Friday, March 4, 2011

Takoma Theatre's broken windows theory

Photos by Loretta Neumann

In the latest installment of the Takoma Theatre Saga, a window on the second floor was broken on or before February 26, apparently from the inside of the building. The shattered glass from the window was spread all over the sidewalk on Butternut Street.

According to Takoma Theatre Conservancy president Loretta Neumann, a neighbor alerted Milton McGinty, the theatre's owner, about the window and the glass. Four days passed and nothing had been done, so Neumann alerted DCRA.

Carly Skidmore, a liaison from the Office of the Mayor to Ward 4, responded to Neumann's plea for action on the Takoma listserv: "According to our partners at the Department of Public Works, because the glass is primarily on the sidewalk it is the property owners' responsibility. However, we have asked a street sweeper to be dispatched as soon as possible to care for any glass in the street."

This morning, a resident wrote on the listserv: "Last night around 6:30 pm a man with a broom was cleaning glass on the sidewalk near the broken window. The vehicle was a DC government pickup, so I assume the effort was not initiated by the property owner."

CM Bowser then clarified: "The law requires a time period to allow the owner to abate the problem. In this case, DCRA has accelerated the allowable abatement period from 30 days to 7 days. If repairs are not made within that time frame, the city can make the repairs, then charge the owner."

According to Housing Complex, McGinty is planning to appeal the decision that is preventing him from developing the theatre in the way he wants (condos).

I watched Bring the Pain recently. It was filmed at the Takoma Theatre in 1996. The interior of the theatre looks great in the film. It's kind of a total shame.

UPDATE: DCRA director Nicholas Majett has said that DCRA is engaging a private contractor to repair the window.

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