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Ward 4 Dispatch: Takoma Pool Opening, Ice N’ Slice, and Payments for Early Childhood Educators

Dear Neighbors,

I’m excited to bring a series of updates to you, including the reopening date and soft launch for Takoma Aquatic Center, a new Ward 4 small business in Petworth, and the application portal for early childhood educators to receive their well-deserved $10,000-$14,000 raises. Find all of that, as well as community resources, neighborhood events, and local links in my newsletter:

Ward 4 News

Takoma Aquatic Center Reopens on September 6

The wait is almost over: this week DGS and DPR announced that Takoma Aquatic Center will reopen for our community on Tuesday, September 6! And better yet, the pool will reopen at full capacity as the only DC pool to be open seven days a week! Its operating hours will be 6am-9pm on Monday through Friday and 10am-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. With Upshur Pool and spray parks closing on September 5, Takoma’s reopening on September 6 will allow our community to keep swimming and splashing into the fall. Over the last year, the pool underwent a roof replacement, HVAC repairs, and minor renovations, such as a fully replastered floor. But neighbors don’t need to wait until September to return to Takoma pool; they can get an early glimpse this Sunday, August 21 with a one-day Back-to-Pool event! There will be senior swim activities from 10am-2pm and an open swim from 2pm-6pm. Be sure to save your spot by RSVPing on DPR’s website. Thank you to neighbors for your great patience and your advocacy to reopen our pool. While we’re all grateful to have Takoma Aquatic Center reopening soon, the lengthy delay in this project revealed systemic issues with how repairs and renovations are managed by our agencies (similar to the issues with school maintenance I shared last week). As your Councilmember, I’ll be working to tackle these issues in oversight so we can have our public facilities in top shape for our community to use and enjoy.

$10k-$14k Payments for Early Childhood Educators Now Open

We have a child care crisis in the District. On one hand child care is unbelievably expensive, and on the other hand early childhood educators – overwhelmingly Black and Brown women – are not paid nearly enough for the work that they do, despite research proving the profound impact early childhood education has on a child’s development. As a result we only have 1 child care seat for every 3 children and families who need one, and workers are increasingly being pushed out of the profession. If we want to have affordable, high-quality, widely-available child care in DC, that begins with paying childcare workers what they deserve. Pay parity is the only way we can keep the dedicated early educators we have now, recruit new educators, and bring long-term stability to an industry that DC families are counting on. That’s why last summer I co-led the Council in passing the Homes and Hearts budget amendment, which included major pay increases for early childhood educators.

Now, those major pay increases, worth between $10,000-$14,000 per worker, are available for our licensed early childhood educators! Visit to learn about the payments, submit an application, and check out the upcoming information session on Tuesday, August 23 at 6pm. To receive their payment, early childhood educators must apply by September 20. Once a full application is submitted, payment should be received within 3-4 weeks via direct deposit or debit card. Early childhood educators who need help with their application can email or call 202-831-9298. My office is also available to provide support. Please take a moment in the coming days to check in with your child’s daycare to ensure they’re aware of the program, so that no one misses out on their well-deserved raise. You can also spread the word about the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund by sharing our announcement on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Welcoming Ice N’ Slice to Petworth!

This weekend we celebrate the opening of Ice n’ Slice, an ice cream shop and eatery in Petworth at the intersection of Georgia Ave and Shepherd Street NW! From the same owners of Heat Da Spot Café in Park View, Ice n’ Slice Eatery offers a great selection of ice cream, milkshakes, Ethiopian pizza, wraps, breakfast sandwiches, and coffee. The new shop is years in the making, since the owners worked to renovate the new space and open it for our community. I got to stop by today to welcome them to Ward 4 and try out a scoop of their Bassetts ice cream. Follow the Ice N’ Slice on Instagram and be sure to visit in the near future!

Community Resources

DCPS To Require a COVID-19 Test to Return to School

DCPS announced that schools will distribute rapid test kits next week from Tuesday, August 23 through Friday, August 26. Students and their families can pick up a test kit at their school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9am-2pm, or on Wednesday and Thursday from 12pm to 5:30pm. Students in grades K-12 will need to take a COVID test on Sunday, August 28 and Pre-K students will need to take their test on Wednesday, August 31 to return to school.

Monkeypox Vaccine Eligibility, Clinics, and Second Dose Appointments

Last week, DC Health announced expanded eligibility for the Monkeypox vaccine. Eligible residents now include all DC residents who have had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks (including those currently considered highest risk), all sex workers, and all staff at establishments where sexual activity occurs. In addition to pre-registering for an appointment, eligible DC residents can receive the Monkeypox vaccine through weekly walk-up clinics, including one in Ward 4 at 7530 Georgia Ave NW. Starting today, eligible residents can walk up to these clinics on every Friday from 12pm-8pm (or until supplies run out) to get their shot. Eligible residents will also need to bring proof of DC residency to access these walk-up clinics. Please read this additional information from DC Health before visiting one of the walk-up sites. And late today, DC Health also announced a new intradermal dose strategy and the resumption of some second dose appointments for the Monkeypox vaccine. Starting August 20, residents who already had a first dose will start receiving invitations to schedule their second dose appointment, on a rolling basis based on the date of their first dose.

Closure of Petworth Spray Park for Repairs Starting Wednesday

DPR shared that the spray park at Petworth Rec Center will be offline starting Wednesday, August 24 for needed repairs. The spray park is expected to reopen on Friday August 26.

Draft Concepts Released for Georgia Avenue Bus Project  

Last week DDOT held an open house and unveiled draft concept designs for the Georgia Avenue Bus Project, which aims to improve bus operations and traffic safety along Georgia Avenue from Barry Place in Ward 1 all the way up to Kansas Avenue. Georgia Avenue is a critical public transit corridor since it hosts the 70 and 79 bus, which serve more than 17,000 riders every day. The concept designs feature dedicated bus lanes to reduce congestion delay, bulb-outs to allow buses to board from the travel lane and provide more space for passengers to wait, Vision Zero improvements, and more. Check out the draft design and the draft design roll plot, and share your feedback by emailing, calling 202-671-2376, or filling out the website survey. 

Required Immunizations in Ward 4 Before School Starts 

If your child still needs to catch up on their required immunizations before the start of school, bring them to these free clinics that are open to all students and do not require insurance or proof of citizenship. You can pre-register for an appointment at this link, or walk-up if there are still appointments available. Children can also catch up on their shots through their primary medical provider, fast-track vaccination-only clinics, or school-based health centers

  • Thursday, August 25 at 10am-3pm: Sela PCS (6015 Chillum Pl NE) 
  • Wednesday, August 31 at 10am-3pm: DC International School (1400 Main Dr NW) 
  • Thursday, September 15 at 10am-3pm: Creative Minds PCS (3700 North Capitol NW) 
  • Saturday, September 24 from 10am-3:30pm: Coolidge and Ida B Wells (6315 5th St NW) with pre-registration required 

Neighborhood Events

Councilmember Community Office Hours at Chevy Chase Farmers Market

On Saturday, August 20 from 10am-12pm my team and I will be at Chevy Chase Farmers Market at Lafayette Elementary for community office hours. Come by to get help with constituent issues, share insights on legislation, or talk about how we can improve our community.

SOUL (Sheridan Street on Urban Love) Block Party

On Saturday, August 20 at 12pm-9:30pm neighbors on the 600 block of Sheridan Street NW (and nearby neighbors) will host their annual SOUL Block Party with several bands performing, health screenings, and kids activities. Bring your lawn chair for a day of family-friendly fun with neighbors.

Bike Safety and Maintenance Pump-up Event in Riggs Park

On Saturday, August 20 from 2pm-4pm DDOT will host a bike safety and pump-up event at Culture Coffee Too (300 Riggs Rd NE) in Riggs Park. Kids, family, and friends are invited to bring their bike to learn simple cycling maintenance and safety tips.

Bilingual Concert for Children at Petworth Library: 123 Andrés

On Saturday, August 20 at 2pm-3pm Petworth Library will host a bilingual concert with Grammy Award-winning children’s performers 123 Andrés y Cristina. Enjoy this bilingual Spanish and English concert as part of the library’s special summer programming. Andrés and Christina invite the audience to use their imaginations, co-create stories and songs with them, and act out the stories created.

Back-to-Pool Community Swim at Takoma Aquatic Center

On Sunday, August 21 Takoma Aquatic Center will offer an early glimpse of the pool ahead of its September 6 reopening. There will be senior swim activities from 10am-2pm and an open swim from 2pm-6pm for residents who register. The wait is almost over!

Summer in the Parks Event at Fort Slocum

On Wednesday, August 24 from 6pm-8pm the National Park Service and the Rock Creek Conservancy will host a free, family-friendly event at Fort Slocum to promote community togetherness, enjoying our public lands, and recreating responsibly. Come out for music from DJ Lance Reynolds and fun-for-all-ages games and activities!

Salsa on the Plaza at the Parks at Walter Reed

On Friday, August 26 from 5:30pm-7:30pm, the Parks at Walter Reed will host their latest happy hour series event with Salsa on the Plaza. They’ll have salsa music from DJ Harry Hotter, so bring your dancing shoes. There will also be local makers providing flower arrangements, Venezuelan cuisine, skincare products, candles, and drinks from Anxo Cider! The event is free, but RSVP is required.

Bertie Backus Farm Stand Reopening in Riggs Park

On Saturday, August 27 from 10am-2pm the Bertie Backus Farm Stand returns to bring quality produce and local vendors to Riggs Park at 5171 South Dakota Avenue NE (near Fort Totten Metro station). The farm stand is coordinated by UDC’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences.

16th Street Neighborhood Association Summer Block Party

On Saturday, August 27 from 12pm-4pm the 16th Street Neighborhood Association will host their annual summer block party on the 1500 block of Allison Street NW (between 15th and 16th Street). There will be food, games, tie-dyeing, ponies, and socializing, and everyone is welcome! The rain date is Sunday, August 28 at the same time and place.

Zion Baptist Church Back to School Block Party on Kennedy Street

On Saturday, August 27 from 12pm-5pm Zion Baptist Church is partnering with my office and DC Public Library’s Outreach and Inclusion to host a Back to School Block Party at 608 Kennedy Street NW. We will be giving out backpacks and school supplies for our Ward 4 scholars, and there will be food, drinks, music, games, immunizations, and more!

Housing and Displacement: DC Walking Tour in Brightwood Park

On Saturday, August 27 at 1pm-3pm Metro DSA and SOS will host a DC Walking Tour focused on highlighting housing and displacement at three sites in Brightwood Park, starting from 15 Kennedy Street NW. The tour will be led by Tanya Golash-Boza and Maya Cherkasky, and snacks and drinks will be provided throughout the tour. Sign up here to attend.

Hellbender Record Fair Returns

On Saturday, August 27 from 1pm-7pmHellbender Record Fair returns to our beloved Ward 4 Hellbender brewery. Come to 5788 2nd St NE for beer, vinyl records, and food trucks. And thank you to the Parks Main Street for supporting this event!

Soul Mega Summerfest: a Beer Festival at the Parks at Walter Reed

On Saturday, August 27 from 1pm-6pm Soul Mega will host Summerfest to celebrate its three-year anniversary at the Parks at Walter Reed. Enjoy refreshing beer, food vendors, DJ performances, and great company at Summerfest, which is a 21+ event requiring tickets. Summerfest will take place in the historic West Lot of the Walter Reed campus.

Six Months Moratorium to Stop the Killings Cookout/Amateur Boxing Match at Upshur

On Saturday, August 27 from 1pm-8:30pm CEASE FIRE Don’t Smoke The Brothers & Sisters will host the annual Six Months Moratorium to Stop the Killings Cookout/Amateur Boxing Match at Upshur Rec Center (4300 Arkansas Ave NW). Join a day full of community, love, and respect with plenty of free food, health screenings, and entertainment. This event happens annually to promote unity and peace in our community. RSVP on Facebook!

Petworth Jazz Project Is Back with Lenny Robinson’s Exploration

On Saturday, August 27 starting from 5pm-8pm the Petworth Jazz Project is back with a performance at Petworth Rec Center (8th and Taylor NW). This popular free music event kicks off at 5pm with kids’ music from Papa Ras D, followed by the main performance by Lenny Robinson’s Exploration at 6pm. Nearby businesses will offer specials ahead of this summer-time highlight event.

Backpack Giveaway and Softball Game at Coolidge

On Sunday, August 28 from 10am-2pm Purpose Is Life and Future Moguls will host a backpack giveaway and softball game at Coolidge High School (6315 5th St NW). Their goal is to fill 200 backpacks for school-aged children in DC!

And take some time to visit your local Ward 4 Farmers Market:

Please note that my office hours at Petworth Community Market tomorrow have been postponed due to a scheduling conflict.

Local Links

Celebrate Petworth: Sign up for the Dog Show at the Celebrate Petworth Festival!

Washington Post: How Coolidge stays cool: Kiddie pools, punt returns and lots of water

WTOP: Cinder BBQ in Ward 4 Named in the Top 10 Best Barbecue Spots in the DMV

WJLA: Kids ride for free: DC students to receive SmarTrip cards for new school year

DCistSome Homeowners See Skyrocketing Property Tax Bills After Houses Declared Vacant

Hola Cultura: Podcast Episode 7: The Climate Divide: Heat Disparity in DC; How Does Heat Affect Our Brains? (Part 2)

Last week’s Ward 4 Dispatch: School Tours, Takoma Pool, Emery Community Day, and Senior Day at Nats Stadium

Special thank you to Pastor Roberts and Nineteenth Street Baptist Church for a fantastic back-to-school event last weekend, to the neighbors on Longfellow for a great block party, and to Coach Lou and the Friends of Emery for another fun Emery Heights Community Day!

I’m excited to share that this week we welcomed Eskedar Girmash to our team! Eskedar brings a strong federal health policy background, has a deep commitment to justice and equity, expands our constituent services capacity, and allows us to better serve our vibrant Ethiopian and Eritrean communities. Please join me in giving her a warm Ward 4 welcome!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone.

Yours in Service,