City liaison to meet with local residents

The mayor’s office is extending its outreach to Foggy Bottom residents through meetings with a Ward 2 coordinator whose job it will be to field complaints and concerns back to D.C.’s agencies.

James Bulger, the Ward 2 liaison for the mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement, said the aims of the meetings are to boost engagement between the community and different D.C. agencies by holding “core team” meetings where community members can raise their concerns.

“The goal is to improve and streamline the way we handle concerns for the Foggy Bottom community, which in many ways is unique in its mix of businesses, permanent residents, government agencies, students and international institutions,” Bulger said.

He said there will be regular meetings to “discuss, in an open forum, issues affecting the neighborhood” to “help the agencies and community leaders understand and identify the most effective way of addressing particular issues.”

Bulger said the establishment of an online forum is being floated, after neighbors brought up the idea of a virtual posting board for any community issues – ranging from broken sidewalks to safety concerns – at a Foggy Bottom Association meeting last week.

“With technology evolving so rapidly, it would only make sense that we try and implement some form of an online apparatus,” Bulger said. “We have not finalized what type of online forum we will use, but are working on it to ensure we are able to reach out to as many members of the Foggy Bottom community as possible through this effort.”

Asher Corson, a commissioner on the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission advocacy group and the president of the Foggy Bottom Association, said the team will serve as a means to link residents and the mayor’s office to solve local issues.

With the core team in Foggy Bottom, the mayor’s office can “listen to those concerns so we can improve the quality of D.C. life as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Corson said.

Corson said top Foggy Bottom issues include the brick sidewalks, frequently cited by neighbors as a safety hazard during bad weather and evenings, as well as graffiti, crossing lights and general safety.

He added that he invites students to join the conversation.

“The mayor has created several efforts to be more inclusive,” Doxie McCoy, spokeswoman for Vincent Gray’s office, said. “We are always looking to make better connections and relations with the community.”

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