Pleasant Plains Seeks Improvement Through University Relations, Local Revitalization

The Pleasant Plains Civic Association focused on improving the quality of life for its residents through several initiatives, including relations with the Howard University community, Sherman Avenue revitalization, and graffiti removal at its meeting at the Banneker Recreation Center, 2500 Georgia Ave. N.W., Saturday.

1. Relations With Howard University Community

The university is required to revise its master plan every 10 years, and community members will be provide their input during the association’s April meeting, said Darren R. Jones, president of the civic group. 

Marc Lee, president of Residence Life at Howard University, is scheduled to attend the meeting. Jones says community input is especially significant because of the number of Howard students living in the residential Pleasant Plains area, which stretches from Park Road NW in the north, to Florida Avenue in the south.

“The students are great to live with, but there are some problem university residents,” Jones said, citing an altercation on March 8. 

According to Jones, after student residents had been evicted from their residence at 745 Hobart St. N.W. that evening, they began to parade outside the house where their belongings had been moved. “We don’t care. We got evicted. We still got money,” they shouted while waving money in the air. The students were then robbed at gunpoint.

Jones said the April meeting will be an opportunity to make sure student and local residents can live safely in the community. 

2. At-Large Council Special Election.

On April 26 the city will be having a special election for an open seat on the D.C. Council, created after Kwame R. Brown was elected council chairman and his predecessor, Vincent Gray, became mayor.

The Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force will host an At-Large Council Member Candidate Forum from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at the Park View School at 3560 Warder Street N.W., said Sylvia Robinson, who is over the task force and director of the Emergence Community Arts Collective.

Candidate Bryan Weaver was also at the meeting. He talked about his platform, which is based on the oversight, accountability and reform of local government.

“We continue to pass very progressive laws, but do little in means of enforcing them,” Weaver said. 

If Weaver is elected, Jones said, the community will hold him accountable for making sure the District Dept. of Transportation carries out its plan to revitalize Georgia Avenue, including maintenance of the buildings and storefronts.

3. Sherman Avenue Revitalization

Residents expressed excitement and concern about the Sherman Avenue Revitalization.

Many residents said the construction project was moving along in a timely fashion, but are concerned about the traffic, noise and installation of new water lines.

Although the government is offering a $1,000 subsidy for residents who sign up for the replacement of the water lines within the perimeter of their property lines, residents have found the cost of the repairs exceed that amount by a couple thousand dollars. They also worry about whether lead can seep into the water supply as old pipes are removed.

All these issues will be addressed at the next Sherman Avenue Revitalization meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at the Banneker Recreation Center.

4. Graffiti Removal

Juan Camilo Barragan, community relations specialist for Ward 1, offered updates from the mayor’s office. One initiative is graffiti cleanup, especially near Georgia and Sherman Avenues.

Residents can contact Barragan (juancamilo.barragan@DC.gov) if they would like the city to clean up graffiti in their neighborhood. Small business can also have graffiti removed from their storefronts at no cost.  

5. Tree Planting

Carol Herwick from Casey Trees, an organization that hosts tree planting events every weekend, spoke about upcoming initiatives to help the environment and bring communities together.

The next project in Ward 1 will be on April 9 at the Columbia Heights Village Tenants Association at 2800 14thSt. N.W. 

According to a DDOT report, “Assessment of Urban Forest Resources and Strategy,” tree canopy covers 35 percent of the land in the city.

The report also notes that 33 percent of the land is unsuited to planting trees because of permanent features such as buildings, roads and railroads. Tree canopy could support the remaining 32 percent.