by Mary Beth Ray
ANC 3F03 Commissioner
Close your eyes and envision the perfect neighborhood. What comes to mind? Tree-lined streets and colorful flower boxes? Charming sidewalk cafés, an art gallery, a row of great local shops with yarns, artisanal bread, old-fashioned toys, olive oils, gardening utensils, sports and outdoor gear… or a locally-owned clothing store? Or maybe a yoga and tai chi studio or skating rink? What about outdoor embassy events featuring a variety of music and international foods? Or better pedestrian and bike routes, including safer access to Rock Creek Park?
[quote_right]We hope to assemble a broad and fair representation of our residents—young and old, apartment dwellers and home owners, merchants and educators, parents and singles, those who commute by foot, Metro, car, and bike.[/quote_right]Now is your chance to dream and let your dreams be heard! The 3F Advisory Neighborhood Commission passed a resolution Tuesday night to create the Van Ness Vision Committee, to be chaired by new ANC 3F03 Commissioner Mary Beth Ray.
Why do we need a Van Ness Vision Committee?
A group including ANC 3F Chairman Adam Tope, Commissioner Ray, Marlene Berlin, representatives of the DC Department of Transportation and Urban Forestry, UDC Master Gardener program, and several representatives of the DC Office of Planning participated in a walk along the Van Ness and Connecticut Avenue corridor on January 30th.
The walk generated many ideas and much enthusiasm, and we learned our neighborhood may be eligible to apply for technical assistance through Streetsense, an Office of Planning diagnostic program that helps neighborhoods work toward more vibrancy. (For more information on the Vibrant Retail Streets Toolkit, see: mayor.dc.gov/release/mayor-vincent-c-gray-releases-vibrant-retail-streets-toolkit)
Various other organizations were mentioned as possible partners, including Casey Trees, Art Place grants, the Cafritz Foundation, and the DC Council on the Arts and Humanities. Other DC neighborhoods that are especially vibrant, such as NoMa, Golden Triangle, and Georgetown, will provide good examples to study.
How will the Vision Committee be set up? Our ANC bylaws provide for two types of committees, standing and ad hoc. Ad hoc committees are established as temporary bodies by a majority vote, to address a specific issue or need. This will be an ad hoc committee set up for two years. Monthly committee meetings are open to the public, minutes are taken, and the committee will report regularly to the ANC. The committee will prepare a report with recommendations to be delivered at the September 2014 ANC meeting.
Who serves on the Committee? According to the bylaws, any resident of the Commission area shall be eligible to be appointed as a committee member. The Committee will include 12 members, and members of the ANC neighborhood are encouraged to volunteer. We hope to assemble a broad and fair representation of our residents—young and old, apartment dwellers and home owners, merchants and educators, parents and singles, those who commute by foot, Metro, car, and bike. Prospective members will be nominated by the chairman and appointed by the Commission.
What will the Committee do first? First steps will be to focus on low-cost, high-impact, quick to market ideas, such as tree boxes. We will emphasize what makes us unique, our embassies and our access to Rock Creek Park. We will focus on the block near the Metro first because of its visibility. Already, we have secured a generous donation of 4,000 daffodils and tulips honoring the memory Ted Farber, the late father of UDC Master Gardener coordinator Sandy Farber! This is an auspicious beginning for what promises to be a beautiful Van Ness vision.
Are you interested in serving on the committee? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume and a paragraph on why you want to serve on the committee. Would you like to get involved without the obligation of another committee assignment? Write to Commissioner Ray and express your interest. There will be many opportunities to get involved and share your vision.