We have been extraordinarily busy over the past few months and have been remiss in updating the blog. Expect a series of news updates over the coming days. We will publish one or two items later this afternoon.
Cities have toyed with the idea of installing free wireless internet access as a way to bridge the digital divide. During the dot-com era, techno-evangelists fretted that the lack of internet access would further marginalize the poor in an increasingly digital world. Inexpensive wifi promises to close the gap by broadcasting free internet access at short ranges.
Over in Bloomingdale a plan has been brewing for several years to install a series of wifi antennae to broadcast internet to residents for free. Interestingly, the District’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) recently revealed that the city has indeed already installed wifi hotspots on the Mall. OCTO is partnering with Bloomingdale to bring the Bridge, as the program is called, to fruition.
The aptly named Bridge is expected to seep into parts of LeDroit Park and Eckington, too. Have a look at the proposed coverage map.
View The Bridge – Bloomingdale’s Free Wifi in a larger map
The renovation of the Howard Theatre is set to start this month and from our recent conversation with Howard Theatre Restoration president Chip Ellis, everything is set to go. One final element to be decided is the statue that will adorn the top of the new theater. When the theater opened 100 years ago this month, a statue of Apollo playing the lyre stood at the apex of the Beaux-Arts Italian Renaissance façade, accompanying the other classical references in the building.
The theater renovation will restore the original look of the façade, but the statue of Apollo, now long gone, will be replaced with a statue, The Jazz Man, pictured above.
The statue will be constructed of metal and lit internally with LEDs. The Apollo statue referred to an ancient era and the new statue will refer to the Jazz Age. We can’t move forward without looking back.
What do you think of the statue design?
All four candidates for the Ward One council seat will speak on Tuesday night at the Ward One Candidates Forum in LeDroit Park. Candidates will speak to and take questions from the public. Everyone is encouraged to attend.
The candidates for office are Jim Graham (D), Marc Morgan (R), Jeff Smith (D), and Brian Weaver (D). Messrs Graham, Smith, and Weaver will compete for the Democratic nomination in September. Mr. Morgan is running unopposed for the Republican nomination so he will face the Democratic nominee in November.
Ward One Candidates Forum
Presented by the LeDroit Park Civic Association
Tuesday, June 22 at 7pm
Basement of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church
623 Florida Ave NW – enter at the back on U Street
The LeDroit Park Civic Association meets tomorrow, Tuesday, May 25 at 7pm in the basement of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church.
- LeDroit Park-Bloomingdale Heritage Trail update.
- Columbia Elks Lodge #85, 1844 3rd Street NW—Application for renewal of Retail Class CX club license
- Gage Eckington Park update.
We hope to see you there.
Howard University Hospital is hosting a farmers market twice a week on the plaza at their Georgia Avenue entrance. The market will run Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
We’re excited to have fresh produce for sale so close to home and we hope the prices compare (or beat) Safeway and Giant.
On Thursday evening, Mr. Grant Epstein of Community Three Development presented his latest revision for his concept for 1922 Third Street. Some of the more notable changes include the reduction of the rear addition (above), the reconstruction of a demolished fence wall beside the carriage house (above), and a reduction of the massing of the side townhouse (below).
ANC1B’s Design Review Committee— of which I am a member— carefully reviewed the original concept and recommended several specific design revisions to the developer to reconcile the needs of historic preservation with the economic viability of redevelopment. After the committee drafted its recommendations, Mr. Epstein alerted the committee and ANC of his latest revision, which the committee found satisfactorily addressed the historic context concerns.
Despite the committee’s recommendation for approval of the latest concept, ANC Commissioner Myla Moss (1B01 – LeDroit Park) said that she wholeheartedly applauded Mr. Epstein’s diligence, but would withhold her support because the design was “not totally there.” Specifically Ms. Moss wanted to know about a rear-yard zoning issue and how the proposed side townhouse would obstruct the view from the indented side window of the adjacent Thompson property.
Mr. Epstein seemed frustrated and one of the other commissioners asked whether it was appropriate for the ANC to consider any matter beyond historic preservation. The ANC voted to take no further action and to let its existing opposition stand.
In an email to us, Mr. Epstein wrote
We found it very odd that the Commission chose to oppose the ANC Design Committee’s recommendation of approval, especially when the resultant collaborative effort provided a holistic resolution to a very complicated set of constraints on this specific site. In our experience, the Historic Preservation Review Board is looking for the ANC to comment about conceptual historic compatibility and the remaining issues raised by the assenting Commissioners seemed very detail-oriented. There are typically thousands of detailed issues that arise when renovating a historic structure, some we know about at this stage, yet many that don’t surface until later stages in the project. This is specifically why the process is designed as such – concept review first, then detail refinement.
Despite the ANC’s official opposition, the Historic Preservation Review Board will hear the concept proposal on Thursday, April 22 at 10 am at One Judiciary Square (441 Fourth Street NW), Room 220 South and will decide whether the concept is historically acceptable.
In the meantime, browse the concept floor plans:
Unlike Metro, Howard University Hospital must stay open no matter the weather. As such the groundskeepers are quick to remove snow the moment the first flake hits the ground. The employee parking garage on the block bounded by Fourth Street, V Street, Fifth Street, and Oakdale Place also needs its top level cleared of snow. But where does the snow from the top level go? Well, over the edge it seems.
Due to the overwhelming amount of snow that has worn down the city’s plows, the District has contracted with a Massachusetts company to help dig us out. This morning we spotted part of the Bay State crew and its heavy construction equipment clearing Fifth and U Streets here in LeDroit Park. The ferocious looking machines are scraping the streets down to the pavement and amassing snow mountains that will take weeks to melt.
It’s that time again. The LeDroit Park Civic Association will meet on Tuesday, January 26, at 7:00 pm in the basement of the Florida Avenue Baptist Church. (Enter through the back at U and Bohrer Streets)
This month’s agenda:
- Gage Eckington Park Update
- The GADGET Center (GEORGIA AVENUE DEVELOPMENT GROWTH ENTERPRISE TRANSFORMATION)
- Howard University Campus Plan
- 321 T street and reconstruction plans.
As always, all are welcome to attend.