Monday, January 2, was the last day to see the Botanic Gardens outdoor G-gauge model train exhibit. The trains circulated through a display of 13 agricultural scenes from across the US and around the world, all made from plant parts. Here are some shots of the exhibit from Saturday morning.
Wheat and corn farm. Kansas
Olive grove. Spain.
Sorghum-Millet-Cowpea farm. Mali.
Artichoke farm. California.
Potato farm and Macchu Picchu. Peru.
The Week Ahead…& Photo Essay: Botanical Garden Model Train Exhibit
by Larry Janezich
Posted January 2, 2023
Tuesday, January 3
ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
637 A Street, SE. Zoning Adjustment Application. Special exception to construct a detached, two-story accessory garage with dwelling unit, and convert to a flat, an existing attached, two-story principal dwelling unit
637 A Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application. New two story carriage house to replace existing one-story garage, with second floor accessory apartment
Wednesday, January 4
ANC6B Transportation Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Harvest Tide Steak House, 212 7th Street SE. Request for an Entertainment Endorsement for Retailer’s Class “C” Restaurant license.
Rose’s at Home, 721 8th Street SE. New Class “B” Internet Retailer selling beer and wine online only for off-premises consumption.
Pacci’s Trattoria, 106 13th Street, SE. Request for a New Class “CR” Restaurant License with a total capacity of 85 people. Hours of Operation, Sales, Service and Consumption Sun.-Thurs. 11 AM—11 PM; Fri. & Sat. 11 AM – 12 AM Midnight; Same for sidewalk café.
The National Museum of the American Indian is exhibiting “Raven and the Box of Daylight.” The museum describes it as “an immersive, multisensory experience” which tells a creation story – the story of the transformation of darkness to light.
The Tlingit people of Southeast Alaska share a creation myth about how the culture’s iconic Raven brought light into the world. The myth has many variations among the Tlingit villages but all have common elements. The Tlingit American artist Preston Singletary has woven these myths into a narrative and illustrated the story in glass sculpture.
The Raven of the Tinglet myths is a trickster, teacher, and transformer.
According to the myth, the world was once enveloped in darkness and the Raven decides to do something about it. Following the Nass River, he encounters the Fishermen of the Night who tell him about the local Nobleman who has light captured in three boxes. Raven finds a devious way to enter the Nobleman’s house.
Raven birth. After an immaculate conception of the Nobleman’s daughter, Raven is reborn as a “precocious and precious” human boy.
The Boxes of Light: The Moon, The Sun, The Stars. Given the boxes of light to play with, the now-human Raven releases the contents one by one to take their places in the heavens.
Freed from the darkness the people become the Animal People, the Winged People, and the Water People according to the regalia they wore when the world was dark. “Those who remained strong (and stubborn) became Human People,” the myth says.
The exhibit runs through January 29, 2023. 10:00am – 5:30pm.
Happy Holidays from Capitol Hill Corner.
The Week Ahead…. Is pretty quiet.
ANC6A Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Here’s the concept for R13 Community Partners plan for developing their three parcels of Phase II Bundle II. There are three components: The two residential buildings nearest RFK (with ground floor retail) and the Marriott Residence Inn (parcel C), the Central Park mid-screen (parcel E), and the Condos and Town Houses at the bottom (parcel H). (These depictions are concepts only and the final product may look substanially different.)
The Donatelli and Blue Skye development team was awarded a contract for Bundle 1 comprised of parcels A, B-1, B-2, F-2, G-2.
Update on Development of Reservation 13 Phase II – Tentative Timeline for Bundle II
by Larry Janezich
Posted December 20, 2022
In November of 2021, the city awarded development contracts to build over 2,300 units in Hill East on Reservation 13 to R13 Community Partners and to Donatelli and Blue Skye Development.
Last Tuesday night R13 Community Partners (a team of 8 developers) gave an update to ANC6B on the planned construction of a mixed use project with 1,246 units and 60,000 square feet of retail near RFK – part of Phase II of the Reservation 13 development plan.
The briefing was ostensibly to seek ANC input on development of the central park component of the project, but a since the project is in Ward 7 it had the feel of being a demonstration of good will by the developers after Donatelli and Blue Skye had received criticism for demonstrating indifference to Ward 6 residents of Hill East during their planning of the Phase I development of Res 13.
Evans Charles of the contracting firm Frontier Development and Hospitality Group, gave a tentative time line for the project:
The development will proceed in three phases:
Phase 1 – two apartment buildings, retail and infrastructure near RFK is scheduled to break ground in the spring of 2024.
Phase II – the central park including the RFK Memorialization and Relisha Rudd Playground will overlap with Phase 1 and break ground about 12 months later.
Phase III – the start time on the condos and townhomes “will probably be about 12 months after that.”
Charles added that construction time would be about 24 months
The project anticipates delivery of 1005 rental units in two buildings: 334 Affordable Units (184 at 30% MFI Median Family Income and 150 at 50% Median Family Income); 334 Middle Income and Workforce Units at 80% Median Family Income; and 333 at Market Rate. There will be studios and 1 – 3 BR units at each income tier evenly dispersed. (Median Family Income: https://bit.ly/3PGLMT4 )
The project will include 115 fully furnished co-Living units (presumably in the smaller building) with common kitchens: 19 at 30% MFI, 16 at 50% MFI, and 80 at Market Rate.
The Central Park including the RFK Memorialization and Relisha Rudd Playground.
Also, 126 For Sale condos and townhomes: 38 affordable: 19 at 50% MFI, 19 at 60% MFI, and 87 at Market Rate.
The project will include a 150 unit Marriott Residence Inn
The R13 Community Partners provided the unit numbers used above on their website and they don’t quite add up to 1,246 units, but that’s not unusual as numbers are tweaked to account for studio and 1-3 bedroom units. Here’s a link to the website: https://bit.ly/3HVYBHz
Update on Pacci’s Restaurant on Lincoln Park. Last Tuesday night, ANC6B voted to support restaurateur Spiro Goldasis’ request for a stipulated alcohol beverage license allowing him to operate before his liquor license is formally approved. He told the ANC that he hoped to open this coming week. On Friday morning, however, he had pushed that back to “early January” pending receipt of his license to operate. Pacci’s is at 106 13th Street, SE. The building formerly housed the Park Café, Ninnella, and the Lincoln Park Kitchen and Wine Bar. Goldasis has another Pacci’s Trattoria in Silver Spring, Maryland. You can check out that menu here: https://www.paccistrattoria.com/
Here’s a shot of how the interior is shaping up.
Meanwhile, over at 1430 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Olga & Manny’s Pizza is making progress on their build out but they don’t look close to opening any time soon.
ANC6B. Last Tuesday night, ANC6B held it’s final meeting with many expressions of mutual appreciation exchanged among commissioners. One of the main recipients was outgoing Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg who is retiring after 15 years of service as an ANC commissioner. The commission awarded its Distinguished Public Servant Award to Naomi Mitchell, who recently retired from the staff of CM Charles Allen and whose work as community liaison touched numerous lives in Ward 6 over the past 16 years. The commission also received a briefing on the development of Res 13 11/Bundle II – which will be detailed in an upcoming post on Capitol Hill Corner. The commission will see a major turnover in January with the retirement or redistricting of Oldenburg, Samolyk, Ready, Holtzman, Holman, Horn, Krepp, and Wright.
ANC6C. Wednesday night saw a brief last meeting of the current commissioner. Three commissioners are retiring including the long serving chair Karen Wirt who has a 24 year record of serving as a 6C commissioner. Expressions of gratitude went to her as well as Commissioners Healey and Courtney who are also retiring.
ANC6D. Like the other ANC meetings this month, this one was heavy on the sentiment and plaudits, especially for retiring Commissioner Litsky – who like Commissioner Wirt in 6C marked the end of 24 years of service on the ANC. Also leaving 6B either through retirement or redistricting: Commissioners Daniels, Weiss, and Lightman.
In some substantive ANC6D business regarding the BZA Application for 1250 Maryland Avenue, SW, (The Portals) the developer, Lowe Enterprises, floated a compromise regarding a dispute over affordable housing. ANC6D is pushing for more affordable housing in a 450 unit luxury condo conversion of the commercial building which – because of zoning – has no requirement that affordable housing be provided. The developer initially offered two units in recognition of the need for housing in the city. After a lot of back and forth the developer proposed using the $2 million cost of the proposed two units in The Portals for affordable housing in another development to provide “9 or 10” affordable housing units that would benefit more than just two families. The ANC lent conditional approval to the idea and to continue to negotiate while preserving the two units currently on the table.
The Week Ahead … Update on Pacci’s & Some Photos from the Past Week
by Larry Janezich
Posted December 18, 2022
The Week Ahead…
Monday, December 19
ANC6A Transportation & Public Space Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Neighbors for Justice invites residents to send virtual letters to our neighbors in the DC Jail. Tuesday in the deadline. The website makes it easy to download a form with guidelines on what to write about.
Help let the 1,500 men and women in the jail know that we are thinking of them this holiday season and help provide some encouragement during what has been a very difficult year with lockdowns, mistreatment, and inhumane conditions at the jail.
Neighbors for Justice was founded in August 2020 by neighbors who live a few blocks from the DC Jail and wanted to do more to support our neighbors at the jail during COVID and beyond.
Local investors in Mott’s Market, 233 12th Street SE, are making sure that the location continues to bring the community together and offers needed resources. On Saturday, December 17, “Mott’s Winter Wonderland” provided family photos with Santa, hot cider, Christmas treats, gift-wrapping services, a toy-donation box, and opportunities to buy Christmas gifts and baked goods from local vendors. Visitors seized the chance to tour the opened-up market space and the two-bedroom apartment above, both available for rent.
The outdoor pop-up market featured local vendors.
A fund-raising poster flanks a table groaning with Christmas treats.
Tours were available of the building’s interior.
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In need of post-Thanksgiving exercise my partner and I walked to Kingman Island. We didn’t expect much given the time of year and late afternoon sunlight. But it was fun. It was so quiet we could hear our footsteps as we crossed the wooden bridges. We saw a gigantic beaver, ducks, a variety of grasses, and a splendid Bengal cat wearing a harness and exploring with his human.
It’s a good destination for a winter nature walk suitable for adults and children. If duck and beaver viewing isn’t sufficient incentive for the kids, there is a large playground and restrooms at the nearby Fields at RFK. Checking the tide on a Kingman-tide related websites may add another dimension to further a child’s interest in the hike.
Wide angle view of the bridge.
Getting There. You can park in RFK Lot 6 near the Ethel Kennedy Bridge (AKA Benning Road Bridge). Or take the Metro. Kingman is between the Stadium/Armory and Benning Road stations. A short downhill walk from Lot 6 leads to the road sign in the parking lot that directs you to the Anacostia River Trail. The Trail runs between Kingman and the Wharf . It is designed for bikes, pedestrians and is wheelchair accessible.
The Anacostia River Trail.
A little History. In 1742 the Anacostia was a deep tidal river and wetland with a commercial seaport in Bladensburg. But grasslands and forests were quickly cleared as the populations grew. By 1840 unchecked erosion filled the river bed and closed the port. Eroded soil formed huge mud flats covered with American lotus, lily pads, and wild rice. It sounds ideal but human waste from local sewage systems was drained into the Anacostia and the area became a breeding ground for disease bearing insects. Malaria became so prevalent that the US Surgeon General got involved. With his help civic groups petitioned Congress to fix the situation.
Enter the Army Corps of Engineers. Under the direction Col. Dan Christie Kingman in 1898, the Corps created the recreation area by dredging the Anacostia. Drying out the mud eliminated the public health danger and provided material to create Kingman and Heritage Islands. The restored area is named for Col. Kingman who died before the work was finished. Ideas for developing the island included a major effort to develop a children’s amusement park but money and lack of parking killed those ideas. Ownership was eventually transferred to DC in 2021.
Grasses in ceramic planters.
Grasses have long served humans as food, shelter, vessels, clothing and musical instruments throughout history. Today, one species, phragmites australis, is a case history of how a plant becomes invasive. Stalks are sometimes as thick as 20 stems per foot. You have probably seen their gigantic plume-like blossoms in roadside wetlands. Each plume contains thousands of seeds that sail in the wind. They are rapidly replacing other grasses, native plants and wildlife by absorbing nutrients and space. They pose a fire hazard and block access to the water for wildlife and humans. They are next to impossible to eradicate without chemicals.
DC and the non-profit Living Classrooms together manage on-going conservation efforts on the island. Clearing dense mats of wild honeysuckle and other brush that block access to the river bank for erosion management is an on-going battle.
Living Classrooms (https://livingclassrooms.org/programs/kingman-heritage-island / ) is active in Baltimore and DC. They are a great resource for information, activities and educational programs ranging from job training for adults to watershed and Invertebrate exploration for families. They also host canoes for public use. Volunteers are invited to participate in clean up days posted on the website. Activities include clearing brush and planting seeds in the newly cleaned up areas.
A walk to Kingman might make a good end to a day of holiday excitement. Have a wonderful holiday and may 2023 be packed with happy trails.
Out and About is an occasional photo feature by artist, photographer, gardener, and Capitol Hill resident Elizabeth Eby. She finds vignettes while out and about on or near Capitol Hill.
Last Sunday, Capitol Hill Corner reported that sources say that the controversial oculus project is dead. The project had envisioned removing the central circulation desk in the Main Reading Room to make way for a 24 foot oculus affording visitors a view of the interior dome from a new Orientation Gallery on the floor below.
Capitol Hill Corner has confirmed that the oculus project has been cancelled. According to Brett Zongker, Chief of Media Relations, LOC, some changes to the plan to make the LOC a friendlier visitors’ destination were necessary due to “budget overruns and a suboptimal design that has emerged from the design process.”
In a November 14, 2022 letter to Senator Roy Blunt, Ranking Member of the Committee on Rules & Administration which oversees the Library, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said:
“Preparations are underway to create a new 8,600 square foot orientation gallery… The Library recently received the final design plans with associated budget and schedule requirements for the oculus feature proposed as a centerpiece of the Orientation Gallery. Several changes required during the construction design process resulted in a significantly less impactful and engaging outcome, including the addition of fire safety equipment that reduced the size of oculus from a diameter of 24 feet to 16 feet. At the same time, the cost for the feature escalated considerably, and the Architect of the Capitol estimated that they would require additional time to complete construction for the Orientation Gallery, based on the final oculus design plans.
The suboptimal design, significant increase in cost, and unacceptable extension of the entire project’s timeline led the Library to make the difficult decision to eliminate the oculus from the Orientation Gallery plans. The Library’s leadership will move quickly to develop a new approach that will enhance the Orientation Gallery’s design, while minimizing the budget and timeline impacts on the overall project.
While we are disappointed that the new Orientation Gallery will no longer provide visitors with the new and exciting perspective into the Main Reading Room that we initially envisioned, plans for a glass vestibule extending from the Great Hall entrance into the Main Reading Room for visitors will also move forward…..”
The plan, which would have eliminated all – and then part under a revised oculus concept – of the historic central circulating desk in the Main Reading Room drew wide opposition from preservationists. Recently, The Society of Architectural Historians released a September 8, 2022, letter from the SAH Heritage Conservation Committee to Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla D. Hayden opposing the proposed alterations to the Main Reading Room. See here: https://bit.ly/3HtWrhY
Zongker told Capitol Hill Corner: “We will provide updates on the project as the designs are further refined and finalized.”
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Another CBD (read weed gifting) outlet on Barracks Row. Strawana opened at 427 8th Street, S.E., in the space formerly occupied by the sneaker laundry Sole Wash next to the 7-11. When it opens across the street, Mother Blossom – where the buildout is underway – will be the second CBD/weed gifting outlet on the 400 block of Barracks Row. There are several CBD/weed gifting outlets on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, on the 500 block and the 1100 block. Last April, the City Council voted down a proposal to close down weed gifting shops. Some councilmembers said gifting would move to a harder-to-monitor delivery service while others decried stifling entrepreneurship. Those who voted against the bill (which fell one short of the 9 votes needed for emergency legislation) were Silverman, George, Henderson, Robert C. White, and Trayon White. Sole Wash has relocated to The Yards at Eastern Market –700 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Suite 2066.
And speaking of which, here’s a shot of the Library’s Main Reading Room and the central desk which is the subject of a controversial plan which would entail removal of the center tower to permit construction of an oculus window giving visitors on the floor below a view of the interior dome of the Library. One of the LOC volunteers who are present to answer questions said that the oculus project was dead. (Later, a second source told CHC it had been scrubbed a few weeks ago.) In November, The Society of Architectural Historians released a September 8, 2022, letter from the SAH Heritage Conservation Committee to Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla D. Hayden in opposition to the proposed alterations to the Main Reading Room. See here: https://bit.ly/3HtWrhY
Across the way, here’s a shot of the Capitol Christmas Tree. This year’s tree is a 78 foot red spruce from North Carolina. Nicknamed “Ruby” the tree is decorated – according to tradition – with handmade ornaments from residents of North Carolina.
Thursday, December 8, saw the 100th anniversary of South East Library. The hope was to have the renovation done in time to re-open the Library on the date of its anniversary – but, bureaucratic delays, you know….
Last Thursday was the last meeting of the current members of ANC6A. The business of the commission was routine and was followed by commissioner comments on the accomplishments of the commission and expressions of thanks from Chair Amber Gove. When the Commission convenes in January 2023, it will be a 7 members commission (down one seat from the current 8, owing to redistricting) and will be comprised of ANC6A01 Keya Chatterjee, 6A02 Mike Velasquez, 6A03 Roberta Shapiro, 6A04 Amber Gove, 643, 6A05 Laura Gentile, 6A06 Robb Dooling, and 6A07 Stephen Moilanen.
Mott’s Neighborhood Market LLC President Mike Skinner receives the Civic Pride Award.
Jerome Jefferies – The “Mayor of 10th Street, NE.”
Brickies Awarded to Save Mott’s Market and to the “Mayor” of 10th Street SE
by Hilary Russell
At the 16th Annual Ward 6 Brickie Awards at the Hill Center, Councilmember Charles Allen presented inscribed commemorative plaques attached to bricks to the five winners of a very competitive nomination process, along with short videos that highlighted their invaluable contributions to our ward.
Capitol Hill residents turned out in force Wednesday night to celebrate Jerome Jeffries, winner of the Neighbor Award. Jeffries grew up on 10th Street, NE, and tirelessly looks out for the interests of residents and provides innumerable volunteer services, including raking leaves and shoveling snow.
It came as no surprise to followers of this blog that Save Mott’s Market won the Civic Pride Award. The complex and ingenious grassroots campaign to save the historic corner store on 12th Street, SE, “…represents the best of what we’re all capable of,” said Allen, noting the importance of small businesses that bring the community together. One such enterprise, The Queen Vic on H Street, NE, won the Business Award.
Friends of Southwest DC received the Community Organization Award. Southwest was also represented by Nathaniel “Coach Skip” Green of DC’s Department of Parks and Recreation, winner of the Public Service Award for his outstanding success in engaging youth in sports.
A scene from Wednesday night’s Brickie Award Ceremony at Hill Center.
The event attracted a wide range of local sponsors, including providers of delicious food and drink for attendees. The Annual Brickie Awards in December recognize the people and organizations that strengthen Capitol Hill and help to make it a special community.
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Eastern Market Advisory Committee Plans Restructure to Focus on Future Health of Market
by Larry Janezich
Posted December 5, 2022
Last Wednesday night, the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC), began consideration of a series of restructuring moves prompted by long standing concerns over the future of the Market. The concerns have been heightened by a growing recognition of Eastern Market’s vulnerability in terms of support from the city owing to erosion of the tax base because of continuing stress in the commercial real estate market.
EMCAC is a community-based advisory body and has no real power re governance of the Market. The Market is managed by the Department of General Services (DGS), which is not really in the business of running a business, and though DGS’s management has been adequate for the day to day management of operations, the agency itself appears to have little interest in utilizing city resources to invest in the long term financial well-being of the Market. EMCAC appears ready to step in to fill the vacuum and seems to have the support of Ward 6 CM Charles Allen.
The restructuring proposals came out of a brain-storming retreat on November 9, where EMCAC members and Eastern Market Manager Barry Margeson came up with a list of politically and financially feasible actions meant to further the goal of promoting financial stability of the market.
Several of the proposals were brought up for consideration at last Wednesday’s meeting. These proposals are part of a larger plan which will be pursued depending on early success of the initial actions.
The first action EMCAC agreed to was to consider the expansion of EMCAC membership and to reorganize EMCAC’s committee structure. Currently the Eastern Market statute limits EMCAC voting membership to 11 members. There is one seat vacant. The statute allows bringing on new members by a 75% vote of EMCAC but once the 11 seats are filled, new non-voting member organizations can also be added by 75% vote. According to EMCAC Chair Chuck Burger, this action item will include taking a look at tweaking the law to allow more voting members. Under the statute, potentially eligible new organizations must be broad-based and long standing in the community. The committee authorized Burger to seek out potential organizations and submit a list of possible candidates for discussion.
In conjunction with expanding EMCAC, the committee considered a proposal to re-organize and expand EMCAC’s committee structure. The need for at least one new committee in particular was cited – an Outreach Standing Committee to manage digital and social media outreach as well as oversee outreach to solicit new EMCAC volunteers. Burger said he would make recommendations regarding a new committee structure including the establishment of a new committee and detail the responsibilities of each committee by January.
EMCAC also agreed to a third action, to explore establishing EMCAC as a 501C3. According to Burger, nothing currently bars EMCAC from going out and raising money, but funds raised go into a city-controlled Enterprise Fund. Burger said, “If we raise money [for operational costs], we want to control it.” He said this would require a minor tweak of the legislation, and the committee authorized EMCAC Treasurer Tom Kuchenburg to investigate the possibility of setting up EMCAC as a 501c3 non-profit organization.
Further initiatives are expected to be forthcoming, building on the success of the initial proposals. In addition to the major initiatives above, the Committee also agreed to several other proposals which were generated in the retreat. Among these:
Obtaining a “seat at the table” to discuss the update of the Natatorium. The city is expected to begin discussions next spring with the issuance of a Request for Proposals for concepts regarding what can be done on the renovation of the city-owned building. EMCAC wants to insure they have a voice for input, influence and information in the planning process.
Creating an Emergency Response Subcommittee to discuss security and safety and examining both the need and the cost benefits ratio.
Creating a plaque to honor long time EMCAC Chair Donna Scheeder.
Investigating the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing leases for the inside South Hall Vendors vs keeping the status quo of no leases.
EMCAC will not meet in December, and will next meet on Wednesday, January 25th.