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13 Blog Posts Since 2003

* The Post writes about Virginia Avenue residents battling CSX on tunnel plans. (The comments section is festive as well.)
* The Navy Yard alerts folks that the 11th & O gate to their part of the Riverwalk will be closed for approximately three weeks because of demolition work on the old outbound 11th Street Bridge. (This means that the Navy Yard Riverwalk itself isn't closed, it just means you can only access it west of 11th Street.)
* Speaking of the old bridge, City Paper writes that this demolition doesn't mean the end of the "recreation bridge across the Anacostia" idea, just that it was determined that it would be better to take off the old bridge deck than to try to maintain it while working on the recreation bridge idea, which will still need financial backing even after the design competition is held this fall.
* Speaking of the river, DDOT has launched AnacostiaWaterfront.org as a new online home for information on projects along the river, such as the 11th Street Bridges, the planned new South Capitol Street Bridge and associated corridor upgrades, the Riverwalk, and other projects.
* One tidbit unearthed in the new web site: An environmental assessment is expected to start this fall on reconstructing Barney Circle and transforming the "easternmost dead-end section of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway into a boulevard between the circle and 11th Street, SE."
(As always, follow JDLand on Twitter or Facebook if you want quicker access to these types of tidbits, most of which I sent out over the past week or so.)
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Akridge/Half St., Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, bridgepark, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, riverwalk
 

* I skipped out on the first ANC 6D meeting of 2011, not seeing any Near Southeast-specific items on the agenda. I did check in with Damon Harvey of DDOT before the meeting, though, to find out what he was going to be speaking to the ANC about, and it was to tell residents that 2011 Visitor Parking Passes will be sent out in the middle of March (right before baseball season starts). If you have any feedback or questions on the parking passes (which were instituted in 2008 as part of the stadium Performance Parking Pilot), you can contact Damon at damon.harvey [at] dc.gov.
* Tonight (Tuesday) is ANC 6B's meeting, at Brent Elementary at 7 pm. The agenda indicates there could be some news about the Bavarian Beer Garden proposed for 8th and L, SE, so I'll be there to check it out.
* SWill across the way has the news (via Bisnow) that Camden's long-delayed 1345 South Capitol Street residential project across the street from Nationals Park is reportedly going to finally get underway during the first quarter of this year. The design that was approved back in 2007 showed a 276-unit apartment building with about 3,300 square feet of ground-floor retail. I used to track this building, but pulled my coverage boundaries back to the South Capitol Street median when SWill hit the ground running with the "Southwest... The Little Quadrant that Could" blog. So while I'll probably mention milestones on the project, I'm going to leave the laser-like focus on it to Will.
* Newly minted ANC 6D07 commissioner David Garber was featured this past Sunday on HGTV's My First Sale, documenting his not-altogether-smooth road to selling a house he renovated in Anacostia. I don't see any repeats in the listings, but eventually the episode should be posted online.
* The city's web site about the various Anacostia Waterfront Initiative projects, TheAnacostiaWaterfront.com, is going to be decommissioned as of Feb. 1, with content about projects like the 11th Street Bridges, the Douglass Bridge, and the Anacostia Riverwalk having already been rolled into the DDOT web site. The new URL is ddot.dc.gov/awi.
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More posts: 1325sc, ANC News, Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, 8th St. Beer Garden, Restaurants/Nightlife, meetings, parking, Retail
 

It's a busy next few days, so here's a reminder of what's on tap. (Of course, you could just look at my Events Calendar, but....)
* Today (Thursday) is the "Transportation Day" events that are part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's 10th anniversary celebration. Get thee down to 1301 M Street, SE (site of the offices for the 11th Street Bridges project) for the kick-off at 10 am with DDOT director Gabe Klein, and/or attend the open house until 2 pm, which includes bus tours of current AWI transportation projects (like, say, the 11th Street Bridges). Circulator buses will be shuttling to and from the Navy Yard Metro station.
If you're wanting to know more about the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and what's been accomplished up to this point, here's a spiffy "10 Years of Progress" booklet with all sorts of details.
* Friday brings the start of the Yards Park Grand Opening Weekend, starting at 3:30 pm, along with a full slate of events all day Saturday and a few more on Sunday as well--here's the specifics on all the activities for all three days. (UPDATED with a new more detailed flyer showing all the events.)
* The Nats are at home against the Marlins, playing at the usual 7:05 pm Friday and 1:35 pm Sunday times, along with a somewhat rare 1:05 pm Saturday start. It's Fan Appreciation Month, with all sorts of promotions and offerings.
* Sunday, Sept. 12 is the Fourth Annual Youth River Sports Day put on by the Anacostia Community Boathouse, now at their new home just up river from the Sousa Bridge. It runs from 11 am to 3 pm, and is free and open to the public.
* ANC 6D returns from its summer recess on Monday, Sept. 13. The agenda hasn't been released yet, but rumored items include the grant the BID is applying for to beautify the New Jersey Avenue "entrance" to the neighborhood, along with what I hear might be a presentation on a possible renaming of the Navy Yard Metro station. While I haven't heard what the new name might be, I imagine that some variant of "Navy Yard / Nationals Park / Capitol Riverfront" will be on the table. Which means that my last chance to convince people to rename the neighborhood Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards is probably passing by.
* And on Tuesday there's some sort of election. Perhaps you've heard about it. But good heavens, get yourself to the polls and vote. You don't even have to wait until Tuesday to do it.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, Boathouse Row, Metro/WMATA, politics, Nationals Park, The Yards, Yards Park
 

The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, the wide-ranging approach via city and federal investments to revitalize the Anacostia River and its environs, is celebrating its 10th birthday, with a series of events next week tied to the riverfront. Some of them you're already aware of, like the dedication ceremony at the Yards Park on Sept. 7 followed by the "grand opening weekend" of events Sept. 10-12. But there's also some other happenings, including an "Anacostia Conservation Service Event" at Diamond Teague Park at 9 am on Sept. 8, a "transportation open house and tour" at the 11th Street Bridges project office on Sept. 9 from 10 am to 2 pm, along with other events at Kingman Island, Marvin Gaye Park, and the Southwest Waterfront.
[And, should my feelings be hurt that the postcard advertising the celebration that came to our house was addressed to my husband and not me? What, I haven't demonstrated enough interest in the river? :-) ]
UPDATE: Just received a flyer about the Sept. 9 Transportation Day--it will start with a kick-off at 10 am with DDOT director Gabe Klein, then the open house until 2 pm, which includes bus tours of AWI transportation projects. Parking is limited at the open house site (over at 13th and M, SE), so they'll be running Circulator buses to there from the New Jersey Avenue Navy Yard Metro station entrance.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, Teague Park, Yards Park
 

I'm back from tonight's public workshop held by the Marines as part of the process they're currently undergoing to find a site for a new barracks. For those just tuning in, the Marines are desperately needing to replace "Building 20," their lovely barracks structure on the southeast corner of 8th and I, and the new building needs to meet the many security requirements that now exist for Marine Corps living quarters. In what they readily admit is a new approach, the Corps is going through this series of public workshops to gauge public reponse to various sites that they have identified as possibilities. (There is also a "community leadership group" that meets monthly.) They are hoping to find an existing landowner to partner with, instead of how they might have operated in the past (with, shall we say, a little less give-and-take with the community and a takeover of the land rather than a partnership).There could be additional components to any new location (like a daycare center) that could be shared with nearby residents.
For more background, you can read my recent posts and links, or better yet, check the project web site, where they're doing a good job of posting all the latest materials from the process. Hopefully the slides and notes from tonight's session and Wednesday morning's will be posted soon, because what follows is really just a few points among the many that were discussed. But, as always, JDLand is the site where you get what you pay for {ahem}, so this is my best cut at it:
The potential expansion sites discussed this evening were: the existing "Annex" that was built in 2004 (along Virginia Avenue west of Seventh Street); the large area by 11th Street dubbed the "Exxon site" but which also includes the Virginia Avenue Park; Square 882 (the old Capper Seniors site), just south of the Annex on L Street west of Seventh; the northeast corner of the Navy Yard, where the Marines already have some operations inside the walls, and Tyler Elementary at 10th and G, SE, though it was quickly acknowledged that the DC Public Schools folks (and the parents) aren't really interested in that notion.
There were a number of residents (some of whom you already know from my comments section) who spoke strongly in support of the Marines expanding south across L Street into the northern half of Square 882, especially when it was mentioned that this option would most likely include the closing of L Street to vehicular traffic, which these residents of Capitol Quarter say is a speedway of drivers avoiding M Street. (Whether it would also be closed to public pedestrian traffic is not yet decided.) This opinion was not shared by Jennifer Steingasser of the city's Office of Planning, who said that the city would be very much against this solution. (And the Housing Authority seems to be indicating that it isn't really interested in the idea, at least as of now.)
In fact, Steingasser made clear that the city is very concerned that years of planning for the revitalization of Near Southeast, both as a mixed-use neighborhood and as part of the broader Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, are in danger if the Marines create a larger "secure enclave." She said that the city's preferred choice is for the Marines to build inside the walls of the Navy Yard, or on the existing Annex site on Virginia Avenue, or at any of the other federally owned properties in the city, such as the Armory and associated lands at RFK.
The possible loss of the athletic field at the Annex site if a new barracks were added there concerned the residents in attendance, with a possible replacement field at Virginia Avenue Park not seeming to fit the bill. But there were others (including Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID) who supported the idea of more density on the Annex site, including perhaps demolishing the existing three-story parking garage and perhaps gaining control of the community center site next to the garage for additional square footage. (Stevens said that the BID would love to see the very-much-needed community center perhaps combined with a public school offering on the current Van Ness Elementary site.)
The discussions of the Exxon/Virginia Avenue Park site included the possibilities of the Marines using the entire area between Ninth and 11th and Virginia and M, which does include some private residences (and the spay and neuter clinic and a couple small businesses). The concern about whether retail and the "vibrant Main Street" feel envisioned by the city would be part of the M Street landscape in this scenario was voiced as well.
Needless to say, there was no consensus, nor was there expected to be at this stage, and this is just a small subset of the 2 1/2 hours of discussions, so I'll link to the official notes from the meeting once they're posted. There will be two more workshops, and a charrette in September. Again, see the official web site for more details, and how to submit your own comments.
UPDATE: Another view of the meeting, from Norm Metzger, with a little more detail on Jennifer Steingasser's comments. And there was this: "Bruce Jackson, of the CIMP team, noted the essence of the problem: That there was no choice on giving up Building 20 as living quarters, and that the hope was to use the CIMP process -- unique, according to Mr Jackson in the annals of military-community development efforts -- to create a 'win-win' outcome. That was later amended to 'everyone is going to have to give up something.'"
 

On Tuesday night the Office of Planning and the Deputy Mayor's office held a third public meeting as part of the planning process undertaken this year for Boathouse Row, the stretch of land along the western shore of the Anacostia from the 11th Street Bridges upstream. Much of this area has been owned and managed by the federal government for years and years, but is part of the batch of parcels being transferred back to DC (and on Thursday the mayor will be announcing was supposed to be announcing that this swap is finally complete, but the event has been postponed because of a scheduling issue with the Secretary of the Interior). With the District preparing to take control of the property, and with the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative looking to transform the city's relationship with the river, it was decided to take a step back and do some "visioning" of what this area could be if given the proper TLC. (Michael Durso of DMPED also took great pains to emphasize that there are no plans to dispose of this land to developers or other interests.)
One big surprise for this newcomer was that the city does not expect to begin any of the transformation of this area for another *ten* years or so, given the constraints of large close-by projects starting in the next few years such as the 11th Street Bridges rehabilitation, remediation of the contaminated Washington Gas site east of 12th Street, and WASA's Deep Tunnel project. (And I will admit that hearing that ten-year timeframe made me feel a little less bad about having come to this planning process so late in the game!)
Also, the slides from the Tuesday meeting aren't yet posted online, so I think I will wait to delve into the details of all of this until those are available. But the study has now boiled down the wants and needs of various stakeholders into two concept alternatives, one of which imagines a $38 million project, $23 million of which would be dredging to allow for deeper-water boats farther up river (at least, that's how this non-boating-savvy blogger understood it), and the other which determines uses of the riverfront and the water if dredging does not take place, at a cost of about $13 million. Both concepts incorporate sustainable design, linked open spaces allowing for activities such as picnic areas, and amenities and shared uses like a small canteen and bike racks (and perhaps a bike rental oulet).
It's expected that the final report will be released in early January, followed by a 30-day comment period.
In the meantime, the operations of the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association will be moving from its spot in between the 11th Street Bridges spans to the marina just east of the Pennsylvania Avenue/Sousa Bridge (outside my boundaries!) in 2009; both Boathouse Row design concepts have ACBA returning after the bridge work is completed, perhaps with an expanded presence on the land just east of the bridges.
(Also, for people interested in the planned "boulevardization" of the old Southeast Freeway lanes that run from 11th Street to Barney Circle: it was mentioned that this project probably won't happen for another 10 years. But the planners did do some blue-skying of how this work--and perhaps the relocation of the CSX rail lines that also cut off Boathouse Row from its neighbors--could someday allow for this isolated patch of land to be reconnected to Capitol Hill and the rest of the city.)
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, Boathouse Row
 

A few small items:
* There's been a competition to design the altar for the Pope's April 17 mass at Nationals Park, says The Post: the winning entry "uses a pattern of overlapping arches that is repeated on all the pieces, including the altar's base. [...] The chair has a very tall back with the papal coat of arms. The front of the pulpit, from where the pope will read, features images from the Bible."
* Howard University's student newspaper, The Hilltop, writes about Saturday's Anacostia Waterfront Community Fair: "The [Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Framework Plan], which calls for 6,500 units of new housing, 3 million square feet of new office space, 32 acres of new public park space and a 20-mile network of riverside trails, appeals to residents of wards 6, 7 and 8 who share a common interest in improving the area. 'I was surprised to find out that so much construction has already taken place,' said Anne Holdbrook, a resident of Anacostia. 'I hope that they continue the re-development because there are so many abandoned buildings that are around that make the place look very unattractive[.]' " (See my summary of the fair, too.)
* The DC crime reports data feed is back on line. However, apparently they've re-run all the data from 2006 and 2007, and feed consumers like myself are supposed to ditch the data previously downloaded and replace it with the new versions. With the files being H-U-G-E, though, it's going to take some time for me to do this. (UPDATE: Ahem. Guess that didn't take as long as I thought. This crime data archive is now updated.)
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More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, crime, Nationals Park, Stadium Events
 

In other news from the same press release announcing the interim AWC CEO: "Yesterday, the District of Columbia, AWC and the JBG Companies signed a Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) agreement to secure the development of the US Department of Transportation headquarters, a JBG-owned property. The PILOT will fund $140 million in infrastructure investments for the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative. The revenue stream from the agreement will be dedicated to support District issued bonds. These projects include: Southeast Federal Center, Anacostia Metro, Reservation 13, Ward 7 Waterfront, Marvin Gaye Park, [and the] Southwest Waterfront." See previous posts on this PILOT agreement here, here, and here.
That $140 million must be burning a hole in the AWC's pocket, because they've already posted an RFP for a Construction Manager for several AWC capital projects: "The total construction value for these activities is up to $140 million." There is a good tidbit buried in the accompanying press release, that AWC intends to break ground in 2007 on both Washington Canal Park and on the first phase of Diamond Teague Park, the planned 39,000-sq-ft public plaza at the terminus of First Street on the banks of Anacostia, nestled between Florida Rock, the Earth Conservation Corps, WASA, and the Nationals ballpark. (And who is Diamond Teague? Read this NOW With Bill Moyers transcript from 2004.)
 

The big news of the day yesterday for DC was the Senate's passing of HR3699, which will transfer a number of federally controlled properties to DC, including Poplar Point and Reservation 13 (which are both large parts of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative). The Post article mentions that this also includes some small properties along Potomac Avenue by the baseball stadium. There's also one other Near Southeast parcel (that I know of) in the land transfer bill, and that's Reservation 17A, a small bit of land along New Jersey Avenue north of the DPW trash transfer station at I Street, which now helps clear the way for the reopening of I Street between 2nd and New Jersey, a plan currently awaiting city council approval.
More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, New Jersey Ave., Nationals Park
 

Yet another Near Southeast-related bill has been introduced to the DC Council--this one is B16-0932, the "Square 770, Lot 802 Securitization Act of 2006." My not-so-learned reading of the bill tells me that this bill is authorizing the issuing of bonds not to exceed $140 million (principal), $40 million of which will go toward funding a portion of the costs of the five-acre Anacostia Waterfront Park planned along the river between 2nd and 4th Streets (within the Southeast Federal Center land), as well as the infrastructure improvements needed to allow for public access to the site. An additional $75 million will help fund other (unnamed) Anacostia Waterfront Initiative infrastructure improvements. The bill also sets up the DOT HQ's parcel (Square 770, Lot 802) to now be exempt from property taxes and instead have those payments go into the new Anacostia Waterfront Park Fund, to be used to repay the financing of the bonds and other expenses related to the park. You can read more about this PILOT plan in this June 2 post. UPDATE: There is also now PR16-1004, which appears to be amending the earlier DOT PILOT bills a touch. There is also a DOT PILOT technical amendment being voted on as emergency legislation at the Oct. 18 city council session--might be the same as PR16-1004, but I can't tell for sure. UPDATE, 11/2: Here is the actual resolution that was passed on Oct. 18 on an emergency basis, PR16-1039, The "DOT Pilot Revision Emergency Approval Resolution of 2006."
More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, US Dept. of Transportation HQ, The Yards
 

A press release from the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development celebrates the city council's passing of the two bills requesting Pilot Funding for infrastructure at the Southeast Federal Center (PR16-0795 and PR16-0796). From the release: "The Council approved two resolutions authorizing $230 million in Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) bond issuances to pay for critical infrastructure on the Anacostia River. Approval of the resolutions enables the District to issue and deliver bonds for the purpose of financing or reimbursing Forest City Washington for $88 million in infrastructure costs related to the Southeast Federal Center Development and provide infrastructure funds for Anacostia Waterfront Initiative projects."
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More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, The Yards
 

I've added a new page for the East M Street Area, that triangle of land east of the 11th Street Bridges and south of the Southeast Freeway that makes up the very eastern portion of Near Southeast. The Maritime Plaza development is the most obvious occupant of this area, but rowers and the like have staked a claim to this site's water access as well. The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative's plans should bring welcome changes to this stretch in the years to come. (The addition of this area to the main map on my home page is not particularly elegant, but I couldn't shrink the map any farther!) I've also renamed the former East End page, giving it its proper designation "8th Street Historic District." (Both these monikers come from the Near Southeast Urban Design Framework, which is worth a look if you've never seen it or haven't looked at it in a while, to see what the city had in mind back in 2003 for this neck of the woods--you know, before anyone was talking about a stadium!!)
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, 8th Street, East of 11th Street, Maritime Plaza
 

Mayor Williams has successfully gotten the DC Council to approve the creation of the Anacostia Waterfront Development Corporation (AWDC), which is tasked with implementing the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, and hopefully will do for the Anacostia what the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation did for its realm. Next, Benjamin Forgey is doing a big series in the Post about redevelopment in DC, and today's part deals with Near Southeast. (Although you probably won't learn much there that you didn't already see here!)

More posts: Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Anacostia Waterfront Initiative