After seven years representing GW and the surrounding neighborhood in the D.C. Council, Democratic mayoral candidate Jack Evans says he understands the gripes of area students and their Foggy Bottom neighbors.
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“I’ve acted very much on behalf of the residents of Foggy Bottom, and that includes the students, to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives there,” Evans said, citing his part in removing the homeless shelters near the Howard Johnson’s hotel at the beginning of his tenure.
Evans also said he has handled Foggy Bottom development projects and made improvements to the Metropolitan Police Department.
But with the number of students in the area continually on the upswing, the relationship between GW students and the permanent residents of Foggy Bottom is increasingly an important issue facing the neighborhood.
If elected the District’s mayor in November, Evans said he will do the same thing he has done as a councilmember – “try to understand both viewpoints and to try to work out reasonable solutions that accommodate both groups.”
“In a lot of the problems between the students and the neighbors, the students . don’t behave in the best of fashions,” Evans said. “For instance, you will get a fraternity party or something down there, which is very antagonistic to everybody’s daily quality of life. On the one hand, you have to ask all the groups to respect each other’s rights.
“(Students) have to work with the neighbors and there are ways to do that,” Evans said. “If you are going to have a fraternity party until one in the morning, then you are going to have to be careful about loud music until a certain time.”
Residents of the Columbia Plaza apartment complex, Evans said, have complained to him about disrespectful students who have large parties and deface property.
“I’m sure it’s a small group, it’s not everybody, but again that’s what causes the rift between the two groups,” Evans said.
“If you keep the residents informed of what you are doing, and don’t do it often, there are ways of being courteous and respectful and that’s all the residents are asking, and the students are certainly capable of providing that,” he said.
Just a week before the Democratic primary, Evans said he is still working hard to sway the “huge” undecided vote in his direction.
Evans said he already has developed ties with the GW community. He said former Student Association President Damian McKenna, who works in Evans’ office as a Presidential Administrative Fellow, is just one person who has helped get his message out to students.
“We’ve been working hard down at GW,” Evans said. “I know you have a number of students running for the (Advisory Neighborhood Commission) at GW and I think that’s great. I hope they run good campaigns and are successful in their elections.”