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″

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