The Agenda Has Been Moved at 5A Neighborhood Meeting

Is it true? The old cliche \”April showers bring May flowers.\” But this Winter-Spring-Summer mix is making residents reconsider attending their ANC neighborhood meetings.  This past Wednesday night, 5A ANC held their neighborhood community meeting at the Community College of the District of Columbia-Backus location.

Those in attendance were excited, even asking one of the commissioners\’ \”does the President usually start on time, 6:45?  Ten minutes later, Commissioner Chair, Angel Alston called the meeting to order.  \”Wow, we haven\’t had a slim turn out like this in a long time\” followed by a motion to move the agenda forward, considering many items were going to be discussed.  Up for much discussion were the upcoming presentations from various business and organizations in the city.  Representatives from the DC Green Infrastructure Program began their presentation \”Rock Creek Project A,\” which is a proposed plan to construct a combined sewer system.  This new green infrastructure innovation is through two applications, Planter Bioretention in Tree Planter and Curb Bioretention in Parking/No parking lane.  The benefits of the Green Infrastructure Program will provide 51% of new jobs filled by District residents, and certification programs led by the Water Environment Federation with certificates giving national and statewide recognition, with the first group of District residents gaining certification by January 2017.  With all those benefits the purpose for the representatives attending the 5A ANC meeting was to get feedback from the survey to assist the builders with specific requests.

Once the Green team finished their presentations the floor was open for attendees to ask questions, and Commissioner Wilds went ahead, stating  \”we don\’t have a say so in it. Just want to make sure the bill isn\’t going up, and is the cost being funded by the five cent bags, and will the bill increase?\”  Then The DC Voice asked \”how many students do you anticipate enrolling in the program, and where are the recruiting efforts taking place at?\”  One of the representatives emerged from the hallway to state \”this is a proposed bill and the working Water Federation will be responsible for training, certifying participants, along with the logistics for recruiting efforts.  They also informed Commissioner Wilds that his bill should not see an increase.  Mr. Oliver a neighborhood residents, informed the Green Infrastructure reps that DC School Phelps teaches plumbing and they could bring in this Green Infrastructure Program as another trade. He also asked one more question \”what plans are in place to not tear up the streets?\”  The Green Infrastructure reps responded \”we haven\’t eliminated training partners, all options are on the table and they would consider Phelps.\”

The presentations then continued with CAUSES, and luckily I made it in time.  As an alumni of UDC, I had the opportunity to utilize CAUSES resources when developing \”Exchange of a Lifetime,\” a fellowship program providing sustainable drinking water to Indonesia.  Mr. Jones informed meeting attendees of the CAUSES Urban Food Systems Model providing food, training students and community, and serving as an incubator space which can be leased for business entrepreneurs.  Mr. Jones said \”we started with a simple question\” \”How do we grow food in the District?\”  That question sparked an initiative which will roll out in the next 3 or 4 months at the Backus location with 10% of the produce being donated to DC Housing for those unable to access local produce.  Commissioner White asked \”what are the cost for lease and the logistics for lease?\” to which Mr. Jones replied \”the idea is providing access and right now it is free, however fees will be a practical as possible.\” CAUSES plans to teach the technical, marketing, and customer service skills entrepreneurs need to stay in business.  CAUSES is also ready to deliver produce to the city with their newly wrapped food truck with plans of expansion to eight locations including Van Ness.

Sixteen people attended the 5A ANC neighborhood meeting, and we had the pleasure of speaking with Julia who recently celebrated her eight birthday!  When we asked her what did she think of tonight\’s meeting she replied \”well, it was OK,\” and she would maybe tell her friends to attend, but the Rock Creek presentation was the most interesting to her.

The presentations continued with PSA 405 Crime Statistics brought by Lieutenant Ashley Rosenthal.  Lieutenant Rosenthal informed the attendees that a robbery had just taken place right before she arrived at the meeting, and many people need to use caution when using the internet to purchase cars and other luxury items because the prospective buyers are getting robbed.  She also informed attendees to lock all doors in car and never leave your car running because that is the easiest way to get your car stolen.  Mr. Oliver then asked \”what are we going to do about all these school fights?\”  Lieutenant Rosenthal replied \”we are working with the school security divisions and truancy officers and they\’re aware of the beefs going on with the students, but at one point you have to parent before policing.\”  Commissioner Wilds said \”when I go to other cities and tell them I am from DC, they say \”oh\” it\’s so much crime\” and rise of homicides, he suggested part of the problem is our leaders and says \”it\’s time for some new ideas.\”

From the crime report presentation, the next presentation was moveDC.  MoveDC is the District\’s multi-modal transportation plan, identifying the need for a state rail plan that focuses on passenger and freight rail infrastructure shared by CSX, VRE, MARC, Amtrak, and Northfolk Southern.  Neighborhood resident Mr. Oliver informed the moveDC representative that he contacted CSX over a year ago about the vibration problems, and Commissioner Carmen was interested in the maintenance schedule.  There was also representation from Councilmen McDuffie\’s office informing attendees of two new bills being introduced one especially protecting elders from exploitation and predators, along with returning citizens facing many challenges with finding housing. Now management companies cannot perform a background check until after a conditional offering.  Having read all of this perhaps you may gather that these ANC meetings are very beneficial to the community and residents as a whole.

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