Update From Monday’s BACA Meeting

  1.  Commissioner Sylvia Pinkney provided an update on the disposition of the J.F. Cook building. The City Council did not vote on the disposition of the building to Youth Build Charter School and Latin American Youth Center. Without a vote, the extension expired as did the time for the project to be approved. The developers will have to work through the Executive Office once again should they wish to reapply for this building.
  2. Department of Public Work Director, William Howland, Jr. addressed our community. Provided an update of the new procedures for street cleanings that will go into effect this year. New street cleaning signs will be going up soon. The agency also faces an $11 million dollar budget cut that will result in staff reductions as well as reduction or elimination of the green teams. Several neighbors were able to provide The Director requests for new recycling bins and address some parking enforcement concerns. Mulch is currently available from DPW for neighbors that may need some for spring planting.
  3. Mr. Gerard Brown, Program Manager, Bureau of Community Hygiene- Rodent and Vector Control Division spoke regarding rat control. City may also fine home owners (including landlords) for having trash cans with no lids as well as businesses. With home owner’s permission, a rat inspection may be done by the city and poison provided. BACA will be coordinating block inspections later this spring. BACA and North Capitol Main Street will work with Rodent Vencor Control to set up a meeting with the business owners on N. Capitol Street to inform them on how to address this issue and avoid fines.
  4. A presentation by Accomplished Public Charter School discussed its current application with the Board of Charter Schools. If chartered, APCS intents to submit a RFP to open a charter school in Ward 5.
  5. Josh Lopez, At Large Councilmember Candidate presented his platform to the community.
  6. Commissioner Bradley Thomas provided a written report (posted on the blog).

 We need your involvement to help keep our community forward. These are some of the current projects in need of your support:

  1.  Friends of Florida Avenue Park – individuals to organize and plan events at the First and Florida Park following the renovations.
  2. Spring Planting and Clean Up – organize mulch delivery and community clean up for this spring.
  3. Flower Power 2011 – organize and plan the annual flower power contest and reception.
  4. Rat Control Program – organize different blocks to consent DOH to conduct rat inspections and treat those blocks if rats are present.
  5. Neighborhood Watch Program – need block captains to organize a neighborhood watch program.

 Please contact Geovani A. Bonilla if you are interested in any of these programs. Email gbonilla@hospicemanagement.com

10 thoughts on “Update From Monday’s BACA Meeting

  1. so does anyone have a good sense what the future of the LAYC proposal is? some are reporting that it is essentially done for, but that does not seem to be a foregone conclusion. however, if it is then the community should be proactive and try to actively recruit desirable ventures for the Cook school.

  2. The small area plan probably represents the best chance we have to make sure that our wishes for not only Cook, but the half dozen other city-owned vacant properties are represented. I wonder when someone from the planning office could present?

  3. @ JD – so true. Becareful what you wish for. We now have a vacant property that has been deteriorating for several years. This development did not move forward, so what is the community going to do to make this an attractive site for developers? I can tell you, crime and social programs have been the key factos in preventing economic development in this area (economic impact studies have been done by North Capitol Main Street). I don’t see many of our neighbors taking very active role in addressing either of these 2 issues. Reality of Truxton Circle Area (which includes BACA and Hanover) is not a very attractive site for developers given that: crime is high, median income is $41,000, high concentration of social programs, 21% of properties are vacant and only 38% of homes are occupied by home owners. So unless neighbors start getting involved to change the tapestry of the neighborhood, development will not take place.
    @Mike – I am working with Deborah the Ward 5 Planner on meeting with our civic association – this will take place once the funds for the small business plan are transferred to this project.

    1. So for a positive slant on things (it is Friday afterall), we were on the brink of attracting another social program that would include residents that were not the homeowner (2 out of 3…). It appears that train has been stopped and we have an opportunity now to: A-Push that train in the right direction B-Let that train rust in place C-Watch that train get going in the wrong direction again

      I’m up for pushing but I need help understanding where to push and how hard. There is so much potential! Could you imagine a weekend market (like Eastern Market) over there?!? There are so many cool people in this neighborhood and we know the farmer’s market at Big Bear is a success except for the parking complaints of a few locals… How hard would it be?

      With a little vision and guidance, I think we could get enough people to start pushing… And you know who we are looking to for vision and guidance don’t you Mr. President?



    2. Geovani, thanks for following up on the small area plan. If anything positive came out of the cook school, it was the large number of people spoke up finally.

      Hopefully we can keep this momentum up and not let the city ignore this are again. As Greg mentioned, what direction should we push, and who should we lean on to help this area grow.

      In addition to the schools and city-owned property, we also have to content with the serveral commercial developer/slumlords that are squatting on property. Is there anything we can push for, blighted designation, redevelopment incentives to encourage development

  4. We should not get ahead of ourselves: “Latin American Youth Center at J.F. Cook School: Not Dead Yet” http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/2011/02/11/latin-american-youth-center-at-j-f-cook-school-not-dead-yet/

    LAYC definitely has the big $$ and political connections. I seriously doubt if their canvas was accurate in describing that 20 new Section 8 housing units would be created on Unit block of P St NW. I live on that block and was not home when the canvassers came by, but the flyer was predictably misleading. Our neighborhood’s fight for development and services that–for once–are actually in our interest is far from over.

    Also, if anyone from CM Thomas’ office is reading this blog: How many social service agencies are located within a three-block radius of the CM’s home? He needs to get off the fence and side with residents.

    1. ” Even Bates Area Civic Association president Geovani Bonilla says he came around after learning that–contrary to what opponents alleged–the youths to be housed at the school would not be ex-offenders, and the program was entirely voluntary, with intense counseling and job training.

      But that puts him at odds with the rest of his civic association, so he’s been limited in his ability to speak out. And LAYC, which Bonilla says made public relations missteps early on in the process, hasn’t been able to recapture public opinion.

      “It was kind of like the healthcare bill,” Bonilla says. “They allowed their opposition to take control of the topic.””

  5. I also am interested in how we become empowered to work with developers and the city to bring something interesting to Cook, and whether it really must be used for its original purpose – a school? Can we revive the arts space idea – a Bates Area Torpedo Factory? Combined with a hip restaurant, please.

  6. This is what I am talking about…. Neighborhood Power. I will post a list of neighborhood initaitives that target this area. I am also joining the North Capitol Main Street which is a great way for us to use these 3 school properties to be a foot print for econominc development. I will update my meeting yesterday with Mayor’s Office, Council Member’s Office, MPD, North Capitol Main Street, DDOT and Washington Metro Transit Authority and Commissoner Bradley Thomas.

  7. There are a lot of other charter schools which would love that building. Some of them are elementary programs with appealing programming options that would actually serve families who live in this neighborhood.

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