Councilmember Gray announces New Hospital, New Mask Order & Major FY21 Budget Wins for Ward 7 & Penn Ave East Corridor


On Thursday, July 23, 2020, Councilmember Vincent Gray made some important announcements in his weekly address to Ward 7 Leaders.  Read below for an excerpt of those announcements:

  • New Hospital @ St. Elizabeth’s Amendment Act of 2020
  • Funds in the FY 2021 Local Budget Act of 2020 (Bill 23-761) supporting Pennsylvania Avenue East Main StreetProgram and update to the Pennsylvania Avenue East Corridor Small Area Plan
  • COVID-19 Update
  • New Mask Order
  • Advances in Testing
  • Contact Tracing
  • Reopening Schools
  • Ward 7 Response Team
  • Grab-and-Go Grocery Distribution
  • Meals for the City…..and more
Dear Neighbors,

I am pleased to inform you that the Council has unanimously voted to approve the “New Hospital at St. Elizabeths Amendment Act of 2020,” thereby officially approving the construction and operations agreement for a state-of-the-art, 136-bed community hospital that will catalyze a comprehensive health care system for Wards 7 and 8 for the first time ever!

This new hospital will serve as the catalyst for an interconnected health care system of emergency care, urgent care, specialty care, ambulatory care, primary care, medical offices, independent physicians, and dentists for the 150,000 residents that live east of the Anacostia River and who have never had a real health care system.

The negotiated deal that was also approved strikes a sound balance between the interests of labor and the District’s goal of creating job opportunities for DC residents.  This agreement provides a hiring preference to all current employees of United Medical Center first, and then, subsequently, requires the hospital operator to comply with District First Source laws to hire 50% DC residents.  The operations agreement along with Federal and District law provide strong workforce protections for the future employees and a potential future union at the new hospital.

I am extremely excited to see new multi-million-dollar investments into school-based mental health programs.  These programs are extremely important, especially during this health crisis.  I commend the Chairman of the Council for working with me and Councilmember Nadeau to shift a small amount of the school-based mental health program’s increase to the health care alliance to fully fund health care alliance reforms by October 1st.  We cannot have our undocumented residents waiting in long lines to have a face-to-face interview to renew their health care.

In other budget news, I am delighted that we were able to maintain our first round Ward 7 wins at Tuesday’s final vote on our local budget.  Working closely with Chairman Mendelson and other council colleagues, I was able to secure several important Ward 7 priorities including:

  • $420,840 to complete the Skyland town center;
  • $250,000 for a small area plan for Pennsylvania Avenue East;
  • $200,000 to create a Pennsylvania Avenue East Main Street program;
  • $210,000 for the replacement of the HVAC system at the Deanwood Library;
  • $200,000 to complete a water source connection for the Kingman Park-Rosedale community garden;
  • Capital funding to begin the Fort Dupont Ice Arena upgrade in FY 2021 and a recurring $235,000 to fund the grant to run programming at the ice arena;
  • $500,000 to support the 20-member Police Reform Commission;
  • Full funding to complete the Ward 7 streetcar line and interconnected pedestrian safety improvements at the Whitlock Bridge, which will improve pedestrian safety and increase mobility for Ward 7 with the widening of the bridge to create shared use paths for pedestrians and bicyclists.  The bridge will also become ADA compliant and provide better trail connection along the Whitlock bridge to the Anacostia River Walk Trail; the proposal to fix the interchange at Benning Road and DC-295, which currently generates significant volumes of vehicles making illegal U-turns at the 34th street intersection; and improvements to high crash intersections at Minnesota Avenue & Benning Road; and
  • Restoring the funding for two important feasibility studies, one to investigate the potential upward expansion of the Benning-Stoddert Recreation Center, which is highly utilized by the Ward 7 community, and another to investigate locating a recreation center in River Terrace, which is an isolated community in Ward 7 without convenient access to any recreation facility.

Click HERE to read the complete list of announcements from Councilmember Gray…..

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