find the hours for each vaccine site at vaccinate.dc.gov.

DC Minimum Wage Rises to $15.20 per hour. As of July 1, 2020, DC’s minimum wage is now $15.20 per hour. Thanks to worker organizing, DC’s minimum wage reached $15 in July 2020. From now on DC’s minimum wage will increase yearly based on the cost of living. The DC tipped minimum wage also rose to $5.05 per hour, but employers are required to make up the difference to $15.20 per hour if your tips do not get you to that level.


Conclusion

Whether you go to the Battle of Fort Stevens Reenactment, the Petworth Summer Saturdays launch concert, the Riggs Park Art Crawl, the Outdoor Movie Night at Fort Stevens Recreation Center, or anywhere else – I hope it’s a fun and restful weekend for you!

Yours in Community,
—Janeese