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Written by Charles Allen   
Friday, 05 December 2008

Councilmember Wells Hands Out 2nd Annual Livable, Walkable Community Awards

Last night, residents gathered at the Atlas Performing Arts Center where Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells handed out the 2nd Annual Livable, Walkable Community Awards.

“In the last year, several Ward 6 neighborhoods have been honored by being named great places to live, but those accolades don’t happen without the neighbors, small businesses, civic groups and public servants that work day-in and day-out to create stronger communities,” stated Mr. Wells. He added, “Last night was opportunity to honor those people.”

The recipients were:

Livable, Walkable Neighbor Award – Mr. Jim Myers

A long time resident of the Hill East neighborhood, Jim Myers has spent over 20 years working with his neighbors and community to build and sustain improvements in his neighborhood. As an author and journalist, writing previously for the Hill Rag, the Washington Post and the DC Examiner, he was on the leading edge of instant neighborhood communication and is famous for the “newhilleast” listserv. Jim has organized neighborhood walking tours to bring attention to problems and help attract police and political attention to dangerous neighborhood conditions. He has demonstrated that by focusing neighborhood energy on negative influences, you can bring about positive change. “Jim has embodied what it takes to work with neighbors to make positive change and build livable and walkable communities,” stated Mr. Wells.

Livable, Walkable Community Organization Award – Brent Elementary School PTA

Wells stated, “As Ward 6, and especially Capitol Hill, has experienced a baby boom, the demand for high quality schools continues to increase. But the city government is not alone in its responsibility to turn our schools around; high quality schools don’t happen without parent and community support. At Brent Elementary, a group of parents set out with the goal of making their local school the number one choice for families – creating a true neighborhood school.” Parents at Brent Elementary School created a partnership with the school and its leadership, and then rallied other parents, businesses, organizations and community members with amazing results. Over the last few years, the PTA has worked with the school to add a new library, new before and after care programs, a preschool program for 3 year olds, professional development for teachers and field trips for students, and an ambitious schoolyard greening program. “The Brent PTA and their network of community supporters are a great example of what a group of committed people can do to help build a livable, walkable community,” added Wells.

Livable, Walkable Business Award – Frager’s Hardware

“When you think of a neighborhood hardware store, for many, there’s only one that comes to mind – Frager’s,” stated Councilmember Wells. Frager’s has been a strong community partner in just about every outdoor activity taking place in Ward 6. Whether donating some equipment rental, helping with the planning and designs, or providing some flowers and mulch to the neighborhood project, Frager’s has always been willing to help. Walk the aisles at Frager’s and not only will you find just about anything you could need, you’ll also never leave with a question unanswered. In the process, Frager’s has become much more than a hardware store. Wells added, “The pride with which neighbors wear a Frager’s t-shirt to Eastern Market, or in their yards doing weekend work, shows how beloved the store is to the community and how much it’s become a part of our every day experience.” John Weintraub, co-owner of Frager’s since 1975, accepted the award on behalf of his business partner Ed Copenhaver, and all the Frager’s employees.

Livable, Walkable Public Service Award – Damon Harvey, Dept. of Transportation

“As Ward 6 embarked on rethinking the way curbside parking can work to better support our residents and businesses, Damon Harvey from the Department of Transportation was at the table, and at the ready to work night and day with residents to help it succeed,” commented Wells. Mr. Harvey is the point person for the Department of Transportation (DDOT) on everything related to parking. Wells added, “Mr. Harvey joined neighbors for numerous community meetings to design the program and has worked tirelessly to work out the kinks and solve problems as they arise.” Whether it’s a malfunctioning meter, an incorrect street sign, or a lost visitors parking pass – Mr. Harvey deals with it professionally and promptly, earning accolades among neighbors through Ward 6. Damon is also the lead staff member from DDOT on the effort to use the new revenue generated to create additional non-automobile infrastructure improvements – supporting pedestrian, bicycle and other improvements in the pilot area. Wells concluded, “For his public service to the neighbors of Ward 6 – solving problems quickly and working create less congested and more walkable streets in our neighborhoods – I’m very proud to present Damon Harvey the Public Service award.”


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