End-of-year report and call for officers

Neighbors,

I’m writing to summarize the work that the Eckington Civic Association has done over the last year and to ask you to join our organization as a member or by running to become an officer in our upcoming elections.

The position of recording secretary is currently vacant, and we are also hoping to recruit additional individuals interested in serving as a vice president (our bylaws, if amended, will allow for up to four vice presidents).

Officer elections for 2020 are this coming Monday, December 9, at 7 pm at the Summit at St. Martin, 116 T Street NE. Please contact us at eckingtoncivic@gmail.com if you would like to run for office.

Progress in 2019

At the beginning of the year, we conducted a survey to see what issues Eckington residents most wanted us to focus on. The top two issues were reducing crime and traffic safety issues like fixing Dave Thomas Circle. When given a chance to submit unprompted answers, many residents also wanted our public spaces to receive basic care—like removing litter that collects on our streets. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in each of these areas over the past year:

Addressing violence in the community 

After an uptick in violence in the neighborhood, we engaged the community in crafting a letter calling on the Mayor and city agencies to take meaningful steps to combat violence. In response to our letter, the Attorney General decided to establish a violence interruption program covering Eckington and nearby communities. Violence interruption programs hire individuals who have ties to the community and help them reach out to individuals who are most at-risk of engaging in violence. The goal is to stop conflict before it occurs. The contract for the Eckington program was recently awarded, and we are looking forward to working with Father Factor and Murder Free DC to ensure that it achieves the results that we all want to see. 

Advocating for safer streets and intersections

In the spring, the civic association also sent a letter to the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) asking for immediate and long-term improvements to Dave Thomas Circle, the intersection of Florida and New York Avenues. On behalf of the civic association, I raised these concerns at DDOT’s budget oversight hearing. Funds to expedite the redesign of the intersection were included in the Mayor’s budget and then passed by the city council. We will be working to ensure that the design addresses the needs of Eckington residents who pass through this intersection on a daily basis. Over the summer, the civic association also  gathered additional traffic safety requests from Eckington residents and submitted a comprehensive list of requests to DDOT. We are currently working on identifying improvements that can be delivered in the coming calendar year and to establish expectations for the years to follow. 

Creating a new organization to beautify and activate our public spaces

The arrival of Tanner Park in the southwest corner of our neighborhood this winter will be transformative for Eckington. It also presented us with an opportunity to try to create an organization that could do more to beautify and activate our public spaces. Over the summer, we had conversations with residents about what this organization might look like, and I’m proud of what we came up with. In the coming months, expect to hear a lot more about Eckington Parks and Arts, a member-driven organization that will be fueled by donated time and money. With your help, Eckington Parks and Arts will organize community cleanups, events, and so much more. 

A vision for 2020 and a call to action

Ours is a volunteer-run organization, and it is only as strong as the energy we put into it. While I’m proud of everything we’ve done this year, I also think there is considerable room for growth. I personally never expected to get involved in an organization like this but have found it to be extremely rewarding and a great way to meet and engage with fellow Eckingtonians.

Fighting for an inclusive, stable, and vibrant community

Eckington, like the rest of the city, is growing. Over the next two years, we will likely welcome thousands of new residents to the neighborhood. Organizations like ours have a responsibility to continue advocating for responsible development that provides stable housing for individuals of all income levels and for transportation options that are affordable, efficient, and sustainable. Growth is likely to continue, and the civic assocation will continue to have an important role ensuring that new development is consistent with the neigborhood’s priorities. We can and should do more to give neighbors from all walks of life opportunities to spend time together at community oriented events. (So if the ECA isn’t your cup of tea, please consider Eckington Parks & Arts).

More officers who can help us address specific needs

To do more, we need more officers. We also hoping to do a better job of coordinating with other groups like the new violence interruption program and the parent teacher organizations at Langley Elementary School and McKinley Middle and High Schools. Local businesses, including those that call Eckington home, continue to face tough conditions and deserve our support.

None of this is meant to make being an officer sound like an enormous commitment. My philosophy for this work has been that something, even if it feels small, is always better than nothing. You’d be surprised and how much a single letter or email can accomplish or can be appreciated. Showing up to a single meeting on behalf of the community can lead to a tangibly better result. If you are interested in advocating for Eckington and running to be a vice president, please contact us at eckingtoncivic@gmail.com.

Better member participation and communication with the community

Due to a family tragedy, our recording secretary had to step aside in the middle of this year, and our ability to communicate our agenda and recruit members suffered as a result. On at least two occasions, the civic association lacked a quorum to conduct business–limiting our ability to advocate for our members and for our neighborhood.

The recording secretary is a crucial role for the health of the organization. The recording secretary keeps and publishes minutes of our meetings, publicizes our meetings and events, and helps recruit new members. If you are interested in running to be our new recording secretary, please contact us at eckingtoncivic@gmail.com.

And a thank you

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Arlene, our Vice President, and Neil, our Treasurer, for their contributions to the civic association this year. All of us became officers at the same time and faced a steep learning curve–all of our predecessors were stepping aside and all of us were new to the game! I’m very grateful to Arlene and Neil for all of the support and energy they have contributed this year. 

Best,

Conor Shaw
President
Eckington Civic Association

Draft Agenda for September 9, 2019

September 9, 2019 | 7:00PM-8:30PM | The Summit at St. Martin’s, 116 T Street NE

Agenda Items                                                                                   

Guest Presentations 7:00-7:30 pm

  • Representatives of MPD, 5th District
  • Murder Free DC/Father Factor’s application for the DC Attorney General’s violence interruption grant for Eckington & Truxton Circle (Alvin Proctor, Kevin Fields, Sean Magruder)
  • Elevation/Gateway construction update (Matt Bailey, MRP Realty)

ECA business— 7:30-8:00 pm

  • Letter re: violence, safety, other issues at Harry Thomas Recreation Center (Mona Lewandoski)
  • Eckington Parks and Arts launch (Alex and Meagan Mitchell)
  • Update on Traffic Safety Assessment requests (Conor Shaw)
  • Bylaw amendment to allow for multiple VPs will be considered at ECA’s October meeting (CS)
  • ECA elections will be held December 9 (CS)
  • Treasurer’s update (Neil Shah)

Updates from community leaders and offices —8:00-8:30 pm

Upcoming Meetings & Events                                                        

  • September 10: Langley PTSA Meeting @ Langley Elementary
  • September 14: Art all night @ locations around DC including North Capitol Street & Florida Avenue
  • October 7: Next ECA meeting @ The Summit at St. Martin’s, 116 T Street NE
  • October 18: Grand Opening: Stable Arts @ 336 Randolph Place NE

ECA submits major traffic safety requests to DDOT

Today, the Eckington Civic Association transmitted a letter to DDOT requesting major vehicle, pedestrian, and bike safety upgrades in and near Eckington. These requests are the result of the ECA’s vehicle, pedestrian, and bike safety survey that the ECA conducted in May. The submission of these requests was approved at the ECA’s June meeting. Residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on any major changes that DDOT pursues.

A google map of the ECA’s request, as well as DDOT’s proposals from the 2013 Mid City East Livability study, is available here.

In addition to the letter, the ECA submitted eight documents that identify specific issues with the corridors and intersections flagged in our letter. Those are available here: (1) Florida Avenue; (2) North Capitol Street; (3) R Street; (4) Eckington Place and Harry Thomas Way; (5) T Street; (6) 2nd and 3rd streets; (7) V street; and (8) Lincoln Road.

The ECA looks forward to working with DDOT to addressing these concerns and making our neighborhood safer for everyone, including motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Website update underway!

You may have noticed some changes recently, and you’re likely to see more! We’re working on making the site easier to navigate and getting all of the content up to date. If there are specific things you’d like to see, let us know!