Since January, 2003
            
 Sliding from Before to After

I've been to a fair number of ribbon cuttings over the past decade, and I have to say that Friday's opening of Canal Park seemed to be infused with a level of excitement and joy that I don't think I've seen at any of the others.
While getting Nationals Park open in 2008 was a triumph of speed and scale, the 13-year journey of the three-block park at the heart of Near Southeast required so many hands and so much patience and resulted in a space with which the stakeholders are clearly thrilled that it shouldn't really be a surprise that on a gorgeously crisp late fall day so many attendees were walking around with what Tommy Wells described as "a huge smile on their face."
The speakers standing at a podium in the center block's small pavilion ran through the list of names and agencies that brought the park to fruition, starting with developer William C. Smith, whose CEO Chris Smith started the long drive to build the park, creating the Canal Park Development Association back in 2000. Then there was money from the federal government and the DC government, additional dollars and much support from the DC Housing Authority, work by OLIN landscape architects and STUDIOS architecture to design the park with innovative sustainable development and storm water management components (and a skating rink!). Props were given for the hiring of Housing Authority residents for 15 of the park's 25 part-time jobs.The Capitol Riverfront BID and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities also took bows for their parts in the park's creation (and future).
After the speeches, the festivities moved to the skating rink, where the ribbon was cut and Mayor Gray drove the Zamboni, and then the public laced up its skates and got out on the ice. And they kept skating, well into the night. (And I have no doubt there will be big crowds at the rink and park today as well.) For all the happiness seen in the park's founders about getting it finally opened, I saw equal measures of surprise and cheer that so many residents and neighborhood office workers had come to the opening, had stayed through the long speechifying, and now were skating and strolling.
I've joked that I sure have been saying the word "finally" a lot lately--the trash transfer station is finally demolished, Kruba Thai is finally open, Gordon Biersch finally admitted they're coming to 100 M, Vida Fitness is finally announced, Capitol Quarter is finally finished.... But it's the "finally" of Canal Park opening that hit me more than I expected, perhaps similarly to all those happy stakeholders.
I took a lot of photos of fenced-off schoolbuses in the early years, posted a lot of renderings (some for the park's first design that never materialized), and bugged a lot of people to find out the latest. It was, after all, one of the few projects that was already in planning when I started tracking Near Southeast in early 2003, along with the Capper redevelopment and Capitol Hill Tower.
And now the park is open (with the Park Tavern restaurant to follow "within a few weeks"), and everybody can enjoy it. Finally!
Hope you'll check out my photo galleries of the park, yesterday's ceremonies, and the park's opening night, along with my expanded gallery of before-and-afters from around the park (with some that I still need to fill in, oops). And you can also see coverage from the Post, NBC4, and WJLA. And the lineup of today's events and other details on the park's official web site. And tell us what you think of the park.
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SBS says: (11/17/12 11:50 PM)
JD: These photos are such a wonderful landmark. Thank you for taking us all along with you on this journey. The park is gorgeous and really capture the vision of the future you feel in so many ways around DC. I may have to learn to skate!


Jaybird says: (11/18/12 8:54 AM)
JD,

Your night photo of the rink with the Capitol in the background is priceless!



Jaybird says: (11/18/12 8:58 AM)
And some remind of the Rockefeller Center.


MalS says: (11/19/12 5:13 PM)
Great work, JD - I was at the park Friday and it is a very exciting step for the area. The park is very beautiful and will only get more so as plantings mature. What a time for near Southeast! As always, thank you for the remarkable documenting that you achieve.


JeffreyGordon says: (11/19/12 11:46 PM)
JD, thanks for the update as usual! I am planning on being in town after the first of the year and really look forward to seeing all the progress since I was last there in july of 2010. I really appreciate any/all updates from you.

jg

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16 B/O M ST SE   ROBBERY  09/23/16
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1200 B/O 1ST ST SE   ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON  09/17/16
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1100 B/O 5TH ST SE   THEFT
Theft First Degree (all Other Larceny)
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700 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
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1200 B/O 1ST ST SE   THEFT
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1233 1ST ST SE   
09/16/16 
NA BALLPARK HOTEL LLC / NORTHEAST ELECTRIC; NA BALLPARK HOTEL LLC; HOSSEIN ECONO SIGN INC.
SG1600390 / CONSTRUCTION
To Install four signs: -3 - Channel letters on Raceways -1- Blade Sign
1331 2ND ST SE   
09/19/16 
DC WATER / DC WATER; CORMAN CONSTRUCTION
AH1601056 / CONSTRUCTION
After hour work for structure excavation and support for building permit B1311474 DC Water, Corman Construction 202-863-0052
933 5TH ST SE   
09/12/16 
null / NA NA NA
EHOP16924112 / HOME OCCUPATION
1015 HALF ST SE   
09/14/16 
HALF STREET SE LLC HALF STREET SE LLC / DARIN PASQUALLE; HALF STREET SE LLC HALF STREET SE LLC; DARIN PASQUALLE
E24765056 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
09/21/16 
HALF STREET SE LLC / 1015 HALF SE LLC; JOHN GIUSEPPE-RAMCO
B1610675 / CONSTRUCTION
Construction of elevator lobby and common corridors on the 7th floor as shown on the electronically submitted mechanical, electrical, fire protection, and arch. dwgs. Interior work only. No structural work involved. approx. 2275 sf.
82 I ST SE   
09/09/16 
GDVC EYE STREET LLC / MITCH A. PERMUY
E1609957 / SUPPLEMENTAL
80 M ST SE 400   
09/15/16 
WELLS REIT II 80 M STREET LLC / null
P1609454 / SUPPLEMENTAL
50 M ST SE   
09/15/16 
KCG 50 M LLC / KCG 50 M LLC ENGLEWOOD LLC; TRACIE CLAXTON; CLAXTON
SG1600460 / CONSTRUCTION
2 Wall mounted Signs - Reversed Channel Letter 2 small wall mounted plague
80 M ST SE   
09/09/16 
WELLS REIT II 80 M STREET LLC / PHILIP G DONNELLY
E1609959 / SUPPLEMENTAL
99 M ST SE   
09/16/16 
BALLPARK SQUARE 701, LLC SKANSKA COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT / BALLPARK SQUARE 701, LLC SKANSKA COMMERCIAL DEVEL
AH1601047 / CONSTRUCTION
Place concrete mat foundation slab. Before work hours - 3AM to 7AM on 9 / 19 / 2016 and 9 / 20 / 2016, if weather or jobsite delays prevail. Permit will only be needed / used for 1 of the 2 days. (Per ANC agreement "before hours work on ONE of the following days: either September 17, 19, or 20," & "to begin no earlier than 3:00 am" )
   
09/16/16 
BALLPARK SQUARE 701, LLC SKANSKA COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT / BALLPARK SQUARE 701, LLC SKANSKA COMMERCIAL DEVEL
AH1601048 / CONSTRUCTION
Place concrete at 99 M Street SE for mat foundation slab. Saturday 9 / 17 / 2016 concrete placement from 3AM to 7PM. (Per ANC agreement "before hours work on ONE of the following days: either September 17, 19, or 20," & "to begin no earlier than 3:00 am" )
100 M ST SE 4   
09/09/16 
SQUARE 743 INC / null
P1609322 / SUPPLEMENTAL
100 M ST SE   
09/20/16 
QUARE 743 INC / QUARE 743 INC; QUARE 743 INC; PHILIP HAUHN
E14003252 / SUPPLEMENTAL
202 M ST SE   
09/09/16 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / EBONY BROWN DC HUMANITIES AND ARTS COMMISSION
TN1600199 / CONSTRUCTION
SPECIAL EVENT 202 ARTS & MUSIC FESTIVAL 1 SL 250 24 X 32 STAGE
861 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
09/22/16 
NA CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.
AH1601069 / CONSTRUCTION
Work in public ROW within the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction Project LOD for utility, demolition, and concrete structure construction activities.
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 845   
09/21/16 
SQUARE 742 LLC SPAULDING & SLYE C/O WC SMITH / SQUARE 742 LLC SPAULDING & SLYE C/O WC SMITH; WILLIAM SNODDY
B1612012 / CONSTRUCTION
Interior Renovation on the 8th Floor on behalf of Maxim Health 5,138 sqft
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
09/14/16 
SPAULDING AND SLYE SPAULDING AND SLYE / HALEY HUGGINS; SPAULDING AND SLYE SPAULDING AND SLYE; JOHNNY RILING
E39166644 / SUPPLEMENTAL
125 O ST SE   
09/19/16 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / DC WATER HQ; DAVID FONTANA MSC
EX1600110 / CONSTRUCTION
Site grading and demo per erosion control plan only for future new DC Water HQ building under seperate permit.
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL ST SE   
09/19/16 
1244 SOUTH CAPITOL RESIDENTIAL LLC / RONALD C. CAYTON
E1610018 / SUPPLEMENTAL
385 WATER ST SE   
09/15/16 
FC 385 WATER LLC / EDUARDO L. LOPEZ
E1610139 / SUPPLEMENTAL
355 WATER ST SE   
09/14/16 
OLIVIA DARROW RAGNAR EVENTS LLC
TN1600198 / CONSTRUCTION
SPECIAL EVENT RAGNAR RELMAY WASHINGTON DC 2 20 X 20 TENTS 25 10 X 10 TENTS 1 30 X 40 TENT FENCING FOR BEER GARDEN
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

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