The room was packed for a Friday morning in July. Van Ness Main Street board and committee members were joined by ANC 3F commissioners, representatives from local businesses and neighbors for the organization’s annual meeting on July 13th.
The Van Ness Main Street office at 4340 Connecticut has been doing double duty as the site of the Ibhana women’s clothing pop-up shop on Fridays and Saturdays since June 21st. It also doubled as the meeting location. Attendees heard updates on VNMS efforts, including:
Also, Theresa Cameron, Van Ness Main Street’s executive director, announced that Ibhana is staying. Meena Tharmaratnam, the owner, said she is committed to staying in Van Ness and is looking for a permanent location.
Christina Amoruso, the administrator of the Main Street program at the District’s Department of Small and Local Business Development, called Van Ness Main Street a trendsetter because of its use of pop-up stores and its work assisting local businesses with social media outreach. “It is unbelievable how far they have come in three short years,” she said.
Van Ness Main Street gave Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh a limited edition print of Van Ness by Anthony Dihle of Victory Dance Creative to thank her for her support of the organization.
In 2015, Cheh found $200,000 for a startup grant, and this year got the Council to support the $1.5 million FY 2019 budget allocation for DDOT’s work on the next phase of the Van Ness streetscape project.
Mary Beth Ray was honored for her vision and many years of VNMS leadership. She chaired the ANC 3F Van Ness Vision Committee (the predecessor to Van Ness Main Street) starting in 2013, then served as VNMS president from the end of 2015 through 2017. She has gone on to lead the Van Ness streetscape project and has spent hours working with the ANC, DC agencies, Council members, the Mayor’s Office.
Ray said she is meeting with DDOT Director Jeff Marootian at the beginning of August to get his advice on the next phase of this project.
Other activities and accomplishments of the previous 12 months include:
They’re all described in more detail in the Van Ness Main Street annual report for fiscal year 2017.
At the end the meeting, Van Ness Main Street President recognized DDOT and two of its employees for their efforts in getting a long-awaited crosswalk installed in the heart of the main street: Connecticut Avenue and Windom Place. George Branyan, DDOT pedestrian coordinator and Wasim Raja, the associate director for traffic engineering worked on this crosswalk project over many years. This was also a long-time project of two former ANC 3F commissioners, Mary Beth Ray and Sally Gresham. The audience was invited to walk to the corner of Windom for a ribbon-cutting. And then Berlin, Branyan, Ray and Gresham linked arms and strutted across Connecticut Avenue.