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The Peace of 2012: Georgetown's Town-Gown Relationship is Reset

The Peace of 2012: Georgetown’s Town-Gown Relationship Is Reset

After months of contentious discussions, private and public meetings and news coverage on Georgetown University’s 2010-2020 campus plan, the town-gown relationship of the oldest neighborhood of Washington, D.C., with the oldest Catholic institution of higher learning in America has been reset and has become collegial.

The war is over. Peace has been declared. Discussions continue: a special meeting is set for June 14.

“This is an extraordinary event in the life of our community, and it’s very promising. We have found a way -- the community and the university, together -- that offers a new cooperative spirit and real results on issues that have divided us for years.”

So said Ron Lewis, chairman of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E, at a sunlit media announcement at the intersection of 36th and P Streets, N.W., just outside the university’s main campus June 6.

Assembled at the peace-treaty-like setting were Mayor Vincent Gray, Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans, Georgetown University President John DeGioia, the Office of Planning’s Jennifer Steingasser, peacemaker Don Edwards and other advisory neighborhood commissioners and university officials as well as Georgetown, Burleith and Foxhall neighborhood leaders.

Praise rang all around between the players in this conflict resolution. Said Gray: “What they have done is developed a prototype and set a precedent for how these issues are to be dealt with in the future.” Evans called the mayor “a miracle worker.” DeGioia called the agreement “exciting” and noted that it “reset the relationship” between the neighborhood and the university. “Without the mayor,” DeGioia continued, “this moment would not be possible.”

Lewis ended the announcement, saying that details would be issued the next day.

And here they are, according to ANC2E, issued June 7:

Key elements of the revised plan

• A new collegial partnership of senior GU leadership and community representatives – the Georgetown Community Partnership – to work toward making the Campus Plan a success and to work together on planning for the future

• A Campus Plan for a seven-year term, beginning January 1, 2011, and ending December 31, 2017

• 450 more undergraduates housed on campus at the Leavey Center and other on campus locations by Fall 2015, including 65 moved from the “Magis Row” townhouses on 36th Street NW and housed on campus by Fall 2013 so that the “Magis Row” townhouses can transition to faculty and staff housing or daytime administrative offices

• Undergraduate enrollment to remain at a maximum of 6,675 and total enrollment at the main campus over the Campus Plan period to be a maximum of 14,106 students; and a new, more accurate method for measuring enrollment semester-by-semester

• New emphasis on a living and learning campus that centralizes student social life on campus

• Clear standards for appropriate off-campus behavior and a results-based system for maintaining the peaceful, quiet atmosphere of our residential neighborhoods

• Significantly improved measures for relieving parking and traffic congestion from GU traffic

• A new commitment to explore providing university-sponsored graduate student housing outside the Georgetown, Burleith and Foxhall communities.

• Acknowledgement of long-term goals of the community and GU (attached) for the future, including a new satellite campus of up to 100 acres located elsewhere; at least 90 percent of undergraduates living on campus by Fall 2025 (an additional 244 beds); cooperating in developing and implementing a 20 year campus plan following on the success of the 2011-2017 plan; and the mutual goal of “a collegial and harmonious relationship between the University and the community to address future plans and common issues in an effective, creative and lasting way” Further details of the proposed Campus Plan are available on the ANC 2E website, anc2e.com.

ANC 2E will hold a special public meeting to consider the proposed revised GU Campus Plan on Thursday, June 14, 6:30 p.m., at Georgetown Visitation Prep, 35th Street NW at Volta Place, N.W.

Citizens Re-elect Officers, Present Awards at Annual Meeting

The Citizens Association of Georgetown re-elected its officer and directors May 30 at Dumbarton House, as Mayor Vincent Gray and Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans assisted with its awards ceremony. The annual CAG awards were presented to Nancy Taylor Bubes, Karen Daly, Ron Lewis and Ruth Werner.

Gray talked about the campus plan agreement with Georgetown University which was made public a week after CAG’s meeting and also touted the District government dedication to customer service. Evans, one of whose staffers received an award, said, “Citizen participation, exemplified by the award recipients, remains a major force in making Georgetown the unique place it is.”

Awardees approached the podium in following order:

Ron Lewis, chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E, received the Captain Peter Belin Award for Distinguished Service. Lewis “patiently orchestrated the G.U.-community relations discussions” and “has been instrumental in securing city services.”

Karen Daly, executive director of Dumbarton House, received the Bill Cochran Award for Exceptional Efforts to Protect and Enhance Parkland and Architectural Resources. Daly “has significantly increased the public programming at Dumbarton House” and “seen museum attendance surge by 75 percent” over two years.

Ruth Werner, community liasion between the District Council and the Office of Jack Evans and Georgetown, received the Charles Atherton Award for Exceptional Service by a Public-Sector Professional. Werner “works tirelessly to improve, preserve and protect historic Georgetown” and “was central in identifying additional funding for . . . Georgetown Waterfront Park.”

Nancy Taylor Bubes, a top real estate agent at Washington Fine Properties, received the Martin-Davidson Award for an Outstanding Business. Bubes “actively supports numerous organizations. [Volta Park, Rose Park, Georgetown Village] . . . Her ability to connect businesses and newcomers is unparalleled.”

The CAG slate remains: Jennifer Altemus, president; Luca Pivato, vice president; Topher Mathews, secretary; Bob Laycock, treasurer -- with directors, Diane Colasanto, Hazel Denton, Bob vom Eigen and Pamla Moore.

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Sat, 20 Sep 2014 20:02:47 -0400

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