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Reminders for a Slew of Upcoming Events
Sep 9, 2010 2:17 AM
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.

ANC Race, Ward 6 Forum, Youth River Sports Day, and This Week's Ballpark Events
Aug 24, 2010 10:31 AM
A hail of bullets on a rainy morning:
* The ANC 6D07 race has another possible candidate, with David Garber now circulating his petitions to get on the ballot. It's more likely you know David as DG_Rad, the blogger at And Now, Anacostia; although he has continued ties east of the river, David moved to Near Southeast at the beginning of the summer, and has thrown his hat into the 6D07 ring. His web site for the race is VoteGarber.com. David joins Capitol Quarter resident Bruce DarConte in challenging current commissioner Bob Siegel (assuming they all get their required 25 petition signatures). And there's still a few weeks left for other candidates to pop up.
UPDATE: I understand via David that Bruce DarConte is not going to run after all.
* The Ward 6 Council Democratic Candidates Forum, an opportunity to hear from Tommy Wells and Kelvin Robinson about their position on issues of interest to Ward 6 and the city, is scheduled for tonight (Aug. 24) at 6:30 pm at the Southeast Library at 403 7th St., SE. According to The Hill is Home, it will be hosted by WTOP's Mark Segraves.
UPDATE: If you can't make the forum, or if you're reading this after it's over, the two candidates will also be debating on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on Wednesday (Aug. 25), at 12:06 pm.
* And although the Anacostia Community Boathouse's operations have moved to temporary space just far enough upriver that they're not technically in Near Southeast anymore, I'll still pass along that they are having their 4th Annual Youth River Sports Day on Sunday, Sept. 12, from 11 am to 3 pm. It's free, and it gives kids (and adults) a chance to try their hands at rowing and paddling. The Anacostia Watershed Society will also be giving tours of the river in their pontoon boat. Here's the photos I took at the 2008 event.
There's also a number of ballpark-related events this week:
* On Wednesday (Aug. 25), Nationals Park gets on the "Craft Beer Week" bandwagon with a Leinenkugel pregame beer sampling at the Miller Light Scoreboard Walk. For $22, fans receive a Scoreboard Pavilion seat and a voucher for four complimentary Leinenkugel beer samples from 4:30 pm until first pitch. To purchase tickets, go to nationals.com/craftbeerweek.
* Also on Wednesday is the Top Chef episode filmed at Nationals Park, as the six remaining contestants are charged with making game snacks for fans, with guest appearances by John Lannan, Adam Dunn, and {sniff} Matt Capps, and with guest judge (and Top Chef Masters winner) Rick Moonen. It's at 10 pm on Bravo. Here's a snippet of some of the arguing going on in one of the food bays during the challenge.
* Saturday, Aug. 28 is the second blood drive of the summer at the ballpark, from 8 am to 2 pm. Blood donors will receive two tickets to a future Nationals game, a limited edition Build-A-Bear Workshop bloodhound and the opportunity to meet a Nationals player. Appointments to donate blood are required. Interested donors should call 1-866-BLOODSAVES (256-6372) or visit www.inova.org/donateblood, click "schedule an appointment" and enter sponsor code 7665.
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More posts: ANC News, Boathouse Row, meetings, politics, Nationals Park

LRB RIP: Updating the Demolished Buildings Gallery
Jul 15, 2010 10:40 AM
The Little Red Building at Second and L, SE passed into history on Wednesday, but at least it will live on in my Demolished Buildings Gallery, as building #160 to meet its maker since I started taking photos in Near Southeast. Also added to the gallery today are the Anacostia Community Boathouse and its sister building, demolished earlier this month to make way for the 11th Street Bridges. If you haven't wandered through the gallery in a while, take a moment to watch the neighborhood's old life pass in front of your eyes.

Brief Break from Blogging Breather for Bullet Points
Jul 9, 2010 2:36 PM
I'm still eyeing a couple more days of (mostly) blog-free living, but a few items should probably be mentioned before the weekend, and so that you don't think I'm never coming back. First, the calendar:
* On Monday at 6:30 pm, the Zoning Commission will take up the Housing Authority's new request for another time extension to the zoning order that requires construction of the Capper Community Center. DCHA had asked for a two-year extension last year, but was only granted one year, and made clear at that time that they didn't foresee having the money to start the center in that shorter time frame, and that they'd be back to ask for another extension. And now they are.
* Speaking of the community center, there's now a big sign on its footprint (at Fifth and L) touting that the second phase of Capitol Quarter's townhouses is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But you knew that already.
* Monday at 7 pm is the monthly ANC 6D meeting. I was hoping the agenda would be out before I posted this, but alas, no. Check back here or on their web site to see what scintillating topics will be up for discussion. (UPDATE: the agenda is now out, and there's nothing really major on it, other than a public space permit for the street work for Phase 2 of Capitol Quarter.)
* On Tuesday, July 13, the Capitol Hill Group Ministry is having its "All-Star Party Night" at Nationals Park, offering the chance to take batting practice, throw pitches in the bullpen, tour the locker room, meet Teddy, and more. Tickets are $55 per person and $15 for children under 12, with proceeds going to CHGM's programs for homeless and low-income families.
And a few other items:
* Today's WBJ reports that a third piece of "public" art is coming to Nationals Park; this time it will be 30 "stainless steel-domed forms which will accurately follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast-ball pitch," which will be hung early next year on the exterior of the eastern garage. The steel spheres with cutout "laces," each seven feet in diameter, will feature programmable LED lights; the piece will cost about $950,000. As for the other two pieces of public art already at the stadium (the bronze statues in the Center Field Plaza and the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" mobile near the First Base Gate), I'll quote WBJ's Michael Neibauer: "The first two pieces of public art at the stadium were, to be kind, not well-received at their unveiling in April 2009. The works were selected by arts professionals and D.C. residents, according to the arts commission, but some wonder: Did anyone ask the fans?"
* A reader reports that the Anacostia Boathouse at 11th and O, in between the 11th Street Bridges spans, has been demolished, which was expected because of the footprint of the new bridges. Haven't seen for myself yet to confirm.
* And I haven't felt the earth shift on its axis yet, so I assume the Little Red Building's exterior is still standing, although interior demolition has been going on all week.

Tidbits From the Past Few Days (Foreclosure, Marines, WMATA Cuts, 11th Street Bridges, 1015 Half)
Jan 21, 2010 10:35 AM
Rounding up some new and Tweeted tidbits, now that I've recovered from cranking out the State of the Hood:
* (h/t "reader X") The second foreclosure sale held yesterday for the boarded-up apartment building and surrounding lots at Potomac, Ninth and L brought no bids above the $2 million starting point, so the properties will now return to the lender. An earlier auction back in October had brought a $2.461 million winning bid, but that deal fell through. The properties were originally bought by ICP Partners in 2006, along with the gray building at Eighth and Potomac, for $9 million.
* Via ANC 6B03 commissioner Norm Metzger, the Marines have created a web site for their "Community Integrated Master Plan." The site describes this planning process as evaluating "community-military development partnering options" because "[t]here are unmet facility needs and security requirements at Marine Barracks Washington and a potential to meet common community and military needs through the process" and that their goal is "to use a coordinated planning process to create a win-win in meeting the development needs of the local community and Marine Corps." Now that that's cleared up, you can go to the open house they're having on Jan. 27 from 5 to 8 pm in the North Hall of Eastern Market, to "assist the planning team in identifying issues, concerns, and potential opportunities for military-community development partnering."
* One of many service reductions proposed by WMATA to help close their FY2010 budget gap is to shut down one of the two entrances to the Navy Yard metro station on weekends. (They don't say which one.) The public hearing on their various proposals is Jan. 27 at 5:30 pm. UPDATE: From Michael Perkins, in the comments, it would be the west entrance, at Half and M. I wonder if this would only be when there are no stadium events?
* Via the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce's Twitter feed, there will apparently be one more Lower 8th Street visioning session, on February 22. After this final session, the group will forward its recommendations to the Office of Planning on what sort of development should be emphasized for these blocks south of the freeway.
* In Sunday's Post, Dr. Gridlock took a look at the 11th Street Bridges project, telling drivers what to expect as the construction unfolds, and that the "new bridges will forge a link between Maryland, the District and Virginia that has been missing since the original highway plan for the District was abandoned decades ago. And it will create a new link between neighborhoods on both sides of the Anacostia while relieving them of some of the commuter traffic that spills onto local streets."
* As part of the start of work on the bridges, a raze permit application has been filed to demolish the old red brick buildings between the current bridges that housed the Anacostia Community Boathouse, whose operations are now moving up-river to a temporary (maybe permanent) home at the Anacostia Marina.
* A little time spent trolling through public records shows that within the past month a bunch of the liens brought against Opus East when they liquidated and stopped work on 1015 Half Street have been settled. No indications from the new owner (Douglas Wilson Companies) as to when construction might restart, despite their statements back in October that it would be happening soon.

Tidbits (ANC 6D, Boathouse, Georgia Ave, Cupcakes!)
Jan 11, 2010 12:00 PM
A few items of note:
* Tonight is ANC 6D's monthly business meeting, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church, Sixth and M, SW. But, as is so often the case, there's no agenda yet released. However, the commission should be voting on whether to support the liquor license application of Justin's Cafe, which was approved by the ANC's alcohol/beverage subcommittee last week. Other than that, the lineup will just be a bundle of surprises! UPDATE: The agenda is now posted.
* The folks with A rower from the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association has started a blog to track the move of the boathouse operations away from its current home in between the 11th Street Bridges up-river to the Anacostia Marina. The move is happening because the new bridges are going to necessitate the demoition of the two existing boathouse buildings. (UPDATED with a new name for the blog, along with a clarification)
* The Hill is Home has a "Lost Capitol Hill" post about the original Georgia Avenue, SE, which is now Potomac Avenue. On these maps from the early 1900s of Near Southeast, you can see Georgia Avenue in 1903, but not in 1909. (If you haven't wandered through these maps before, they're worth a few minutes. Go to the main page, click on a section of the neighborhood, and then you can use the links to go from 1903 to 1909 to 1915 to 1921.
*The Curbside Cupcake folks are venturing into Near Southeast these days, and will be at New Jersey and M tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 12) from noon to 1 pm. (They set up shop there for a while last Tuesday, too.)
* And, while outside my boundaries, I think it's worth mentioning that Big Chair Coffee opened at 2122 MLK Avenue in Anacostia this morning--And Now, Anacostia has a pile of photos of the place, which is one of the only (if not the only) coffee house east of the river.

Construction Underway on New 11th Street Bridges
Dec 29, 2009 11:40 AM
On a chilly morning (with winds high enough to scuttle the planned boat tour), DDOT announced that work is officially underway on the new 11th Street Bridges, the $300 million four-year project to build three new spans across the Anacostia River to provide both expanded freeway access between I-295 and the SE/SW Freeway and a new local-traffic bridge connecting Anacostia and Near Southeast.
Pile driving in the river is expected to start within the next day or two (it was supposed to start today, but the winds scuttled that, too). Engineers said it should be at least 18 months before there are any changes to the traffic flow on either side of the river.
The biggest changes in the configuration of the bridges will be the new ramps allowing for access from southbound I-295 to the bridges and from the bridges to northbound DC295, meaning that much of the neighborhood cut-through traffic and bad flow on Pennsylvania Avenue should be mitigated, though residents who oppose the expansion of the bridges' capacity--such as the Capitol Hill Restoration Society--differ with DDOT on the benefits of the project.
The third span--a "local street that happens to cross a river," in the words of DDOT's Bart Clark--will be built with streetcar tracks included in the two curb lanes, and will also include wide pedestrian/cycling paths, bulb-out bridge overlooks (where you can stop and look at the view without impeding the flow), and even osprey nest perches down by the water. This span, allowing local traffic to cross the river without having to mix with high-speed freeway traffic as it currently does, will reach street level at O Street on the west side of the river, which will also make for an easy connection to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. And all new bridges will be built with shoulders, to help lessen backups when there are accidents.
One additional change in all of this is that the Anacostia Community Boathouse operations, which are currently nestled between the existing spans, will be permanently moved northeast, to the Anacostia marina, and the old red brick buildings will be demolished. (A temporary structure is being built to get their operations moved by spring.)
For the next few months, pile driving and some off-roadway clearing and minor lane shifts on DC-295 will be the extent of the construction, but by late spring or early summer there will begin to be work underway on both O Street and M Street
I've added new graphics to my 11th Street Bridges page that show the plans for the new bridges. It will be an interesting project to watch over the next few years.
In addition, demolition work on the existing ramps to and from RFK has perked back up again, and there will be lane closures on the portion of the freeway that connects to Pennsylvania Avenue within the next few weeks. (If you saw the variable message sign at the Sixth Street SE exit that said "Freeway to be closed on or about 1/9/2010," it was a bit of a verbiage boo-boo that was meant to alert drivers to the coming lane closures, and is being fixed.)
There was a decent amount of press at the briefing (both Dr. Gridlock and Bob Marbourg were in the house, so you know it was serious), and I'll be updating this entry as stories come online, most of which will no doubt give more focus to the changes coming to the east side of the river than I have here (though I have posted some enlarged graphics that show both sides of the river). Here's the DDOT press release, fact sheet, and FAQ.
UPDATE: Links to Dr. Gridlock, WTOP, and City Paper. And WUSA. (I won't bother with pieces written right off the press release.)
UPDATE II: A bike-centric look at the plans from WashCycle.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row

Next Week's Events (Justin's Cafe Liquor License, Boathouse Lighting, ANC6B)
Dec 3, 2009 9:17 AM
A couple events on the calendar for the week of Dec. 7 to highlight:
* On Wednesday, Dec. 9, ANC 6D's ABC committee will be having its monthly meeting (in advance of the full ANC meeting on Dec. 14), and on the agenda is "presentation of plans by Justin Ross re Justin's Cafe planned for 1st & L Streets, SE." This is the first step in the (long) process for Velocity's restaurant to get its liquor license, although I haven't yet seen an announcement/posting for their official ABRA hearing (maybe it'll be in tomorrow's DC Register). The meeting is at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street, S.W.
* The Anacostia Community Boathouse Association will be having its annual Boathouse Lighting and Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 6:30 pm. This year's honorees include Tommy Wells, winner of the ACBA's "Champion" Award, who will get to flip the switch to turn on the holiday lights. The boathouse is at 1115 O Street, SE, nestled between the two spans of the 11th Street Bridges.
* ANC 6B (which is mostly Capitol Hill but includes the Eighth Street area south of the freeway in its boundaries) is having its monthly meeting on Dec. 8, and it includes a presentation by WASA on the Combined Sewer Overflow Project, and a resolution on the Ward 6 Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act of 2009, which has its city council hearing on Dec. 10. The meeting is at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.

Reminder: Youth River Sports Day on Saturday
Aug 7, 2009 10:00 AM
A reminder: tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 8), the 3rd Annual Youth River Sports Day will be held at the Anacostia Community Boathouse, from 10 am to 2 pm. Rowing and paddling instruction, guided river tours, and more will be offered; my photos from last year's event give a taste of the activities.
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More posts: Boathouse Row, East of 11th Street

11th Street Bridges Open House (+ Boathouse News)
Jul 31, 2009 1:02 PM
On Wednesday, August 19, there's going to be an 11th Street Bridges Open House, billed as an update for Ward 8 residents about the status of the bridge replacement project. (But I'm guessing people from other wards can come, too.) It's from 7 pm to 8:30 pm, at the Union Temple Baptist Church at 1225 W St., SE.
(This is on the heels of a Tweet from Tommy Wells just a few minutes ago that says "Succesfully moved an amendment to protect Anancostia Community Boathouse Assoc. Re: 11th st bridge const." I don't know anything more right now than what that says, but if you're a boathouse patron, keep an eye out for additional details. There have been concerns and issues between the boathouse association and DDOT about where to relocate ACBA during the estimated five-year construction project, and also getting commitments that the boathouse has a location to return to when the new bridges are completed.)
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row, East of 11th Street

12th Street Ramp Closures This Weekend (?)
Jul 23, 2009 8:05 PM
DDOT hasn't sent out a reminder, but I'll post it anyway: the M Street/Washington Navy Yard exit off of I-295 North, along with portions of M and 12th streets, are supposed to be closed this weekend to continue work on the demolition of the ramps to RFK. The closure times are listed as being from 6:30 pm on July 24 through 6:30 am July 27; access to the boathouses and ramps along Water Street will be open, and the 8th Street SE exit off of I-295 North can still be used. They've posted three maps showing the detours that will be in effect.
The ramp demolitions (bad pictures from last week here) are tied to preliminary work for the reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row

Reminder: 12th Street Ramp Closures This Weekend
Jul 16, 2009 7:33 PM
A reminder that the M Street/Washington Navy Yard exit off of I-295 North, along with portions of M and 12th streets, will be closed this weekend and next to continue work on the demolition of the ramps to RFK. The closure times are listed as being from 6:30 pm on Friday, July 17 through 6:30 am Monday, July 20 and from 6:30 pm on July 24 through 6:30 am July 27; access to the boathouses and ramps along Water Street will be open, and the 8th Street SE exit off of I-295 North can still be used. They've posted three maps showing the detours that will be in effect.
The ramp demolitions (bad pictures from last week here) are tied to preliminary work for the reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row

Upcoming Events, and Other Linky Goodness
Jul 14, 2009 12:14 PM
* This Sunday (July 19), there's going to be a "Grill-Off" at Nationals Park before the 1:30 game against the Cubs. Phil Bucco, who oversees the menus at the ballpark, will be competing against Teddy Folkman, the executive chef at Granville Moore's. It'll be an Iron Chef-like challenge, where the chefs won't know the ingredient they're working with beforehand. The event starts at noon, but the first-come first-served seats (in the Nats Family Fun Area) can be grabbed starting at 11 am, when the gates open. Plates will be judged at 1 pm.
* On Tuesday, July 21, the BID is hosting a "Mental Mapping" event, where they're asking residents to "Sketch out your shopping route to assist in a study about neighborhood retail needs." It's at Capitol Hill Tower at 6:30 pm; RSVP to rsvp@capitolriverfront.org.
* On Saturday, Aug. 8, the 3rd Annual Youth River Sports Day will be held at the Anacostia Community Boathouse, from 10 am to 2 pm. Rowing and paddling instruction, guided river tours, and more will be offered; my photos from last year's event give a taste of the activities.
* This is a ways off, but SWDC Blog reports that the next ANC 6D meeting, on Sept. 14 (no August meeting) will be held in Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. I've been attending ANC meetings off and on for six years, and this is the first one I remember that will be crossing South Capitol Street.
* Even farther off (well, the next day), Urban Land Institute Washington is holding its third Urban Marketplace Conference and Expo, which brings together "the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to explore redevelopment opportunities and best practices in emerging neighborhoods and corridors across the Washington metropolitan region." One of the day's discussions will focus on the ballpark district (and I'm one of the panelists). Early-bird registration ends July 31.
* In non-event news, Fox 5 reports on how the Nationals' problems on the field "are making the city's $700-million stadium look like a bad investment." To wit: "Before the stadium was built, the city projected average attendance at 34,708 per game and tax revenues from tickets and merchandise of $15.1 million for this season. The reality, average attendance is about 23,213, ranking the Nationals 24th out of 30 teams. Based on attendance figures through June, the city now estimates tax revenues of about $8.9 million. The office of the Chief Financial Officer says tax revenues could increase because average attendance has improved slightly since June." However, "The office of the Chief Financial Officer estimates the city will raise $50.2 million through its Ballpark Revenue Fund, more than enough to make the $32-million bond payment on the stadium with money left over. The bulk of that however does not come from the Ballpark itself, but rather from a utility tax and a business tax in the city."
* Since I was out of town this weekend, I missed all the Elton/Billy hullabaloo. Here's a pile of reviews and blog posts having to do with the big show.
* For your (off-topic) Real Estate Development Collapse reading pleasure, a long piece on Williamsburg, NY: "Most unsettling are the cases of the developers who seem to have vanished, leaving behind so many vacant lots and half-completed buildings--eighteen, to be precise, more than can be found in all of the Bronx--that large swaths of the neighborhood have come to resemble a city after an air raid."

Temporary 12th St. Ramp, Related Closures Coming
Jul 8, 2009 1:17 PM
Just out from DDOT, an advisory that the M Street/Washington Navy Yard exit off of I-295 North, along with portions of M and 12th streets, will be closed over two upcoming weekends to continue work on the demolition of the ramps to RFK. The closure times are listed as being from 6:30 pm on Friday, July 17 through 6:30 am Monday, July 20 and from 6:30 pm on July 24 through 6:30 am July 27; access to the boathouses and ramps along Water Street will be open, and the 8th Street SE exit off of I-295 North can still be used. They've posted three maps showing the detours that will be in effect.
The ramp demolitions (bad pictures from last week here) are tied to preliminary work for the reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges.
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More posts: 11th Street Bridges, Boathouse Row

Brief Morning Linkage (Ballpark, Boathouse Row)
Apr 9, 2009 8:58 AM
Some very quick links:
* The Nats unveiled the new statues of Frank Howard, Josh Gibson, and Walter Johnson in the Center Field Plaza at the ballpark yesterday; here's coverage by WTOP, City Paper, WashTimes, and Nats320. But the Post's art critic isn't too impressed.
* The Post's Marc Fisher ruminates on the the futures of both the Nats and the unfinished neighborhood surrounding their new home: "But despite the optimism each new season brings, there is a growing unease, questions about whether fans will really support the team and whether the city's investment will provide the promised returns. Times and moods change." And Fox5 has its own look at the neighborhood in advance of the Nats's home opener.
* In nonballpark news, the city has posted the final draft of its Boathouse Row planning study; you can see more about this easternmost section of Near Southeast here, along with my summary of the last public meeting on the study. (There's a link to this study from the new blog by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.)
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More posts: Boathouse Row, East of 11th Street, Nationals Park

Imagining the Future of Boathouse Row
Dec 17, 2008 10:28 PM
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.)

Reminder: This Week's Flurry of Events
Dec 15, 2008 12:32 PM
Though I'm ready to give a stern talking-to to the folks who thought jam-packing the time just before the holidays with so many events was a good idea, here's a reminder of all that's happening Near Southeast-wise this week:
* On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the BID is putting on a Holiday Market at 1100 New Jersey Avenue. It will run from 11:30 am to 6 pm, and will feature "local artisans selling handcrafted jewelry, pottery, crafts, watercolors, photography, and more."
* On Tuesday at 6:30 pm is a community meeting on the planning process for Boathouse Row, which I wrote about recently. It's at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th Street, SE, and is being held by the Office of Planning. There's a pile of information from the city on this Master Plan process, if you want more information.
* Also on Tuesday, the city council will be having its final vote on the Taxation Without Representation Street bill, along with a pile of other legislative items they'll be trying to get out of the way before the end of the year.
* On Wednesday at 6:30 pm the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association is having its annual Boathouse Lighting and Community Awards Ceremony. City Administrator Dan Tangherlini will be honored, and then will flip the switch to illuminate the boathouse's holiday lights. The boathouse is at 1115 O Street, SE (between the spans of the 11th Street Bridges).
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is having its Annual Meeting and "State of the Capitol Riverfront" at 11:30 am on Thursday.
* The group of urban planning students at the University of Maryland who have been studying the lower part of Eighth Street will be presenting their "Connect Barracks Row" findings at a public meeting on Thursday from 7:30 pm to 9 pm at the Navy Yard Car Barn, better known as the Blue Castle, at 770 M Street, SE. You can see the presentation from their Oct. 29 community meeting and read a little more about the project on their web site.
These are all listed on my Events Calendar. I wish I could live up to my normal obsessiveness and say that I'm going to be at every one of these, but real life is intervening all over the place.

Flurry of Mid-December Meetings and Events
Dec 4, 2008 4:44 PM
I passed along word a few days ago about the Dec. 18 Connect Barracks Row information meeting, and now there's three other events scheduled for mid-month. So get your holiday shopping out of the way to clear calendar space:
* On Dec. 16 at 6:30 pm is a community meeting on the planning process for Boathouse Row, which I wrote about recently. It's at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th Street, SE, and is being held by the Office of Planning. There's a pile of information from the city on this Master Plan process, if you want more information.
* On Dec. 17 at 6:30 pm the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association is having its annual Boathouse Lighting and Community Awards Ceremony. City Administrator Dan Tangherlini will be honored, and then will flip the switch to illuminate the boathouse's holiday lights. The boathouse is at 1115 O Street, SE (between the spans of the 11th Street Bridges).
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is having its Annual Meeting and "State of the Capitol Riverfront" at 11:30 am on Dec. 18; I'm going to attend mainly so I can get my first peek inside 100 M Street, which will be hosting the luncheon.
These are all listed on my Events Calendar.
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More posts: Boathouse Row, East of 11th Street

Boathouse Row: Pictures (Finally), and a Master Plan
Nov 21, 2008 11:44 PM
Back in August, I finally took a little time to drive down the practically hidden section of Water Street east of 12th to get some photos of Boathouse Row, the stretch of marinas between the 11th Street Bridges and Pennsylvania Avenue's Sousa Bridge. Of course, all I really got were photos of their entrances (I'm way too shy to have actually driven in), but even pictures of their gates and signs are probably of interest to most people who've never taken this particular field trip.
A mere three months later, I've finally posted them on a revamped East M/Boathouse Row page, where there first are photos of the Anacostia Community Rowing Center, followed by the new images from further up Water Street. (I also tinkered a bit with my main East M page.) Of course, as I'm writing this I'm realizing that it would probably be even better if I went across the river and took photos of the row from Anacostia Park--I'll add that to my To Do list.
There's actually a Master Plan underway for Boathouse Row by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the Office of Planning. By doing this, " the District seeks to provide upgraded public facilities, improve environmental conditions, preserve existing functions and utilize remaining land to enhance and expand boathouse, marina, dock and water recreation uses." The DMPED info page on the Master Planning Process has a lot documents with much detail from the public meetings that were held over the summer and on Oct. 2 (which they don't seem to do a very good job of advertising, because I never heard about them). A handout from last week's Anacostia Waterfront Information Fair says that the Draft Master Plan is expected to be released by the end of this year (and I'm hearing there will be a public meeting in mid-December); the Oct. 2 meeting slides give a good summary of the plan alternatives being considered (and there's additional info on those here), along with long-range visions for the area.
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More posts: Boathouse Row, East of 11th Street

Mayor Talks About Progress Along the Anacostia; Status Updates on Parks, Bridges, and the River
Nov 14, 2008 2:56 PM
This morning Mayor Fenty held a press conference at Nationals Park with various city officials to highlight tomorrow's Anacostia Waterfront Information Fair, and also talk up the recent progress and near-term next steps for the more than $8 billion worth of economic development, transportation, and infrastructure projects in the pipeline along the Anacostia River (not only in Near Southeast, but from the Southwest Waterfront all the way up past RFK).
Having sworn off taking any more photos of The Mayor at the Microphone (unless he shows up in a Hawaiian shirt and swimtrunks or something), I decided to record the 20-minute event instead, so that the five or six of you interested in hearing the remarks can do so. (It's a 2.6-mb MP3 file; the first few seconds are rough, but then it settles in.)
If you listen, you'll hear how the mayor managed to cajole the notoriously camera-shy Stan Kasten into saying a few words about what's happening along the river and in the neighborhood from the point of view of the area's largest tenant. Deputy Mayor Neil Albert, DDOT Director Frank Seales, Office of Planning head Harriet Tregoning, and the director of the city's Office of the Environment George Hawkins spoke as well. There was some discussion throughout (and especially at the end) about how the slowing economy might be impacting both the city's plans and developers' projects, but the mayor remains optimistic.
The press release from the mayor's office sums up the main points of today's event, but here's the Near Southeast-specific highlights from both the remarks and some other chatter of the day. First up, news of the three big parks:
The city "will break ground at Diamond Teague Park by the end of 2008." (And the guide for tomorrow's fair says that the park will be completed in spring 2009, which is the same date we've been hearing for a while.) The mayor also touted the operating agreement with Forest City Washington to build and maintain the $42 million, 5-acre Park at the Yards (but you knew about this already), as well as the the agreement with the Canal Park Development Corp. to build the $13.1 million, three-block-long park. (No mention of school buses.)
Then there's the bridges: Reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges is scheduled to begin in mid-2009. (The shortlist of firms vying for the design-build contract was announced a few weeks ago.) Whether we actually see heavy equipment moving in mid-2009, or whether this just marks the first part of the design-build project is not quite clear. I was also told that the contract to demolish the flyover ramps to and from RFK could be completed soon, and that demolition would happen not long after the contract is signed.
Plus, the final Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street and the Douglass Bridge is expected in spring 2009; that's when we'll hear which of the four bridge designs has been chosen.
As for the river itself, the city has started real-time water quality monitoring, updated automatically online 24 hours a day. There's also now the Anacostia 2032 Plan "to make the Anacostia River boatable, swimmable, and fishable in 25 years." And a Green Summer Jobs Corps was created earlier this year to "engage youth in the cleaning and greening of District neighborhoods and parks and to introduce them to green-collar job opportunities."
Finally, a planning process is underway to revamp Boathouse Row, the stretch of boat clubs along the Anacostia between 11th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. (I took a bunch of photos near the boathouses a few months back, and have been lazy about ever getting them posted, though you can see a few boathouse-free shots of the environs here and here.)
There's more about projects elsewhere along the Anacostia, but other bloggers get to cover those. Will update this post if there's any media coverage from today's event, and will have a fresh post on Saturday after the fair. I imagine I'll Twitter a bit from those festivities (like I did from today's); remember that if you aren't a Twitter-er, you can read my tweets on the JDLand homepage--check 'em out frequently, because I do sometimes post news there first, before I write full blog entries.
SATURDAY FAIR UPDATE: They're now going to be providing free shuttle bus service from the New Jersey & M Metro entrance to/from the ballpark, from 12:30 pm to 5:15 pm. (After they heard somewhere that the Half and M subway entrance is going to be closed on Saturday.)
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