Since January, 2003
 (a random before-and-after moment)
February 11, 2007
February 26, 2017
South Capitol at M, Looking Southeast (see more)

Yes, it's time once again for What's the Deal With.... Canal Park? Now that the ballpark's open and people have stopped asking me about the baseball that was originally planned for the roof of the Red Loft, I can safely say that there is no question I receive more often than this one. Here's the latest:
Over the past few months, the Canal Park Development Association has been resurrected, and is now being led by Chris VanArsdale, a local lawyer-turned-green-developer. An agreement is being worked on with the city that will allow the CPDA to take on moving the park forward, a task that ended up in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development after the demise of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation.
Of course, there will be no moving forward of the park until the dang buses are gone. The timeline being put forward by DMPED is now "December or January" for the departure of the buses, since a new location has been found (*cough*DC Village*cough*) but a lot still must be built. (It's at this point that I'm always required mention that it was in October 2003 when I first heard the city had been given 90 days to get the buses off the park site.) The park's blocks would then be graded and temporary sod planted until the park itself is built.
So, when will the park actually be completed? You didn't actually expect anyone to tell me that, did you? However, indications are that once the license agreement between the CPDA and the city is finished, we'll get a better sense for what's left to be done and when it all could happen.
In the meantime, while twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next news tidbit, take a look at the designs and plans for the park, which came as the result of a 2004 design competition held by the city. Are they still holding up? Discuss. (Hey, it's summer, I've got to do something to perk up the energy around here.)
Comments (11)
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Michael says: (7/17/08 1:28 PM)
The excuse for not moving the buses - a lot has to be paved and striped - is preposterous, given the decrepit alley-type condition where the buses park now. As for the design, the last thing that's needed at this late date is a REdesign that has to go through multiple approvals. Or is that still necessary regardless?

-living next to the buses

BBC says: (7/17/08 2:01 PM)
I don't think that the city has anything to gain by delaying this park. They most likely have other more important things they are tied up with. The honest truth is that there are not that many people living in the area yet. Thus, fixing or building another park in an already resident dense area should take priority for example. When some more of these condos start coming online and more residents make this area their neighborhood, then the priority should get elevated. In the mean time, Garfield Park in only two blocks
away ...which is another reason to make this a lower priority. Don't get me wrong, I like the designs white a bit and I will be quite excited when Canal Park finally starts construction. However, I will not shake my fist at anyone. Maybe residents can get the city to plant more trees at Garfield Park in the mean time. The hot DC summers make Garfield Park quite uncomfortable. If the city could plant more trees (like the feds did at Lincoln Park) then Garfield Park will make a great substitute while we are waiting for Canal Park.

Justin says: (7/17/08 3:04 PM)
Can you help me out with what the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation is/was? Is it in anyway related to the Anacostia Watershed Society? Why did the AWC affected the Canal Park development? Is the CPDA that is now working on the park part of the DMPED? Just trying to pull all the pieces together.

JD says: (7/17/08 3:32 PM)
The Anacostia Waterfront Corporation was "quasi-governmental" entity (like the old National Capital Revitalization Corporation). It was tasked with spearheading the goals of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (not related to the Watershed Society). Canal Park was one of the AWC's projects, as was Diamond Teague Park. (And also the planning for the Ballpark District, which begat the problems between Monument and WMATA when WMATA didn't sell the Southeastern Bus Garage to Monument after the AWC named Monument the "lead developer" for that area.) When the council and the mayor decided that the AWC and NCRC were taking lots of money but not really getting anything done (the NCRC was supposed to be getting the Southwest Waterfront moving among other projects), it was decided to dissolve both of them and give most of their projects to the deputy mayor's office.

The CPDA is a private entity, first created back in around 2003-2004 (and is tied pretty closely to the W.C. Smith company, which has had a lot to do with the plans for the park).

Justin says: (7/17/08 5:17 PM)
How does Gustafson Guthrie Nichol's winning design fit in? Someone else will end up building that design for GGN? When you say the CPDA is trying to move the project forward does that mean the CPDA would work as the top level general contractor for the city to see the process through? They would get the money the city has set aside to build the park and get the various permits, subcontractors...etc finalized? Is that the agreement (or something like it) that the CPDA is trying to reach with the city? Again, just curious how it all ties together.

JD says: (7/17/08 5:54 PM)
Justin, the second part of your comment is the essence (that CPDA will kind of be the top-level general contractor). GGN is a design firm, and their design won the competition, but beyond the responsibility to build the park isn't theirs.

And, you'll get to learn a lot more about the AWC and the NCRC tomorrow, because the mayor is having a press conference on the first anniversary of the city taking over their functions.

Gee St says: (7/18/08 12:28 PM)
Are there going to be a lot of mosquitoes in this canal?

Sarah says: (7/25/08 11:40 AM)
Forgive me,

Because you must have gotten the question before, but I just found this site. I am moving into the Cando next door to the purposed park, and I am excited about the park. But what I was wondering is if there were any plans to include a fenced in dog park, doesnt have to be too big just a area were I can safely let me city dog play of leash. If its not in the plans already do you think there is any chance to get them to put it in the plans?

Thanks for your time.

JD says: (7/25/08 12:16 PM)
Right now there are no plans for a dog park-type area at Canal Park. I would imagine at some point there's going to be a renewed push for public input, so you'll probably have a chance (although they just had a meeting at Capitol Hill Tower about it a few weeks back).

Sarah says: (7/25/08 4:47 PM)
will canal park be dc parks land?

JD says: (7/27/08 4:33 PM)
I don't think it's been decided who will ultimately maintain the park.

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