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Community News

Affordable Housing Focus of Committee of 100’s 19th Annual Vision Awards

Matthew B. Gilmore*

The Committee of 100 on the Federal City presented its 2019 annual Vision Awards on May 29th to a packed house at Trinity Washington University in Upper Northwest. These awards honor people and projects, plans, and organizations engaged in planning, development, and preservation which work toward making a more beautiful and livable Washington.

Affordable and low-income housing in Washington, both creation of and preservation, was the key theme for this year’s awards and six organizations and projects were awarded for their efforts and accomplishments:

One of the Committee’s awards to individuals was dedicated to the memory of the late Ann Hargrove, long-time committee member and staunch [planning advocate.

Another individual awardee was Mi Casa’s Fernando Lemos. Mi Casa serves the Latino community by assisting low-income residents to take advantage of various single- and multi-family housing opportunities. One program offers training to tenants for navigating the complexities of tenant purchase of apartment buildings under the city’s TOPA regulations. Long-time DC resident Lemos, originally from Paraguay, also serves on the boards of the DC Housing Authority, Latino Economic Development Corporation, Cornerstone, Inc., and the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders.

Additional awardees included the Anacostia Watershed Society on its 30th anniversary of successful lobbying for cleaning up the Anacostia River; the Bloomingdale Historic Designation Coalition and Prologue DC for their successful advocacy for the designation of Bloomingdale as an historic district; Architect Steven Holl’s The REACH expansion of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, noted for its innovative design integrating the Kennedy Center with its Potomac River waterfront; The Parks at Walter Reed< for its public/private partnership in developing a new community at part of what once was Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The Committee’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to architect, planner, and preservationist Arthur Cotton Moore. was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. The six-generation Washingtonian’s career in Washington began in the 1960s with Georgetown’s Canal Square development and has included preservation and rehabilitation of numerous notable historic buildings. He may be best known for the Washington Harbour development on the Georgetown waterfront and The Portals in Southwest. He has been a fount of plans for improving Washington, especially the Mall, as seen in his 2017 publication Our Nation’s Capital: Pro Bono Publico Ideas.

The Committee of 100 on the Federal City was formed in April 1923 as part of the American Civic Association, under the leadership of Frederic A. Delano (uncle of future president Franklin D. Roosevelt). As described in its 116-page report of 1924, the committee had been lobbying and advocating for planning which would maintain and enhances the beauty of the nation’s capital.

Disclosure: the author received a Vision Award in 2003 for developing and editing H-DC

Matthew B. Gilmore, who researches and writes our “What Once Was” series, is the editor of the H-DC discussion list and blogs on Washington history and related subjects at

© 2019 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Matthew B. Gilmore. All rights reserved.

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