Lower Georgia Avenue Equitable Development Project
PROJECT LAUNCH EVENT
November 9, 2019
Cardozo Education Campus
The Lower Georgia Avenue Equitable Development Project kick-off event was held on Saturday afternoon, November 9th at Cardozo Education Campus. Organized by Justice & Sustainability Associates (JSA), the event celebrated the launch of this new initiative, supported by DC Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau. The project’s proposed mission will be to devise a shared vision and enact community-owned action plans that ensure a more equitable future for the Lower Georgia Avenue corridor and its communities. A top priority is elevating the voices of residents of color to create a more affordable and inclusive Georgia Avenue community.
This event provided a place for the wider community to engage with project concepts and with partners from throughout the city. Over 80 community members and District residents attended the event – with a room full of families, business owners, neighborhood residents, ANC commissioners, and many more. In attendance were also over a dozen supporter organizations such as the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), Parent and Teachers United for Bruce Monroe at Park View, and DC Health to provide information and resources to community members.
During his brief remarks, Darren Jones, President of the Pleasant Plains Civic Association and leader of the Lower Georgia Avenue Community Taskforce, praised his community and voiced hope for future of Lower Georgia Avenue though this project. The event featured additional comments by Marcus Hedrick (Board Member, Park View United Neighborhood Coalition) and Pablo Sierra (Owner, Wall of Books). While expressing gratitude to everyone, Councilmember Nadeau laid out her hope for the future of Lower Georgia Avenue stating, “Ward 1 is the most diverse ward in the District, which gives us the opportunity to be the model for racial equity.”
The Lower Georgia Avenue Equitable Development Project launch event was a successful kick-off due to over (20) event partners and supporters, featuring a diversity of organizations such as Lower Georgia Avenue Main Streets, the Council at Park Morton, and Many Languages One Voice (MLOV). The event was graciously catered by Dulcinea, Gorebet, and Heat da Spot – businesses along Lower Georgia Avenue corridor.
Looking forward, the first phase of the project will entail launching the Lower Georgia Avenue Community Partnership, a multi-stakeholder forum for collaboration among neighborhood residents, developers, community organizations, key partners, and project beneficiaries. Potential working groups of the Community Partnership include: Community & Placemaking, Engagement & Communications, Housing, Local Retail & Business, Health & Safety, Streetscapes & Transit, Workforce Development, and Data & Metrics. With intentions to launch the Community Partnership in the first half of 2020, JSA is following up and meeting directly with community organizations/associations and community leaders to recruit members for the Community Partnership.
Special thanks to everyone who made the event possible!
Host: Cardozo Education Campus
Speakers: Darren Jones, Lower Georgia Avenue Community Taskforce/Pleasant Plains Civic Association; Marcus Hedrick, Park View United Neighborhood Coalition; Pablo Sierra, Wall of Books
(honorary appreciation to Shirikiana Gerima from Sankofa Video, Books & Cafe for accepting an invitation to speak as well)
Food Providers: Gorebet, Dulcenia, Heat Da Spot
Childcare Provider: Mentors of Minorities in Education (M.O.M.I.E.)
Donors: MRP Realty and The Community Builders
Event Partners & Supporters: District Bridges, Lower Georgia Avenue Main Streets, Pleasant Plains Civic Association, Park View United Neighborhood Coalition, The Council At Park Morton, Emergence Community Arts Collective, Georgia Avenue Thrive, We Are Family, Shaw Main Streets, Parents and Teachers United for Bruce-Monroe Elementary School at Park View, Many Languages One Voice (MLOV), Latin American Youth Center, Mary's Center, Georgia Avenue Business Alliance, DC Public Schools (DCPS), New Communities Initiative, Office of Planning, DC Health, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs, Mayor’s Office on African Affairs
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Lower Georgia Avenue Equitable Development Project?
The Lower Georgia Avenue corridor is undergoing a change in its demographics, culture, and built environment. The New Communities Initiative for Park Morton will redevelop two large plots in Pleasant Plains and Park View into mixed-use, mixed-income communities, and will likely be the catalyst for even more change in the near future.
The proposed mission of the Lower Georgia Avenue Equitable Development Project is to devise a shared vision and enact community-owned action plans that ensure a more equitable future for the Lower Georgia Avenue corridor and its communities. The Project aims to look holistically at the resources, concerns, and opportunities in the Pleasant Plains, Park View, and LeDroit Park neighborhoods and convene important stakeholders in the future of the area. The objective is to devise an action plan of policies, programs, and practices that will help ensure a more equitable future for the corridor. A top priority is elevating the voices of residents of color in planning the future of Lower Georgia Avenue.
What are the goals of the project?
The goals of the Lower Georgia Avenue Equitable Development Project are to:
Maintain racial diversity and cohesion
Preserve and create affordable housing in integrated, mixed-income neighborhoods
Promote and protect community-serving businesses
Re-invest dollars spent in the corridor back into neighborhoods
Create welcoming public spaces
What is the geographical location of the project?
The Lower Georgia Avenue Equitable Development Project includes the Lower Georgia Avenue corridor and the surrounding neighborhoods of Pleasant Plains, Park View, and Ledroit Park.
What is the Community Partnership?
The Lower Georgia Avenue Community Partnership is a forum intended to facilitate discussion, information sharing, and consensus-based decision-making to support the visioning of a revitalized Lower Georgia Avenue Corridor. For decades, communities have felt negatively impacted by threats to local business sustainability, racial division, residential displacement, and safety concerns. The Community Partnership is grounded in equitable development, seeking to bring inclusive benefits to the surrounding neighborhoods of Pleasant Plains, Park View, and Ledroit Park. A key output of the Community Partnership is a set of community-driven recommendations to guide Councilmember Nadeau’s legislation and a number of community-led initiatives.
The Lower Georgia Avenue Community Partnership is a multi-stakeholder forum designed to foster “win-win” decision-making through: 1) Inclusive and equitable advisory participation by key residents and stakeholders, and 2) Collaboration and agreement among developers, community organizations, key partners, and project beneficiaries. This Community Partnership will engage community and city leaders in master planning and neighborhood quality of life initiatives. Stakeholders will be brought together to address specific issues such as affordable housing, transit-oriented development, and community and place-making.
How is the Community Partnership Organized and Formed?
As a multi-stakeholder forum, the Lower Georgia Avenue Community Partnership will be a volunteer community of shared interests. This partnership will not be a formally incorporated organization and will not have employees. The Community Partnership will be comprised of a Steering Committee as the executive body and various Working Groups responsible for anticipating needs and problems, making determinations, and proposing consensus solutions. It will be staffed by a secretariat comprised of Justice & Sustainability Associates’ (JSA) impartial facilitator-mediators and scribes. Draft Terms of Reference, Protocols and Ground Rules will also be agreed upon in order to set expectations and establish guidelines for the Community Partnership.
The Steering Committee will be comprised of diverse stakeholders who provide provides high-level direction to the Working Groups, discusses and builds consensus on core issues (e.g., public safety, transportation, and housing) and monitors and evaluates agreed-upon commitments. The Community Partnership will include seven (7) proposed working groups – Community & Placemaking, Housing, Local Retail & Business, Health & Safety, Streetscapes & Transit, Workforce Development, and Data & Metrics. The working groups will consist of diverse community members and subject-matter experts who provide invaluable insight to the Steering Committee.
The proposed charges of each working group are:
- Community & Placemaking: Collaborates on plans and issues related to community building, arts and culture, education, and engagement.
- Data & Metrics: Develops and reviews relevant metrics to promote data-driven solutions and action plans.
- Health & Safety: Address neighborhood quality of life issues, safety in community, mental health, and other health and welfare issues.
- Housing: Addresses issues related to residential development, affordable housing, and housing-related forms of wealth-building.
- Local Retail & Business: Addresses issues related to commercial development and sustainability of businesses along the corridor and surrounding vicinity.
- Streetscapes & Transit Planning: Works on issues related to maintenance and beautification of streetscapes as well as transportation and traffic impacts on the neighborhoods.
- Workforce Development: Collaborates on plans and issues related to, training, professional education, and preparation for employment.
How can someone join the Community Partnership?
The Community Partnership will offer a framework for convening informed and credible residents and stakeholders to provide more precise input and feedback that address specific subject areas, geographies, and sectoral interests (e.g., housing affordability, preservation of community-serving businesses, sustainability, resilience, community-based entrepreneurship, and place-making). The JSA team will work with the co-conveners to define criteria for participation and conduct initial interviews with potential stakeholder representatives. JSA will ensure balanced participation by a diverse but focused and appropriately sized set of stakeholders based on stated criteria.
Who is Justice & Sustainability Associates (JSA) and what is their role in the project?
Justice & Sustainability Associates (JSA) is an alternative dispute resolution firm with a mission to help community and neighborhood residents, government agencies and developers reach just and sustainable agreements about land uses. In the Washington metropolitan region and throughout the United States, JSA successfully helped implement numerous community visioning, waterfront, community redevelopment and transportation projects. Grounded in care, transparency, and authenticity, we are dedicated to creating more “beloved communities.”
At the request of Councilmember Nadeau (Ward 1, DC Government), Justice & Sustainability Associates (JSA) is designing and constructing the Lower Georgia Avenue Community Partnership.
The JSA team, led by CEO and Principal, Don Edwards, engages with all stakeholder groups and is responsible for managing the Community Partnership, which is the planning vehicle to guide the evolution of the Lower Georgia Avenue Equitable Development Project. In addition, the JSA team engages provides strategic advice, consensus-building, and civic engagement coaching through the lifecycle of the project.
What is Councilmember Nadeau’s relationship to the project?
Councilmember Nadeau is initiating and funding the launch of the Lower Georgia Avenue Equitable Development Project and supporting the formation of the Community Partnership. Given that the aim of the project is to develop community-driven recommendations, Councilmember Nadeau will not unduly influence the outcomes and recommendations of the project, and thus, will not be directly engaged in the development or efforts of the Community Partnership. Recommendations from the Community Partnership will inform and help guide future legislation the councilmember introduces on housing affordability, small business supports, human services, and more. The Office of Councilmember Nadeau will actively support community-led initiatives related to the project.
What is the timeline of the project?
The project was announced by Councilmember Nadeau in her swearing-in address at the DC Inauguration Ceremony in January 2019. The public launch event occured on November 9, 2019. The first phase of the project entails launching a community consultative process and establishing the framework of the Lower Georgia Avenue Community Partnership. The second phase will be standing up the Community Partnership.
For more information about the Partnership, contact one of the following: