Georgetown Observer August 24, 2011

Council member Jack Evans (far right) in his seat in front of first base at the inaugural game at Nationals Park, March 31, 2008.
Council member Jack Evans (far right) in his seat in front of first base at the inaugural game at Nationals Park, March 31, 2008.

ANC Votes for Co-Chairs' Redistricting Plan; 8th District Added In response to population growth, the Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission's working group to redraw ANC 2E, which represents Georgetown, Burleith and Hillandale, voted in favor of a plan advanced by working group's co-chairs – commissioner Ron Lewis of ANC2E and his co-chairs, Jennifer Altemus of the Citizen’s Association of Georgetown and Lenore Rubino of the Burleith Citizen’s Association. The proposal adds a new single-member district (SMD) by increasing the number of Georgetown University student districts from one to two, bringing Georgetown's ANC districts to a total of eight (each accounting for roughly more than 2,000 individuals).

The approved plan splits SMD04 into two, creating a totally new SMD08. (The student districts would account for about 2,500 individuals.) Burleith remains SMD01, and a few blocks are added north on Wisconsin Avenue to SMD05. Voting in favor of the co-chairs' plan, commissioner Bill Starrels said, "I think it was thought-through, well laid-out and addressed the concerns and all aspects of the community."

An opposing view, advocated by John Flanagan, a student on the ANC 16-member working group, called for three student-dominated zones, folding parts of the west side of Georgetown into the university districts. Flanagan had cited the principle of "one man, one vote," arguing that increased student population warranted three districts. The co-chairs' proposal answered back, in part, with a call for continued "community cohesiveness," where traditional borders between several blocks had naturally developed.

The plan will be discussed at the next week ANC meeting with any changes requested by Sept. 7, then passed to the Ward 2 re-districting team and onto Council member Jack Evans. The re-districting changes must be voted on by the D.C. Council by the end of 2011 and will become effective November 2012. Next ANC 2E meeting: Monday, Aug. 29, 6:30p.m. at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, 35th Street and Volta Place.

Evans's Use of $135K of Service Funds over a Decade to Buy Sports Tickets Questioned Taking money from a D.C. Council member's citizen service fund to purchase tickets to local baseball, basketball, hockey or tennis games – while perfectly legal – was been called into question because of an investigation by the Washington Post.

According to the Washington Post, "D.C. Council member Jack Evans has paid $135,897 for professional sports tickets over the past decade using money from his constituent services fund, renewing calls for tighter restrictions on the accounts, which are meant to help city residents. A Washington Post review of Office of Campaign Finance records shows that Evans (D-Ward 2) has spent $437,720 since January 2002 under the program, which allows District politicians to raise money to help constituents and spend the funds largely unfettered."

“I think it’s appropriate to support those teams and give [tickets] to constituents who otherwise may not be able to get to a game,” Evans told the Post. The newspaper added, "When the fund is examined back to 1991, when Evans was elected to the council, he notes that only 13 percent of the $1 million he has spent has gone toward sporting tickets. He said that 20-year period provided a more accurate picture of his spending."

Under D.C. law, constituent services funds may be set up to offer “charitable, scientific, educational, medical, recreational and other services” and improve residents’ “general welfare.” Any other restrictions – save for political campaigning – are not outlined.

Nevertheless, the money can add up quickly over the years for tickets to sporting events. The Post went on further: "On March 1, for example, Evans wrote a check for $4,681 for a season ticket to the Capitals. Two days later, he paid the Wizards $7,644. His two 2011 season tickets at Nationals Park, which he said are behind first base, cost him $10,945 last fall, the records show." At least one council member – Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) – told the Post, "I think it's inappropriate." A few community leaders did not really wish to comment, and a few others wondered where their tickets were. For the kids, of course.

Georgetown Waterfront Park's Grand Opening Set for Sept. 13 Yet another win for Georgetown. After years of fundraising, designing and construction, the transformation from old parking lots on the Potomac to an urban park, inviting the public to play along the waterfront, is complete. On Sept. 13, Georgetown Waterfront Park becomes the largest national park created in the Nation’s Capital in 35 years since Constitution Gardens was finished on the National Mall in 1976.

Thanks to the National Park Service, the Georgetown Waterfront Park Commission, architects Wallace Roberts & Todd as well as donations by MRP Realty (the owners of Washington Harbour), Pepco, the Georgetown BID, and the District of Columbia, a 10-acre park stretches out at the foot of Wisconsin Avenue on the Potomac River.

Once the land of old Georgetown's wharves and then factories, the riverside deteriorated into parking lots and empty land. In 1985, the District of Columbia transferred the waterfront land to the National Park Service. In the late 1990s, the Georgetown Waterfront Commission made the final, long push for completion, bringing together volunteers, residents, the rowing community, local leaders and the National Park Service as it highlighted the Potomac’s signature sport: rowing.

The Georgetown Waterfront Park provides a green space for visitor recreation and contemplation, the commission is proud to point out. Cyclists, skaters, and pedestrians have their own car-free pathways with views of individual boaters, kayakers and competitive crews as well as of Roosevelt Island and Key Bridge. The park curves along 10 acres from the Washington Harbour complex at 31st Street to Key Bridge, a vital last link in 225 miles of parkland from Mount Vernon, Va., to Cumberland, Md. The park will have Wi-Fi, the commission reports, and it adds: “The Wisconsin Avenue part of the park will greet the visitor with a low arcing fountain lined with benches, while the riverfront will have steps laddering down to the river at the site of the finish line for the regattas. A wide walkway will be continued along the river with an area with benches and a pergola for river viewing. In this section of the park, crowds can gather to watch rowing regattas or just look at the river from the sheltered pergola. The interactive fountain will add a playful aquatic feature to attract visitors to the river from Wisconsin Avenue. An arbor above the benches will invite visitors to relax by the water. The arbor will support flowering vines, filtering the sunlight over seating areas. Below the arbor, river stairs will descend to the water, forming an amphitheater where people can view activities in the park and watch the finish line of the boat races.”

Chain Bridge Weekend Closures Begin The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced it will be closing the Chain Bridge on weekends to conduct structural repair work activities under the bridge deck. The majority of the repairs on Chain Bridge completed last spring were conducted on the bridge deck. Now through Dec. 23, weather permitting, DDOT will be conducting an additional series of repair related activities that will be concentrated under the bridge. Weekend closures will be necessary to perform this work. During the following weekends, Chain Bridge will close starting at 8 p.m. on Friday and will reopen at 5 a.m. the following Monday: Aug. 19 to 21; Sept. 9 to 11; Sept. 16 to 18; Sept. 30 to Oct. 2; Oct. 7 to 9; Oct. 21 to 23; Oct. 28 to 30; November 18 to 20; Dec. 2 to 4; Dec. 16 to 18.

There will be no access to the bridge from either the District or Arlington. That includes cyclists and pedestrians because the sidewalk will also be closed. Through traffic on Canal Road will not be obstructed, but motorists will not be able to turn onto Chain Bridge. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes and river crossings including the American Legion, Key, Roosevelt, Memorial and 14th Street Bridges. For additional traffic advisories, visit DDOT’s Traffic Alerts page or visit goDCgo.com for more information on transportation options in the District.

Happy 90th Birthday, Ben Best known for the Washington Post's Watergate investigations, former Post executive editor Ben Bradlee turns 90 on Aug. 26. But don't look around town for Bradlee and his wife Sally Quinn. They are in France – on the Ile de Ré, an island in the Atlantic off its west coast, as well regarded as Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket here. Dozens of guests at the birthday party, planned by Quinn, include family members along with friends, such as Christiane Amanpour and her husband, James Rubin, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

National Jewel Center at Old Georgetown Theater Site to Empty by Aug. 31 The classic neon “Georgetown” sign is what everyone cares about, but the stalls in the National Jewel Center are leaving the old site of the Georgetown Theater on Wisconsin Avenue at O Street. The property – owned by the Heon family, which also owns the Serendipity 3 building (Nathans) at Wisconsin and M and the Philly Cheese Steak place (Cellar Door) at 34th and M – is renewing its sales pitch, as reported in the Prince of Petworth blog. The building went on the market two years ago for almost $5 million; most figure it will go for half that amount. Here is what one real estate entry discloses: 1351 Wisconsin Ave. consists of 6,086 square feet, including street and mezzanine; the lot is 6,569 square feet. It has the famous landmark “Georgetown” sign marking the entrance of the building. The retail space can be increased by up to 3,767 square feet at the rear of the building which now has seven parking spaces and an out building. Zoned C-2-A, it is currently the largest lot in Georgetown for sale.

Foggy Bottom Whole Foods Opens Sept. 6 The Foggy Bottom Whole Foods Market holds its grand opening on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 10 a.m. With an entrance at the corner of 22th and Eye Streets and near the Foggy Bottom Metro stop, the food company's newest store in D.C. is part of the building complex, known as “The Avenue,” at 2200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., with offices, banks and a Sweetgreen eatery. Just east of Georgetown at Washington Circle, the store is set to serve Foggy Bottom and George Washington University, but you can go, too. Hours: Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Phone: 202-296-1660.

Chris Furin: 'Making Your Memories Sweeter' While Furin's the place may be gone, its beautiful cakes live on with Chris Furin, “a self-taught cake designer who has perfected his skills over the past decade working at his family owned and operated gourmet bakery and cafe, Furin’s of Georgetown,” he writes. The owners' son created Cakes by Chris Furin, he added, “In response to the growing requests from his customers seeking extraordinary quality and detail in their special event custom cakes, cupcakes and cookies at an affordable price.” Visit CakesbyChrisFurin.com for the delicious details – or call 301-775-0799.

HMX Group to Open 'The Streets of Georgetown' The boys are trying to catch up with the girls in terms of fashionable clothing stores. New York-based HMX Group, which features men's brands such as Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx and Bobby Jones, will premiere a store at 1254 Wisconsin Ave. next month, called “The Streets of Georgetown,” reports the business section of the Washington Post. The other town, outside New York City, for HMX's new “Streets” stores is Beverly Hills. “There is definitely more pronounced interest from men’s fashion retailers for the first time that I can remember in my 25 years in business in D.C.,” retail space expert and Georgetown Business Improvement District board member John Asadoorian told the Post. HMX's mix of clothing labels sell at different price points and the company hopes to serve a variety of men's fashion customers.

Where to Park? They're Back: Freshmen Arrive Aug. 27; Classes Begin Aug. 31 Will we see a parking snafu next week? Already Georgetown University students are setting up for new student orientation, and some students are moving in. Freshmen officially arrive on Saturday, Aug. 27, with other undergraduates to follow, as registration begins and then classes start on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Residents who park their cars on 35th Street and adjacent streets, near the university, should expect double the effort to find spaces. As work at Nevils dormitory continues on N Street and road construction expands along O and P Streets, entire blocks have lost their parking spaces. The streets are alive with dump trucks throughout the day. How difficult it gets to find a space remains to be seen. We will know soon enough.

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