By: Tia Lowe, Howard University News Service
Ward two hosted its third monthly Advisory Neighborhood Commissions meeting on Monday, March 4, 2019, at the Georgetown Visitation School. Roadwork, gas leaks, and the replacement of the 31st Street Bridge seemed to be the community’s biggest concerns.
Filled with intrigued community members, the Heritage room was attentive as Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans began to address issues within the ward. “The Georgetown community is great… I’ve been here since 1991, it’s a fabulous area and I’m glad to be a part of it,” said Evans. Adversity still faces the world-renowned community.
Crowd members expressed their concerns. One audience member said, “King Street is horrible.”
After Georgetown residents voiced their frustrations with the lack of timeliness, Amr Kotb, community outreach and relations specialist for the DC Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services spoke about the issues regarding the streets. “I’m out in Georgetown every Tuesday and Thursday, I’d be glad to take a look at the specific streets you all are mentioning,” said Kotb.
John O’ Brien, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Public Affairs, for WGL Holdings, Inc. and Washington Gas, brought attention to the recurring gas leaks. He spoke briefly about “Project Pipes,” an initiative to replace old pipes in the ground. “We want you to call us if you smell gas,” O’brien said. Project Pipes is in its first five years of a 40-year project to replace gas pipes. Additionally, he agreed with Councilmember Jack Evans’ statement, “Communication has to be better.” Councilmember Evans shared a story about his own experience with the gas leaks and stressed the issue is being solved.
Of the matters discussed, the replacement of the 31st Street Bridge over the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal presented the highest demand of time. Commissioner Lisa Palmer spoke briefly on the longevity of the process and how community members could learn more about the project. “It’s likely to take about 18 months… There will be a meeting about the bridge on Thursday, March 14, 2019, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.,” she said. The 31st Street Bridge is the last bridge in Georgetown. Councilmember Evans said, “It’s another inconvenience, but it’s another manufacturing job that must be done.” Alternate routes will be discussed at the upcoming meeting.