Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tommy Wells hosts livable, walkable awards tonight, 6:30 pm @ Hill Center

Councilmember Tommy Wells to Host 5th Annual Livable, Walkable Awards

On Thursday, December 8th, Councilmember Tommy Wells will honor several city leaders with the 5th Annual Livable, Walkable Awards at the Hill Center at the newly renovated Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, 6:30 – 8:30 pm.

“To create a truly livable, walkable community, it takes leadership and vision -- not just from those elected to office, but alsofrom our neighbors, city employees, civic organizations, and local businesses,” said Mr. Wells. Nominations were made by the community and an award will be given in each of these categories, in addition to a new award this year celebrating civic pride.

Affectionately known in the community as “TheBrickies,” the event is sponsored by dozens of Ward 6 local businesses.There will be food, cash bar, and live entertainment at the awards ceremony to honor the recipients. A short program will begin at approximately 7:15 pm to announce the awards.

The recipients of the awards tonight will be:

Neighbor Award– Michael Barrette
Each year, this award goes to a neighbor that is making significant difference to improve our community and help build a more livable,walkable city. This year’s award goes to Michael Barrette. Whether leading the charge to transform our rooftops into platforms for sustainable energy with the Capitol Hill Energy Coop, or working to promote youth sports with groups like Capital Futbol Club, Sports on the Hill, and the Friends of Watkins Recreation Center, or pushing the city to re-envision the ocean of asphalt along the Anacostia River with the Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park, Mike is one of our neighbors that epitomizes the civic action our city needs to help make every corner of the District a more livable, walkable place to be.

Community Organization Award – Neighbors of Southwest Duck Pond

Great parks help to create livable, walkable neighborhoods.As part of the Southwest DC urban renewal project of the 1960s and 70s, the Town Center Parks were created. The westernmost park was the largest, including benches, trees, walkways, and a large pond. Over time, the park fell into disrepair, but families of ducks adopted the pond as their home –returning year after year. A few years ago, neighbors began the process to reclaim the park and gave birth to Neighbors of Southwest Duck Pond –creating a partnership with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation and successfully lobbying the Council to officially rename the park as the Southwest Duck Pond. Today, weekend clean-ups are a regular occurrence and the park is thriving with neighbors enjoying a clean and useful public space, with regular programming for the community taking shape. Accepting the award on behalf of the organization is Zen McInnis and Melissa Rohan.

Business Award– SOVA Espresso & Wine

A livable, walkable neighborhood needs a great coffee shop.One of many symbols that celebrate the diversity on H Street NE, is SOVA Espresso & Wine. First opened in 2007, owner Frank Hankins has made SOVA a neighborhood mainstay and gathering place. Quick to support neighborhood efforts, SOVA hosts weekly bluegrass nights, holds display space for neighborhood artists, and never says no when a neighborhood group needs a place to meet. Frank has built a welcoming business that is just as lively on its sidewalk, as it is inside one of its many rooms and seating areas. With strollers and bikes parked up outside, SOVA has made a great example of what a neighborhood business means within walking distance of so many homes.

Public Service Award – Capital Bikeshare

A livable, walkable city is even more so when it’sbikeable too! To put it mildly, Capital Bikeshare has been an unmitigated success. The DC Department of Transportation has revolutionized the way people think about bicycles in our city. In one year, 18,000 people joined Bikeshare and took more than 1,000,000 rides – more than twice what was projected.In this year’s budget, the city is doubling the support for the program so that it can grow to keep up with demand and expand to more parts of the city. Of course, it takes many hands to make CapitalBikeshare so successful, and accordingly this award goes to many of our fine public servants to share – Terry Bellamy, Director of DDOT; Chris Holben,DDOT’s Capital Bikeshare Project Director; Eric Gilliland, General Manager of Capital Bikeshare’s operator Alta; and Jim Sebastian,DDOT’s Bicycle Program Manager.

Civic Pride Award– Coldwell Banker Holiday Display

A new award is being presented this year to celebrate unique initiatives that build and support a livable, walkable city, as well as engender civic pride in the process. Each year, neighbors anxiously await as the Coldwell Banker real estate office transforms their storefront and sidewalk windows into a winter wonderland display. For the pedestrian outside, it is impossible to miss and enlivens the sidewalk and walking experience for every passerby. Accepting the award on behalf of Coldwell Banker are agents Chuck Burger and Phyllis Jane Young.

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