Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B (Takoma, Manor Park, Lamond-Riggs) held its March public meeting last evening at the Fourth District Police Headquarters.  The agenda was full for the first time this calendar year, but the Commission worked through it efficiently. The following notes highlight the items likely to be of greatest interest to the public.

Report from Councilmember Brandon Todd’s Office

Deputy Chief of Staff Dolly Turner presented this month’s report.

  • Budget hearings are currently underway. $15.5 Billion is on the table for next fiscal year. If you want to have a say in how that money is spent, now is the time to come down to the council and make your thoughts known.  The Councilmember’s office will provide templates for written and spoken testimony.
  • Many neighbors have complained about the deplorable status of Eastern Avenue during Pepco’s transmission line upgrade project. There will be a community meeting on the condition of the road with Pepco and other utilities on April 4th at 6:30 pm at the Takoma Park 7th Day Adventist Church located at 6810 Eastern Avenue NW. It would be helpful to as many community members as possible attend.

Report from Mayor Bowser’s Office

Keyshawn Harris was there to deliver this month’s report. Among the many items that he highlighted were:

  • The Arbor Day Foundation and Pepco have partnered to give away 1,000 trees to District residents. Customers will have the ability to choose from a selection of trees, including Redbud, Crepe Myrtle, River Birch, Red Oak, Red Maple, most available in varying sizes. Trees have the potential to lower energy bills by 15 to 30 percent. Additionally, trees provide benefits to a community by improving air and water quality, reducing stormwater runoff, and adding to the visual appeal of a neighborhood. Visit to place your order.
  • This winter was especially hard on the city’s roadways. There is hardly any surface in town without major potholes, ruts or flat-out ditches. The city’s annual Potholepalooza campaign to expedite the repair of potholes began this week. If you have a major issue with a pothole on your block, please called 311 to get it logged into the system.
  • On Friday afternoon, Mayor Bowser, Councilmember Todd and other dignitaries will celebrate the groundbreaking of the Brooks and Vale Buildings at the Parks at Walter Reed, the first mixed-use project on the Walter Reed campus.

Ward 4 State Board of Education

Mr. Frazier O’Leary, Ward 4’s representative on the State Board of Education is now a regularly scheduled speaker on the 4B agenda. This evening he touched on two prominent points:

  • Ida B Wells
  • DC Public Schools announced yesterday that the new “North” middle school will be named after activist Ida B. Wells. As Chancellor Lewis Ferebee wrote, “Ida B Wells (1862 – 1931) was an iconic African-American investigative journalist, civil rights activist, educator, and researcher. Ida B. Wells Middle School will be DCPS’ only current stand-alone middle school named after an African-American woman.
  • On April 10 at 5 pm, there will be a meeting for prospective parents of future Wells Middle School students at Whittier Education Campus. Attendees will also be able to sign up for a tour of the new school.

DC Water Presentation

John Degman from DC Water’s Water Quality program came to inform the audience about recently passed legislation regarding lead contamination in drinking water.  The law authorizes the city to provide financial assistance for homeowners to have the portion of a lead service pipe replaced when DC Water replaces pipe on adjacent public space.  It would also help homeowners where partial replacements were done in the past.  That situation is often worse than if no replacement had been done at all.

Unfortunately, the current budget winding its way through the council offices does not include funding for this program for next year. Mr. Degman encouraged all residents to express support to have this money allocated to these two programs.

Visit is see if your home is currently connected to a lead service pipe.

Capital City PCS Edible Forest Garden

Ms. Ryoko Yamamoto from Capital City Public Charter School came to share information about their planned Edible Forest Garden.  She defined an Edible Forest Garden as a low-maintenance, sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system, incorporating fruit trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables.

This is a growing movement to increase access to sources of food and berries in urban neighborhoods. The school established its current small garden in 2012.  By expanding the food growing area, they can produce more fresh fruit and vegetables. All proposed areas are open to the public and included on land shared by the school and DDOT. They are currently at final planting design stage and will begin preparing the soil in April, with planting scheduled for May and June.

For community members who want to learn more about Edible Forest Gardens or would like to volunteer, send an email to  Volunteer options begin in May.

Art Place at Fort Totten

Finally, the design team behind Art Place at Fort Totten came to share a small update. We originally reported on this project back in October.  The group is seeking a modification to their existing Planned Unit Development.  Since the project is in a Ward 5 ANC, this presentation was mostly informational.

FEZ Ft. Totten Planned DevelopmentThe project includes arts and education uses, and Explore Children’s museum, Aldi grocery store, food hall (like Union Market), Meow Wolf arts and entertainment collective and 929 total residential units.

They also announced that 24-Hour Fitness signed a lease to move into a 45,000 sf space in and existing retail building by the end of 2019.