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A few bullet points to pass along on this lovely day (man, I wish I was in Minneapolis right now):
* I took a few photos (belatedly) of the newly installed stainless steel baseballs hung this week on the Nationals Park garages on N Street. You can see a hint of the red and blue LED lights that will "activate" the balls, though I imagine it will be more impressive when it's dark out. (Also, if you're as desperate in your Christmas shopping as I am, remember that the Nats Team Store at Half and N is open from 11 am to 5 pm every day except Sunday.)
* A reader reported this morning that the fences have been taken down around the all-but-completed 1015 Half Street office building, on the site of the old Nation nightclub. Douglas Wilson Companies, which took over the project when Opus East went belly up, had said when construction restarted in May that they would deliver 1015 Half by the end of the year, and they seem to have basically hit that date. No announcement of any tenants for the 440,000-square-foot building, though.
* The ANC 6D meeting is on Monday at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW, but, as of now, no agenda has been posted. I'm sure it'll be a wonderful holiday potpourri of topics, though. (The agenda for Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting has been up for quite a while, and includes the new beer garden at 8th and L.)
* A reader passed along this DCMud piece trying to play up movement on Akridge's Half Street project (just north of the ballpark), but I see a lot of "expects" and "luck" and "hope to" rather than any concrete start dates, and so, to me, that means there's really no news of impending construction. The fact that the Bullpen has apparently gotten it's lease renewed for the 2011 season would point to Akridge not expecting to do any work before fall. (And I'd also note that the first sentence gets everything wrong about the disposition of the Southeastern Bus Garage site, as is so often the case with DCMud items on Near Southeast: Akridge was the winning bid for the entire bus garage site in 2007, while Monument [which itself is not bankrupt, though its financial backer Lehman Brothers did croak] had earlier gotten the Metro station entrance on the other side of the street. Monument had owned land south of the bus garage, on the Bullpen site, but then sold that to Akridge in 2008.) The post also gives some background on the project, which might be new for people who haven't been following along, but which is basically what Akridge has been saying since they first unveiled the project two years ago.
You can see my Akridge Half Street project page for all of the details and renderings of the 700,000-square-foot office/residential/retail project, or, heck, read the zoning hearing transcript from January 2009. I think new residents will be happy about Akridge's long-mentioned plans for the "stall"-like vending area along the "Via" as well as a "neighborhood retail" feel for the Van Street side of the project, though people will probably be even happier about that once they know the project is actually going to start....
 

This is a painful post for me to write. (No, seriously--I hurt my left thumb last week, and typing doesn't help.) But I will power through to bring you news of upcoming events, all while wondering why Decembers are always so busy with public meetings--because it's not like we don't we have enough to do already....
ADD: Oops. Tonight (Dec. 6) is the 4th Annual Livable Walkable Community Awards, at Arena Stage at 6:30 pm.
* Tuesday (Dec. 7) is the second Marine Barracks site search public forum, in Eastern Market's North Hall. I can't find the agenda for it, but the CIMP web site describes it thusly: "Session 2 will begin with at 5:00 pm with an open house where information will be provided in displays, and subject matter experts will be present to discuss various aspects of the CIMP with a facilitated discussion to authenticate community development objectives to begin at 7:00 PM." You can see the draft community objectives handed out at last week's meeting, and read my summary of that session, as well as the scads of posts through the past year of this process.
* Wednesday (Dec. 8) is the neighborhood meeting with DC Public Schools interim chancellor Kaya Henderson on the movement to reopen Van Ness Elementary at 5th and M, SE. The meeting is at 6 pm (note the time change) at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, and while no decision on reopening the school will be announced, DCPS will be talking about the preliminary findings from the survey they did this fall about whether there would be enough students to justify reopening the school. Read my previous posts for details.
* On Thursday (Dec. 9) the ANC 6B ABC Committee will meet at 7 pm at the Southeast Neighborhood Library at 403 7th St., SE, and it will be taking up the new liquor license application for the Bavarian Beer Garden at 8th and L, SE. It's looking to be a 99-seat tavern, with an additional 200 outdoor seats in summer, and would operate from 11 am to 2 am Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays. There's also apparently the possibility of live entertainment. The application will also be taken up by the full ANC at its regular meeting on Dec. 14 at 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE.
* Monday (Dec. 13) is ANC 6D's monthly meeting--the agenda should be out later this week.
* Tuesday, Dec. 14 is the BID's Annual Meeting, at 11:30 am at 100 M St., SE. There will be a keynote address by George Hawkins, general manager of DC Water, plus the BID will release its 2010 Annual Report and State of the Capitol Riverfront.
* The BID also launches its Holiday Market on the 14th, running daily through the 18th on the sidewalk outside of 1100 New Jersey Ave., SE, across from the Navy Yard Metro station. "Shop the market for wool sweaters and mittens, homemade soaps, jewelry, antique maps, wreaths and holiday greenery, paintings, and much more!" See the flyer for more details, or the latest BID newsletter.
* Also on the 14th is the aforementioned ANC 6B monthly meeting, which includes a report by Michael Stevens of the BID on the Lower 8th Street Visioning Process report that's being submitted to the Office of Planning. (This will also be presented to the ANC's Planning and Zoning Committee on Dec. 7 at 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE.)
* Finally, on Dec. 17, the James L. Brooks movie "How Do You Know" opens--this is the one that was filmed at Nationals Park (and all around DC) back in 2009, and stars Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson.
Ow.
 

From the world of ANC 6D:
* The commission voted 7-0 to support the historic designation application of St. Paul's AUMP Church at 401 I St., SE, thanks in no small part to Pastor Karen Mills, who charmed the pants off the assembled commissioners and audience with a display of good humor sorely needed after some earlier rancorous exchanges discussing Southwest Waterfront issues.
The church was built in 1924, and apparently the years of having a congregation that didn't have a lot of money ended up being a good thing: because there have been few renovations, the church's facade and bricks are still from the original construction, making it a far better candidate for a historic designation than other churches which have had work done. The church is also notable for being the first church designed by R.C. Archer Jr., who was only the second licensed African American architect in DC. Once the church receives its historic designation, it will then be eligible for some grants to allow for historically accurate and preservation-approved renovations. (The photo above shows the church in 2007, when it stood alone after the demolition of the Cappers and before the start of Capitol Quarter construction.)
The church was approached for this application by the DC Preservation League, and the hearing before the city's Historic Preservation Review Board is scheduled for Nov. 18 at 9 am. You can see the information forwarded to the ANC about the application here (shot with my phone's camera, so not of particularly high quality, but it made me feel like a secret agent!). One other educational tidbit: "AUMP" stands for "African Union Methodist Protestant."
Pastor Mills also said that anyone who wants to come see St. Paul's is more than welcome to visit. And so it is with great shame that I admit that I have never been inside of the little church I've photographed so many times --I've always been worried that I would burst into the flames of eternal hellfire the second I stepped inside the doors, and I didn't want the poor little church to get singed as a result of my sins. But I'm now determined to give it a shot anyway.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel: Stephen Flippin of CSX gave a(nother) update on the status of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. While CSX had applied for a $3 million grant under USDOT's TIGER II program to help pay for the NEPA process for the project, they didn't get that funding, so the process got delayed by a couple of months. They are now looking to have the first "public scoping meeting" in January, which would include information booths, audience comments and questions, etc. There would then be a 30-day comment period, followed by an "alternatives" meeting probably in March, then another comment period followed by probably five or six months of work with their design/build team before coming back to another public meeting for a full update on the project. After that, they would need a few months with their designers before construction could begin, which puts the earliest possible starting time for the project somewhere around the spring of 2012. (Definitely not a date written in stone.)
There's also the issue that funding for the tunnel project itself hasn't been secured, and so CSX is looking at various public financing possibilities (transportation reauthorization act, funding from other states in the National Gateway) as well as -- gasp! -- using some of their own money, or at least money they received for other parts of the Gateway that they haven't spent.
Beyond this update on the process, there's no new information on the construction itself, and there pretty much won't be until after the NEPA process is done.
* 11th Street Bridges: There was also an overview and status report on the 11th Street Bridges project; I'm hoping to get the slides that were shown, so I'll hold off on writing about that. If in the meantime you have 9 or 10 free hours and want to delve into all the environmental impact studies that were done for the bridge project (which include traffic estimations among many other things), here's the Environmental Impact Statement and other associated documents. UPDATE: Here's my writeup of the slides.
* Near SE/SW Combined Traffic Study: During a discussion about pedestrian safety issues at 4th and M, SW, commissioner Andy Litsky reiterated his long-standing complaint that no traffic study has been undertaken to look at Near SE and SW together, and that it continues to be sorely needed. Naomi Mitchell of Tommy Wells's office then spoke up that Tommy is ready to help the ANC finally get this study done. (And there was much rejoicing.)
* Half Street Closures: Apparently the city is planning to move legislation that would allow for the closing of Half Street, SE, between M and N during all events at Nationals Park with more than 5,000 attendees, instead of the current set-up where it's only closed during Nationals games. This would include recent events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure opening ceremonies and last Saturday's Greater Washington Region Start! Heart Walk.
 

In case you don't have the date circled in red on your calendar, on Monday (Nov. 8), ANC 6D will be having its regular monthly meeting, and will be making the arduous trek across South Capitol Street to meet in Near Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda has just been sent out, and there are some Near Southeast items:
* The St. Paul AUMP church at 4th and I, which has remained standing while Capper came down and Capitol Quarter rose up around it, is the subject of a Historic Landmark application, which will be heard at the Historic Preservation Review Board's meeting on Thursday, Nov. 18. I hope to have more information about it when the HPRB's full agenda and materials are available on Nov. 12, but at Monday's ANC meeting there will be a discussion of the application and presumably a vote as to whether or not to support it.
* Updates are scheduled for both the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project and for the 11th Street Bridges.
There are also a number of Southwest-specific items, some zoning rewrites, alcohol/beverage issues, and whatnot. But it's totally not true that the agenda also includes a knife fight between all outgoing and incoming commissioners.
The meeting starts at 7 pm.
 

A mere five hours after the polls closed, DC's Board of Elections and Ethics decided to let us know who won the various ANC 6D races. (Presuming that the tallies they've posted are anywhere close to the final numbers.) By a comfortable margin (65-34% at this writing), David Garber has beaten 12-year incumbent Robert Siegel for the ANC 6D07 seat. With a whopping 556 of 1452 registered voters making it to the polls, this translates to a 332-171 victory (with 3 write-ins) in the current unofficial numbers (which don't include absentee ballots, provisional/same-day ballots, and curbside ballots).
All other ANC 6D incumbents who were running were reelected--chair Ron McBee appears to have had the closest race, up 54-42% on former commissioner Mary Williams, while Andy Litsky garnered a mere 96% of the vote in his unopposed race. 6D06 commissioner Rhonda Hamilton got 70% of the vote in beating two opponents, and Roger Moffatt also stays in his seat with a 66-33% win over Grace Daughtridge. Bob Craycraft has taken 6D01 (Jane Jorgensen's old seat) in an unopposed race, while Cara Lea Shockley appears to be winning David Sobelsohn's 6D02 seat, with 40% of the vote against 36% for write-in candidates and 24% for a candidate who withdrew(!).
I should also mention--as I pretty much never did during the entire race--that not everyone who lives south of the freeway votes in 6D07, as the residents from 7th Street east are in 6B04. And five--yes, FIVE--of those residents voted today, with one vote for incumbent Kirsten Oldenberg, three for Tim Casey, and 1 write-in. (Despite this, Oldenburg appears to have won her race against Larry Janezich.)
In terms of the other tallies for the evening in Near Southeast/Precinct 131, Vince Gray won 58% of the vote in the mayoral race, with 36% going to write-ins. Tommy Wells beat Near Southeast resident Jim DeMartino 75-25%, while Kwame Brown won 80% of the vote in his council chair race. The precinct went 81-19% for the amendment to make the Attorney General job in DC an elected position, and also voted for new Ward 6 Board of Education rep Monica Warren-Jones 60-38% (her ward-wide total is 67-32%).
Since these results don't include the absentee and other provisional ballots, the numbers will change, but no race appears anywhere near close enough that the outcomes would be in doubt. So, congrats to David Garber and all of the other winners. Between his blogging chops and his Twitter feed, I have no doubt that Near Southeast will be kept far more apprised of what their ANC commissioner is up to than has been the case over the past years. (Though perhaps this means I'm staring at my obsolescence!)
With this election season now thankfully over with, we can already start looking ahead to the redrawing of the city's ward boundaries as is done every 10 years after the census, as well as most likely seeing ANC 6D07 split up now that it's population of over 3,000 residents is well above the 2,000-resident standard for single member districts.
(And, if you want to get a flavor of my exasperation with DCBOEE's performance, wander through my Twitter feed. When it takes five hours to count 125,000 votes, and Maryland counted over 1.6 million in less than four hours, I think it's safe to say that there are some serious problems that need addressing. Get to work, Mayor-Elect Gray...)
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, politics
 

I can't imagine that anyone possibly needs a reminder at this point, but I guess I would be remiss if I didn't put together a Tuesday is Election Day post. (Do I sound completely worn down by election season?)
Near Southeast's polling location (Precinct 131) is at Van Ness Elementary, at 5th and M, SE. The polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm; you can check the DCBOEE Precinct Status Page to find out, um, status, I guess. Here's DCBOEE's official voters' guide (since there are in fact races going on other than on the ANC slate), and you can check out my questionnaires for 6D07 candidates Bob Siegel and David Garber if you haven't already. The DC Board of Elections web site also has scads of additional information, should you need it.
I'll be fulfilling the stringent requirements of Election Night Journalism in this day and age by breathlessly tweeting 6D07 results (and probably other 6D results), starting after 8:30, when DCBOEE says it'll start posting the tallies.
And so, as we used to say when we lived in Chicago during the glory days of the Daley Machine, vote early and vote often!
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I'm now back after a week wandering the Midwest again, this time spending a few days in Chicago and then going up to Milwaukee, where touring time was cut short thanks to that epic windstorm (but at least I got to see the Historic Third Ward and the Milwaukee Public Market). Lots of photos of streetscapes and buildings are here, if you feel like looking at some non-Near Southeast images for a change.
To catch up....
* Dr. Gridlock gave an update on the progress of the 11th Street Bridges project, which is now more than 25 percent complete. A pretty showy part of the construction will be starting soon, "when steel girders arrive for the new bridge spans. They will be trucked out onto the old bridges and lowered onto barges in the river below." The story gives this timeline: in spring 2011, the new alignment of southbound 295 opens; in fall '11, the freeway bridges (the upstream ones) will open; in winter 2012/13 the local (downstream) bridge between Anacostia and Near Southeast will open, with the entire project expected to be completed in summer 2013. (If the alignments and uses of the new bridges aren't clear to you, check my 11th Street Bridges project page for more detail.)
There's also some new lane restrictions that started last week and will run through Nov. 23: the left lane of 11th Street SE from M to N is closed, and N Street SE between 11th and 12th is closed overnight Tuesdays through Fridays. There are other restrictions and closures as well on 295 and the SE Freeway.
* The Post's Capital Business weekly has more information today on the foreclosure sale of 100 M, including this part that is probably of most interest to residents: "Although thousands of fans pour out of the Metro station nearby for baseball games, the Opus bankruptcy has prevented retailers -- other than a SunTrust bank branch -- from occupying ground-level storefronts. Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, said he hoped that with new ownership, that would change. The retail broker for 100 M St., he said, 'has had some tenants that were interested in that property, but he couldn't sign any leases because it was in bankruptcy.' "
* It wasn't exactly a shocker that Greater Greater Washington endorsed David Garber for ANC 6D07 commissioner. Along the same lines, there's a good piece by Housing Complex this morning on the dysfunctional aspects of the ANCs, with some ideas on how to fix them. Having been tortured by sitting through many ANC meetings for more than five years now, I can certainly vouch for a lot of the issues mentioned. Perhaps there needs to be a Rally to Restore ANC Sanity.
* If you've wanted to know about Ann of Ann's Beauty Supply and Wigs Co. at 125 L St., SE, People's District recently profiled her. (Except I think they either mistranscribed the date of her shop opening, or this interview was done when her store was still in the old Waterside Mall in Southwest, because her store opened on L Street SE in 2005, not 1995.)
* American River Taxi, which is working to begin boat service between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Diamond Teague Park, is hiring deckhands and captains. No word on when they'll get underway.
* Work has started in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey for the new Harry's Wine and Spirits. Alas, their timeline for opening has slipped (as all construction timelines do), and the owners now have their fingers crossed that they will be open by Christmas.
 

With election time nearing, there's some events coming up next week that might/should be of interest. (Coincidentally, election time means that my "real life" gets a bit hectic, plus I have some other stuff going on, which means that things might be a bit slow around here, and I'm probably not going to be able to make any of these events. So you have plenty of notice that you'll need to attend them yourselves!)
* On Monday, Oct. 25, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, the Ward 6 Dems are hosting a Ward 6 School Board Candidates Forum at Maury Elementary School, 1250 Constitution Ave., NE. The two candidates -- Melissa Rohan and Monica Warren-Jones -- will be suitably grilled about their plans and vision for Ward 6's public schools.
* Also on Monday the 25th, starting at 7 pm, the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly is hosting a "Meet Your ANC 6D Candidates" event at St. Augustine's church, on the southwest corner of 6th and M Streets, SW. You may have heard that Near Southeast has two candidates for its one single member district (SMD) 6D07--incumbent Bob Siegel and challenger David Garber--but there are six commission spots in Southwest up for grabs as well. (Just beware when parking next to the church on Water Street--this past Monday, for the first time in all my times arriving at St. Augustine's just before 7 pm for ANC meetings, I got ticketed at one of the meters, which never even occurred to me would still be active at that time of night. Maybe I should take up a collection!)
* At 6:30 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 27, is Presumed-Mayor-Elect Vince Gray's Ward 6 Town Hall, being held at the Atlas Performing Arts Center at 1333 H St., NE. If you follow various local reporters on Twitter, you've been pelted with Tweets from the other wards' town halls over the past few weeks, but now it'll be Ward 6's turn. Here's the flyer with details.
* For something a little less election-y and more spirit-of-the-season-y, on Friday Oct. 29 the Navy Yard is once again presenting the "Ghost Ship Barry" -- "Hundreds have served onboard but some never left." Boo! The hours run from 6 to 7 pm for kids 12 and under, and 7:30 to 9:30 pm for ages 13 and up. But note that they want you to RSVP first, by calling 202-433-0280. And then you can see what the Navy Yard's portion of the riverwalk looks like without having to look through the fence at the Yards Park.
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A few items from tonight's ANC 6D meeting, which is still going on (I bailed after the last Near Southeast agenda item).
* The commission voted 7-0 to support Forest City's zoning requests for its Parcel D project, the combination residential and retail (and grocery store) development on the southeast corner of 4th and M, SE. I wrote about it in detail a few weeks back, and you can see my Parcel D project page for renderings and additional information, but the short of it is it's a 220ish-unit residential building (with 20 percent affordable housing), a 50,000-square-foot grocery store, and an expected 24,000-square-foot fitness/spa company.
The Zoning Commission hearing will be on December 2, and Forest City is asking for two special exceptions (having to do with roof structures and the proposed 110-foot building height, which will be above the 90 feet that's allowed) and two variances (for a curb cut on M east of 4th for a new private service drive east of the new building and also for some balconies overlooking 4th). Forest City's Alex Nyhan also told the commission that, while the entire Yards project is designed to be LEED Gold, they are going to shoot for LEED Silver on this particular portion.
ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel commended Forest City on the plans, though he made very clear that he and his constituents want a sit-down restaurant more than anything. Nyhan replied that the Boilermaker Shop project one block to the west on Tingey will have four or five restaurants including at least one sit-down one when it opens next fall. Siegel then made the motion to the support the project, Commissioner Sobelsohn seconded, and the vote was unanimous. The National Capital Planning Commission and the US Commission on Fine Arts have both recently voted to support the plans and designs.
* During the public safety report, Capt. Gottert of MPD mentioned that while there were a rash of car thefts in PSA 105 (and 106 and 107) during the past few months, the police had a suspect in mind, and now that he's been apprehended, the thefts have stopped. Gottert had no additional information on Saturday's carjacking at 1st and L, SE.
* The agenda had as one of its items a request by the Nationals to add the stadium to the Navy Yard Metro station name (coming on the heels of the Capitol Riverfront BID's request last month to add their name to the station). However, ANC chair Ron McBee said that the Nationals hadn't yet been able to get their request completely lined up yet, and so the item was postponed.
* Next month's meeting will be on Nov. 8, and will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. Expected agenda items include an update from CSX about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, a plan to give historic landmark status to St. Paul's church on the southeast corner of 4th and I, SE, and an update on the 11th Street Bridges construction.
 

The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now being circulated (slightly revised from one that went out earlier today). One item of Near SE interest is an update on the Yards Park and also the Parcel D residential/grocery project, which is now scheduled to go before the Zoning Commission on Dec. 2.
The revised agenda also now shows a new request to change the name of the Navy Yard Metro station; while last time it was the Capitol Riverfront BID requesting that the name be changed to Capitol Riverfront/Nationals Park/Navy Yard (which the ANC supported as long as "Capitol Riverfront" wasn't first), this time it's the Nationals themselves requesting that "Nationals Stadium" be added to the Navy Yard name. (I wouldn't put 100% confidence in the request being for "Nationals Stadium" and not "Nationals Park," but that's what the agenda says.) I'm trying to find out whether the first request has bitten the dust, or if these are competing requests, or what. Stay tuned. (See below for clarifications.)
There's also a request to add "Banneker Memorial Park" to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station name. As well as a bunch of other stuff happening on the other side of South Capitol Street, which I leave to other people to pay attention to!
UPDATE: The BID has told me that this is just the Nationals requesting to be added so that they can be part of the Capitol Riverfront/Nationals Park/Navy Yard new name, though I'm not sure why they would need to have their own request separate from the one that the BID is already working on. Still trying to find out more, but may need to wait until Monday's meeting for clarification.
UPDATE II: Apparently the BID's request was officially just to add "Capitol Riverfront," but they recognized that the Nats would want the stadium included as well. So this ANC action will be to get whatever official name the Nationals want added to the station name into the mix.
 

You can't swing a cat across the DC blogosphere these days without seeing self-written profiles of current Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates. And while it's great that the ANC races are now getting more coverage than they have in the past, the political cynic in me* is not a big fan of platitudes and general won't-anger-anyone stands. ("I'm for development! But also for the residents! And the schools!")
So I decided to ask ANC 6D07's candidates, incumbent Robert Siegel and challenger David Garber, a series of questions about Near Southeast, their impressions of the role of an ANC commissioner, and what they see as some of the issues the neighborhood is currently facing. And they were generous enough to respond!
I tried to ask questions that would elicit some actual information to help voters choose between the candidates, and so hopefully their answers will be enlightening. And no, I didn't ask about CSX and the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, because I didn't see the chance that one or the other might suddenly pop out with a big pro-tunnel-construction viewpoint. But I did ask which potential new Marine Barracks site each candidate would support, although it's worth noting that most of the sites that the Marines are looking at aren't actually in 6D07, but are in 6B.
So, read both Siegel's and Garber's answers (all the way through, you low-attention-span blog consumers!), and then remember to actually vote on Nov. 2.
(* I am a poster child for Generation X Watergate-instilled political cynicism, aided by the fact that Nixon resigned on my eighth birthday. I also broke a finger in a playground fight the day Jimmy Carter got elected, but I don't think we were fighting about politics.)
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I'm back from spending the past week wandering around Ohio (Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland) and then spending some time in the Detroit area, where my husband grew up and where I lived for a few years as a tyke many years ago. If I was sent back in time 10 years and told to be a city blogger again but that I couldn't do Near Southeast, I would gladly have chosen to document the decay (and perhaps eventual return) of Detroit, because it's really on a scale that is hard for people to understand unless they've spent a lot of time driving all around the city (and not just on the freeways). It also means I would have spent the past 10 years eating plenty of Detroit Pizza at Buddy's and Cloverleaf and having far easier access to a bazillion breakfast options (at the Coneys and other "family dining" establishments) than we'll ever have in the DC Metro area. Plus there's the cider mills.
We also very much enjoyed Columbus, particularly the Short North and German Village neighborhoods (and driving through the Ohio State campus in my University of Florida-festooned car--ha ha!), and my husband also noted the bars and restaurants in the Arena District and asked if that's what will eventually be coming to Half Street. (I then asked him if he ever reads my blog.) Downtown Cincinnati has some great "old stock" storefronts and signage (which we're always big fans of), but we also enjoyed the Kentucky towns of Covington and Newport, right across the river from Cincy's two stadiums. It helped that our hotel was three blocks from the massive Covington Oktoberfest celebration. And yes, we ate chili. Cleveland was mainly a pilgrimmage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for me, but we did wander around to eat in the Tremont and Ohio City neighborhoods, and took a peek at Shaker Heights.
(Are you as worn out from our vacation as I am? We do tend to cover a lot of territory.)
I don't think I deprived you of any big news while I was gone, so, instead, we'll look ahead at a few events this week:
* Today begins the Nats' final homestand of the 2010 season, against the Astros, Braves, and Phillies, with the final home game on Wednesday Sept. 29 at 7:05 pm. And note that this Thursday's game (Sept. 23) against the Astros is a 4:35 pm start, and Saturday's game (Sept. 25) against the Braves is at 1:05 pm. Then you can start looking ahead to the 2011 Nationals schedule, where they get an Opening Day home game on March 31 against the Braves.
* Tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 21) is ANC 6B's monthly meeting (delayed a week to avoid coinciding with the election), and the agenda includes CSX's plans for an archaeological dig at Virginia Avenue Park. The meeting is at 7 pm at the People's Church, 535 8th St., SE.
* Thursday is the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's "Moonlight Ride at Yards Park", which includes an 11-mile ride starting from the Park at 8:30 pm heading west to the Potomac River, and a 6-mile ride starting at 9 pm that will go east over the Anacostia River into Anacostia Park and Historic Anacostia. The rides are free and open to the public, but they ask that you register in advance.
* And, looking ahead a bit, the newly redesigned "Parcel D" residential/retail/grocery development on the southeast corner of 4th and M in the Yards will be presented to the National Capital Planning Commission on Oct. 7.
UPDATE: I guess I should also be mentioning the launch of Capital Bikeshare today, with two locations in Near Southeast, at New Jersey and M by USDOT, and what the map says is another station at First and N, SE, by Nationals Park (which I had heard wasn't coming until next spring).
 

I've got some stuff going on for most of the week that will leave my blogging pretty light (unless there's big news that I can't bear to leave un-blogged). I'll no doubt pop up on Twitter here and there (passing along important morsels like dreams of city council members cleaning up my yard for me), but otherwise I intend on being pretty quiet, especially while the rest of the blogosphere handles the DC primary elections. (Are you voting today? Get out there, dammit!)
I couldn't make the ANC 6D meeting last night, but Will from across the way was nice enough to tweet a couple of results on Near Southeast-related items. First, the commission voted 4-1 to support a request from the Capitol Riverfront BID to add a couple of additional monikers to the Navy Yard Metro station name. However, while the BID wants the name to be changed to some version of "Capitol Riverfront/Ballpark/Navy Yard", the commission's support was apparently only if "Capitol Riverfront" is not the first part of the new name. Any change from plain old "Navy Yard" still needs to go through DDOT and WMATA for approval. (They also voted to approve adding "Arena Stage" to the "Waterfront/SEU" station name.)
The ANC also voted unanimously to support a requested two-year extension on the PUD for 250 M Street, the William C. Smith office building that's part of the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD. This will be in front of the Zoning Commission at some point soon, so I'll get more info on it them. But it's not really a surprise that they're not expecting to be ready to start construction in the near future.
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More posts: 250 M, ANC News, Capper, meetings, Metro/WMATA
 

A few things to pass along as we kiss summer goodbye (yes, I know it technically doesn't end for another few weeks, blah blah blah):
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is applying for a DC Public Art Building Communities grant to get funding to "improve the look, feel and experience of traveling into and out of the Capitol Riverfront along New Jersey Ave., SE, while also creating unique gateway art that represents the identity, sense of place and community in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood." They will be presenting their concepts at the Sept. 13 ANC 6D meeting, with applications being due on Oct. 13. If the project is selected to receive a grant, there would be public meetings sometime next year to "refine" the concepts, with hopes to complete the project by fall 2011. Though I can't imagine why anyone would want to beautify THIS!
* I'm not seeing this on the posted agenda yet, but a reader reports to me that CSX will be making presentations to ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee tonight (Sept. 7) and the full ANC on Sept. 21 about a permit the freight company is apparently requesting to conduct an archaeological survey of Virginia Avenue Park prior to their planned expansion of the tunnel that runs under the park.
* Tonight you might see some folks with clipboards hanging around the Navy Yard Metro station entrances; they will be part of the Public Transportation Takes Us There petition drive by the American Public Transportation Association, trying to convince Congress to pass a long-term surface transportation funding bill. For the point of view of someone who has signed the petition, read this recent Richard Layman post. (I am wondering, and have no answer, whether this is the bill that CSX has been looking toward [along with other public money options] for funding the rest of the National Gateway project, which includes the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.)
* You may have seen commenter MJM referencing recently his newfound obsession with the history of Near Southeast, and now he's put up a blog where you can share in the fruits of his research.
 

A hail of bullets on a rainy morning:
* The ANC 6D07 race has another possible candidate, with David Garber now circulating his petitions to get on the ballot. It's more likely you know David as DG_Rad, the blogger at And Now, Anacostia; although he has continued ties east of the river, David moved to Near Southeast at the beginning of the summer, and has thrown his hat into the 6D07 ring. His web site for the race is VoteGarber.com. David joins Capitol Quarter resident Bruce DarConte in challenging current commissioner Bob Siegel (assuming they all get their required 25 petition signatures). And there's still a few weeks left for other candidates to pop up.
UPDATE: I understand via David that Bruce DarConte is not going to run after all.
* The Ward 6 Council Democratic Candidates Forum, an opportunity to hear from Tommy Wells and Kelvin Robinson about their position on issues of interest to Ward 6 and the city, is scheduled for tonight (Aug. 24) at 6:30 pm at the Southeast Library at 403 7th St., SE. According to The Hill is Home, it will be hosted by WTOP's Mark Segraves.
UPDATE: If you can't make the forum, or if you're reading this after it's over, the two candidates will also be debating on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on Wednesday (Aug. 25), at 12:06 pm.
* And although the Anacostia Community Boathouse's operations have moved to temporary space just far enough upriver that they're not technically in Near Southeast anymore, I'll still pass along that they are having their 4th Annual Youth River Sports Day on Sunday, Sept. 12, from 11 am to 3 pm. It's free, and it gives kids (and adults) a chance to try their hands at rowing and paddling. The Anacostia Watershed Society will also be giving tours of the river in their pontoon boat. Here's the photos I took at the 2008 event.
There's also a number of ballpark-related events this week:
* On Wednesday (Aug. 25), Nationals Park gets on the "Craft Beer Week" bandwagon with a Leinenkugel pregame beer sampling at the Miller Light Scoreboard Walk. For $22, fans receive a Scoreboard Pavilion seat and a voucher for four complimentary Leinenkugel beer samples from 4:30 pm until first pitch. To purchase tickets, go to nationals.com/craftbeerweek.
* Also on Wednesday is the Top Chef episode filmed at Nationals Park, as the six remaining contestants are charged with making game snacks for fans, with guest appearances by John Lannan, Adam Dunn, and {sniff} Matt Capps, and with guest judge (and Top Chef Masters winner) Rick Moonen. It's at 10 pm on Bravo. Here's a snippet of some of the arguing going on in one of the food bays during the challenge.
* Saturday, Aug. 28 is the second blood drive of the summer at the ballpark, from 8 am to 2 pm. Blood donors will receive two tickets to a future Nationals game, a limited edition Build-A-Bear Workshop bloodhound and the opportunity to meet a Nationals player. Appointments to donate blood are required. Interested donors should call 1-866-BLOODSAVES (256-6372) or visit www.inova.org/donateblood, click "schedule an appointment" and enter sponsor code 7665.
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More posts: ANC News, Boathouse Row, meetings, politics, Nationals Park
 

Guess I should have been lazy (er, lazier than usual) and waited 24 hours on each of my posts yesterday, because there's small tidbits to add on both:
* While the Yards Park "official opening weekend" is set for Sept. 10-12, invitations have now begun landing in mailboxes for a ribbon cutting/dedication ceremony on Sept. 7.
* There is now at least one challenger to ANC 6D07 incumbent Bob Siegel--according to the DCBOEE, Capitol Quarter resident Bruce DarConte has filed his paperwork to run. And I'm hearing rumors of at least one more resident planning to jump into the race as well.
In other non-followup news, eagle-eyed readers might notice in my DC permit feeds an approved public space/excavation permit for its planned 1111 New Jersey office building site. But don't read too much into it--there's still no announced plans to start construction anytime soon.
UPDATE: Oh, and a PS: The Top Chef DC episode filmed at Nats Park back in the spring is coming up next week (Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 10 pm, on Bravo). It appears to be a stadium-food challenge, with the "chestestants cheftestants" cooking and serving in the various food bays along the concourse.
 

A few readers have noted to me that, as of last week, no one from ANC 6D07 had turned in any nominating petitions for this year's elections. The Sept. 3 deadline is still a few weeks away, and while he hasn't done his paperwork, current and longtime 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel has confirmed to me that he will be running again. It will be interesting to see if anyone else from the neighborhood decides to run--especially now that 6D07 has considerably more residents than it had for many years, meaning that the pool of potential candidates is a lot bigger.
If I've kickstarted the community politician in you and you decide you want to run, Frozen Tropics has a nice run-down of how to become a candidate. And the qualifications are pretty simple: you must be a registered voter and have lived in your SMD for 60 days (in other words, having moved into 6D07 no later than July 5, 2010) before submitting your nomination petitions.
I think the more interesting time in 6D07, however, will be in 2012, when the city goes through its once-a-decade realignment of ANC boundaries. Each ANC single-member district (SMD) is supposed to represent about 2,000 residents, which means that 6D07--with a population now up to around 3,500 thanks to the multitude of new apartment buildings north of Nationals Park as well as the Capitol Quarter townhouse development--will very likely be broken up into two districts. And, beyond that--would the Near Southeast SMD(s) remain part of 6D, which otherwise is completely within the boundaries of Southwest, or would one or both new districts possibly end up being moved to ANC 6B, the southern Capitol Hill ANC. (A small part of 6B is already south of the freeway, from Seventh Street over to 11th Street down to M Street.)
In other political news of note for the neighborhood, this Mike Debonis piece in the WashPost on Tommy Wells and his challenger Kelvin Robinson is a good look at the issues swirling in the Ward 6 council seat Democratic primary, particularly whether Wells' focus on "liveable walkable communities" and other new urbanism ideas (like the plastic bag tax) are interesting to Ward 6 constituents who aren't necessarily on the streetcar/multimodal bandwagon. And CP's Housing Complex blog also looks at the story, commenting that "Instead of painting a picture of a rosy future, Wells might be better advised to depict the absence of excellent transit and walkable communities as a current ill that must be rectified, putting those deficiencies on the level of crime as a pressing issue."
The DC primary elections are on Tuesday, Sept. 14. No matter what your leanings are, be sure to vote.
(I haven't written hardly at all on the mayor's race because, well, there's a billion other people doing that.)
 

Hasn't been much swirling around lately worthy of a full blog post, but here are a couple items so that people don't think I've shut down (though most of them have already been seen on my Twitter feed, aka the "I'm Too Lazy to Blog" feed):
* The light tower at the Yards Park is being installed today, about four weeks in advance of the scheduled grand opening on Sept. 10. I hope to have pictures at some point.
* Greater Greater Washington reports that MPD fanned out around Nationals Park on Wednesday night, ticketing drivers and pedestrians and handing out flyers on safety. GGW also brings up the public meeting held by Tommy Wells back in March about the notion of reworking M Street under the "Complete Streets" principles of creating road networks that work for pedestrians young and old, cyclists, public transportation users, and drivers. by doing things such as adding dedicated bike lanes, creating safer crosswalks, etc. At that meeting, residents of Southwest were unimpressed with the possibilities, but the few Southeast residents in attendance seemed more open to it.
UPDATE: TBD reports that the truck driver in last week's incident is not being cited.
* The Post did a video feature on Hoopernatural, the hula hooping fitness outfit. They are running classes for mixed-levels of hoopiness during August at Canal Park, on Saturday mornings from 10 to 11 am.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is running a survey to get feedback from residents, workers, and visitors on the types of events the BID holds (concerts, outdoor movies, farmers' market, etc.). Let your feelings be known here.
* While my griping about the bad signage on the SW Freeway (highlighted again by the Post on Thursday) is technically out-of-boundaries, it is on topic to also mention to DDOT that the various blue "services" signs for the South Capitol Street exits on I-395 probably need to get rid of the gas station icons, since the days of having three gas stations right on South Capitol and two within a few blocks to the east are long gone. (But @DDOTDC has put me in a time out after Thursday's flurry of transit-related tweets, which also included this good suggestion from a reader about the need for a left-turn signal on northbound Third Street, SE at Virginia Avenue, for people needing to get onto I-395 southbound.)
* And I stumbled across this study by the New America Foundation about "online-only" news outlets in DC. It counted 61 of them, noting that the "city's oldest local blogs that still command an audience began to spring up in 2003," with JDLand being one of the "original few," thanks to my January 2003 vintage. The piece looks at DCist, GGW, Prince of Petworth, And Now Anacostia, and TBD (though it hadn't yet launched), along with a few nice words about this site. But I have been thinking a lot lately about how I'm an old lady compared to the rest of the DC neighborhood blogosphere, and this article (coming on the heels of my [redacted] birthday) certainly reminded me of it. :-)
 

At Monday night's Zoning Commission meeting, the commissioners voted 3-0 after a brief discussion to approve a request by the DC Housing Authority and the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopers to extend (again) the approved timeline for the long-planned Community Center at Fifth and K. The commissioners saw letters of support from both ANC 6B and 6D (you can see 6D's letter here), and seemed appeased by the notion that the $7-plus million required to build the center is figured into the $25 million that DCHA plans to eventually receive from a second bond offering (after the $29 million one late last year that's paying for infrastructure improvements), once the market improves.
In return for 6D's support for the time extension, the Housing Authority agreed to a number of conditions, mainly having to do with status reports and project updates, but also agreed (according to the letter) to "work with the ANC, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Marine Corps to implement the agreement governing use of the Marine Corps' playing fields for the community." This is apparently a reaction to attempts to gain wider public access than is currently given to the fields at 7th and Virginia barracks as was originally agreed to when DCHA transferred that land to the Marines back in 1999.
The new time extension for the community center calls for building permit applications to be filed by July 1, 2012, with construction having to begin within 12 months of that date.
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, Community Center, meetings, zoning
 

I'm still eyeing a couple more days of (mostly) blog-free living, but a few items should probably be mentioned before the weekend, and so that you don't think I'm never coming back. First, the calendar:
* On Monday at 6:30 pm, the Zoning Commission will take up the Housing Authority's new request for another time extension to the zoning order that requires construction of the Capper Community Center. DCHA had asked for a two-year extension last year, but was only granted one year, and made clear at that time that they didn't foresee having the money to start the center in that shorter time frame, and that they'd be back to ask for another extension. And now they are.
* Speaking of the community center, there's now a big sign on its footprint (at Fifth and L) touting that the second phase of Capitol Quarter's townhouses is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But you knew that already.
* Monday at 7 pm is the monthly ANC 6D meeting. I was hoping the agenda would be out before I posted this, but alas, no. Check back here or on their web site to see what scintillating topics will be up for discussion. (UPDATE: the agenda is now out, and there's nothing really major on it, other than a public space permit for the street work for Phase 2 of Capitol Quarter.)
* On Tuesday, July 13, the Capitol Hill Group Ministry is having its "All-Star Party Night" at Nationals Park, offering the chance to take batting practice, throw pitches in the bullpen, tour the locker room, meet Teddy, and more. Tickets are $55 per person and $15 for children under 12, with proceeds going to CHGM's programs for homeless and low-income families.
And a few other items:
* Today's WBJ reports that a third piece of "public" art is coming to Nationals Park; this time it will be 30 "stainless steel-domed forms which will accurately follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast-ball pitch," which will be hung early next year on the exterior of the eastern garage. The steel spheres with cutout "laces," each seven feet in diameter, will feature programmable LED lights; the piece will cost about $950,000. As for the other two pieces of public art already at the stadium (the bronze statues in the Center Field Plaza and the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" mobile near the First Base Gate), I'll quote WBJ's Michael Neibauer: "The first two pieces of public art at the stadium were, to be kind, not well-received at their unveiling in April 2009. The works were selected by arts professionals and D.C. residents, according to the arts commission, but some wonder: Did anyone ask the fans?"
* A reader reports that the Anacostia Boathouse at 11th and O, in between the 11th Street Bridges spans, has been demolished, which was expected because of the footprint of the new bridges. Haven't seen for myself yet to confirm.
* And I haven't felt the earth shift on its axis yet, so I assume the Little Red Building's exterior is still standing, although interior demolition has been going on all week.
 
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