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Ward 4 Dispatch: Spray Parks, Kid Boosters, and DPR Center Readiness Tour

Dear Neighbors,

This week I’m sharing updates on our DPR Center Readiness Tour, the DC budget, Hellbender, spray parks, booster shots for kids ages 5-11, free COVID tests from the federal government, Metro, the Shepherd Park Garden Tour, Bike to Work Day, and more… Let’s get into it all!


Ward 4 News and Legislative Updates

Launching the Ward 4 DPR Center Readiness Tour

I’m excited to share that this week we kicked off our DPR Center Readiness Tour. I’m visiting every rec center in Ward 4 with DPR and DGS agency staff to help ensure each center is ready for the summer. Our rec centers play an incredibly valuable role in our community. They provide recreation to our young people, play areas for families, exercise opportunities for residents, space for sports and social activities, dedicated activities for seniors, meal distribution over the summer, and much more. That’s why it’s so important for these sites to be in good shape. This week I visited Emery Heights, Fort Stevens, Shepherd Park, and Raymond. I got to speak with staff at each center, identify big and small needed repairs for our agencies, and hear directly from residents about ways to improve operations. Next week I will be visiting our centers at Riggs-LaSalleLamondTakomaPetworthUpshurHamilton, and Lafayette-Pointer. If you have specific issues to look out for, please email my team at teamjaneese@dccouncil.us. I also want to give some love to the amazing employees who work at our rec centers and serve our community every day. Summer programs and services couldn’t happen without them!

Tuesday is the DC Council’s Second Vote on the DC Budget

This coming Tuesday, the Council will hold its second vote on the DC budget. While another vote will also be needed on the Budget Support Act – which is the legislative language that accompanies the budget – Tuesday’s vote is the last opportunity to make significant changes to the funds being spent by the District. On Monday, the day before our vote, Chairman Mendelson will release a revised budget proposal based on input from other Councilmember and community members. Then on Tuesday, the Council will get to vote on that budget proposal and proposed further amendments. As it stands, the budget makes some incredible investments in Ward 4 and in DC as a whole (more details on that coming soon from me). Still, I am continuing to push for some important programs where additional funding is needed, including more mental health support for our students and additional closed-circuit cameras to reduce gun violence in focus areas in Ward 4. Stay tuned for additional updates on the DC budget after Tuesday’s vote. We’re almost at the finish line!

Hellbender Brewing Reopens!

I also want to share an excited update about an important small business in our community. After being closed for two months, Hellbender Brewing Company in Ward 4 reopened their taproom and resumed regular hours yesterday! I’m grateful for all the neighbors who reached out to me about this or who stepped up to support Hellbender directly. My team and I will continue assisting Hellbender as they work to also reopen their patio. In the meantime, let’s all do our part to support Hellbender so it can keep being a fantastic resource and hub for our community. Look for their products at your local store, visit the taproom, or check out one of their many upcoming events. In Ward 4, our small businesses support our community and our community supports our small businesses!


Neighborhood Events

Rare Opportunity: Carter Barron Amphitheater Clean Up

On Saturday, May 21 from 9am-12pm, the Rock Creek Conservancy, National Park Service, and WUSA9 are hosting the annual spring cleanup of the Carter Barron Amphitheater. They’ll remove debris, paint, clear leaf litter, weed, sweep, and trim back invasive plants to help preserve the amphitheater while it awaits future restoration. This is a rare chance to see the currently closed amphitheater from the inside. Save your spot before tickets run out.

Takoma Flea Market in Takoma Park, MD

On Saturday, May 21 from 10am-4pm Takoma Flea will bring an outdoor market with a mix of vintage, antique, collectibles, salvage, and repurposed goods like clothing, jewelry, housewares, furniture, records, and more to Takoma Junction (Grant Avenue between Carroll Ave and Hancock Ave). This event was previously scheduled for last Saturday but pushed back to this weekend due to weather.

Red Bike Block Party Returns to The Parks at Walter Reed

On Saturday, May 21 from 1pm-6pm Pan Underground is producing a special remount of last fall’s RED BIKE Block Party. Community members are invited to gather on the West Lot for music, local vendors, and food. The centerpiece of the event will be an immersive reimagining of Caridad Svich’s play RED BIKE occurring around attendees with two performances beginning at 2pm and 5pm. Learn more and grab your tickets on the website.

Bourbon & Bluegrass 2022 at President Lincoln’s Cottage

On Saturday, May 21 from 1pm-5pm and Sunday, May 22 from 1pm-5pm Bourbon and Bluegrass 2022 will be hosted at President Lincoln’s Cottage. Lounge on Lincoln’s lawn, sip bourbon and enjoy live bluegrass music. Get your tickets here.

The Shepherd Park Citizens Association Garden Tour Returns!

On Sunday, May 22 from 2pm-5pm, the Shepherd Park Citizens Association Garden Tour (starting at 7900 Eastern Ave NW will be back and bigger than ever. There will be 15+ host sites, including a penthouse rooftop garden, two schools, two houses of worship, and sculpture and art gardens to name a few! They’ll also have vendor tables and raffles for prizes from Bluestone Perennials and Gurneys. Visit the SPCA website for tickets for non-members or to reserve your spot as a SPCA member or for a child under twelve.

Military Road Bike and Pedestrian Trail Study Public Meeting 

On Tuesday, May 24 from 6:30pm-7:30pm the National Park Service and DDOT are hosting a virtual public meeting to present a proposed pedestrian and bicycle trail study along Military Road within Rock Creek Park. The project looks to provide a safe and efficient east-west pedestrian and bicycle connection through Rock Creek Park that will function for all users. The proposed connection will be between Oregon Avenue NW and 16th Street NW and will provide connections to the existing trail network within the park. Join the virtual meeting using this link

Join Ward 4 CARE Community Outreach Day in Chevy Chase 

On Thursday, May 26 from 4pm-7pm my team and I and community volunteers will be bringing Ward 4 CARE Day to Chevy Chase starting from Lafayette-Pointer Recreation Center (5900 33rd St. NW). RSVP to join as we check in on neighbors, share resources, problem solve with DC agencies, and bring our community closer together. 

And don’t forget to visit your closest Ward 4 Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm:


Community Resources

Select Spray Parks Will Open This Weekend to Help Families Beat the Heat!

I heard from a lot of families hoping to see our spray parks open early this weekend to help us cool off from high temperatures. I relayed the request to DPR and am so grateful they answered the call! 17 DC spray parks will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-8pm, including Riggs-LaSalle Rec Center (501 Riggs Rd NE) and Takoma Community Center (300 Van Buren St NW). Check out the full list of spray parks that will be open citywide and additional details in DPR’s announcement.

Children Ages 5-11 Now Eligible for Booster Shots at DC Vaccine Sites

Earlier this week, the CDC recommended that children ages 5-11 receive a COVID booster five months after their initial vaccination series. Today, DC Health announced that children ages 5-11 can walk into any of DC’s COVID Centers to receive their booster shot if at least five months have passed since their initial vaccination series. Be sure to confirm which COVID Centers are open before visiting on DC Health’s website. As cases increase across the country, a booster dose will safely help restore and enhance protection against severe illness.

Order More Free Rapid Tests from the Federal Government

This week the Biden Administration announced that US households can order an additional eight free at-home rapid tests at COVIDTests.gov — bringing the total number of free tests available to each household since the start of the program to 16. Being frequently tested is a good way to prevent the virus from spreading in our community. Residents can also pick up free rapid tests, be PCR tested, get free KN95 masks, or receive their shot or booster at any of DC’s COVID Centers.

After Lapse, Service on the Green and Yellow Lines to Increase Again

After a lapse in the recertification of many WMATA train operators drastically reduced rail service this week, we have some good news. Starting this Monday, May 23, WMATA will increase frequency on the Green and Yellow lines with trains arriving every 15 minutes at each stations. That means that stations serviced by both lines – from Greenbelt to L’Enfant Plaza – will see trains arrive every 7-8 minutes. Meanwhile, Red Line trains continue to operate every 10 minutes, and Blue, Orange, and Silver line trains operate every 20 minutes – with more frequent service at stations that are served by multiple lines throughout the system. WMATA also announced this week that it’s on track to restore the 7000-series railcars in late summer after installing automated inspection systems to test railcar wheel sets in real-time. I am hoping and will advocate for more improvements to service because I know our community depends on safe, reliable, and frequent MetroRail and MetroBus service.

Job Openings for the Ward 4 Cure the Streets Team

Please help us spread the word about some important community safety announcements. The Cure the Streets violence interruption team coming to Petworth and Brightwood Park run by InnerCity Collaborative is hiring a program manager, an outreach supervisoroutreach workers, and a violence interrupter. If you know someone who is interested in having a positive impact in our community, please encourage them to apply.

DPR Offering More than 700 Summer Jobs

Speaking of DPR, the agency is hiring for more than 700 positions for this summer! Open positions include lifeguards, camp counselors, park rangers, operations managers, and a lot more! If you know someone looking for a summer job or a young person looking for an engaging and paid activity over the summer, please encourage them to apply!

Provide Feedback for the Georgia Avenue Bus Priority Project 

DDOT is in the early stages of planning for the Georgia Avenue NW Bus Priority Project. This project will improve bus operations and safety along the Georgia Avenue corridor from Barry Place to Kansas Ave NW – with long-term plans to also extend improvements all the way up to Eastern Avenue. DDOT is requesting feedback from residents on what improvements should be made as part of this project. Use this form to weigh in! 

Small Business Grants for Brick-and-Mortar Stores Citywide

The Robust Retail Program program is distributing grants worth up to $7,500 for brick-and-mortal businesses across the District. Applications for these grants are due on June 8, but don’t wait to apply! And help spread the word to a business owner you know.

Did you check out last week’s newsletter? If not, catch up on what you missed here.

And finally, I was proud to represent DC at the Bans Off Our Bodies March last weekend on the National Mall. I lifted up the vital importance of DC Statehood and DC autonomy to protect our reproductive rights.


I want to close out with a thank you to everyone who participated in Bike to Work Day today (or biked to school or to wherever you need to go). We had a great crew of folks who pedaled all the way from Sixteenth Street Heights to Franklin Park downtown.

When I took office in January last year, Ward 4 had no protected bike lanes. A year-and-a-half later, we now have protected bike lanes on Piney Branch in Takoma, the newly-completed Metropolitan Branch Trail segment to Fort Totten, upcoming protected bike lanes on Kansas Avenue by Fort Slocum, planned protected bike lanes south of Grant Circle on 5th Street and 7th Street in Petworth, and even a potential East-to-West protected bike trail across Rock Creek Park on Military Road. That’s the outcome of our collective efforts as a community with ANC Commissioners, community leaders, and neighbors. The budget the Council is set to approve includes funding for 30 miles of protected bike lanes across DC over three years.

Protected bike lanes and bicycle trails help keep bicyclists safe, calm traffic in our communities by narrowing travel lanes, reduce congestion, support small businesses, and encourage good health, and help DC meet its goals to reduce emissions and confront climate change. It’s a great option for those who are able to use them, and I’m hoping we can continue building on the progress we’ve made.

Yours in Community,
—Janeese