ICYMI, the Washington Business Journal reported that the city is considering bringing in a new developer for the Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club at 261, 17th Street, SE. Many proposals have been put forth over the years, but none have borne fruit. Now Morningstar Community Development has a plan for 35 condos – 5 offered at 50% AMI, six at 80% AMI, and the remaining 24 at 120% AMI. The proposal envisions the city transferring the property to Morningstar for $1 which would permit development. DC regulations require that 30% of the units in developments on city-owned land be affordable. If the DC Council’s Committee on Business and Economic Development approves the deal it would go to the full City Council for consideration. https://www.bizjournals.com/ (Thanks, Jeff Tara)
Also, ICYMI WAPO had an article on Chicago artist Jim Bachor who contracts with individuals and organization to fill potholes with concrete topped with a mosaic. This one, on H Street, NE in front of Solid State Books, was commissioned by #Relist/Wolves Campaign to relist the Rocky Mountain Norther Wolf as an endangered species. Bachlor has installed 108 pieces around the country, including Nashville, Philadelphia, NYC and Los Angeles. For more, go here: http://bit.ly/3ANDGBO
And speaking of installations, here’s Triple Candie’s latest – Spiderwoman’s Theater – on view at the former Li’l Pub, 655 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.
The paint is barely dry on this mural on the north side of Goding Elementary School at 920 F Street, NE. The title is “Wings 2022” by Miss Chelove. Cita Sadeli, also known as Miss Chelove, is an independent Washington DC-based art director, muralist, designer and illustrator. She is the former Co-Founder of art + interactive agency Protein Media (based in Washington DC and Brooklyn, NYC). For more, see here: https://chelove.com/
Finally, here are three shots of the crowd at last night’s Capitol Hill Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
The Week Ahead … & Some Photos from the Past Week
by Larry Janezich
Posted, November 27, 2022
Monday, November 28
ANC6A Community Outreach Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Kathy Didden throws the switch and lights the Capitol Hill Christmas Tree on Saturday evening.
This year, the special programmed light show with music will play throughout December at the top of the hour from 5:00pm to 10pm. The display is being presented in partnership with Barracks Row Main Street and DC DPR.
Hundreds of Capitol Hill residents turned out for the lighting ceremony.
The local quartet Joyous Voices welcomed reverlers with holiday carols as the community gathered.
Patty Brosmer, President, Capitol HilllLBID, welcomed the crowd. The Capitol Hill Bid, along with Barrack Row Main Street and the DC Department of Public Works sponsored the event.
The Capitol Hill BID engaged Kojo Nnamdi, host of WAMU’s Political Hour, and Tom Sherwood, former WAPO reporter and current political analyst and City Paper congtributor, to be the Masters of Ceremony.
The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop’s Suzuki Strings performed.
As did the Washington Youth Choir.
Ward 6 Councilmember Charls Allen called the event the marquee for the Eastern Market Plaza space and shows “what an amazing community we live in … the amazing place we call home…I’m excited to be kicking this off … we love this tradition and love sharing it with you.”
Vocalist Adalia Jimenez returned this year and just prior to the tree lighting, sang what has become part of the tradition, the song Sunny, written and made famous by singer/songwriter Bobby Hebb as a tribute to and in memory of his older brother.
Kathy Didden with grandchildren.
Photo Essay: The 16th Annual Capitol Hill Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
by Larry Janezich
Posted November 27, 2022
Hundreds of Capitol Hill residents gathered at Eastern Market Metro Plaza on Saturday evening to welcome the winter holidays with the 16th Annual Lighting of the Capitol Hill Christmas Tree. Here’s how the tradition began.
In 2007, the Capitol Hill BID planted a 20-foot evergreen tree in the large circle garden near what is now the playground on the NE quadrant of Metro Plaza to honor their founding President George Didden, III. That same year, Didden was stricken with a devastating illness. In light of his precarious condition, the Capitol Hill BID had a larger monumental tree installed on the SW quadrant near the entrance to the Metro.
On December 7, 2007, the community came together to celebrate the lighting of the original smaller tree for the first time. A few weeks later, Didden passed away – but with the knowledge that both trees – the newer “Big George” and the original (now known as “Little George”) were in place.
Little George succumbed to disease in 2019 and was no longer decorated for the holidays. Big George – also known as “Sonny” – Didden’s nickname – still flourishes and now stands at 40’ in Didden’s honor. This is the tree that was lit Saturday night by Kathy Didden, wife of the late George Didden. She has flipped the switch to in the tree lighting ceremony since 2007.
The tree is decorated by the Capitol Hill BID’s “Men in Blue” every December, and illuminated in front of the Capitol Hill community to kick off the holiday season.
The special programmed light show with music, presented in partnership with Barracks Row Main Street and DC DPR will play throughout December from at the top of the hour from 5:00pm to 10pm.
Here’s a selection of some of the prints. Orders must be placed by mid-night November 30. Place orders and see the whole collection at http://bit.ly/3u0OAk1
PRINT SALE TO SUPPORT Capitol Hill Arts Workshop Community Programs
By Elizabeth Eby
Posted November 25, 2022
CHAW (Capitol Hill Arts Workshop) Announces a flash sale of prints by over 20 affiliated local artists. Bright and colorful, decorative or thoughtful, there are over 20 to choose from. They are printed on 8×10 archival paper, unsigned editions. This is a standard size so inexpensive frames are available from art supply or craft stores. Any one of them would make a perfect gift for someone on your list– Or maybe yourself. All proceeds will benefit CHAW outreach workshops and tuition assistance for children. Prints are $50 each and will be delivered by December 30.
Orders must be placed by mid-night November 30. Place orders and see the whole collection at http://bit.ly/3u0OAk1
El Sol Mexican Grill at 1251 H Street, NE, is the target of a liquor license protest by ANC6A’s Alcohol Licensing Committee.
Neighbors cited a long litany of complaints about multiple quality of life and safety issues about the alley behind El Sol, Pow-Pow, and the expected arrival of a new restaurant, Bronze, in the space formerly occupied by Milk & Honey.
H Street El Sol’s Liquor License Threatened as ANC Committee Votes to Recommend Protesting Renewal
by Larry Janezich
Posted November 23, 2022
Last night, ANC6A Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee rose up and voted unanimously to protest the renewal of the liquor license for El Sol Mexican Grill at 1251 H Street, NE. Neighbors whose homes back up the restaurant cited on-going issues regarding rodents, trash, noise, delivery trucks, and sanitation, as well and gatherings which sometimes result in criminal activity in the alley behind the restaurant. Residents say that restaurant owner Fernando Postigo pays them lip service affirming his concern about the issues but never takes action to address them.
Postigo presented his application for El Sol’s liquor license renewal. He addressed complaints which he said neighbors had raised about trash, noise from the 2nd floor bar District Daiquiri, and security in the alley. He asserted that a long-idle trash compactor would begin operating within a month, that he had committed to installing lights and security cameras in the alley, and that he hadn’t had any recent complaints about noise from the 2nd floor bar’s rear balcony. He admitted to several DOH citations on trash and to an upcoming ABRA hearing whether District Daiquiri was a second business operating on El Sol’s liquor license. He also admitted that the security camera in the alley had not been operational for 45 days.
Mike Velasquez, current resident member of the Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee and Commissioner-elect for the Single Member District where El Sol resides, said that neighbors’ concerns are widely shared in the nearby community. Velasquez: “When I scheduled a listening session on this I had to schedule a second meeting to accommodate the number of people who wanted o register their concerns. Frankly the public outcry is overwhelming….Neighbors have engaged directly with the establishment and its management. For years they have been proactive and attempted to be constructive and for years their concerns have gone unheeded by the management. My duty… is to stand up for them and say we are done with the poor practices of this establishment. If this establishment can’t be a good neighbor they can close down their operation on H Street and focus their efforts on operating their other establishments.”
Velasquez pointed out that the restaurant had never been in compliance with the 2016 Settlement Agreement governing operations for El Sol regarding sanitation after garbage pickup, prohibiting dumpsters on public space, and physically identifying trash containers used by El Sol. He submitted recent photos which substantiated the claim.
Given the opportunity to respond, Postigo apologized and said there are a lot of things going on in alley but that he has no control of the alley – “people can go there.”
Committee Chair Erin Sullivan pointed out that things which Postigo can control are apparently not being done – such as the provisions of the 2016 Settlement Agreement. She said, “It is very unusual to have this level of years and years and years of complains being raised without a resolution.”
A Wednesday afternoon visit to the alley behind El Sol brought out Marie, El Sol’s manager. She said she had had a call from management this morning stressing that greater effort needed to be made on the alley. She said she had ordered the installation of a light and camera on the cement block pillar overlooking the alley behind El Sol and went to some lengths to demonstrate the cleanliness of the trash containers, the closed grease barrel, and the absence of rodents. As Postigo did last night, she reiterated that she couldn’t control the alley, but pledged to keep the gate to the area holding the trash compactor (pictured above) locked. She said she had instructed trucks delivering to El Sol twice a week to not use the alley. Finally, she pointed to trash cans of neighbors down the alley as being part of the problem which she can’t control.
She said that starting immediately access to the balcony used by patrons of District Daiquiri would be locked. She has ordered removal of the red cooler and accumulated old furniture from the landing below the balcony and ordered power washing of the alley. She said the area below the below the landing holding the old furniture and the alley fence does not belong to El Sol.
This image shows El Sol’s trash cans – which are supposed to be labeled – and the broken lights an cameras on the rear wall of the former Milk & Honey/Smith Commons, suggesting other near by business will need to be engaged in the effort. Marie says the blue trash containers will be removed once the compactor is operational.
Some committee members sought a middle ground, suggesting a conditional protest based on resolutions of issues raised during the meeting. Discussion suggested that was impractical and Commissioner-elect Velasquez made a motion to recommend the full ANC protest the license renewal at it’s meeting in December 8. The motion passed unanimously.
A protest to a liquor license triggers a set of ABRA protest procedures. A protest letter filed before the petition deadline results in a Roll Call Hearing where an ABRA agent determines if the protesting parties have standing (ANC’s automatically have status). Dates are set for 1) Mediation to seek dispute resolution, 2) a Status Hearing where parties come before the board to discuss the status of the protest, and 3) a Protest Hearing – a formal hearing conducted by ABRA where both parties present arguments and witnesses. The Board issues a written order within 90 days. Many protest cases are resolved by mediation overseen by ABRA.
Comments Off on H Street El Sol’s Liquor License Threatened as ANC Committee Votes to Recommend Protesting Renewal
Last Monday night, EventsDC held its virtual quarterly public meeting to discuss of the status of the demolition of RFK and the Farewell RFK Stadium Campaign.
Structural demolition of RFK is on track to start next year and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.
Lower bowl seats are being removed and prepared for sale. Photo: EventsDC.
EventsDC has received its Selective Demolition permit. Smoot Construction has begun demolition of the non-structural elements of RFK such as restrooms, windows, and seats. Smoot will continue abatement of asbestos through the fall and winter of 2022. As deconstruction continues, a comprehensive rodent control plan for the site and the perimeter will be implemented. Once trucks become active around the site, a traffic control plan will be imposed. Noise, dust and vibration levels around the site are monitored regularly.
Inside the stadium, construction crews are working from the top of the stadium down to the service level. Smoots has been removing the iconic orange seats from the lower bowl. As part of EventsDC’s Farewell RFK Stadium campaign, these seats and other commemorative merchandise (TBA) such as turnstiles will be available for sale on line. See here: www.StadiumSeatDepot.com Purchased seats may be picked up December 14 – 16 on the RFK Festival Grounds, Lot 8.
An RFK construction camera live feed of stadium from the roof of the Armory is up and will not only record the events but provide a future time lapse video of the demolition.
DDOT updates on 1300 block of North Carolina Avenue, NE, Lincoln Park, 11th Street NE plan, and other pending TSIs.
Update on DDOT’s Electric Vehicle curbside charging program.
Constituent concerns re: speed tables on 1300 block of D Street, NE.
Chik-Fil-A Public Space Permit Application. Consideration of two proposed motions relating to the restaurant’s application to DDOT for a fence higher than 42 inches.
Recommend that ANC 6A send a letter to DDOT opposing Chik-Fil-A’s application for a taller fence, because the DC code does not allow fences greater than the current 42 inches in public space, and exceptions are only for high-security sites such as embassies.
Recommend that ANC 6A send a letter to DDOT requesting that ANCs receive more than 23 days to review public space applications because ANCs meet only once a month.
Washington Gas contractor obstruction of bike lanes at Florida Avenue, NE, between 10th and 11th Streets, NE.
Request for support for an Art Block Party event and mural painting on H Street NE by community group Our Climate.
Consideration of traffic safety improvements at 16th and East Capitol Streets, NE/SE, and 16th and A Streets, NE.
Consideration of traffic safety improvements on the 300-600 block of 19th Street, NE.
Discussion of improving curbside signage and/or requesting loading zone for a portion of the 1500 block of East Capitol Street, NE, (the north side).
Tuesday, November 22
ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Capitol Hill ANC Election Returns as of Sunday, November 13 & Some Observations
by Larry Janezich
Posted November 14, 2022
Here are the results of the election in the 43 ANC Single Member Districts on or near Capitol Hill, including those Single Member Districts of Hill East now in Ward 7 (including 7D05 Kingman Park in Ward 7 formerly in Ward 7) and those in Navy Yard now in Ward 8. Winning candidates are marked with an asterisk. The five contested elections are in BOLD.
Amber Gove won reelection in ANC6A after overcoming a recall effort.
Also in ANC6A, Commissioner Chatterjee prevailed in a challenge by Christina Goodlander.
Only two incumbents sought reelection in ANC6B which lost decades of experience because long time incumbents decided not to run.
ANC6B has a gender bias favoring men.
Former Commissioner, ANC6B Chair, and city council candidate Chander Jararaman returns to the ANC as commissioner.
ANC6C will miss the evenhandedness of Chair Karen Wirt who did not seek reelection.
Former Commissioner and ANC6D Chair Gail Fast returns to the ANC as commissioner.
ANC7D will have the majority of its Single Member Districts on the west side of the Anacostia River.
Commissioner and ANC6D Chair Edward Daniels who was redistricted out of ANC6D was elected as a new commissioner for ANC 8F.
Write in votes in races with no candidate on the ballot are counted as regular votes and presumably winners will be announced.
Apparently, regulations require a special election in ANC7D10 because Alison Horn’s name appeared on the ballot despite the fact she had withdrawn from the election on October 18. Horn garnered 570 votes.
ANC6A – 7 seats – 4 new commissioners
ANC6A01 Christina Goodlander 155 25.12 %
*ANC6A01 Keya Chatterjee 452 73.26%
*ANC6A02 Mike Velasquez 672 96.69%
*ANC6A03 Roberta Shapiro 404 52.81%
ANC6A03 Nicole “Nikki” Delcasale 347 45.36%
*ANC6A04 Amber Gove 643 69.44%
ANC6A04 Alexandra Kelly 274 25.59%
*ANC6A05 Laura Gentile 728 97.59%
*ANC6A06 Robb Dooling 633 95.48%
*AND6A07 Stephen Moilanen 578 93.98%
ANC6B – 9 seats – 7 new commissioners
*ANC6B01 Frank Avery 561 94.76%
*ANC6B02 Gerald “Jerry” Sroufe 590 96.09%
*ANC6B03 David Sobelsohn 547 94.15%
*ANC6B04 Francis “Frank” D’Andrea 517 95.39%
*ANC6B05 Kasie Durkit 592 97.05%
*ANC6B06 Chander Jayaraman – 741 94.88%
*ANC6B07 Vince Mareino 751 96. 9%
*ANC6B08 Edward Ryder 426 97.71%
*ANC6B09 Matt LaFortune 710 97.39%
ANC6C – 7 seats – 4 new commissioners
*ANC6C01 Christy Kwan 432 77.98%
ANC6C01 Lauren Kuritz 111 20.04%
*ANC6C02 Leslie Merkle 502 91.11%
*ANC6C03 Jay Adelstein 642 94.69%
*ANC6C04 Mark Eckenweiler 497 96.69%
*ANC6C05 Joel Kelty 624 95.85%
*ANC6C06 Patricia Eguino 554 95.68%
*ANC6C07 Tony Goodman 504 97.39%
ANC6D – 8 seats – 4 new commissioners
*ANC6D01 Bob Link 377 96.42%
ANC6D02 Tom Seidman 180 32.49%
*ANC6D02 Ron Collins 353 63.72%
*ANC6D03 Gail Fast 517 94.34%
ANC6D04 (No candidate on ballot) Write ins: 77 100%
*ANC6D05 Ashton Rohmer 380 96.2%
*ANC6D06 Bruce Levine 657 95.91%
*ANC6D07 Fredrica “Rikki” Kramer 662 96.%
*ANC6D08 Rhonda Natalie Hamilton 477 97.75%
ANC7D – 6 seats – 5 new commissioners
*ANC7D05 Ebony Payne 580 97.64%
*ANC7D06 Marc Friend 324 95.29%
ANC7D07 No Candidate on ballot. Write ins: 271 100%
*ANC7D08 Brian Alcorn 477 95.95%
ANC7D09 Shane Seger 317 43.66%
*ANC7D09 Ashley Schapitl 394 54.27%
ANC7D10 Alison Horn (Still on ballot after withdrawing on 10/18) 570 85.59% (Special election necessary)
ANC8F (Navy Yard) – 5 seats – 4 new commissioners
*ANC8F01 Nic Wilson 417 93.92%
*ANC8F02 Rick Murphree 672 92.43%
*ANC8F03 Brian Strege 493 85.89%
ANC8F04 Jena Kamzol 180 24.79%
*ANC8F04 Edward Daniel 521 71.9%
ANC8F05 Write In 125 100%
Comments Off on Capitol Hill ANC Election Returns as of Sunday, November 13 & Some Observations
Ginza Karaoke opens this week. The so-far unmarked entrance to Ginza Karaoke and Barbeque Lounge is situated between Bitter Grace and Bombay Street Food on Barracks Row at 526 8th Street. Eat DC reports the entertainment/restaurant venue is hosting a soft opening at 6:00pm on Thursday, November 16th. The Japanese BBQ restaurant ill be on the roof top while the karaoke will be confined to the second floor where there will be 8 private rooms and a dance floor. Total capacity is set at 157 people plus 49 at the rooftop restaurant.
Here’s a shot of the glittery fun-promising view you see as you step inside Ginza.
Wednesday night, ANC6B met under the gavel of newly elected Vice Chair, Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk, who stepped up to the leadership to fill the seat left vacant when former Vice Chair Alison Horn resigned from the ANC because of relocation. The committee voted to send letters to DDOT regarding their concerns about the 30% design for the I-695 11th Street Off-Ramp and giving the ANC’s conditional support of a plan for an Open Street Event on 8th Street SE/NE listing numerous potential issues.
Also from the Wednesday night ANC6B meeting, a Navy Yard Land Swap: The Navy Yard, citing security concerns, wants to swap land on their east end (yellow) to a developer who has the rights to develop Federal Center land on M Street (blue). This is an image of the plan the Navy prefers. The proposed use of the land on M Street (blue) would be to site a new Naval Museum. The proposed use of the east end of the Navy Yard (yellow) would potentially be 2 million s.f. of residential, retail, office and parking. There will be community meetings next week on the Environmental Impact Study to receive comments. See below, Tuesday and Wednesday.
807 Maine Avenue, SW. ANC6D held a Special Meeting last Thursday, chaired by Commissioner Edward Daniels, and continued to hold Mill Creek Development’s feet to the fire, listing the community benefits the ANC wants in exchange for their conditional support of the residential/retail development at 807 Maine Avenue, SW.
A commitment to provide 42 below market rate units (27 proffered by the developer at 50/60% AMI) plus 27 units at 60/80% equally divided.
Reduced FAR Floor Area Ratio
Not to be construed as altering Small Area Plan in SW or elsewhere in DC
Financial support of $150,000 in supplemental educational activites to PTO of Jefferson Academy Middle School
$100,000 equally divided between PTOs of Amidon-Bowen Elementary School and Richard Wright Public Charter School
$75,000 for public art under direction of minority and women owned business in consultation with group to be selected by the ANC.
Approved construction management plan and a plan for dog waste management stations
ANC6A, chaired by Commissioner Amber Gove, met last Thursday night and announced an ANC6A Multi-Agency Community Outreach Walk on WEDNESDAY November 16: Meet at 9:30am, 600 8th Street, NE. Presumably this will include MPD and DOH and DPW as well as representatives from the Mayor’s office.
Not available at press time. (6D – less transparent than other ANCs in Ward 6, does not release its agenda early)
Tuesday, November 15
Virtual Community Meeting on Navy Yard Land Swap: 6:00pm – 7:00pm. The Navy Yard hosts the first of two virtual meetings to receive verbal comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Study of land transfers at Washington Navy Yard. The Concept plan is to create potential for 2 million square feet of residential, retail, office, and parking use ~1300 at 11th and O Street SE (Background Info and how to join the meeting here: EIS: https://ndw.cnic.navy.mil/WNY-Land-Acquisition/1/
Wednesday, November 16
ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
1717 E Street, NE. Zoning Adjustment Application. Request for Special Exception zoning relief to construct two new, semi-detached, four-story, 4-unit, apartment houses.
1022 Maryland Avenue, NE. Zoning Adjustment Application. Request for Special Exception zoning relief to permit a Health care facility for up to 15 persons in an existing, three-story detached building.
ANC6A Multi-Agency Community Outreach Walk: Meet at 9:30am, 600 8th Street, NE.
Virtual community Meeting on Navy Yard Land Swap: 1:00pm – 2:00pm. The Navy Yard hosts the second of two virtual meetings to receive verbal comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Study of land transfers at Washington Navy Yard. The Concept plan is to create potential for 2 million square feet of residential, retail, office, and parking use ~1300 at 11th and O Street, SE. Background Info and how to join the meeting here: EIS: https://ndw.cnic.navy.mil/WNY-Land-Acquisition/1/
Comments Off on The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week
The Peter Bug Shoe Academy at 1320 E Street, SE. In the background, the former Buchanan School, now the Buchanan Condos. The large stele on the left – a public art project – is the last of three sculptures remaining on the site after the renovation of the school’s plaza and playground in 1968.
This 15 foot concrete public art stele created by sculptor William Tarr is one of three pieces commissioned for the site. The piece is patterned with geometrical shapes and symbols and is slowly disintegrating from abrasions of weather and time.
A former sunken basketball court was part of the renovation of Buchanan’s Plaza/Playground in 1968. Today it’s overseen by the Peter Bug Academy and used for local performances and community festivals.
Lady Bird Johnson, Buchanan School & Peter Bug Matthews
by Larry Janezich
Posted November 12, 2022
After the 1968 reality of Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification of the playground at Buchanan School faltered in the 1970s, Capitol Hill resident Peter Bug Matthews picked up the pieces and founded the Peter Bug Shoe Academy. Now it’s on the way to being designated as a DC Historic Landmark.
Last Tuesday night, ANC6B voted unanimously to support the designation of the Peter Bug Shoe Academy as a DC Historic Landmark. Earlier this month, Todd Jones of the DC Historic Preservation Office presented the nomination to the ANC’s Planning and Zoning Committee which recommended the nomination to the full ANC. Mr. Matthews initiated the proceedings for the designation, filing a petition and application with the Historic Preservation Office. (For more on the process, see below.)
The site’s history dates to the mid-1960s and Lady Bird Johnson’s Beautification Project which had made addressing urban decay part of its mission. DC became a “template city” according to Jones in his remarks to the Committee.
Buchanan School was built in 1895 but by the 1960’s the school, playground and plaza had become dilapidated and rundown. Under the First Lady’s Beautification Project, federal assistance provided $300,000 and the Vincent Astor Foundation (owing to the interest in the project of NYC socialite, philanthropist and LBJ friend Brooke Astor) kicked in another $428,940 to create a new play area for the school, including a sunken basketball court, chess tables, climbing equipment, a water feature, public art, and a building with restrooms, snacks, and an office.
Post LBJ Beautification renovation project, the playground was one of the best in the city. It was meant to be a 24 hour community living space without fences. Photo: LBJ Presidential Library
The First Lady spoke at the opening of the new facility in May of 1968 attended by future first home-rule mayor Walter Washington and Brooke Astor. Photo: LBJ Presidential Library
In her remarks, the First Lady said, “School yards must not be locked at 3:00 pm. They must not have forbidding fences that shut the community out and shut the children in. Outdoor time is learning time, just as much as the hours spent in the classroom. Play facilities must offer wide variety, and lots of challenges, so that young people stretch and grow – emotionally, as well as physically. They must be attuned to the tempo of our times – and how fortunate we are to have the people who see this need and are filling it. This kind of round-the-clock community playground is a new and constructive answer to the urban problem.” See LBJ Library video here.: The section on Buchanan School starts at 8:50:00 minutes into the video: http://bit.ly/3fYDAQJ
As soon as the early 1970s, however, the renovated playground and building again fell into disrepair. Maintenance was the responsibility of the Department of Parks and Recreation which did not have the resources to provide the necessary upkeep. It was then, according to Jones, Capitol Hill resident John Matthews (known by his nickname of “Peter Bug” after the customized souped-up gold Volkswagen he drove) sold the idea of opening a shoe repair shop in the now closed play area building to the Department of Parks and Recreation. Matthews’ training was in education and his specialty was shoes – and he founded the Peter Bug Shoe Academy there which opened in 1977. Jones told the committee, “He established a safe place to learn job skills and continues doing that today.” The sunken basketball court became a venue for local performances and community festivals. Jones said, “The nomination recognizes and remembers the long legacy of community engagement and public service the Academy represents for the Capitol Hill Community.”
Regarding the vehicle from which Peter Bug got his nickname, Mr. Matthews told the committee he is in the process of restoring the 1966 Volkswagen and he hopes to park it in front of the Peter Bug Academy by Thanksgiving as an attraction and legacy marker in its own right. He says, “It’s not gold anymore – it’s maroon. And we’ve renamed the Volkswagen. It’s now called Bugszilla.”
In the spring of 2016, Insight Development purchased the school site began the conversion of Buchanan School and the nearby townhouses into luxury residences – Buchanan School Condos and Buchanan Park Town Houses. The project did not incorporate the southwest corner of the site comprised of the remnants of the playground, the sunken basketball court, and the Peter Bug Academy.
DC property owners and community groups can help to preserve local history through historic designation. Getting a property or area recognized as historic requires a successful application to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). The Board designates historic landmarks and districts for listing in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites, working with the staff of the Historic Preservation Office (HPO).
When HPRB evaluates an application for listing in the DC Inventory, it also decides whether to recommend the property for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. This advice is forwarded to the District’s State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), who nominates properties for National Register listing. See here: http://bit.ly/3hA1TVN
Peter Bug Matthews’ oral history interview with the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project can be found here: http://bit.ly/3GfnXPA
For more on what happened in the aftermath of the 1968 dedication, see article by Jim Myers here: http://bit.ly/3UwwNgf
Capitol Hill Art League Presents: “What Brings Me Joy.” Reception Saturday 5:30pm-7pm
by Larry Janezich
Posted November 11, 2022
The Capitol Hill Art League will host a reception on Saturday evening, November 12, for a new exhibit at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th Street, SE, from 5:30-7:00 pm. Those attending the show will be able to vote for the winning “People’s Choice” art work. The show will run until December 9.
The Art League says: “The theme of this show “What Brings Me Joy” opens so many doors for art interpretation. Art itself brings us joy, as do the people and places that inspire it. This non-juried show will display a wide range of interpretations of joy.”
Featured artists in the show are: Ken Bachman, Julie Byrne, Tom Chabolla, Tara Hamilton, Deborah Hurtt, Jim Huttinger, Steve Kunin, Elisabeth Lacayo, Rindy Obrien, Carolyn Rondthaler, Elin Whitney-Smith and Karen Zens.