ANC Rep Replies to Controversy Surrounding the $242k for Streetscape Improvements

Photo by PoPville flickr user ewilfong

As promised in yesterday’s post here is an individual ANC’s perspective on the controversy:

“I’m one of the two ANC commissioners cited by Adam Hoey in his complaint that funds for the Main Street TEG grant might be “diverted by a possible resolution from ANC1D Commissioners Edwards and McKay”. It’s important to note that no such resolution has been offered, and if the ANC simply does nothing, the grant will proceed.

Consider what would be purchased with this $242,000 expenditure. Up-lighting of some trees in Lamont Park. “Festoon lights” hung across the street. Painting the streetlight poles black. A mid-block pedestrian crosswalk (which DDOT won’t do, that being an unsafe crossing location). Bike “sharrows”. Some trees, locations uncertain. Nicer benches (our homeless-shelter folks, who spend their days in this park, will no doubt be pleased). The “park tables” would be nice, and correspond to an ANC resolution calling for such tables, but are not part of the proposal as submitted to DDOT, and have not heretofore been mentioned.

Will any of this make any real difference? Mount Pleasant Street is having a tough time lately, in part because many Mount Pleasant residents prefer to do their shopping and restauranting elsewhere. I could go on at great length about the problems on the Street, and what we might do to reverse the decline of what some residents call “Mount Unpleasant Street”. But what’s clear is that small steps, like the cosmetic changes proposed by Main Street, will accomplish little. Surely that $241,000 of taxpayer money could be better spent. I don’t support wasteful uses of public funds, even if opposing waste causes those funds to go to some other DC neighborhood.

The Main Street effort got off to a bad start, as the ANC in July, 2009, failed (on a 3 to 3 vote) to pass a resolution of support for their proposal, only to have Main Street falsely claim in its proposal to DDOT that it had “received ANC support for moving forward with the application”. No, it hadn’t, as we wanted to see more detail about exactly what was being proposed. As for Historic Mount Pleasant, the president has this to say: “I think a line-by-line discussion of the proposal is essential. . . . If they spend this on second and third priority stuff, then my concern is that our real priorities — like new street lamps — will be pushed even further down the budgetary wait list.”

Mount Pleasant Street needs, and deserves, better than this. DC taxpayers deserve better than this.

I am writing, of course, as a single commissioner, and not for the ANC.

Jack McKay
ANC 1-D, Mount Pleasant, Single Member District 1D03″

24 Comment

  • Mount Pleasant would be better off spending that money on a “Laurie Collins Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” ad campaign, in an attempt to lure businesses back to the strip. Because that’s a huge reason, perhaps the biggest reason, why businesses won’t open there: They think the ruling parties in MtP will impose ridiculous rules before they open.

    • + 1. Ding Dong the witch is dead. Or at least moved to cleveland park. Now please come open a decent restaurant here!

    • saf

      Eventually you’ll have to find another boogeyman. She’s been gone a while.

      • she has been gone for awhile. but, oddly enough, didn’t actually remove herself from the MPNA or our neighborhoods business until long after she moved. She has recently gone on record as moving on from the MTP nimby movement. But her reputation is long lasting. Hence anons idea about an ad campaign.

    • It is not on “how else to spend the money” It is my understanding that they money can only be spent on what the application stated – nothing else. In the previous post I mentioned how MPMS took the time and money to submit the application – the ANC did not, they could have done something, anything but monst ANC members in MP are USELESS!

  • I noticed a new black street lamp on Park Rd (& Mt Pleasant) that was a definite improvement over the old utility lamps seen in the photo. I just can’t get that excited over painting the old ones black. Maybe some of the other changes will be better, but hopefully this will not be the last we see of improvements to Mt. Pleasant Street.
    Agree that some new businesses would do more than anything else to move things in the right direction.

  • First of all, let me say this that when MPMS was busy writing the grant, and winning it. What was the ANC doing? Did they not know of the availability of such a grant? Why did they not apply for money for their own proposals that they deem fit for Mt. Pleasant?

    Obviously someone wasnt doing their job right.

    Next, Mr. McKay. Your reasonings are so flawed that a High Schooler can rip it apart.

    1. Uplighting of Trees on Lamont Park: This will bring asthetic value to Mt. Pleasant Main Street. Dark areas do not invite people, they discourage. People feel safer in lighted areas. And when the lights are pretty, they enjoy it. Why else do you think Georgetown is so lit at night? The trees at the waterfront are full of lights?

    Agreed MPMS is not doing the same thing as them, this is a step up from whats currently there.

    Lights bring people, that brings business to the local restaurants at night.

    2. Crosswalk: DDOT wont agree to this, then why did they approve the grant? Part of the grant is to conduct a study for the feasibility of a crosswalk.

    3. Bike Sharrows: What is wrong with them? Maybe you dont ride a bike. Others do. It doesnt take anything away. It only adds to the Street.

    4. Nicer Benches: Why do they only have to benefit the homeless folk. Maybe as the ANC you should do something to stop the homeless loitering. According to you since homeless people use parkbenches, there should be no park benches.

    Cars get broken into all the time, even in Mt. Pleasant. Should I not buy a new car because it will surely please the car thief?

    To bring a change, you need to start somewhere. If you think you have a proposal that will bring “not just little” but a lot to Mt. Pleasant why did you not apply for the TEG grant?

    And if you really could do a better job than Adam Hoey, why dont you do it? Why is it that another organization was able to get a grant to do all this? Obviously they felt the need that they applied for it. DDOT felt the need was genuine and appropriate that they approved the grant.

    Now you are saying that the tax payer money could be better used. Do you think the people at DDOT are morons that they approved this plan? Either you think you are too smart or that they are too dumb. WHatever the case is, you should have been an officer at DDOT rather than the Mt. Pleasant ANC. Since it is evident that as the TEG Grant was won by some other organization, that you did not take your job seriously (yes i think i have said it like the nth time here, but that is the gist of the whole issue Mr. McKay is talking about).

    The MPMS improvements are just a start. If they go successful, I am sure other improvements will follow.

    You need to set aside your personal differences if any that you have with other Associations.

    I say Adam Hoey for ANC president!

  • Mount Pleasant would be better off spending that money on a “Laurie Collins Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” ad campaign, in an attempt to lure businesses back to the strip. Because that’s a huge reason, perhaps the biggest reason, why businesses won’t open there: They think the ruling parties in MtP will impose ridiculous rules before they open.>

    This is *definitely* a big part of the problem.

  • “our homeless-shelter folks, who spend their days in this park, will no doubt be pleased”

    Classy, Jack. Perhaps you would be in favor of benches that only a certain class of people are allowed to sit in?

  • All of this ignores the real problem – Mt P is filthy – no one wants to hang out in filth. There is garbage everywhere you look, drunk men in groups of 10 on every other corner, run-down ghetto shops, abandoned/dilapidated buildings etc… Clean it up and keep it clean and the rest would solve itself.

    • … no one wants to hang out in filth.

      On the contrary, some of us have been living in it quite contentedly for many years now – “filth” is pretty relative, I guess 😉

    • That describes large areas of the city. Eventually your standards will lower, you will be assimilated by the local Borg (the 1/3 of the city receiving some form of public assistance and who feel the world is their trash can). Or maybe your disgust will cause you to move elsewhere. Many people go through this process…

  • I see Jacks point. Tons of DC neighborhoods have already, or are slated to, receive major street scape overhauls with millions budgeted for them. MTP should have been high on that list. Anyone can see plainly that it is in need of love and with all the history in this neighborhood it’s a downright shame it’s been neglected to this degree. It’s an Historic Neighborhood so we dont require and wouldnt allow any yellow pavers or solar trees or any of that nonsense. But the Sidewalks need widening. The Lights all need replacing. We need more trees, benches, bike lanes. In short a major overhaul with costs comparable to any other screetscape project. I can see that if we accept this 240k. The city will just snub us for another 20 years because they know we were the recipients of the package. But at the same time I think we should take it. MTP street is frozen in time and needs what little we can get. Hopefully the city will come around eventually and help us the rest of the way. The MTP revitalization study was the first step. Now the city just needs to find the funds. But that could take years and in the meantime. I say. Festoon-light the streets. Could be cool

  • Jack sounds upset that he wasn’t offered to lead this effort and now someone else has stolen his thunder. He’s just trying to reassert his authority. DDOT thought this was a great idea. jack is really being rather arrogant for second-guessing DDOT and the people motivated enough to put together the grant proposal long after the fact. This is about territoriality: he wants to make sure that people come to him first.

  • Mt. P street could be really great…but there are so many things keeping it back. You can replace all the street lights you want…that will not shed a better light on the collapsed shell of 3145 Mt. P st. The street cannot progress until we deal with the basics.

  • I was not and am not in the politics of the situation, so can’t make a comment on who has slighted who or whatever, but I think Jack makes a decent point that if you go in for this, you’re setting yourself to lose out on the real big funding that is going to make the real difference.

    • there is no real funding now, it can take years to get especially with the downturn the city has. Many city projects have been pushed back several calendar years becasue of this, I have heard this now at several meetings so MP should take what it can get, if the neighborhood is so dysfunctional why would city leaders want to to give it money when it cannot get it to spend 240k? PLEASE!!!!!

  • I disagree strongly with the comment about Mt. Pleasant residents preferring to do shopping elsewhere. I STRONGLY prefer to do my shopping in Mt. Pleasant, and I do patronize businesses on the strip. However there are many subpar establishments for having a nice dinner in my opinion. If I want to dine outside, up until recently that was not possible. If the ANC would open themselves up and be more reasonable with business owners they might see some growth. There is still that bad reputation and you have the responsibility to overcome it.

  • Thoughtful comments, and I appreciate them all.

    Just one thing I’d like to add. This ANC has been working hard at overcoming the history of being anti-business. Right now we’re supporting Haydee’s night-club license application, and Don Juan’s efforts to be allowed to offer live music. (Laurie Collins appeared at the hearing this week to oppose Don Juan’s.) We’ve appeared at proceedings in support of Don Jaime’s (MPNA VA violation), the Bestway (MPNA VA violation) and the Pupuseria San Miguel (unpermitted substantial change). Requests for “stipulated licenses” get prompt, affirmative action, recently for Don Juan’s, and right now for Marleny’s. When the business people protested the extension of parking-meter hours to 10 pm, we got that action reversed, overnight.

    Yes, Mount Pleasant has a bad, anti-business reputation. We are working to change that.

  • Jack- I dont understand how a non resident can protest a MTP business? Are you telling me I could head up a neighborhood opposition to live music in Nanny Obriens??? Why is her voice allowed to be counted when she doesn’t live here? And why won’t she stick to her word and butt out once and for all?

  • The more I think about it. Festoon lighting running across various points of Mount Pleasant street could be a very cool way to brand the street. Not to mention add lighting which always makes things safer. A festooned mtp street with sidewalk cafes could be a very cool vision for a Future MTP street

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