John Salatti and a resident review pictures for the Heritage Trail.
Residents Gear Up for Heritage Trail
A new 2.5 mile-long cultural heritage trail is scheduled to come to Bloomingdale in fall 2014, according to nonprofit organization Cultural Tourism DC. The self-guided “Worthy Ambition: LeDroit Park/Bloomingdale Heritage Trail” will allow residents and visitors to learn about the area’s history as they walk. The phrase “worthy ambition” comes from a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, a former LeDroit Park resident.
Each of the 16 Heritage Trail signs will include stories, photos, and maps about the neighborhoods. Bloomingdale and LeDroit community residents John Salatti and Robert Sullivan serve as co-chairs for the project.
Jane Freundel Levey, director of Heritage and Community Programs, said that residents were vital in the creation of the self-guided trail tours. “The Heritage Trail began with a series of community story-sharing sessions at which Cultural Tourism DC staff asked the group, What do you want to tell a visitor to your neighborhood about your neighborhood? and Where on the street would you tell that story?'" said Levey, adding that sessions for the trail have been attended by a wide mix of residents, local historians with a deep interest in the area. "Many start out as strangers, but by the time the Heritage Trail is finished, they are acquaintances and friends."
The project is dependent on a heavy amount input from community leaders, businesses, and residents. “By doing these sessions in LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale we were able to collect recent history that is not necessarily written down yet,” Levey said. “Taking this information, my staff of historian-researchers then added the history from the written records and fact-checked the newer information. We spent many months searching for historic photographs in the city’s many great repositories and scanning images from family collections."
Cultural Tourism DC founder Kathryn S. Smith started the heritage trails more than a decade ago to guide tourists into historic local neighborhoods. They were intended to encourage tourists to stay longer in the city and appreciate local history. “The Heritage Trails are important to the city,” noted Levey, “because they speak to tourists and residents alike, strengthen existing communities through the process of collecting history, and draw people to commercial areas they might not otherwise now about or patronize.”
Cultural Tourism DC has created heritage trails in Adams Morgan, Barracks Row, Brightwood, Deanwood, and Georgia Avenue.
High-Profile Red Hen Restaurant Set to Open
Red Hen, the highly anticipated restaurant on 1st St. NW, will open in the middle of April. The restaurant's menu, which may change weekly and bi-weekly, will consist of rabbit, freshly grown vegetables, and handmade pasta. The Italian-focused restaurant will open in a building space that has been vacant for 30 years.
Red Hen will be run by Sebastian Zutant, who was the opening sommelier of the Proof restaurant, and restaurateurs Mike O'Malley and Michael Friedman. According to the Red Hen alcohol license permit the restaurant will seat 78 diners and include a sidewalk café with 46 seats. Zutant said that the design of The Red Hen will take advantage of the building's prominent windows.
Second Street Housing and Retail Development
A new condominium with retail space may be coming to 2nd Street NW. Developer Frank Economides plans to turn the large, concrete-heavy vacant property at 1700 2nd St. into a new condominium. He purchased the two-story building in December of last year for $1.56 million. The building was constructed in 1920. Economides said that the new condominium will be made up of eight one-bedrooms and one studio on the first floor. The new building will also contain retail space. Economides said that he has heard from Bloomingdale residents who would like the retail space to be reserved for a tavern, bistro, or cafe. The finished condominium will include bike storage space and much more shrubbery and grass than the current structure.
Police Commander Sends Crime Alert to Residents
In late March Commander Andy Solberg (5th District) sent a crime alert warning residents of a group of young people who are assaulting people in the area. According to Commander Solberg the group of boys and girls has attacked and threatened bystanders. “We alerted all our 5D, and specifically the PSA 501 officers and supervisors, and we moved to put an end to all such activity,” he continued.
“As we learn more about recent incidents in Bloomingdale,” Solberg noted, “we are receiving reports from other individuals who say that they have run into this same (apparently) group of young boys and girls in the neighborhood, and that they have been assaulted or threatened.” He asked that anyone “who has been a victim of any activity or knows about anything assaults or other activity committed in the area by groups of kids get in touch with us.”