Ward Seven Goes Green

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 7B meeting held last Thursday proved fruitful, as community members discussed methods of beautification and environmental preservation in the area.

“UFA is responsible for the planting and removal of trees and gingko injections in the area,” said Anthony Jones, a representative from the Urban Forestry Administration (UFA), which falls under the jurisdiction of the District Department of Transportation .

Jones explained that UFA wants to ensure it works with the community at all points of the beautification process. He brought with him informational brochures about the administration, including maps of areas that have already been worked on in wards seven and eight.

One ward seven resident voiced concerns that she and other residents have about the UFA.

“In the past, the ANC commission was informed of all trees being taken down; that’s not happening anymore,” the resident explained. “We need to know which trees are being slated to be moved, and what types will replace those taken down.”

Thedus Boyd, vice chair of the commission, and one of the six commissioners present, expressed similar concerns.

“We want to ensure that [the community] doesn’t get ‘hodged’ trees; left over trees from other areas,” Boyd said. “We want good quality trees like elsewhere in the city,” she continued.

The other commissioners present agreed with Boyd. In attendance were the chairperson, the evening’s moderator, and representative for 7B04, Phillip Raymond, treasurer and 7B05 representative Robin Marlin, as well as Raymond Keith, representative of 7B06.

Both Yvonne Moore who represents 7B04 and Linda Eckles, representative of 7B01 were also present.

Vice Chairperson Boyd represents 7B07, making Howard Ways for 7B02 the only commissioner absent from the meeting.

The Naylor-Dupont area meeting took place around 7 p.m. at the Sunday school of Ryland Methodist Church , located at 3200 S St. S.E. , just off Branch Avenue S.E.

By 8 p.m. the room was full of residents of the Naylor-Dupont area. Jones, in defense of the UFA, explained that he, along with his team, is personally responsible for the actual inspection and planting of the trees, and assured commissioners and residents alike that the trees being planted were of the best quality.

Being new to his position, he vowed, “To make sure the lines of communication remain open between UFA and the community.”

River Smart Homes , an initiative of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), was also discussed at Thursday’s meeting.

According to Steve Saari of the DDOE, “the project will be piloted in wards seven and eight,” and will utilize monetary measures to attract homeowners to work with the department to reduce water pollution.

Through basic landscape enhancements , such as bayscaping, the creation of rain gardens, the use of rain barrels, the planting of trees and even the use of permeable pavers , DDOE believes residents can do their part to prevent water pollution and contamination. DDOE said these measures would be especially helpful in ward 7, which is close to the Anacostia River , thus their early focus on the ward.

“These systems can beautify your landscape while reducing water pollution,” Saari explained to interested residents.

Saari told attendees that Mayor Adrian Fenty would be in the area on or around May 18 to break ground on the project, which would be underway soon after that time.

Other business handled at the meeting included information about the SAVU Program , a project of the District of Columbia Fire Department .

“The fire department will target specific areas of the city and saturate that area with companies, making sure every house has a smoke detector installed,” explained Captain Steve Faulkner, the acting battalion chief of Engine Company 15 , the community’s fire department.

Commissioner Dee Hunter, representative of ANC 1B04, also made an appearance at the ward seven meeting, in an attempt to garner support for his commission’s cause; the eradication of warrantless searches in the District.

The Safe Homes Initiative , a joint effort of Mayor Fenty and Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, of the Metropolitan Police Department , involves police offers requesting the consent of District residents to search their homes for guns.

“Once consent is given for a gun safety check, officers will ensure that residents are informed of their rights, including what amnesty will be honored if guns are located,” Lanier said in her statement.

“We at ANC 1B do not agree with this initiative, and are asking for your support,” Commissioner Hunter said.

Although a vote could not be taken at Thursday’s meeting, both ANC 7B commissioners and residents voiced their approval to strike the initiative.