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A press release out today from DC delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton wades into the Marines' search for a location for their new barracks:
"The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released a letter today from Norton to Brigadier General Robert R. Ruark, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics, objecting to the potential sites selected by the U.S. Marine Corps (Marines) as the location to replace the D.C. Marine Barracks known as Building 20. Norton objected to the criteria the Marines seem to be using to narrow site selection, and wrote that conveniences for the Marines appear to have trumped their consideration of other possible sites. She objected to the two potential sites, Square 929, where Dogma runs a dog day care business, and to Square 930, where the community has converted a former drug haven into a park and community garden where residents grow fruits and vegetables.
"In her letter, Norton wrote, 'Your emphasis apparently has been on selecting a site in close proximity to the Marine Annex and Barracks Row, a convenient walk for the Marines, whose training is perhaps the most rigorous of all the armed services. Notions of convenience for your Marines should not supersede important community concerns, including consideration of the convenience for the community and the displacement of important community assets.' "
The release goes on to suggest as a possible location an "empty lot on 5th Street, between K and L Streets, next to the Marine Annex parking lot" -- which would appear to be referencing the current proposed site for the Capper community center.
The Marines are supposed to be having a "charette" in October or November (pushed back from September) to discuss the direction the site search is taking. You can read more about it at the Marines' web site for the project, or browse through my (many) previous entries on the subject.
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Carey says: (9/2/10 2:00 PM)
It is so refreshing to see that Congresswoman Norton has taken a stance to protect such an important asset to the neighborhood! Thanks for sharing the press release.


Andrew in DC says: (9/2/10 5:05 PM)
Ugh, I find myself in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with her stance even if I find her logic completely idiotic.

The BG almost certainly wants his marines nearby as a force protection issue, not because it's a "convenient walk" -- and her language will probably inflame matters.


Jason says: (9/2/10 5:47 PM)
@Andrew - force protection of what? Who's going to invade Barracks row? When's the last time this group of marines was needed to protect local residents from anything?


MJM says: (9/2/10 7:20 PM)
I'm sure some action officer is preparing a bunch of powerpoint slides to answer those questions - that is gonna be an interesting response :)

They should have taken the land in question in 1969 when they had the chance instead of taking the land they did on I St because it was close to the barracks and cheaper (great post article from Post Aug 1969).

BTW - this is an AT issue because it is not about invading BR it is about being close to the street and not far enough away from a potential bombing (car/vehicle, etc) that is why the new barracks on L St are so far back from the street.


JT says: (9/2/10 7:38 PM)
The "force protection" issue is a red herring unless the Marines also plan to relocate the historic barracks and the Commandant's House, which both directly abut the street.


Mark says: (9/2/10 9:16 PM)
Force protection is a real issue - the concern is stand off from a car bomb. I don't want to see anyone lose their garden, but I would like to see the Marines safe and in our neighborhood. If that means they go where the community center was planned (as Norton suggests) so be it.

(Though, I would still like to see them close L street - and stop the idiots driving 60 mph down L and blowing through the stop signs because it's quicker than M...)


Andrew in DC says: (9/2/10 10:05 PM)
@Jason

No one's talking about "invasion". But seeing as how a car bomb was attempted in this country fairly recently, I'd say a truck with some ammonium nitrate and diesel oil is a legitimate concern. Next time the terrorist isn't likely to be so stupid as to buy the wrong fertilizer.

Aside from that, you're not just talking about that sort of attack. A lone gunman doing his version of the DC sniper would have a lot more area to work with if the marines are forced to spread out.

I'm not saying this can't be mitigated. What I am saying is that Norton's dismissive attitude is either irresponsibly naive, deliberately evil or just plain stupid.


JT says: (9/2/10 10:17 PM)
That's my whole point.

If they're concerned about a car bomb, the biggest potential targets are the Commandant's House and the historic barracks - the buildings NOT planned for relocation. The plan is to replace the architecturally horrendous "Building 20" that directly abuts 395. As far as removing an eyesore, I'm all for replacing it. But otherwise, the whole premise of the replacement/expansion seems half-baked.

It's a false pretense to say that the Building 20 needs to be relocated for safety reasons when the more desirable targets are staying put.


MJM says: (9/2/10 11:38 PM)
Closing another street - closing off the community? I sure that would send Del Norton into even more of a rage but I think with 882 off the table that will not see the light of day.

There is plenty of land at Buzzard Point near Ft McNair and across the river at Joint Base Anacostia/Bolling to house the Marines (if they don't have cars - then get a bus). AT or whatever they want to call it doesn't make sense when you can park your car 20 feet from the barracks on 8th St and there is no push to relocate those buildings. Bldg 20 is an eye sore located in a spot the Marines wanted so badly even though they knew it was close to the freeway. Plus I can't imagine what it looks like on the inside after 30-40 years.

If anyone hasn't noticed there are buildings/homes from the late 1800s/early 1900 in those proposed squares. Except for those homes and some near L St/3rd (and maybe 5th St) - there is nothing left from the grand/glory days of SE/Cap Riverfront, etc (even though some of that area around lower 8th St is Cap Hill). If those homes are torn down the continuation of destroying SE (south of the freeway) will nearly be complete.


BillP says: (9/3/10 8:40 AM)
I believe some need to remember that the ORIGINAL residents of this neighborhood were the United States Marines. While that does not give them the right to run roughshod over the current neighborhood, I believe at a minimum it should grant them a little respect for their staffing needs and legitimate security issues.


Andrew in DC says: (9/3/10 8:47 AM)
"the biggest potential targets are the Commandant's House and the historic barracks"

Guess that depends on the actor and his intent. Does anyone actually reside in the historic barracks? Is it more than 50 people (and thus subject to the DoD AT reg they cite)? Does it make more sense to target one man or the bulk of his unit? If one man - you better have good info that he's actually home (and really, if you're going after one-man in DC, you're going to pick this one?)

As for Bldg 20 - I tried to read through some of that site but gave up -- is that plot returning to the community? Or are the Marines going to hold onto it for other purposes?


MJM says: (9/3/10 8:59 AM)
@BillP

The ORIGINAL residents of SE were not the Marines. The original residents were Thomas Law, James Barry, William Prout, Coombes, Daniel Carrollsburg and clan (that name should sound familiar), Greenleaf (that one too) and a whole bunch of other who's who of DC then the Marines came along with the Navy Yard. Those are the guys who bought/sold the land to get DC started. DC was SE before it migrated to the NW.


BBC says: (9/7/10 12:34 PM)
Where-ever the Marines go, somebody or some plan will be displaced. Saying that nobody or no garden shall be displaced is saying that the Marines cannot relocate anywhere. This move by Norton is simply a chance for her to snub the Marines. I can personally attest to the fact that many of the Capitol Hill residents (I was one for almost a decade before I became a Capitol Quarter resident) would have been thrilled for a Trader Joe's to displace some ammenities while at the same time are HAPPY to call the Marines so-and-so's for trying to relocate. I am not the only Capitol Quarter resident to say that these Marines deserve better ...much better. I say again, as I said many times before, that I WELCOME THESE MARINES IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. Marines are fine men and women and I welcome them here more than any office building, any restaurant, any condo/apartment building, and any bar (no matter how good the beer is!)


Andrew in DC says: (9/7/10 9:04 PM)
It occured to me, walking around Bolling AFB (now Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling) that there's plenty space down there. and the cost difference between land here and land there (which is now owned by the Navy, IIRC, not the AF) should allow them to run a shuttle from there to here at all hours of the day or night for a long, long time. And they wont have to staff a protection detail to guard it or take care of the standoff gates. But hey, just a thought.

"Use the space you already have" .. a crazy idea. I know. Someone stop me.

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