Anxiety about the number of teens milling around downtown spots like the Gallery Place Metro stop and Fuddruckers prompted a special meeting of the Downtown Neighborhood Association this month.
“Our increasingly popular downtown sometimes creates new and unexpected challenges that the community must meet. One is unsupervised teens who are coming downtown in increasing numbers, creating congestion and other problems,” the group’s Web site explains. “Our neighborhood offers little for teens beyond a teen club on F Street, a movie theatre on 7th Street, and the occasional sports and entertainment venues at the Verizon Center. Beyond that, we only have the fast-food restaurants and corners for kids to gather. Most of downtown entertainment targets adults; there is little for teens to do and not enough space for them to gather.”
The meeting produced 12 recommendations DNA hopes the the Mayor and Council will act on. One of the more interesting propositions being this one: “Work with the DNA and request a meeting with the owner of 915 F Street, where the teen Club Bounce operates, to ensure they are aware of the public nuisance nature of their tenant.”
DNA spokesperson Miles Groves says that Club Bounce capitalizes on the fact that there is already a large group of teens hanging around downtown. However, he adds, residents don’t consider the dance spot an enemy. “It’s not like we’re going to ask them to close,” he says. Groves says the association recently discovered the identity of the club’s owner, and will likely speak with the entrepreneur about closing the business at 9 or 10, instead of at 11 p.m. Closing the club earlier, Groves explains, “will give more time for kids to scatter and go home” before their midnight curfew, avoiding the congestion that happens when they all rush off at once. “Midnight comes pretty quickly,” says the downtowner “and then suddenly the curfew wagons come.”