Chat with Cheh features a roar -- and even a screech

Photo by The Georgetown Dish
Director of the National Zoo Dennis Kelly, Councilmember Mary Cheh and Firehook owners Pierre Abushacra and Sheryl Blaubeld
Director of the National Zoo Dennis Kelly, Councilmember Mary Cheh and Firehook owners Pierre Abushacra and Sheryl Blaubeld
Zoo Directors have to maintain good relations not just with their employees and the animals in their charge, but also with their human neighbors.  The new director of the National Zoo (officially the National Zoological Park, a part of the Smithsonian) Dennis Kelly stopped by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh's regular "Chat with Cheh" session Saturday at the Cleveland Park Firehook Bakery to say hello and talk with others who were there to meet the councilmember.

He didn't have to roar, screech or trumpet to announce his presence, but many of the animals at the zoo do just that, sometimes waking or disturbing neighbors. Therefore a friendly "chat" with local officials is always a good thing.

The zoo can pose other challenges. The 163-acre facility in Rock Creek Park attracts nearly 2 million visitors a year, who impact businesses and residents of the surrounding District neighborhoods.

Also there for the "chat" was Firehook founder Pierre Abushacra, a former investment banker, who serves on the board of the local business association, which among other things, pushes for infrastructure improvements, such as better streetlights, sidewalks, traffic controls, signage and street furniture.

Councilmember Cheh hears from her constituents at the Saturday Chat with Cheh (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) Councilmember Cheh hears from her constituents at the Saturday Chat with Cheh