This week I am reporting back on the big strides we’re making in the DC budget, even as we recognize there is much more to do. Also, there are many amazing events in Ward 4 this week, including the ANC 4B Earth Day Resource Fair at Whittier, Petworth cleanups, and the rescheduled Petworth PorchFest. Whether you’re cleaning up your neighborhood, enjoying music, or supporting a local business, I hope you get a chance to go out and be in community. And this Monday is the deadline for enrollment through MySchoolDC, so remember to enroll!
Important Update on our Ward 4 Libraries!
I am excited to share that this week we took a major step towards bringing a public library to Kennedy Street by adding the necessary funds to the DC budget to buy a site in the Kennedy Street area and build a new public library to serve our Brightwood Park and Manor Park communities. A new library would address a huge library service gap in this area, where families have to walk more than a mile to reach a public library. It would also uplift our Kennedy Street community with public resources and positive activities that will help the community thrive. Beyond a library, the new site we are funding in this budget could co-host other resources like a jobs center, a community meeting space, or affordable housing. Our community will help determine what exactly the new site will include and where it will be.
We also moved legislation that would keep Juanita E. Thornton Shepherd Park Library open for our community given DCPL’s proposal to potentially close the library and move it elsewhere. This way, the library can continue providing invaluable services to people across six Ward 4 neighborhoods, honor Juanita E. Thornton’s historic Books Not Burgers campaign, and remain as anchor institution for small businesses and the Upper Georgia Avenue Business corridor. Additionally, our budget calls for the Library to be renovated so it can become an even better place for families in Shepherd Park, Colonial Village, North Portal, Brightwood, and The Parks at Walter Reed to gather, learn and better their lives. Community input and a physical needs assessment will determine the future improvements.
Thank you to Committee Chairperson Trayon White and my Council colleagues for their partnership. I also want to thank the ANC Commissioners (especially in 4A, 4D, and 4B), community groups like Friends of Emery Heights and Friends of the Juanita Thornton–Shepherd Park Library, and neighbors who have been advocating to bring a public library to Kennedy Street and to save our library in Shepherd Park. This is an important first step, but it is only the beginning. We need to ensure these community investments remain in the final DC budget next month. Let’s keep working together to turn this vision into a reality for Ward 4!
Investing in Maintenance, Disability Programs, and Children
This week after extensive public input, our Committee on Facilities and Family Services strengthened DC’s investments in the maintenance and security of DC schools and recreation centers, programs that serve people with disabilities, and the welfare of children.
DC Department of General Services (DGS):
- $7.1 million (5%) increase to the District’s facility operations budget to improve preventative maintenance, keep projects on track, and complete faster repairs in our schools, rec centers, and other DC facilities
- Funds the School Security and Transparency Act to improve security in schools by requiring annual inspections and oversight of all DCPS school door locks, public address systems, and security alarms.
- Funds the Greener Government Buildings Act to require all major new or substantially improved DC government buildings to be constructed with net zero energy standards when feasible.
- Requires DGS to make common service requests available to the public on DC’s 311 system, including broken equipment, grounds maintenance, and overflowing recycling cans in parks and recreation centers — making it easier for residents to report issues for quick resolution.
DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA):
- $1.3 million to fully fund the Safe Shores program, which provides survivor-centered intervention and healing for children and families affected by abuse, trauma, and violence in DC — and helps prevent child abuse. This program was defunded in the Mayor’s proposed budget.
- $300,000 increase to the Home Visiting program to raise wages for program workers to prevent understaffing and preserve this important, evidence-based program that helps keep families stable.
- Funds the Grandparent and Caregiver Subsidy Eligibility Expansion Amendment Act of 2023 which will expand eligibility and subsidies for grandparents and relatives in the District who are caring for children.
Support for residents with disabilities:
- Approves the Mayor’s proposal to increase the Personal Needs Allowance for the first time since 2007. The Personal Needs Allowance supports people who reside in long-term care facilities with day-to-day expenses.
- Adds $200,000 to the Rehabilitation Services Administration to expand outreach to businesses and DC agencies so they can become model employers for people with disabilities and address racial disparities in hiring.
Lifting Up Working Families in DC
Beyond our work with agencies under my Committee, we were able to find funding for housing, violence prevention, traffic safety, and worker rights programs that support families across DC:
- $2.1 million enhancement for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program to support families facing housing insecurity and keep them housed.
- $1.2 million to fully restore funding for Project Reconnect, a shelter diversion and rapid-exit program that prevents homelessness for single adults.
- $400,000 to begin implementing the Safe Routes to School Act by requiring DDOT to develop the Master Plan of traffic safety infrastructure improvements and school zone expansions at all District schools.
- $400,000 to the Office of the Attorney General to conduct outreach to employers and domestic workers about their new rights and implement the Domestic Worker Employment Rights Amendment Act.
- $550,000 to establish a ONSE Leadership Academy at MacFarland Middle School to promote positive youth development and divert young people from community violence through mentorship and school-based services.
With these investments included, the DC budget now moves to the Chairman, who can make further changes. Then the budget will go before the full Council for amendments and two final votes. Even after this week, key programs that DC residents depend on face harmful cuts. I’ll keep working until the last vote to ensure the final DC budget meets our communities’ needs.
All of Petworth Community Clean Up Day
On Saturday, April 29 from *10am-12pm* ANC 4C Commissioners, community groups, and neighbors are teaming up for an All of Petworth Clean Up Day to clean up the neighborhood, plant flowers, and build community. Clean-up supplies will be provided and each event will include a free pizza from Cafe Vino Food Truck. Sign up to join the clean up closest to you! Here are the starting locations: Webster & Georgia NW (4C01); 7-11 Parking Lot on Georgia (4C02); Spring & 11th NW (4C03); Spring & 14th NW (4C04); Webster & 7th NW (4C05); Shepherd & New Hampshire NW (4C06); Taylor & New Hampshire NW (4C07); Petworth Rec Center at 801 Taylor Street NW (Friends of Petworth Park); Illinois & Upshur NW or Petworth Library (Petworth Get Wise); Raymond Rec Center (Petworth Action Committee); Grant Circle (Petworth Blooms); and Grant Circle Playground (Petworth Peanuts). RSVP!
ANC 4B Earth Day Resource Fair at Whittier
On Saturday, April 29 from 11am-2pm ANC 4B will host an Earth Day Resource Fair at Whittier Elementary (6201 5th Street NW) with an impressive list of government agencies, non-profits, neighborhood groups, and student groups with the goal of sharing resources and opportunities for engagement around environmentalism! I’m excited to be co-sponsoring this event alongside fellow Councilmember Christina Henderson. This is a family-friendly event with lots of kids activities, including temporary tattoos, coloring pages, sidewalk chalk, and a free raffle for several cherry blossom-themed prizes from Bailiwick. Sign up on Eventbrite.
Shepherd Park Library Spring Book Sale
On Saturday, April 29 from 10am-4pm and Sunday, April 30 from 1pm-4pm the Friends of the Juanita Thornton – Shepherd Park Library will host a spring book sale with all books available for $1 and children’s books up for 50 cents each. Learn more on the Friends’ website!
Paul Robeson’s 125th Birthday Celebration in Petworth
On Saturday, April 29 at 11am there will be a celebration of art and community in honor of 20th-century Renaissance man Paul Robeson’s 125th Birthday at the Here I Stand artwork at the park located at Georgia & Kansas NW. The guest of honor will be the artist behind the sculpture, Uzikee Nelson — and a separate art reception will follow at Art of Noize gallery.
Ward 4 Mutual Aid Onboarding Event
On Saturday, April 29 from 12pm-1pm Ward 4 Mutual Aid will host an onboarding event on the lawn of Mosaic Church (4401 16th Street NW) for neighbors interested in getting involved with their important work supporting our neighbors. Come learn what mutual aid is about, meet different teams, and support their supply drive. To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jazz on the Lawn at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church
On Saturday, April 29 from 12pm-2pm Nineteenth Street Baptist Church (4606 16th St NW) will host a Jazz on the Lawn performance with the great Eddie Baccus, Jr. Please bring your own lawn chair. In the case of rain, the show will go on inside the Church’s Fellowship Hall.
Hella Good Spring Pop-up Market at Hellbender
On Saturday, April 29 from 1pm-6pm Hellbender Brewery (5788 2nd St NE) will host a Spring Pop-up Market with local vendors, artists, live music, two food trucks, and great beer!
RESCHEDULED TO SATURDAY: Petworth PorchFest!
On Saturday, April 29 at 2pm-6pm the incredible neighborhood festival Petworth PorchFest returns to Ward 4 after being postponed last weekend due to rain. The forecast for this Saturday looks much better, but please keep an eye on the Porchfest website and social media for any updates. You can find the full schedule and an interactive map of all stages across Petworth, Brightwood Park, Sixteenth Street Heights, Columbia Heights, and Park View. We will have great music of all genres, friendly neighbors, an Art of Noize art reception, friendly neighbors, and local businesses taking part in the festivities. If you live in the area, keep in mind that it may be harder to get around the neighborhood by car for a few hours due to streets being crowded. Let’s be neighborly to each other so we can all enjoy the day. See you there!
Artist Talks at Zenith Gallery: 45th Sapphire Anniversary
On Saturday, April 29 from 2pm-5pm Ward 4’s Zenith Gallery (1429 Iris St NW) will host Artist Talks with artists featured in their 45th Sapphire Anniversary exhibit, including Ram Brisueno, Bulsby “Buzz” Duncan, Mihira Karra, Ronni Jolles, Carol Newmyer, Qrcky, Craig Schaffer, Marcie Wolf-Hubbard, and Curtis Woody. Zenith is also coordinating a Studio Visit with sculptor Craig Schaffer on Sunday, April 30 at 2pm. RSVPing via Eventbrite is required so you can receive the address of the event. Two great ways to celebrate 45 years of Zenith!
Sixteenth Street Heights Spring Fling
On Sunday, April 30 from 1pm-3pm the Sixteenth Street Heights Neighborhood Association will host its Spring Fling on the Piney Branch Green between Varnum and Webster Streets (enter on 15th Street). Come out for an egg hunt, food, games, and community! In the case of bad weather, the rain date is Sunday, May 7 at 1pm-3pm.
Prepare to Care: Health and Seniors Fair
On Wednesday, May 3 from 11am-3pm Nineteenth Street Baptist Church (4606 16th St NW) will host a Health and Seniors Resource Fair with resources on dental care, hair and scalp care, senior transportation, utilities, legal counsel, safety at home, and more for neighbors over the age of 60 and residents over 18 living with a disability. RSVP here to attend!
55+ Early Bird Hype at Lamond Rec Center
On Wednesday, May 3 from 12pm-2pm Lamond Rec Center (20 Tuckerman St NE) will host DPR’s 55+ Early Bird Hype event with music, line dancing, fitness demos, arts and crafts, giveaways, and much more for neighbors 55 and older. Check it out!
Cinco de Mayo & Salsa Night at The Parks at Walter Reed
On Friday, May 5 from 5:30pm-7:30pm The Parks at Walter Reed will host a Cinco de Mayo & Salsa Night Happy Hour at the Arts Plaza at the Parks at Walter Reed (6310 Cameron Drive NW). Come for salsa music, dancing lessons, DJ Harry Hotter, and drinks with neighbors!
Cinco de Mayo on 14th Street
On Friday, May 5 from 6pm-10pm Uptown Main Street will host Cinco de Mayo festivities on 14th Street from Spring Road to Shepherd Street featuring Mariachi Guadalajara, Happy Hours, and special deals at local businesses and restaurants. Viva la fiesta!
Lighting of the Fountain at Chevy Chase Circle
On Friday, May 5 at 8pm the Friends of Chevy Chase Circle will host a block party for the inaugural lighting of the newly-restored Chevy Chase Circle Fountain. Come enjoy live music, popcorn, ice cream, and business specials on the front lawn of Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church (1 Chevy Chase Circle NW). This event is part of weekend-long Spring Fling activities.
Yoga at the Park at Fort Slocum
On Saturday, May 6 at 10am 4B06 Commissioner Tiffani Johnson will host Yoga in the Park at Fort Slocum in honor of 4B06 Day! The session will be lead by Kate Judson of Lighthouse Yoga, who offers intentional, grounding and calming yoga — and also happens to be one of our great ANC 4D Commissioners representing 4D02 along Kennedy Street.
Flowers by Alexes Grand Opening and Discussion
On Saturday, May 6 at 12:30pm Flowers by Alexes in Petworth (851 Upshur St NW) will host a community small business discussion followed by a ribbon cutting at 2pm. Come celebrate an amazing Black woman-owned small business with deep ties in our Ward 4 community.
Takoma Foundation Beerfest!
On Saturday, May 6 from 3pm-7pm the Takoma Foundation will host its fun annual Takoma Beerfest event at a new outdoor location—the Takoma VFW. Neighbors can get paid tickets to enjoy beer, brats, live music, community, and the company of friends and neighbors.
Brightwood Annual Spring Clean-Up
On Sunday, May 7 at 1:30pm-3:30pm the Brightwood Community Association and the Mayor’s Office of Clean City will host the annual Brightwood Spring Clean-up starting from 14th & Luzon Ave NW. Join your neighbors as they clean the Fort Stevens playground area and neighboring streets. Gloves and trash bags will be provided.
Crestwood Neighborhood Plant Party
On Sunday, May 7 from 2pm-4pm the Crestwood Green Team will host a Plant Party in the alley between Webster & Varnum and 16th & 17th Streets. Neighbors are encouraged to bring their extra seedlings, seeds, plant divisions, cuttings, and extra garden gear to exchange and their nursery pots to recycle. There will also be free native plants and a lemonade stand!
Deadline on Monday: MySchoolDC Enrollment
If you were matched to a school in the MySchoolDC Lottery for next school year, you have until this Monday, May 1 to enroll your child at their matched school. If you do not enroll your child at their matched school by Monday, they may lose their space at the school. Enrolling your child at their matched school will not remove them from waitlists. Also, Saturday, April 29 is Enrollment Saturday, when many of our schools will be open to provide enrollment support to new and returning families (in addition to their regular hours). Check out the full schedule.
New Upper Georgia Ave Business Directory
This week Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street launched a new business directory with all businesses and cultural locations along their Main Street corridor. Check out the new customizable directory on the Upper Georgia Avenue website.
Destiny Church Offering Job Training and Food
Destiny Church in Brightwood Park (5209 Georgia Ave NW) is offering a Job Training Class for DC residents interested in employment across several industries, and the first class is this Sunday, April 30. Call 240-292-9129 to learn more. They are also offering Monthly Food Distribution every Thursday from 5pm-7pm starting Thursday, May 4 in the rear of the church.
Vets Group IT Training Academy
One of our amazing vendors at the Ward 4 Job Fair was the Vets Group IT Training Academy, which supports our veteran neighbors with economic empowerment through education, employment, and entrepreneurship. Check out their website or call 202-822-0011 to connect.
MetroRail Disruption This Summer
This week WMATA announced travel alternatives to help riders prepare for major construction scheduled for this summer on the Orange, Silver, and Green lines. For Ward 4 specifically, there will be no Green Line Service at Fort Totten on July 22-24, and stations north of Fort Totten in Maryland will be closed from July 22-September 4. Free shuttle bus service will be available for customers during all station closures. WMATA’s announcement has the details.
Kudos to Ward 4 for Embracing Composting
Last week we shared the exciting news that DPW will be offering a free curbside composting program for a full year starting this summer. Ward 4 once again rose to the occasion and became the first and only Ward so far to sign up for all of its available slots (1,500 in total). Households who signed up will be notified whether they have been approved in the coming weeks. Thank you Ward 4 neighbors for embracing sustainability!
More DPR Hours at Fort Stevens, Petworth, Upshur, Takoma, and Lafayette-Pointer
This week DPR expanded hours at or reopened several Ward 4 recreation centers. Fort Stevens, Petworth, Upshur, Takoma, and Lafayette-Pointer are now open from 12pm-8pm on Mondays-Fridays. This is another important step forward forward in our efforts to expand opportunities for recreation, exercise, and positive activities in our community — especially for our youth. The Youth Side of Fort Stevens Rec Center was closed for months, but it is now open again and already hosting events like tonight’s popsicle social at 5pm-7pm. Thanks, DPR!
Local News Links
DCist: Proposed DC Budget Cuts To Legal Services Are A ‘Calamity,’ Local Orgs Say
Informer: Organizers Demand Racial Equity in Tax Policy Recommendations
UrbanTurf: 100-Unit All-Affordable Development For Seniors Proposed at Walter Reed
Petworth News: Mary’s Bar & Grill takes over for El Torogoz on 9th Street
MPD: DC Police Department Honors Sergeant Jin Park in Vigil
DGS: Photos of Progress in the Dorothy Height Elementary Modernization
ANC 4A: Christian Hara sworn in as ANC Commissioner for Single Member District 4A03
Washington Post: Disparities in DC contracts awarded to minority-owned businesses
Previous Ward 4 Dispatch: Job Fair, Curbside Composting, and Preserving Housing
I want to end on a note of gratitude for our community, which made the Ward 4 job fair last Saturday a big success. We had a great turnout of both attendees and employers! I’m thankful for a day full of partnership, openness, and new connections as we work to bring opportunities to Ward 4. Special thank you to all our agencies, businesses, and partners — the Jobs Not Guns Coalition, ANC 4B, ANC 3/4G, and Coolidge — as well as Congresswoman Norton, Councilmember Henderson, and Councilmember Bonds, who joined us for an amazing day.
This weekend we are wrapping up Latino Restaurant Week in DC, so be sure to stop by one of our five participating restaurants for special deals (El Barrilito, Mama Chepa, Mezcalero, DC Corazón, Catrachitos) or one of the many other great Latino restaurants across Ward 4.
And happy 75th Anniversary to the Lamond Riggs Citizens Association! We applaud your legacy of community advocacy, bringing people together, and giving back to those in need.
Wishing you an amazing weekend, Ward 4!
Yours in Community,