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Two Upcoming Events!

We had lots of energy and excitement in September with an especially great Adams Morgan Day—THANK YOU! A deep bow of gratitude to all who helped get out the word, create swag, and canvass!

We took in many new donations and added over 150 people to this distribution list!   [Speaking of which, for all those signing onto our list recently–welcome–it’s official, you’re in the loop! 🙂

Now let’s keep that momentum going!  Mark your calendars for
Tuesday October 10 6-8pm  on the People’s Plaza
Tuesday October 17 at Madams Organ 6-9PM.
Read on for details!

WHY GET MORE INVOLVED NOW?
This campaign has an actual end date in about 6 months—when a judge will decide if the public use easement on the property will continue to be on the property in perpetuity.  So this is a perfect time to get involved.  Most important, we want to put on the best case we can in court. Your help now will make a REAL difference! Wide public support for the protection and IMPROVEMENT of the Plaza will help our case. It’s up to us to COME TOGETHER be READY with creative, positive community input!

WHAT CAN I DO?

ATTEND AND SHARE OUR TWO UPCOMING EVENTS
We have TWO upcoming events! One this We have TWO upcoming events in the next couple of weeks! One this Tuesday, October 10 6-8PM at the Plaza, and another the following on Tuesday, October 17 from 6-9pm at Madams Organ .

  1.  GENERAL MEETING
    WHEN: next Tuesday at 6pm-8pm, October 10, 2017
    WHERE: the People’s Plaza, 1800 Columbia Road (fka SunTrust Plaza)
    WHAT: We’ll have signs and flyers for all, unveil a neighborhood survey, share about our upcoming fundraiser at Madams Organ, and give a sneak peak at our upcoming design competition—COME!
    HOW: RSVP & stay connected on the Facebook event page for the General Meeting

2. FUN RAISER!
WHAT: A little party with music and inspiration
WHEN: the following Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 6-9PM
WHERE: Madams Organ  2461 18th St across the street from the People’s Plaza
HOW: RSVP & stay connected on the the FB event page for the Fun Raiser!

Put them on your calendar & tell friends and neighbors!

VOLUNTEER
We are looking for graphic designers, landscape architects, outgoing communicators, online researchers, and your energy to win! Write us at admo4rd@gmail.com.  We also need donations, so if you haven’t yet, please become a Friend of the Plaza by giving $5, $10, $25, anything possible to help us forever win and renew our corner in the center of Adams Morgan.

SHARE ABOUT HOW WE CAN SAVE OUR PLAZA
Click here for a printable one-pager PDF on our efforts you can share with neighbors and friends, click here. You can like and share our Facebook page and you can share our web address at www.SaveOurPlaza.com.

We hope you continue to stay connected with us!  And keep being the awesome friends and neighbors you are!

Vikram, Terry, and Chris
Co-Facilitators
AdMo4RD

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VICTORY! Judge stops razing of Plaza!

Today’s win is official! Here is the DC Superior Court Judge Todd Edelman’s Judgment transcript (37 pages PDF) and one-page Preliminary Injunction Order received from our talented DC pro bono trial attorney Paul Zukerberg.  Anyone can show this to anyone with a bullldozer on our Plaza in Adams Morgan! 🙂  This PI means it will not be razed while the court reviews our case in  full to establish the public easement going forward, which the judge ordered will be on an accelerated timeframe through this fall—we’ll get to hear the real story from all those who were party to the Plaza’s creation & related experts!

Looks like we’ll have a clear decision, which could potentially establish the easement in perpetuity by spring!  For this next phase of the trial,  Paul has let us know that realistically costs for expert witnesses, visual exhibits, court clerk, and video deposition costs could run to $10K.

So so many people have given of their time, care, expertise, resources, official capacity, influence, fresh produce, and funds! THANK YOU ALL!!

As of now, we at AdMo4RD have $54.00 in the bank as most all funds raised so far were spent on filing fees, land title search, exhibits, and witness travel—shared equally with Co-Plaintiff Kalorama Citizens Association. If you’re in a position to give to help cover legal costs, click here.

ALSO:
On the evening of Wednesday, August 23 from 7 to 9pm, we held an open service meeting on the Plaza & had 15 people come out and commit to being of service in the coming weeks and months.

Trove of Historical Records

FeaturedTrove of Historical Records

Bank’s Response to Community Concerns Included Providing a Public Plaza

The DC Historical Preservation Review Board meeting was  held at 930am Thursday June 23, 2016 at 441 4th Street NW, Room 220 South.  We won a VICTORY—for now!  The HPRB declined to approve the plans as presented at the June 23 hearing giving us more time.

Based on the verbal accounts of folks who’ve been selling at the Adams Morgan Saturday morning farmers market for decades, we’ve been saying that there was a major community struggle with the bank at 1800 Columbia Rd NW prior to the building even being built.   New records that have come forth also describe how this was a historic victory that marks one of the first known acts of reparations for racial discrimination in which a bank that engaged in redlining altered its practice and returned wealth to the community.  Clear historical records are coming forth, and more are yet to come. Here is the story they reveal so far.

Fighting Redlining Adams Morgan

After Perpetual Federal Savings & Loan bought the site at 1800 Columbia Rd NW in 1976, there was an extended fight between the Adams Morgan Organization and the bank about putting a branch at that location. The fight centered on the then-common banking practice of redlining, or racially segregating, neighborhoods using selective home lending, which Perpetual, along with many other DC area banks, had engaged in since the 1930s.

This struggle is described at length in this 200-page Masters thesis by James Lloyd entitled Community Development, Research, and Reinvestment: The Struggle against Redlining in Washington, DC, 1970-1995.  This thesis became two journal articles, one in the Journal of Progress in Public Planning, and the other in the Journal of Urban History.   We directly contacted Mr. Lloyd, and he also provided this transcript of his 2011 oral history with Councilman Frank Smith, who was head of the Adams Morgan Organization, which eventually became the Adams Morgan ANC and was a signatory to the settlement about the lending practices and construction of the plaza.  In the transcript, Smith describes how he and other Adams Morgan Organization members went to Atlanta to testify before the Federal Home Loan Bank Board regarding the branch charter.  At minute 20:00, he states about his testimony there and the settlement regarding the plaza:

We said, “well, we’ve got affidavits from people who have been long term members who [are] creditworthy enough for them to be taking their money and holding their large accounts in there, but they’re not creditworthy enough for them to lend money to them.” So we told them that. At the end they did issue them a charter, but the charter required them to do certain things at that site. It required them to – one of our requests was to have a bilingual staff. This was a bilingual community – that they have a bilingual staff there at the bank and that they provide – this site was being used as a public meeting place, as a community garden, not a garden, but a place where they were selling products and they had to allow that to continue. So when you look at that site now it looks a little bit like an amphitheater. That’s because it was supposed to have a community choir go in there every year for Christmastime and sing. We never did that even up to now, but it’s still a good idea and maybe we’ll have it one day. But beside this, they do have the community produce out there …

Related to this, we’ve turned up the following underlying historical documents from 1976-1979 about the Plaza site at 1800 Columbia Rd NW, all from the Washington Post.  These are in chronological order with the oldest first:

And this PDF was given to us directly by former Councilman Frank Smith, from his personal records, and it includes one of the legal agreements between Perpetual Federal. However, the key item of note is described in the July 28 1977 Washington Post article by Martha Hamilton describing the “good neighbor” agreement which the Perpetual put in place with the Adams Morgan Organization which was a forerunner to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, in order for its agreement to allow the building of the branch.

This “good neighbor” agreement governing the plaza has yet to surface, and the Historical Preservation Review Board has not yet seen it or any of the information on this page. Unfortunately, their recent staff report on the site states “demolition of the building and plaza do not raise preservation concerns”.  If you know of anyone who may have more information on this good neighbor agreement, please let us know at AdMo4RD@gmail.com.

Perpetual Federal Savings & Loan was purchased by Crestar in 1992. The city property records still indicate a division of Crestar is the legal owner of the building.  SunTrust then purchased Crestar in 1998, and rebranded the branch, but never officially transferred ownership.

Here (PDF, 230MB) is about 250 pages of additional documents surfaced in our research.

 

And here is a page about the prior history of the site.

Save Our Plaza Petition

Save Our Plaza Petition

A big local developer wants to turn our plaza into cash for themselves.  Here is a look at the plans and other information on the ANC website.

Instead of this unattractive development that would take public space and turn into money for a wealthy few, the petitioners ask that:

The pedestrian intersection at 18th Street and Columbia Road, NW be improved, yet remain a central community gathering space and plaza serving the residents of Adams Morgan. 

Sign the petition.
THEN SEND A LETTER!

We are opposed to the current PN Hoffman plan to build a 80+ foot tall Bethesda-like apartment complex that would subsume the public plaza we use and enjoy now.

We support city intervention that will protect our plaza from encroachment by any proposed project at this central site in our neighborhood.

We support the City in any effort to purchase this property so that we the residents can shape future development at this special location. 

We want to preserve our plaza as an improved open public space that can positively effect all future generations who come to live, work, and play in our neighborhood. 

We want progressive and serious engagement by our elected officials, especially our Ward One Council Member, regarding this critical planning issue that could forever change the c haracter of our historic neighborhood.

Click here to sign the petition.
IMPORTANT — SEND A LETTER TO CITY OFFICIALS