ANC Round Up: Let There Be Neon Light

The ANC met last night for the final time in 2009. After a year of contentious fights over topics from the Apple store to drunken alumni parades, the final meeting last night seemed a bit anti-climatic. But that’s not to say there were no interesting developments.

Fiat Neon Lux

The most exciting item on the agenda was the proposed renovation of the Georgetown theater sign. The iconic sign at 1351 Wisconsin has not lit up in many years and has slowly rusted away. The plan discussed last night would fix that.

The BID is kicking in $50,000 to restore the landmark. There’s a bit of deja vu with this since several years ago another plan was floated to renovate the sign, but never got off the ground. Let’s hope this time is different.

The sign will be repainted in its original black color and the neon lights will be their original “rose” color.

When (jokingly) asked whether this meant the theater was coming back too, the architect laughed and said he couldn’t say. (Translation: no).

GM is thrilled that this sign will be returned to its former glory. A little more clarification on what is going to happen to the building it’s attached to would be even better.

A Hardy’s Day Night

The tensions over the future of the Hardy School have been slowly ratcheted up ever since Chancellor Rhee spoke to CAG in October and promised that changes were in the works for the Georgetown school. These changes, she said, would help make Hardy a school that neighborhood parents feel comfortable with in the way that upper Northwest parents are comfortable with Alice Deal School in Tenleytown.

This came as surprising news to the parents who were quite happy with how the school was performing. And any discussion “to turn” a school predominantly attended by African-American students is bound to alarm many.

All in all it’s a complicated and delicate situation.

Well last night the ANC decided to weigh in. Bill Starrels (Hardy father himself) proposed a resolution protesting the firing of the current principal of Hardy, Patrick Pope. According to Starrels, while principal of Georgetown’s Hyde School, Pope engineered a dramatic turn-around in student performance. Starrels is confident that that success is continuing at Hardy and that Pope should be given more time particularly considering the difficulties faced by students during the building’s long construction.

Arguing against this position was the simple fact that Rhee hasn’t actually announced plans to fire Mr. Pope. The speculation is built on what she said to CAG and what she supposedly said to a group of parents of Key Elementary students.

As a former president of the Hyde PTA, Commissioner Starrels worked with Mr. Pope and obviously respects his work. Half of the other commissioners, however, did not share his enthusiasm. Perhaps worried over the lack of clear information and the need to stay impartial, Commissioners Eason, Skelsey, and Lewis abstained from the vote. No one voted against it. Thus it passed four to zero with three abstentions.

According to the Current, Rhee is scheduled to speak at Hardy this Friday night at 6:30. Will she clear the air or merely fan the flames?

Wrap Up the Round Up:

  • The Philly Pizza fiasco should be coming to an end by January. The BZA is scheduled to hear arguments on January 12th about whether it should uphold the DCRA’s revocation of the restaurant’s occupancy license. Whether that will be a technical hearing or a full-blown analysis of the entire situation is still unclear.
  • Sprinkles cupcakery proposed a thoroughly modern design for their storefront at 3015 M St. The ANC was not impressed. (Hint to Sprinkles: a certain other cupcake store made sure to butter up the ANC first before asking approval).
  • The Georgetown Club is applying to keep its valet parking. Residents are torn. They don’t like how the club has handled valet parking up to this point, but also don’t want to the club’s patrons to be parking in the neighborhood.


Filed under ANC

8 responses to “ANC Round Up: Let There Be Neon Light

  1. That is wonderful news about the sign. I kind of like the blue and gray since those are the University colors, but anything to help cure that block or so of blight and bring back this landmark, albeit incrementally, is a good thing.

  2. GM

    I’d love to see them get rid of that formstone too. Bringing it back to its Art Nouveau origins is probably too much to wish for, but at least it could look a bit less like the set for the Wire.

  3. Ken Archer

    I think Georgetown parents will be surprised to learn of the resolution opposing any firing of Principal Pope.

    The clear consensus, from my discussions, of Georgetown parents is that they want to see improvements in Hardy (well beyond 69% math and 73% reading proficiency) and they are willing to trust Rhee’s judgment in how to make those improvements.

    At the very least, the primary thrust of the resolution should have been that the ANC wants to see further improvements, with a secondary claim that they see Pope as critical to those improvements.

  4. mccxxiii

    Are there really that many Upper NW parents who are “comfortable” with Alice Deal?

    Murch? Sure. Janney? Absolutely.

    Not sure about Deal, though. Things get a little dicey once you hit middle school.

  5. GM

    Deal has about a 57% in-boundary attendance. While that lags Janney’s (79%) and Murch’s (67%) it is miles ahead of Hardy’s (14%) [although those numbers may reflect the years when Hardy was located across town. Either way, I’d be shocked if Hardy’s current in-boundary numbers are anywhere near Deal’s].

    So I would say that’s pretty solid evidence that NW parents are more comfortable with Deal than Georgetown parents are comfortable with Hardy.

  6. The neon sign is long overdue, though I’m suprised it would cost $50,000.

    Any guesses on which other DC neighborhood has its name in lights? Not Dupont, not Adams Morgan… see

  7. Ken Archer

    Last night’s announcement by Michelle Rhee – that Patrick Pope will lead a new truly magnet middle school, and Hyde’s own Dana Nerenberg will lead a combined K-8 program at Hyde-Addison and Hardy – illustrates the folly of passing resolutions based on rumors and half-truths.

    Commissioner Starrels presented his resolution based on a literal half-truth – that Pope would be simply fired. The whole truth is a decision that most Georgetown parents will support. Hopefully our ANC will not pass these types of resolutions again.

  8. Pingback: New Life for Georgetown Theater Begins | The Georgetown Metropolitan

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