2009: A Year in Review of BACA Meetings

Thanks so much to Jim Berry, BACA President, for providing this great recap of all the speakers and topics at the BACA in 2009.

January 2009

Featured Guest:  None

Major Discussion Topics: The agenda for this meeting was largely consumed by a planning session for 2009.  Residents were asked to bring ideas of speakers, projects and programs that they would like to see the BACA implement during the calendar year.

February 2009

Featured Guests: (a) Wendell Butler, Community Academy Public Charter School, 1st and P Street, N.W.; (b) Deborah Crain, Ward Five Planner, DC Office of Planning

Major Discussion Topics:

  1. Wendell Butler responded to serious community concerns re. its lack of advanced knowledge about and input into certain recent decisions made by the CAPCS, including the CAPCS’ construction and future use of a  parking lot on the green space next to the school (at or about 1st and P Streets, N.W.), as well rumored plans of the Metropolitan Baptist Church to conduct  religious services in the school.
  2. Given the importance of the North Capitol Street Cloverleaf Study and other Ward Five projects to our area, Deborah Crain gave an update on these subjects.
  3. In recognition of Black History Month, the Bloomingdale Civic Association, and the Bates Area Civic Association sponsored their First Annual A-W-E Festival: a celebration of local Artists Writers, and Entertainers.  This program was held at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 150 U Street, N.W., on Saturday, February 28, 2009 from 1-4 pm.
  4. Pete Balas encouraged residents  to support a neighborhood clean-up project that organized for Saturday, February, 28, 2009, from 10 – 12.

March 2009

(Regular monthly meeting cancelled due to inclement weather but the agenda was implemented later in the month at a Joint SMD 5C01/BACA meeting.)

Featured Guests: (a) Allan Fye, Ward Five Planner, DC Department of Transportation; (b) Anise Jenkins, President, Stand-Up for Democracy in DC Coalition.

Major Discussion Topics:

  1. Allan Fye introduced himself as the new DOT Planner for Ward Five, made brief remarks, and received a number of recommendations from residents concerning various transportation issues (like speed humps, the need for additional traffic signage, etc.) impacting the Bates Area.
  2. Statehood leader and neighborhood resident Anise Jenkins made a presentation about the benefits of Statehood for citizens of the District of Columbia and urged us to seriously consider supporting a resolution in favor of this outcome for Washington, DC.
  3. The community was updated by our ANC representatives on the status of the lease arrangement between Metropolitan Baptist Church and Community Academy Public Charter Schools to operate their church out of the auditorium of the school building.
  4. Denise Prichard provided an update re. the status of  the community’s efforts to get the billboards removed from the corner of 4th and P Streets, N.W.
  5. An announcement of the formation of the Flower Power 2009 Committee was made.  The committee was chaired by MaryAnn Wilmer and co-chaired by Derek Vollmer.
  6. Caryn Nesmith, Jon Hasse and Peter Katel volunteered to serve on the Public Relations Committee.

April 2009

Featured Guests:   (a) Trena Carrington, Community Prosecutor for the Fifth District from  the United State’s Attorney’s Office; (b) Pat Mithcell, President of the Board of Directors, North Capitol Main Streets, Inc.

Major Discussion Topics:

  1. Attorney Carrington talked about the role and functions of the United State’s Attorney’s Office.  In addition, the BACA enlisted her support in the abatement of certain nuisance properties in the area and in connection with what appeared to be a progressive increase of street robberies in our neighborhood.
  2. Pat Mitchell made remarks about the goals and objectives of NCMS to revitalize the commercial corridors in our area.  Joining her at the meeting was their new Executive Director, Garry Clark, who gave a brief talk about the organizational/committee structure that the group utilizes to achieve its goals. This presentation was organized as a follow-up to the significant interest of residents in attracting new and diverse mix businesses to the community, as expressed in the BACA’s brainstorming sessions on the subject earlier in the year.
  3. There was continued discussion about the lease arrangement between Metropolitan Baptist Church and the Community Academy Public Charter Schools.
  4. An update was provided on the efforts to remove the illegal billboards from the corner of 4th and P Streets, N.W.
  5. An update was provided on the plans of one developer to building senior citizen housing on the site of the former Margaret Murray Washington Career High School, 27 O Street, N.W.
  6. An announcement was made Flower Power 2009 Garden Walk would take place on June 13, 2009 from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
  7. The BACA Blog was formally introduced to the community by the members of the Public Relations Committee..

May 2009

Featured Guests:  (a) Raymond Nix, AICP, UrbanMatters Development Partners L.L.C.; (b) MaryAnn Willmer and Derek Vollmer, BACA’s  “Flower Power 2009” Beautification Campaign

Major Discussion Topics:

  1. Raymond Nix talked about a proposal that his company has submitted to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development to develop senior citizen housing opportunities at the former Margaret Murray Washington Career High School building, located at27 O Street, N.W
  2. MaryAnn Wilmer and Derek Vollmer provided us with details regarding the status of their committee’s plans for the  implementation of “Flower Power 2009.”
  3. BACA passed a resolution in support of Statehood for District of Columbia residents.

June 2009

Featured Guests:  (a) Mai Fernandez, Legal and Strategic Director of the Latin American Youth Center; (b) Fayette Vaughn-Lee, Community Outreach Coordinator from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Fifth District Headquarters.

Major Discussion Topics:

  1. Mai Fernandez came out to introduce herself and tell us about the plans of the LAYC to locate a charter school youths between the ages of 16 and 24 years as well as a residential program for approximately 40 homeless young people at the for John F. Cook School building, North Capitol and P Streets, N.W.
  2. Fayette Vaughn-Lee made remarks about the MPD’s “Safe Summer of 2009” initiative on behalf of DC children.
  3. MaryAnn Wilmer and Derek Vollmer urged residents to come strongly support the “Flower Power 2009 Garden Walk” on June 13, 2009, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The starting point for the walk was the front of the Community Academy Public Charter Schools, 1st and P Streets, N.W.
  4. Residents were encouraged to strongly support a second neighborhood clean-up activity that was sponsored by Pete Balas on July 5, 2009.
  5. Residents were  informed of a request to participate in a neighborhood walk-through with Mayor Adrian Fenty on July 5, 2009.

July 2009

Featured Guest: Director William “Bill” Howland, DC Department of Public Works

Major Discussion Topics:

  1. Director Howland made some general comments at the beginning of this meeting regarding the services provided by DPW.  However, the first hour of this meeting concerned an  awards ceremony  for those who won awards in the Flower Power 2009 beautification campaign.
  2. The second part of the meeting involved community updates regarding the proposed future use of the JF Cook School building, the illegal billboards located at the corner of 4th and P Streets, N.W., resident interest in reasonable access to the track and field at Dunbar High School, and the introduction of a community outreach initiative by the Mount Sinai Baptist Church.
  3. The appointment of Pete Balas and Anita Bonds to serve as co-chairpersons of the Environmental Services Committee was announced.
  4. An announcement was also made of the appointment of Geovani Bonilla as the chairperson of the Public Safety Committee as well as of Jon Hasse’ consent to serve as the co-chairperson of this committee.

August 2009

Featured Guests: (a) Deborah Crain, Ward Five Planner from the DC Office of Planning; (b) Aakash Thakkar, First Vice President of EYA; (c) Clint Jackson, Project Manager, DC Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development; (d) Martin Moulton, President of the Convention Center Community Association; and (e) Mamuka Tsereteli, owner of the Bates Market, 3rd and P Streets N.W.

Major Discussion Topics:

  1. Deborah Crain talked about the major development projects that are being contemplated by the city that impact our community and she promised to solicit from one of the local universities (like Howard U.) to assist us/DCOP in the development of a “small area plan” for our commercial corridors.
  2. Aakash Thakkar and Clint Jackson provided the community with an update of plans to develop the McMillan Reservoir site at North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue, N.E.;
  3. Martin Moulton talked about a proposal from some individuals and organizations in the western part of the Shaw community to locate a “dog park” on a portion of the field adjacent to the former Bundy School at 5th and P Streets, N.W.
  4. Mamuka Tsereteli shared with the group his preliminary thoughts and plans for the development of the former Bates Market at 3rd and P Streets, N.W.
  5. Rev. Miles Holloman reminded the group of the Neighborhood Basketball Tournament and Cookout that the Youth Services Committee would be sponsoring in the pocket park at 1st and Florida Avenue, N.W. on Saturday, September 5, 2009.

September 2009

Featured Guest: Ward Five Council Member Harry (Tommy) Thomas, Jr.

Major Discussion Topics:

  1. Council Member Thomas talked about his approach to the delivery of constituent services to our area and responded to a number of questions raised by those in attendance.
  2. Youth Services Committee Chair Rev. Miles Holloman talked about the success of the neighborhood basketball tournament and cook out that his committee co-sponsored with other groups and institutions in our community on Saturday, September 5, 2009.
  3. ANC Commissioner Anita Bonds, provided a summary of a beginning conversation that was had with representatives from the Howard University School of Architecture regarding the development of a Small Area Plan for our community.
  4. The BACA gave its formal support to a resolution that was presented by Denise Prichard in opposition to the billboards that were illegally located at the corner of 4th and P Streets, N.W.

October 2009

Featured Guest: Mayor Adrian M. Fenty

Major Discussion Topics: A number of community concerns were expressed to Mayor Fenty, including the following:

  1. The strong feelings in the community about the proposed future use of the former John F. Cook School as a charter school for low-income young people between the ages of 16-24 years and a residential component for at 40 homeless youths; the desired renovation of the pocket park at First and Florida Avenue, N.W.;
  2. The myriad public safety problems of chronic loitering on the Unit block of O Street, N.W. and elsewhere throughout the community, the nuisance behaviors demonstrated by some who attend the numerous social service programs in the area, the overall and continue presence of open-air drug sales/use in our neighborhood, and what we perceive as an uptick in crimes of violence in the area;
  3. The community’s request to have the illegal billboards that are located at 4th and P Street, N.W. removed.
  4. The desire of the community to have the swimming pool at Dunbar Senior High School renovated as well as to have allow reasonable resident access to the track and field at the grounds of the high school;
  5. Resident concerns about the deplorable condition of some or our alleys.
  6. Citizen concerns about the inattention of DCRA to certain nuisance properties in the community.
  7. Pete Balas and Anita Bonds announce Environmental Services Committee’s Tree Box Extravaganza to be held on  October 24, 2009; rain date Saturday, October 31, 2009.
  8. BACA passes a resolution in opposition to the use of the former John F. Cook School as a charter school for youths from 16 to 24 and a residential facility for 40 homeless young people.

November 2009

Featured Guests: (a) Linda Argo, Director of the DC Department of Regulatory Affairs; (b) Mary Tracy, President of Scenic America

Major Discussion Topics:

  1. Director Argo was invited to provide the group with an overview of the primary services that are offered by her agency as well as, to update us on the status of DCRA’s efforts to remove the illegal billboards that are located on the corner of 4th and P Streets, N.W.
  2. Mary Tracy, President of Scenic America, is scheduled to make a presentation about her organization’s efforts to address visual blight, like billboards, in urban communities.

December 2009: Holiday Social


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