Remember when Van Ness neighbors and planners spent one March Saturday brainstorming a new function for the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Windom Street? Their goal was to reimagine the area as a “beautiful and inviting” neighborhood hub.
Some spaces on either side of Connecticut have a lot going for them, including an entrance to Soapstone park and an amphitheater at UDC. Even so, it’s not easy to see this area as beautiful or inviting, or sell developers on this vision – without visuals. That’s the next step.
At ANC 3F’s July 15th meeting, ANC 3F03 commissioner and Van Ness Vision Committee chair Mary Beth Ray proposed that the ANC spend $10,000 of its funds to commission a conceptual design and renderings from architect Travis Price and his non-profit firm The Spirit of Place/Spirit of Design.
Ray noted the work the Vision Committee had already done to create a new vision for Van Ness, in concert with the DC Office of Planning, UDC, American University, Fannie Mae, and Van Ness commercial property owners including Doug Jemal, Arnie Pollinger, B.F. Saul and Calvert Woodley. And she noted Price’s work advising the committee, leading the March charette, and hosting these Van Ness property and business owners at a Vision Committee event in February.
[box]Price… brought a whole new way of looking at our neighborhood. Like the DC Office of Planning study from 2011, Travis focused on the Windom-Conn. Ave. intersection as a potential hub – a beautiful and inviting third place that bridges east and west sides of the Avenue, offers activities for all ages, and highlights the metaphors of trees, rocks and water…
Now it’s time to take this effort to the next level. We have many ideas, and words. What we need is pictures.
He explained that this would be a iterative process, and in its final form would be used to promote the interest of property owners and other developers in funding a noteworthy east–west connection at Van Ness.
The resolution passed 7-0. Commissioner Ray also announced that the Van Ness Vision Committee was to host another charette July 19th with landscape architects working with BF Saul and UDC, and others who have worked on streetscape design on Connecticut Avenue, hosted by the UDC School of Architecture.
The ANC commissioners also approved the following:
• The Rock Creek Conservancy’s $1,350 grant request funding the Rock Creek Conservation Corps, a student conservation group. The funds are to go toward clearing invasive plants from Rock Creek Park.
• Resolution in support of a stop sign where drivers exit the alley behind Politics and Prose onto Nebraska Avenue. Introduced by Commissioner Manolis Priniotakis.
• Resolution on the 2014 DCPS draft student assignment and boundaries proposal, including opposition to moving the northern boundary for Hearst Elementary north of Yuma Street. Introduced by Commissioner Nugent.
• Resolution to support a sidewalk on 36th Street between Garrison and Fessenden. Introduced by Commissioner Priniotakis.
As for other ANC business, the fate of a grant application the Northwest Neighbors Village first presented at the June meeting is still up in the air. NNV is seeking funds for a promotional mailing to inform Forest Hills residents about its senior services and call for volunteers. But Gottlieb Simon, the executive director of DC’s Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, and whom this ANC relies on for advice on funding most of its grants, gave it a thumbs down. ANC 3F Chair Adam Tope did mention that he is working with the Northwest Neighbors Village to rework their proposal. Other ANCs have funded such mailings.