Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B July 2020 Virtual Meeting Notes

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B held its July 2020 public meeting Monday evening via Zoom. The commission serves the neighborhoods of Takoma, Manor Park and Lamond-Riggs.  This blog post will highlight some of the top stories from that session.

You can view a recording of the live stream here:

Presentations

This month’s presentation was a joint address by the leaders of the four Main Streets programs that affect portions of the Takoma, Manor Park, and Lamond-Riggs neighborhoods.  These Main Streets and their leaders are:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses have been devastated by the lockdowns and the major shifts in consumer activity.  All four executives stated how the impact of the virus has caused them to refocus their missions from marketing and business retention to completely reengineering some of these businesses to help them survive.

Some of the services that the Main Street programs have been able to provide include informing business owners when and how they are safely able to operate according to orders from the city (and state and county for Maryland) governments.  They have facilitated grant and loan disbursements to local businesses (Full disclosure: I served as a volunteer grant application judge for the Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street).  Several have also purchased personal protective equipment in bulk and distributed it to their membership.

There have been many successes, including helping some shops establish a gift card program or online ordering for the first time.  There have also been some casualties, with a few businesses already closing up shop.  There are even a few new sprouts of hope, such as the quiet opening of the Children’s National Neurology Outpatient Center at the Takoma Theatre and GKIDS Production Yard Style Food on Georgia Avenue. Donut Run will open on 4th Street NW in just a few weeks.

The challenges remaining for our local small businesses before we get to the end of this health emergency are vast.  The directors were unanimous in their appeal to the public to help preserve our small businesses by visiting their outdoor dining scenes, participating in an exercise event, or just helping to get the word out about these great businesses that are open and eager to serve the public.

Reports

Report from Office of Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon T. Todd

Deputy Chief of Staff Dolly Turner highlighted a few budget wins Ward 4 from the recent budget process. The Councilmember was able to maintain all Ward 4 school modernizations budgets. A full description of all of the projects will be contained in the Councilmember’s newsletter this week.

The Takoma dog park construction will begin in August and continue through December 2020.  In addition, the $5M in funding for the renovation of the Takoma aquatic center is intact.  That project should begin in the middle of 2021.

Report from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services

Mr. KeShawn Harris from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services stopped by to share a few announcements.  The first was a reminder for all DC households to complete the U.S. Census forms.  Right now, the city’s census completion rate is trailing the national average by nearly 10%.

Mr. Harris also provided the latest update to the city’s COVID-19 response, which you can always find on the coronavirus.dc.gov web site. Soon, DC will begin deploying its Contract Trace Force for home visits. The team will assess residents’ needs for health services.  Last week, the Mayor issued a new, mandatory mask order for most residents. Finally, she also issued a self-quarantine order for all residents and persons traveling to or from “high-risk areas” within the prior fourteen (14) days for non-essential travel. These people must self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days following their return or arrival to the District.  The list of “high-risk” areas includes 27 states which can be found here.

Report from the State Board of Education Representative – Frazier O’Leary

Mr. O’Leary began his report by stating that Mayor Bowser is going to announce the school reopening plan on this Friday, July 31st.  He then recited a list of meetings where current school teachers testified that they are not ready to go back to school because they didn’t feel safe due to the coronavirus.  In his view, this sentiment appears to be unanimous (last week, a protesting caravan of teachers honking their car horns rode past my house on their way to Councilmember Robert White’s and the Mayor’s homes.)

He then stated that 40% of DCPS teachers live in Prince Georges County, one of the several surrounding districts that have already decided to open virtually throughout the first semester of school. Finally, he implored the audience to not relax even if the Mayor does decide to open virtually because the issue of educational equity, including access to technology, still needs to be addressed.

About Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4B represents the Ward 4 neighborhoods of Takoma, Manor Park, and Lamond-Riggs. An ANC is a non-partisan, neighborhood body made up of locally elected representatives called Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners. The Commissioners are elected to two-year terms and serve without pay.

The ANCs’ main job is to be their neighborhood’s official voice in advising the District government. Although they do not have to follow the ANCs’ advice, District agencies are required to give the ANCs’ recommendations “great weight.”

These are the members of ANC 4B:

Single Member District Name Email
4B01 Evan Yeats 4B01@anc.dc.gov
4B02 Erin Palmer 4B02@anc.dc.gov
4B03 Scot Knickerbocker 4B03@anc.dc.gov
4B04 Brenda Parks 4B04@anc.dc.gov
4B05 Perry Redd 4B05@anc.dc.gov
4B06 Tiffani Nichole Johnson 4B06@anc.dc.gov
4B07 Geoff Bromaghim 4B07@anc.dc.gov
4B08 Alison Brooks 4B08@anc.dc.gov
4B09 LaRoya A. Huff 4B09@anc.dc.gov

Find your ANC here.

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