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Ward 4 Dispatch: Citi Open, Masks Return, and a New Playground!

Dear Neighbors,

We have a new playground and a new Farmers Market starting in Ward 4 this week, an update on Citi Open, important public health news, and many resources and events in our community.

Next week after our second budget vote I will share a detailed breakdown of the DC budget and all of the important investments for Ward 4, for the District as a whole, and for a just recovery after the pandemic.

Ward 4 News

New Playground, Farmers Market, Popsicle Party, Yoga, and Jazz!

This Sunday will be a big one for the Parks at Historic Walter Reed and our nearby neighborhoods. The brand new playground will be opening with a Ribbon Cutting and a Playground Popsicle Party at 4:30pm! It was designed with community input and features a sand box, swings, climbing areas, and more. Earlier in the day our local Yoga Heights is offering free yoga on the lawn at 9:30am and the weekly FRESHFARM Farmers Market at the Parks returns at 10am-2pm. This Farmers Market will continue every Sunday at 10am-2pm through October 17 and is also on Tuesdays at 11am-2pm. And the day will be capped off with the inaugural Jazz in the Parks concert starting at 5:30pm with children’s performer Baba Ras D, followed at 6pm by legendary local act Sam Taybron’s The Love Station; and Kris Funn’s Cornerstore, which has performed at every major jazz festival in the world and locally at the Kennedy Center. Hardy’s BBQ food truck will be there offering dinner and Ward 4’s own 3 Stars Brewing will be providing craft beer. The concert will wrap up at 8pm but more jazz concerts will be held on Saturday, August 21 with Butcher Brown and Saturday, September 18 with Rochelle Rice so mark your calendars!

Here is the full lineup of events:

  • 9:30-10:30am: Free Yoga on the Lawn by Yoga Heights
  • 10am-2pm: FRESHFARM Farmers Market
  • 4:30pm: Playground Popsicle Party to Celebrate the New Playground
  • 5:30pm: Jazz in the Parks children’s performance with Baba Ras D
  • 6pm-8pm: Jazz in the Parks with The Love Station and Cornerstore

DC Brings Back Mask Mandate Indoors and Vaccine Updates

In response to a surge in COVID cases and an increase in community spread in DC, the Mayor announced yesterday that starting Saturday, July 31 at 5am DC will restore its mask mandate for indoor spaces for residents over the age of two regardless of vaccination status. This is what it’s always been about: keeping each other safe. No other restrictions have been placed on restaurants, commercial activity, museums, or government services – and the hope is to implement the indoor mask mandate to avoid getting to the point where such measures are necessary. Please do your best to abide by the mask mandate and be patient with service workers who communicate the rule so we can get through this together as a community.

It’s been a while since we spoke about vaccinations. I’m really proud that data from DC Health shows that Ward 4 has a higher vaccination rate among residents who are at least 12 years old than any other Ward! Let’s keep it up by continuing to get our shots, especially young people. Any DC resident 12+ can go to Ida B Wells Middle School on Wednesdays through Saturdays between 9am-1pm or 2pm-7pm to get their free COVID vaccine. Anacostia High School and Benning Library are also offering vaccines every week (details here) that include a $51 gift card for any DC resident who gets vaccinated as well as the person who brings them to be vaccinated. Starting August 7 the first 400 DC residents aged between 12-17 who get vaccinated at Brookland Middle School, Sousa Middle School, or Johnson Middle School can get free air pods instead of a gift cards, and all youth who have been vaccinated will be eligible to win a free iPad or a college scholarship worth $25,000. Roosevelt High School (4301 13th Street) will be hosting a first-dose vaccination and routine immunization day on August 7 between 9am-3pm for any child in DC, so be sure to bring your kids by if they need to catch up on their shots!

I’ve heard from many residents wondering whether DC government will implement vaccination requirements for government employees, especially in sensitive areas such as schools. The Executive has entered negotiations with labor unions representing DC employees around a potential vaccine requirement. These discussions seem to be going well and we expect to hear updates soon. One idea that has been proposed is a requirement that DC government employees who are not vaccinated get tested for COVID every week.

Community Safety Update: Responding to Gun Violence

Last week I wrote to you about the gun violence crisis that our communities are facing and what efforts I’ve undertaken to respond. This week I took some time to expand on those updates and share more details in a letter to our community published by Petworth News. A community that knows what resources it has at its disposal is empowered to advocate for a better, more strategic response to public safety. So I shared the public safety resources we have in our Ward, including the number of MPD officers per Patrol Service Area, violence interrupters, Roving Leaders, and more. I also shared some important resources we do not have yet, including the fact that Kennedy Street is not included in Building Blocks, which is DC’s signature gun violence prevention program. Building Blocks brings a surge of government and community resources and agency coordination to neighborhoods experiencing high levels of gun violence. I have joined our residents, local businesses, and community leaders in calling for Kennedy Street and other Ward 4 neighborhoods that are suffering most to be included in Building Blocks. I also raised this point directly with our public safety leaders yesterday during the Council’s Roundtable on gun violence prevention (along with other requests to improve community safety in Ward 4). If we’re hearing that in order to have resources in our community we need to have even more homicides, then there’s something wrong with our approach to public safety in DC. We have to be proactive and not reactive.

New ANC Commissioner in SMD 4B05 in Brightwood Park

This morning I had the chance to swear in Graham Button as the new Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner serving the residents of Single-Member District (SMD) 4B05 in Brightwood Park. Please join me in welcoming Commissioner Button to his new role! This is a good time to remind residents that ANC Commissioners are dedicated hard-working public servants who serve on the front lines of our communities. They can be helpful in connecting you with government services, advocating for improvements in your neighborhood, or lifting up the issues that are impact you most. Take a moment to look up who your ANC Commissioner is and get to know them if you don’t yet. Commissioners, thank you for all that you do!

Citi Open Tennis Tournament Starts Tomorrow in Ward 4

Citi Open, DC’s prestigious tennis tournament in Ward 4 at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center is kicking off tomorrow and will run from July 31-August 8. Due to the public health emergency, the Mayor’s team is taking lead on coordinating the District agency response and logistics for the tournament, including the distribution of parking passes and communicating with the community about the impact of the tournament on the neighborhoods surrounding the courts. Each home in this geographic area should have received two parking passes, a letter detailing how passes are to be used, and contact information to troubleshoot any issues that emerge. If you did not receive parking passes or if two passes are not enough, you may receive a few additional passes after going to the MPD Fourth District at 6001 Georgia Avenue NW and verifying that your address falls within the boundary of the affected area. My team will continue to support in all the ways we can, and we are canvassing affected neighborhoods tonight to make sure residents have all they need. Please contact my Chief of Staff Lenace Edwards at if you have any issues that remain unresolved.

Neighborhood Events

Community Block Party on Sheridan Street. On Saturday, July 31 from 12pm-9pm neighbors on the 600 block of Sheridan Street NW in Brightwood are hosting their great annual block party. There will be music, drinks, food, games, and plenty of fun! 

Friends of Riggs-LaSalle Recreation Center Opioid Summit. On Saturday, July 31 at 1pm-3pm the Friends of Riggs-LaSalle Recreation Center are hosting an education session on opioid misuse in collaboration with the Wards 3 & 4 DC Prevention Center and the DC Department of Behavioral Health. The event will take place at Culture Coffee Too (300 Riggs Road, NE).

Singer-Songwriter Melodies at Petworth Summer Saturdays. On Saturday, July 24 at 5pm outside of Willow (843 Upshur Street) we’ll have our fourth concert in the Petworth Summer Saturdays series featuring Maryjo Mattea! With a sound that has garners comparisons to Alanis Morsette and Rilo Kiley, Maryjo is a DC-based pop/rock songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist.

New Playground, Popsicle Party, Yoga, and Jazz at The Parks at Walter Reed. On Sunday, August 1 The Parks at Historic Walter Reed are hosting a full day of celebrations, including free Yoga on the Lawn by Yoga Heights at 9:30am-10:30am, a new FRESHFARM Market from 10am-2pm, a Playground Popsicle Party to celebrate the new playground at 4:30pm, and a jazz concert lineup with the popular children’s performer Baba Ras D at 5:30pm, followed at 6pm by Sam Taybron’s The Love Station and Kris Funn’s Cornerstore. 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. Check out the details on their website.

Lime Bicycle, Scooter, and Moped Training. On Tuesday, August 3 from 6pm-8pm at The Flower Building at The Parks at Walter Reed, Lime will be providing a training for those that want to learn how to bike, scoot, or ride a moped. Riders will get the opportunity to ride Lime’s newest generation of scooters (the 4.0). Lime staff will be there to coach you through the event, providing helmets and instruction free of charge.

Backpack and School Supply Giveaway at 19th Street Baptist Church. On Saturday, August 7, 2021 between 10am-1pm 19th Street Baptist Church (4606 16th St NW) is hosting a giveaway of backpacks and school supplies. Families can drive through to receive their supplies. Thank you to the Usher Board for sponsoring.

Save the Date: Chevy Chase Day! On Saturday, September 18 from 1pm-4pm the Chevy Chase Citizens Association is bringing back Chevy Chase Day on Connecticut Avenue at the Commons. Plan to come for the music, puppet show, juggler, magician, balloon art, outdoor yoga, sidewalk chalk art, the free ice cream giveaway, and so much more!

Save the Date: The Parks Main Street Art All Night. On Friday evening, September 24 the Parks Main Street will host Art All Night, a free arts festival that showcases performances from musical, visual, and movement artists. If you’re interested in performing or vending at the festival, fill out this form!

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.

Save the Date: Down in the Reeds Festival. On Saturday, October 9 from 11am-7pm Down in the Reeds Festival is back in Ward 4 hosted by The Parks at Walter Reed! It’s a free all-day festival celebrating the power of music to heal across communities and cultures. Check out the website for ways to plug in and follow them on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram for updates as the festival takes shape.

And a note of thanks to DMPED, DC Health, the Office of the Tenant Advocate, the Office of African Affairs, and all of the agencies and community members who came together to host a STAY DC Application Assistance Event at Petworth Library on Thursday. It was great to see several neighbors get the support they need to apply for rent and utility relief!

Community Resources

Call for Artists to Redesign the Petworth Mural. The effort to redesign the Petworth Mural is underway. Petworth News is seeking local artists to submit their designs for a new mural on the wall on the 800 block of Upshur Street. They’ve raised $4,000 for the project. Please help spread the word!

Scholarships for DC Independent Film Festival Course for Teens! A generous Shepherd Park neighbor is funding two half-scholarships for low-income teens to attend the DC Independent Film Festival filmmaking course from August 9-19 in DC led by our Emmy-Awarded filmmaker Spencer Bruttig. It will include late afternoon workshops, filming outdoors, story-focused documentaries, and experimental films. Find more information and apply here!

Heads Up: New Stop Sign Traffic Camera by Fort Stevens Recreation Center. In response to a citizen request a new stop sign camera has been installed by DDOT for northbound traffic vehicles at the intersection of 14th Street & Van Buren Street NW by Fort Stevens Recreation Center.

This summer we’ve been fortunate to have some amazing interns working in our office. They’ve been able to jump right in and assist with our legislative work, attend community events, support with constituent services, and help with our communications. I want to end with a big thank you to each of them, including Lyric Johnson (left) and Justis Davis (right) in the photo below.

Yours in Community,