In helping guide Friends of the Field, I joined in mobilizing grass-roots activism in our community to create an alternative to Maret School’s plan for a massive, multimillion dollar sports complex at the Episcopal Center for Children (ECC). Our counterproposal would allow Maret to operate nearly 85% of its desired sports programs while tailoring development and activity to be compatible with our residential life.
During the ANC’s review of Maret’s plan, I served as group spokesperson to articulate our concerns and ideas and hold the ANC accountable. On a separate track, I moderated two community town halls sponsored by Friends of the Field, one on the environment and another on transportation and associated pedestrian and bicyclist safety, to assess and discuss the impacts of Maret’s plan. The town halls featured expert testimony and citizen comments missing from the ANC’s own deliberations.
The town hall on the environment importantly highlighted the potential adverse effects of installing at ECC 3.7 acres of plastic turf, known to contain PFAS, a “forever chemical,” one now classified as a hazardous substance by the US government.
As Maret’s application for rezoning made its way through the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment, our group secured Party Status at BZA hearings, recognizing our interests as most-affected neighbors, and I again represented our petition for a common-sense alternative.
While our appeals to the ANC and BZA fell on deaf ears, our advocacy for a compromise carries on. Over the summer, we represented our case directly to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who came to the neighborhood to hear our views and pledged to help seek a resolution satisfactory to all parties.
What I have done for Friends of the Field I will do for our community on all matters of concern – giving voice to and advancing our community interests.