EMCAC Denies Application for Committee Membership

Eastern Market Report: September 25

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Courtesy Eastern Market/DGS

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) denied an application for membership at their Sept. 25th meeting. An organization that calls itself the Eastern Market Preservation Development Corporation (EMPDC) and which was incorporated in 2018 recently applied for membership on EMCAC.

The application is complicated by the claim is that it is a reconstituted version of an already existing and identically-named organization which currently holds a seat on the EMCAC board. The original EMPDC was incorporated in 1987 and has been a legislatively-mandated member since 1999.

The applicants argued that the “old” EMPDC dissolved in 2004. An EMCAC report, issued in consultation with the Attorney General’s office argues that under the charter the “old” EMPDC has “perpetual existence.”

Vice Chair Chuck Burger and his membership committee said that ‘outside of common interest in Eastern Market issues’, these two organizations represent an entirely different incorporation.

The EMCAC report states that the applicant or new EMPDC does not represent a proper “reconstitution” or “revived” EMPDC and recommended to EMCAC that their request for seating be denied.

After some discussion, a motion to accept the recommendation of the report passed with a vote of 6-0, and two abstentions.

EMCAC Chair Donna Scheeder added that  EMCAC needs to find and also welcomes a ‘legislative remedy’ for purposes of adding or subtracting membership. She noted that EMCAC would be giving this issue appropriate attention in order to strengthen the freshness of the current membership.

Security Study

Security was the first order of business as the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) met after a one-month summer recess. It was all bollards, defined as “steel pipes,” of every stripe that were the thrust of a discussion led by Robert Schlegel and Chris Truss of Concentric Security.

Councilmember Charles Allen recently secured funding for a safety study at the Market. The study examines the potential for large-scale violent actions and ways to prevent or reduce injury and death.

The gravity of this issue was quickly elevated as Schlegel and Truss did a deep dive into the world we regrettably live in and how to manage it adding phrases new to our language such as ‘limited duty cycle’ and ‘street furnishings’ as they spelled out the seriousness of any number of potential threats.

Century Solutions offers a number of what the presenters described as ‘creative solutions’, among which means taking advantage of those familiar objects that are currently part of the landscape such as large stones and trees and curbs as part of any preventive measures.

According to Schegel, a vehicle driving at thirty mph that hits a tree with an eight-inch base will come abruptly to a halt, a new and perverse measure of why trees will remain part of our landscape.

Truss pointed out that potential terrorists spend a lot of ‘time and effort watching what you are doing’. Their power point repeatedly listed the Market’s vulnerabilities.

As far as the Market, its principal entrances from North Carolina Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue at Seventh Streets, as well as part of the privately-owned C Street are unprotected.  There are sixteen locations at the Market that are vulnerable.

Unlike European ‘soft targets’, there have as of yet been no incidents directed at public markets in the U.S.

The projected cost of their two recommendations are $333,000 and  $190,000.

EMCAC Election

Only EMCAC members are eligible to vote for its officers. The current leadership was re-elected unanimously to serve one-year terms.

Elected were, in the role of Chair, Donna Scheeder; Vice Chair, Chuck Burger; Secretary, Monte Edwards; and as Treasurer, Tom Kuchenberg.

Market Manager’s Report  

Income for the month of July was $60,131 with August coming in much stronger at $80,599. North Hall revenues were respectively $9,184 and $14,954.

Councilmember Allen secured $300,000 for a strategic plan for the Market. According to Market Manager Barry Margeson, the Market Manager, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development has selected a potential awardee in time for the project to begin in October. However, that awardee was not announced.

The deadline for the South Hall merchants to obtain their own appraisal, among the last issues of any contention in the long-standing lease negotiations, has been extended to November 26th.

An inconclusive discussion took place about the recent and continuing struggle to find farmers to sell fresh produce on weekends and Fresh Tuesdays.

It has become more difficult in part because of the proliferation in options. Where once there were five or six fresh food markets in the DC area, today with the explosion in public markets there are more than thirty.