If you attended our Columbia Heights Tree Lighting Ceremony this year, you may have noticed our tree at the center of the Civic Plaza has had quite the Glow Up! After garnering city-wide attention with his petite frame last holiday season, Tiny Timber became a symbol of District Bridges; a small organization trying to tackle large systemic issues. But just as Tiny Timber was just a small unassuming tree before the community became invested in him, our work is only impactful when the community is engaged and involved. Another neighborhood stakeholder that shares this perspective is one of District Bridges Columbia Heights Main Street’s long standing partners: Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A (ANC1A).

ANC’s are non-partisan neighborhood bodies made up of locally elected representatives and serve as an official voice advising the District government (and Federal agencies) on things that affect their neighborhoods. ANC1A encompasses most of the Columbia Heights neighborhood, and for many years now, commissioners have collaborated with Columbia Heights Main Street as we work together towards a stronger community. 

Although Tiny Timber is always in our hearts, many in the community felt the plaza deserved a tree more size appropriate for its setting, and thanks to the support of ANC1A, District Bridges was able to provide the neighborhood with a festive installation (while still paying homage to Tiny Timber of course!)

Jeremy Sherman, who now serves as the Commissioner for ANC1A-04, originally got involved in the community through volunteering at a neighborhood clean-up with District Bridges, and has seen the many ways the ANC and Main Street can collaborate and uplift each other’s work.

“We were in conversations when District Bridges was first getting started, so we have always been partners, collaborators, and supporters of one another. We have utilized the networks and relationships that both of the organizations have built to create a better neighborhood.”

ANC Commissioners are elected by and ultimately answer to the residents of the neighborhood, whereas Main Street programs ultimately represent the Businesses. Both groups want outreach and engagement from the local businesses and community residents, so a partnership between the two organizations means efficient resource sharing, increased outreach capacity, and ultimately, increased engagement from the community as a whole.

Columbia Heights Main Street Manager, Paco Ramos-Meyer, says that the collaboration has been especially useful due to the differences in the perspectives and purposes of the organizations. 

“Oftentimes because I’m more directly interfacing with the businesses, I may have a more comprehensive list of contact info or their perspective of different issues… and I’ve often gone to the ANC for spreading information with the residents because they’re more actively plugged into the day to day with the residents.”

Thank you to ANC1A for the support of our 2023 Tree Lighting Ceremony and Artisan Market! Check out our interview with Jeremy Sherman on Columbia Heights Instagram Page, follow our account for community and business updates, and check out the ANC’s website for upcoming meetings and ways to get involved.