For many students, the words Foggy Bottom may connote no more than campus parameters. For nearby residents and businesses, however, the Foggy Bottom area holds significance both as a historic and dynamic community. Two groups of residents, the Foggy Bottom Association and the Advisory Neighborhood Council, have been working to preserve the area’s historic qualities.
The FBA is a volunteer-based neighborhood initiative, President Michael Thomas said.
For over forty years we have been dedicated to preserving, enhancing, and improving the Foggy Bottom area, Thomas said.
The FBA’s executive board is elected at the end of their fiscal year every June, he said. One of the group’s objectives is hosting social activities to promote awareness. They meet the last Monday of every month at the Melrose Place Hotel.
Recently, the FBA has concentrated efforts on GW’s campus plan, a statement of the University’s property boundaries and uses for the next ten years. This has required working with the ANC, another area organization with a similar focus but a different structure.
The ANC is a group of elected officials that advises the D.C. Council.
We meet nine times a year, debating and discussing the public’s concerns. Then we vote on issues, said ANC Commissioner Dorothy Miller. She said the courts and Congress decide the ANC’s level of authority. Any new construction in the area must have the ANC’s approval before proceeding.
Another group based in Foggy Bottom is the West End Association, the oldest of the three. The West End Association and FBA have similar goals and work together on many initiatives, leaders said.
The groups have expressed interest in connecting with students. The FBA has partnered with the Student Association to produce a pamphlet about the Foggy Bottom area. The pamphlet will include historical background and neighborhood highlights. Thomas said students could get involved in other ways, too.
We have the community relations and improvement committees that students can help with, he said. The editorial committee comes out with our newsletter every month as well.
Students who live off campus can benefit from participating in neighborhood groups. Marilyn Rubin, president of the Tenant’s Association of Columbia Plaza, related one example in her apartment complex.
They were giving residents a $400 increase. I posted fliers everywhere about a meeting we were having. Only one or two students came, Rubin said.
One student who came forth had her rent reduced after speaking out, she continued.
Commissioner Miller urges students to be active if they have concerns.
Your country is only as good as you vote, she said. Students should vote to get a person in office. Put action where your mouth is!
Senior Jeff Marootian announced last week that he will run in the ANC elections this fall. He is running unopposed.
Some neighborhood residents encourage students to get involved with neighborhood projects.
Students can do anything! said Olga Correy, a board member of the FBA. They can do a Foggy Bottom cleanup. A lot of communities that have universities have had expansion problems. But I don’t think they’ve thought of networking with students.
Residents said they hope students will be able to recognize what each group’s role is within the community.
This area was founded in 1765, Correy said. It is important to know the history when forming community.