I have now heard repeatedly from residents on a range of issues—from public safety to the state of our recreation centers—that "If this were upper Northwest, this wouldn't be happening." And in many respects, I agree. Disparities in how resources are deployed and how concerns are addressed are a long-standing reality in the District, and I've come face-to-face with many of them over and over again since taking office. Healthy communities mean that all neighbors have a shared quality of life regardless of where you live or your background. Holding District agencies accountable means disrupting the status quo of disparities, and fighting for your concerns to be taken seriously and addressed with urgency. This week alone, I've fought for Ward 5 neighbors on issues like:
Public Safety. I continue to express concerns to my colleagues about the need to 1) advance a comprehensive public safety strategy, 2) more robustly examine and support our public safety apparatus, and 3) come together across all three branches of government to keep residents safe. I am meeting regularly with MPD leadership and the Mayor's team to point out ways in which our public safety apparatus needs to improve for Ward 5 residents. Next week, I have a meeting with Acting Chief Smith where I plan to press on a number of questions around MPD's staffing, closure rates, and culture issues. I'm also convening a community public safety meeting and community public safety walk in Brookland on August 8 and 10 to ensure neighbors are heard. More information is available in the Public Safety Updates section below.
Recreation. I've also heard concerns—many from our Ward 5 seniors—about conditions at Turkey Thicket. Today, I joined DGS and DPR for a walkthrough to follow up on the many months of complaints from residents. I am happy to report that contractors were out today making repairs to long-standing issues including the locker room shower heads and drains, committing to an August 5 completion date for the boiler for the hot tub, preparing to fix the turf on the playground, and making sure the facility is clean. I share more on this visit in the Week in Review section below.
Education. This week I also continued my Ward 5 schools tour with a visit to Burroughs Elementary. I documented a number of needed repairs that must take place before students return in the fall. While Burroughs prepares for modernization, I recently met with the PTO and I am following up with DCPS to ensure that we find a way for modulars to be set up on site at Burroughs so that Ward 5 parents are not expected to drive across town to get their children to school. I look forward to sharing more updates soon.
Environment. Ivy City residents have long-endured a polluting factory in their neighborhood. I am in touch with the DOEE, Congresswoman Norton, and the EPA, and am exploring legislation to make clear that no resident should have to breathe toxic air. I stand in solidarity with Ivy City residents and community leaders who are protesting the NEP factory and will have updates soon.
Much of the work to advocate for neighbors is happening behind the scenes where I am fighting and amplifying your concerns. Oversight matters. Despite the Council being on recess, my team is working around the clock on your behalf. We are here for you and you can reach us anytime at 202-724-8028 and email@example.com.
Last Saturday, I was honored to speak at the history-making graduation ceremony honoring the 23 Black Deaf students and four Black teachers of Kendall School Division II. Students and their descendants received the high school diplomas they had been denied in the years the school operated (1952-1954). The school was segregated from Gallaudet prior to the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 which made school segregation illegal across the country. These moments of healing and repair are needed in so many spaces across our communities, and I was grateful for the invitation to participate in Gallaudet's event.
On Monday, my team and I connected on a number of priorities including support for schools, environmental justice, and public safety as we work on long-term legislative goals.
Tuesday, my team attended the Catholic University Public Safety Walk. University officials led the time, including President Kilpatrick, and community members joined along with MPD in response to recent violent incidents in the area. I will continue to engage with CUA on issues of public safety in Ward 5. Last week, you may have seen my Constituent Services Coordinators in the nearby neighborhoods distributing these letters.
Tuesday afternoon, my visits to Ward 5 schools continued with Burroughs Elementary. Burroughs is slated for modernization, which means major interim renovation projects are unlikely. However, there’s a list of concerns we documented that must be addressed to ensure students are safe and comfortable. As with all the school visits I've conducted, I'll follow up again before school starts to ensure requests have been completed.
Wednesday was full of meetings with community advocates and organizations on a range of issues including healthcare, equitable development, and the opioid crisis. My team attended Catholic University's Town Hall to continue conversations on public safety on and around campus. I also sat down for another interview, this time on the "Hearing the Council" podcast hosted by Josh Gibson. I'll be sure to share the link when the episode drops.
We also held a farewell celebration on Wednesday afternoon for our summer intern, Alex O'Sullivan. Alex has been a tremendous help in researching for our legislative priorities, lending a hand at community events, fielding constituent calls, and more. We wish him the absolute best as he heads back to Yale in the fall, and hope he'll return to lend his talents again next summer!
Yesterday, my office co-hosted a Multi-Agency Resource Fair with ANC 5D07 Commissioner McCullum and At-Large Councilmember McDuffie in the Carver Langston neighborhood. Neighbors were connected to dozens of resources including employment opportunities, behavioral health providers, violence interruption programs, utility bill assistance, and more.
It was also another day of meetings to hear from neighbors and community advocates on a variety of issues. Following several disturbing public safety incidents in Brookland, I spoke with the Mayor and MPD Commander Altieri to ensure MPD resources are delivered to focus areas and that investigation protocol is being effectively followed.
Yesterday evening, my team attended the Arboretum Bridge and Trail Project Virtual Public Meeting. You can read a recap of that meeting and access a link to the recording in Ward 5 Updates below.
Today, I visited Turkey Thicket Recreation Center for a walkthrough with the Department of General Services and Department of Parks and Recreation. My team has fielded complaints about conditions at Turkey Thicket for months. I'm committed to ensuring this central hub for our community is in good condition.
Contractors were out today fixing long-standing issues, and we received timelines for other requests including roof repair. Because of our advocacy and oversight, I've also received confirmation that trash pick-up will change from Tuesdays and Thursdays to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to ensure the campus is cleaner.
The spray park at Turkey Thicket is on and working. I raised concerns about it not working at random times on hot days, especially on weekends. DGS says the spray parks work on a timer, and Turkey Thicket's should be properly set now. The spray park is on an extended schedule (open until 9:00 p.m.) during the current heat emergency through Sunday, July 30. Stay cool this weekend! There are cooling centers open across the city, and individuals needing transportation to a cooling center may call 202-399-7093 or dial 311.
This afternoon, I stopped by Calabash on 12th St NE which sadly closed this past week. I spoke with the owners to convey my support for all that they brought to Ward 5. I'm excited that they'll participate in Ward 5 Day and I'm hopeful that Calabash can find a new home in our community soon. Here's a memory from one of the many stops I made to enjoy their delicious tea.
In the past few months, we have experienced disturbing public safety trends across Ward 5 communities. I've worked with our public safety partners and engaged with neighbors to get a better sense of the steps we need to take to stem the tide. In addition to our regular coordination with MPD and violence interruption groups, I have continued to request increased presence in and around focus areas including Brookland, Edgewood, Brentwood, and Carver Langston. I also often share the following resources with neighbors so they have access to public safety data and tools:
While Ward 5 does not exist in a vacuum, and crime spikes are occurring throughout the DC region, I want neighbors to have resources for staying connected to our public safety apparatus and my actions steps for building a safer Ward 5.
To address the acute issues in the Brookland area, I am hosting a public safety community meeting and public safety community walk on August 8 and 10. Please plan to join us:
We are working to provide a virtual option and will update neighbors on this next week
Brookland Public Safety Community Walk
August 10 - 5:00 p.m. @ 12th and Newton St NE
Here are some of the additional public safety updates I have for you this week:
Hyundai Anti-Theft Mobile Clinic: There has been a trend nationwide of car thefts, particularly of Hyundai and Kia vehicles. MPD has been distributing steering wheel locks to owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles to help deter theft. MPD and Hyundai will now host an anti-theft mobile clinic to install the latest anti-theft technology at no cost to residents. The clinic is available now through Monday, July 31 from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. at RFK Parking Lot 8, located at 2400 Independence Avenue SE, with no appointment necessary. The installations will be performed by on-site service technicians who will install and complete the software upgrade, which is expected to take less than an hour.
Thank you to the more than 250 neighbors who have completed the survey my office is conducting on public safety (Public Safety Poll). If you haven't yet, I invite you to take it as I work to get a sense of Ward 5 neighbors sentiments around public safety right now. It's very brief, and will help me in my work representing your priorities well on the Council. Click here to share your thoughts! We look forward to sharing the results with neighbors soon.
MPD launched a new robbery unit this week that will target citywide hotspots through data-driven, targeted policing. This is particularly relevant as robberies are the primary uptick in crime trends right now. We look forward to sharing more information at our upcoming public safety meeting on August 8.
New MPD Fourth District Commander. Carlos Heraud has been promoted to Assistant Chief, and the new Fourth District Commander is Nikki Lavenhouse. I look forward to meeting with Commander Lavenhouse to discuss concerns in the University Heights, Michigan Park, Queens Chapel, Fort Totten, and Lamond-Riggs neighborhoods.
Recent incidents near Catholic University (CUA) prompted many meetings. This week I met with President Kilpatrick and ANC Commissioner Rojas (who is also a CUA student). My team attended CUA's Public Safety Walk and Public Safety Town Hall last week. Out of the meeting between CUA and MPD, MPD agreed to the following:
More frequent and longer patrols by MPD on John McCormack Road
An MPD representative will provide safety guidance at First-Year Orientation
The Fifth District will provide additional police presence on Monroe Street during peak times throughout the school year and the remainder of the summer
MPD will provide CUA with information on MPD or District programs and resources available, or as they become available, to enhance campus safety
Some neighbors have expressed frustration that the Fourth District is not more present in ANC meetings. In sharing this, the Fourth District encouraged us to let neighbors know that they hold a monthly meeting on second Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. hosted by Captain Terry and the 4D Community Outreach Team. You can join here. (The link was broken in last week's newsletter).
Please mark your calendar for August 26 at Turkey Thicket for Ward 5 Day, and spread the word! It'll be a day full of food, music, games, activities, a backpack giveaway, and traditions old and new including the first-ever Ward 5 Awards celebrating remarkable members of our community. There will also be pop-up events across the Ward during the week of August 20 - 25.
Thank you to those who have nominated neighbors for a Ward 5 Award. Nominations are still open! Click below to nominate a community member now.
Nominations for the Ward 5 Awards: Do you know a remarkable community member who makes Ward 5 a better place?Someone who has gone out of their way to help neighbors, build healthy communities, and represents the best of Ward 5? Nominate them for a Ward 5 Award by August 18! The Awards Ceremony will be from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Trinity Washington University's campus on August 26.
Taste of Ward 5: Are you a local restaurant or food vendor? Help neighbors get a taste of our community at Ward 5 Day!Apply here by August 18. Criteria: Must serve a minimum of 100 free samples. Must be based and currently operating in Ward 5. Selling food or beverages prohibited. Must have a active license.
Exhibitor Booths: Have an organization or business with an awareness or education focus? Consider having a booth to connect with neighbors at Ward 5 Day. Apply here by August 18.Criteria: Must be an educational booth. Prohibited from selling items.
For more information on these forms, contact Debra Kilpatrick Byrd, Ward 5 Day Committee Chair, (202) 262-3987 or by email: Dkbyrdplanner@gmail.com.
Bladensburg Bus Garage
Community Meeting - August 8
Metro is hosting the summer Community Meeting for the Bladensburg Bus Garage Reconstruction Project on Tuesday, August 8 at 6:00 p.m. Meeting topics will include a project overview, construction activities, a 90-day outlook, and more. This meeting will be held in a hybrid format (in-person and virtually). All participants should register here. You can also read the most recent Bladensburg Bus Garage Project Community Update Newsletter here.
In-person: Woodridge Neighborhood Library (1801 Hamlin St NE)
Virtual: A join link will be sent after you register
New Metrorail Stations in Ward 5?
WMATA's Capacity and Reliability Study Survey
Metro launched the Blue/Orange/Silver Corridor Capacity & Reliability Study (BOS Study) in 2019 to identify potential solutions to address multiple needs and opportunities on those three Metrorail lines. Following extensive community outreach, public meetings, and work with the community and local jurisdictions, WMATA has come up with a range of potential infrastructure and operational improvements to ensure quality service while meeting the needs of the growing region. 3 of the 4 new-build alternatives would bring new Metrorail stations and service to Ward 5 neighborhoods that currently are inaccessible via Metrorail, like Fort Lincoln and Ivy City. You can view the alternatives here, and complete the survey to give feedback on your preferred alternative here.
Notices of Intent - Modifying Traffic/Parking Requirements
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is required to give written notice of their intent to modify traffic and/or parking requirements to the Council and affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANCs) to allow for a public comment period on the modifications. The following Notices of Intent (NOIs) for Ward 5 are open for comment:
Closes for comment on August 3: New York Ave and Bladensburg Rd NE Safety Project - Read and comment here
Closes for comment on August 19: Installation of all-way stop control at 18th St and Bryant St NE - Read and comment here
Recap: Arboretum Bridge and Trail
Virtual Public Meeting - July 27
My team attended the Arboretum Bridge and Trail Project Virtual Public Meeting, led by DDOT in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) yesterday. This project will connect Kenilworth Park (in Ward 7) with the U.S. National Arboretum (in Ward 5). The meeting shared the conceptual designs of the trail and bridge which includes a paved walkway for pedestrians and cyclists. The project will increase connectivity between Ward 7 and 5, and improve access to the Anacostia waterfront for all pedestrians, cyclists, kayakers, canoers, anglers, and wildlife observers. You can access a recording of the meeting here.
ANC and Civic Association Meetings
This week, my team attended the ANC 5F meeting. Here's a brief recap:
ANC 5F (July 25 at 7:00 p.m.):
Meeting attendees heard from developers at 701 Michigan Ave NE who promised at least 20% affordable housing and were approved for zoning changes. My team shared public safety updates and discussed engaging the community about the redevelopment of the Harry Thomas Recreation Center. We also heard from DC's Advanced Technical Center which allows high school students to dual enroll in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
Many ANCs and Civic Associations have a recess for part of the summer, which often results in fewer meetings in July and August. To view upcoming ANC and Civic Association meetings, check out the calendar on my website.
Not sure which ANC is yours? Use this tool to look it up. We're here to help, so email us anytime with questions - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a need, or want to share important information for ANC and Civic Association Meetings? Get in touch with one of our Constituent Services Coordinators:
5A & 5C: Carlos McKnight, email@example.com
5B & 5D: Oliver Stoute, firstname.lastname@example.org
5E & 5F: Sam Bonar, email@example.com
Kendra Wiley is our office's Legislative Director. In this section of the newsletter, she provides updates on the Councilmember's legislative activities and educational pieces about the legislative process.
Vacant and Blighted Properties
This Summer, the Council is kicking off the Vacant and Blighted Property Working Group. We’ve heard concerns from Ward 5 residents about properties in the neighborhood that sit unoccupied and in disrepair. Under the Department of Buildings, the city has a team dedicated to bringing these buildings back to productive use, and send notifications and responds to complaints about building occupancy status.
The city defines a blighted vacant building as “a vacant building that is determined by the Mayor to be unsafe, insanitary, or which is otherwise determined to threaten the health, safety, or general welfare of the community.” There are approximately 3,800 vacant and blighted buildings in the city.
There have been recommendations from the public to incentivize redevelopment of these properties. The Vacant and Blighted Property Working Group will look at the current law and engage stakeholders on how to make effective changes to the current legislation. By addressing issues with vacant and blighted properties, we can improve the quality of life for all District residents.
The Community Voices Academy (CVA) is designed with the goal of structurally and systematically including the voices and perspectives of Black and Brown low-income District residents with lived experiences surrounding affordable housing and/or workforce development trainings and programs. In addition to contributing their perspectives on policy and budget issues, members of the CVA also receive advocacy training and access to the experts, resources, and policymakers that will help them tackle housing and economic development issues in their communities.
The program is a 10-month commitment spanning from September to June. They are currently soliciting applications from interested residents and will on-board the new members to start in September. Participants will be paid for their time -- $200 monthly with a $500 end-of-service award at the completion of their term. The application, eligibility requirements, and additional materials can be found at: www.cnhed.org/cva.
Metro Lift: Income-Qualified Fare Program
Metro is making it more affordable for tens of thousands of Metro customers to travel across the region. Metro will provide a 50% discount on Metrorail and Metrobus fares for customers who are currently enrolled in either the DC, Maryland or Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The discount will reduce the cost of a bus trip to just $1 and rail fare to as little as $1 and no more than $3 depending on how far you travel. For more information and to enroll, visit the Metro Lift website.
Summer Ready DC Home Weatherization Kits
Through the DCPSC Summer Ready DC campaign, District residents can prepare their homes for high temperatures and summer storms by:
At outreach events, attendees can choose to receive one GE Lighting CYNC smart full color A19 LED light bulb ($10.99 value) or one Frost King white rubber self-stick weatherseal tape ($8.67 value), while supplies last. Note: Only residents of the District of Columbia are eligible for this promotion. There is a limit of one weatherization item per address AND one item per customer. Ward 5's event is on August 16 at Lamond-Riggs/Lillian J. Huff Neighborhood Library (5401 South Dakota Ave NE) from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Free Weekly Veggie Giveaway
The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) hosts three weekly free veggie giveaways of local, fresh organic produce including kale, collards, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, herbs, flowers, and MORE! They occur May 9 through November 30 (weather permitting). In Ward 5, the weekly giveaway is at the Edgewood Rooftop Farm (at the Edgewood Recreation Center - 301 Franklin St NE) every Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Throughout Ward 5:
Northeast Summer Nights - Outdoor Dinner Party + Movie Series
July 12 - August 9
@ Across the Ward DC Squared presents Northeast Summer Nights: outdoor dinner parties and movie series across Ward 5! Learn more here. Here's the summer line-up (please note they have made changes!):
August 2 - Rhode Island Ave, Woodridge
August 9 - Rhode Island Ave, Bryant St
Fridays at Fort Totten
June 2 - August 25 - 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
@ Modern at Art Place
Summer nights just got cooler. Join DC Fray and The Modern for a free concert series, happening Friday nights from June through August. Bring your own chair and sit back to enjoy live tunes, food trucks, games and community vibes from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Here's the remaining summer line-up:
Jazz in the Park
August 5 and 12 - 6:30 p.m.
@ Langdon Park (2901 20th St NE)
Join the DC Department of Parks for a series of pop-up music and art installations at scenic green spaces all over the District. These events are free, open to the public, and a great way to take advantage of DC's tremendous park system, which was recently ranked #1 in the United States. The series features locally known artists, musicians, and civic demonstrations in a celebration of DC culture. All you have to do is get there, sit back, and enjoy your local parks and a free show.
Made with Love Market
August 5 and August 19
@ 18th and Monroe St NE
Join local art and wellness shop, Made with Love, for arts and crafts indoors as well as local vendors along the sidewalk. You can look forward to food, drinks, iced treats for cooling off in the heat, clothes, art, and jewelry vendors.
Late Night Hype
August 11 - 6:00 - 11:00 p.m.
@ Turkey Thicket Recreation Center (1100 Michigan Ave NE)
LATE NIGHT HYPE is a nighttime carnival-style event featuring bounce house, music, food, video games, and more from the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). Learn more here.
Rock Creek Park:
Mubadala Citi DC Open
July 29 - August 6
@ Rock Creek Park Tennis Center (5220 16th Street NW)
Co-founded by Arthur Ashe, Donald Dell, and John A. Harris, the Mubadala Citi DC Open in Washington, DC, is one of the oldest and most prestigious tournaments in tennis and is the only combined ATP & WTA 500 tournament in the world. Held annually in Rock Creek Park since its founding, the Mubadala Citi DC Open is also the longest-running pro tennis event to be held in an equal-access public park. American Andre Agassi holds the record for most titles in the US capital, winning five (1990-91, 1995, 1998-99.) Past champions also include Ken Rosewall, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl, Yannick Noah, Monica Selles, Martina Hingis, Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, Venus and Serena Williams, and many more. Enjoy some amazing tennis right here in DC!
Community Safety Fair
July 29 - 2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
@ Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (901 G St NW)
Public safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and there is brilliance in the community that has gone unnoticed. 15 community leaders who do prevention and healing work in the District every day will be completing a week-long training to diversify their toolkit of advocacy skills. During that week, they will be creating presentations for solutions they’ve developed to some of our most pressing public safety challenges. And they want to share those solutions with you! Come by on Saturday, July 29 between 2:00 and 4:30 p.m. on the 5th floor of the MLK Library for an opportunity to engage with their ideas and learn more about community-rooted public safety solutions.
Franklin Park: Kids World
July 28 - 30
@ Franklin Park (1315 Eye St NW)
Together with Downtown BID and DC Public Library, Events DC is excited to bring three jam-packed days of FREE fun family activities to Franklin Park. Don't miss music, dancing, Superhero workouts, story time, Trackless Train Rides, and more. Registration and a full schedule can be found here.
Youth Sports Day
August 19 - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
@ The Fields at RFK
Fight For Children will host a free event that will be fun for the entire family! Come learn about afterschool programs that integrate sports with mentoring, social-emotional learning, academic tutoring, civic engagement and more. The event will take place at the The Fields at RFK and will feature sports activities, games and prizes, music, special guest and food trucks.
One highlight of my week was sitting down with Rayceen Pendarvis for an interview. Rayceen is a beloved local emcee and lifelong Washingtonian who facilitates local LGBTQ-centered programming, including live events, performances and partnerships from collaborators and Pride celebrations. I am grateful for Rayceen's contributions to our beautiful city and for the opportunity to chat about my work on the Council.
As always, we invite you to use this form to provide feedback on how we're doing. We'd love to hear from you anytime.
Yours in service and community,
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