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Public Meeting on Capper Community Center Set for April 21
Apr 10, 2014 4:19 PM
The "engagement process" between DCHA (and its consultants) and interested parties about the planned Capper Community Center now has its first public meeting scheduled, for Monday, April 21, at 7 pm, at 200 I St. SE.
The announcement flyer includes an FAQ with information similar to what I wrote about not too long ago when the agency announced that it would be working with the community to determine the "inside uses" for the 30,000-square-foot building at 5th and K streets, SE, which DCHA expects to be "a support for the community building process in this new mixed-income community" as well as a "multifaceted enrichment center" and a "hub for activities and positive civic interaction."
It also explains again that DCHA will not be running and funding the center's operations--though will remain "vitally interested" --so it needs to come up with ways to create the necessary revenue to support both staff and programs.
This meeting is planned to be an information session and also hear ideas about programs for the building, then a second meeting later this spring will present preliminary programming recommendations.
Check the flyer for additional information, including the reminder that government ID is needed in order to get into 200 I St.

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More posts: Capper, Community Center, meetings

DCHA Starting 'Engagement Process' for Community Center
Mar 29, 2014 8:58 AM
With the construction of the long-delayed Capper Community Center at 5th and K getting ready to start, and with residents having recently made clear their desire to be consulted on the center's programming, the DC Housing Authority has announced that it will be reaching out "to the Capper HOPE VI community (homeowners and renters/former residents/current residents) and the broader Near Southeast neighborhood to solicit input into the future programs that will be offered."
Additionally, because the agency says that they have been unable to find funds for the staffing and programming of the center once it opens, it will be looking to contract with some organization or entity to operate and develop programs at the center "that will be responsive to the community's needs and the long-term vision for the center."
Brailsford & Dunlavey and Justice and Sustainability Associates have been hired to (I'll just quote the consultant mumbo jumbo): " 1) develop a process with the purpose of defining impacting programs that will foster personal and community enrichment, and civic participation; 2) create an asset map that will allow the future operator to understand the programs that are offered in the neighborhood; 3) develop financial models and pro forma to guide DCHA in approving future programming; and 4) [work] with our architects to define square footage within the building’s walls so that each space can have the potential of multiple uses."
There will be a series of meetings with the community over the next three months (including all-important charettes) and will also be developing a survey and "other forms of communicating the community's vision and desires for the building."
With the construction funds expiring by November 2015, DCHA has a goal of finding an operator for the center by this September, which would give the new operator one year to prepare for the center's opening.
You can read the entire release from DCHA about the process for more information.
The new community center has had a long, long path to fruition, since even before the original one closed and then was demolished in 2007.
There should also be a construction trailer and a sign announcing the project going up at the site (if not there already), as DCHA gets ready to prepare the site for construction.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center

To-Do Tidbits: Capper, Schools, 6D, Aldean, Jazz
Feb 6, 2014 10:14 AM
* CAPPER DISCUSSION: I have a dream of writing a deeper post about this tomorrow, but just in case, I'll mention again that the DC Housing Authority is having a community meeting on Feb. 8 at 10 am at 200 I St. SE "regarding the opportunities and resources for the continued development of the neighborhood." Look for the "programming" for the long-planned community center and the possible condo building at 3rd and K to be a big part of the discussion. Tommy Wells is expected to attend.
* SCHOOL BOUNDARIES: Three Ward 6 community meetings have been scheduled on the hot topic of DCPS's review of public school boundaries and feeder patterns. Topics open for discussion, in addition to the aforementioned boundaries and feeder patterns, include experiences with the current assignment policies (including lotteries) and bridging the assignment and choice policies across DCPS and charter schools. The meetings all start at 6:30 pm and are scheduled at: Eliot-Hine (Feb. 13), Stuart-Hobson (Feb. 18), and Jefferson (Feb. 20).
* ANC 6D: The commission's monthly meeting is on Feb. 10 at 7 pm at 1100 4th St. SW. The agenda includes some curb cut requests, and updates on the Wharf, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and an upcoming mayoral forum at Arena Stage.
* ALDEAN: The Nationals finally announced a date for the Jason Aldean concert at the ballpark this summer: July 25, the day before Billy Joel's show. Tickets for the Aldean gig go on sale tomorrow, Feb. 7.
* ALL THAT JAZZ: This is a ways off, but it's been announced that a three-day Jazz at the Riverfront music festival will be held at the Yards Park from June 27-29, as part of the DC Jazz Festival. More about it all from City Paper.
Have an announcement for a future event? Send it here.

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More posts: Capper, Community Center, Events

To-Do Tidbits: Speed Dating, School Days, Nats Dates
Jan 30, 2014 2:53 PM
Here's what's come across the transom events-wise this week. And remember to keep an eye on my Events Calendar down the right side of the JDLand home page to be sure you're not missing anything coming up.
* VALENTINE'S LOOMING: On Saturday, Feb. 1, there's a Speed Dating at the Yards shindig being held at the Boilermaker Shops from 7 to 9 pm. Tickets are $30, and can be purchased here, though the site notes that they have more men than women women than men currently signed up, so dudes, get moving. (But points are deducted for the location being listed as "Washington Navy Yards," which is off-base in so many ways.) It's being run by Professionals in the City.
* VAN NESS ES: A reminder that the new Van Ness Parent Group is holding a community meeting on Feb. 1 to get supporters together to talk about the elementary school's scheduled reopening for the 2015-16 school year. The meeting is at 11 am at Capitol Hill Tower, 1000 New Jersey Ave SE.
* CAPPER COMMUNITY: I'll be writing more about this next week, but the DC Housing Authority is having a community meeting on Feb. 8 at 10 am at 200 I St. SE "regarding the opportunities and resources for the continued development of the neighborhood." Look for the "programming" for the long-planned community center and the possible condo building at 3rd and K to be a big part of the discussion. Tommy Wells is expected to attend.
* NATS TICKETS AND PROMOS: The team has announced that single-game tickets go on sale on Feb. 27 at 10 am. The lineup of promotional events has also been released, with the three NatsLive post-game concerts scheduled for June 5, July 19, and Aug. 16 (acts to be announced). There's also four Pups in the Park dates. (Charlie and George are once again not amused about the lack of a Felines at the Field day.)
Have an announcement? Send it here. Or you could always take out an ad to be sure your event gets noticed. I wouldn't mind.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center, Events, Stadium Events, Van Ness Elementary

Capper Community Center's Second Time Extension Approved
Jul 12, 2012 11:06 AM
On Monday night, the Zoning Commission voted 4-0-1 to approve DCHA's request for a second two-year time extension on the PUD deadlines to build the Capper Community Center on the now-empty lot on 5th Street SE between K and L. With this vote, building permits would need to be filed by July 1, 2014, with construction needing to be underway by July 1, 2015, provided another extension isn't someday requested and granted.
The extension received votes of support from both ANC 6B and ANC 6D, and a letter from a steering committee of Capper public housing residents also expressed support. Commissioner Peter May, referencing the "contentious" discussions in the past regarding this project and his own unhappiness about seeing it delayed, said it was "reassuring to know that key members of the community are supportive," otherwise he would be "similiarly unhappy." But he did vote in favor of the extension, as did Chairman Anthony Hood and commissioners Marcie Cohen and Michael Turnbull. (The commission's fifth seat is currently empty, with vice chair Konrad Schlater's recent decampment for a new job in Chicago.)
Included the paperwork provided to the Zoning Commission is a letter from DC Housing Authority executive director Adrianne Todman detailing the various high-finance moves over the past few years that have helped the overall Capper redevelopment move forward but that haven't trickled down to fund the community center. The letter says that the Housing Authority anticipates a $55 million bond issuance within the next year that will pay off the previous $29 million Bond Anticipation Notes and provide enough proceeds to continue the infrastructure work around Capper "and to construct the community center, which we estimate will cost $7.6 million." These moves require legislation, so we'll be able to cast an eye toward the DC council this fall to see if things are progressing as anticipated.
Also in that letter is this tidbit: "Lastly, DCHA is working with and soliciting a potential anchor tenant that will operate the community center and also contribute funding for the construction of the community center." Very interesting....
If you want to know still more about the history of plans for a new community center on this site (the old one was demolished in 2007), I point you to this pile of posts.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center, zoning

ANC 6D Agenda: Parking Update, Capper PUD (and the Wharf)
Jun 8, 2012 10:10 AM
The agenda for the June 11 ANC 6D meeting has been sent out (and hopefully posted soon). The big-ticket item is a vote on the Stage 2 PUD for the Southwest Waterfront plans, which I doubt will be a lightning-quick discussion--when the agenda has it budgeted for 90 minutes, you know it's gonna be long.
But there are also two Near Southeast items of interest listed: an update on baseball game-day parking from DDOT (first discussed at the May meeting) and the Capper Community Center PUD extension request (also discussed in May).
I'm not yet up to sitting through a meeting of that length (though I'm coming along), so if these items are of interest, get thee to 1100 4th St. SW at 7 pm on Monday.
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, Community Center, meetings, parking, zoning

ANC 6D Recap 2: Canal Park, Community Center, CSX Letter
May 15, 2012 1:35 PM
Moving from the "P" portion of Monday's ANC 6D meeting (pylons and parking) to the "C"s:
* Canal Park: Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association gave an update on construction, the bottom line of which has not changed from what's been mentioned the past few months, that because of unexpected issues, the park's opening has been delayed until November. Unmapped utilities that required a redesign of the stormwater management system have been a big stumbling block, but Vanarsdale also mentioned the soil-related difficulties when building on the site of an old canal. Construction is now 60 percent complete, and the work on the pavilion is almost done. Here are the presentation slides, and you can also check out the official web site for more details (along with my project page). Oh, and they're thinking about offering Zamboni driving lessons!
* Community Center: The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for an extension for construction of the planned Capper Community Center, which already received one extension back in 2010 that 6D supported. DCHA has apparently requested that the Zoning Commission act within 30 days on the request, news of which the ANC received on Monday. So the commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter urging postponement of the zoning case so that the ANC can address the request and form a response with a vote at next month's meeting. Commissioners Litsky and McBee also both commented that the project shouldn't be getting another extension.
UPDATE: Here is the letter sent on behalf of DCHA to the Zoning Commission asking for the extension: it would be for two years, requiring building permits by July 1, 2014 and construction underway by July 1, 2015.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel: The commissioners voted 6-0-1 to send this letter to the appropriate parties laying out the ANC's opinion on the plans to reconfigure the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. After listing the various ways that the proposed construction "would put people, homes, businesses, and fragile historic resources at risk," the letter states: "[W]e strongly believe that the best options for our community are for CSX to either leave the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in its current state (Concept 1) -- with the suggestion that if this option were chosen that the tunnel would be fully maintained for the safety of both the trains below and the communities above, or to reroute additional train traffic outside the District of Columbia [...] instead of in an expanded Virginia Avenue Tunnel." But, if the construction does occur, "it is absolutely imperative that the health and safety of our many residents, the economic and physical well-being of our businesses, parks, religious institutions, homes, and historic buildings, and the north-south access for all existing modes of transportation be preserved and enhanced." A number of Capitol Quarter residents in attendance also spoke in support of the ANC's support. The next public meeting on the plans for the tunnel will be May 21 at 6:30 pm at Nats Park.
One more recap post to go, probably tomorrow.
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More posts: ANC News, Canal Park, Capper, Community Center, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings

Tidbits, Capper Edition: Trailers Leaving, New Curbs, More
Feb 22, 2012 8:05 PM
It's not often I have enough content for a location-specific tidbits post, but there's a few items of note from the Capper/Capitol Quarter neck of the woods worth passing along:
* Capitol Hill Day School has moved back into its digs at the Dent School north of the freeway after spending the fall and early part of 2012 in "modular classrooms" on the Capper Community Center site at 5th and K, SE.
The trailers are scheduled to be hauled away sometime next week; I hear that the Housing Authority folks are looking into keeping the fence that CHDS put up and laying down some additional sod in order to create a small playing field for kids.
There's still no word on when the community center itself may get built, though DCHA is (still) working on getting the financing.
* If you've seen new granite curbs and gutters going in along 3rd, K, and L in front of Cornercopia and the "legacy" houses around which Capitol Quarter has been built, those are being installed by the Housing Authority as a small community benefit for those homeowners who have been surrounded by a whole lot of construction over the past few years. New brick sidewalks will be coming as well; new street lights are also a possibility, though that's not confirmed.
* Foundations are being poured for the townhouses along 3rd Street south of L that are part of the last block of Capitol Quarter construction. Didn't see framing underway when I rode by on Saturday, but perhaps that's started since?
* There's also apparently some kerfuffling these days within the CQ homeowners association, sparked by working on the community's response to the plans for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel reconstruction (the project that continues to put a smile on everyone's faces!). I mention it here because I wouldn't want to be accused of sweeping such important news under the rug, but I'd really prefer that my comments section not become a place for the battle to be litigated.
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More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter, Community Center

Friday Tidbit Overload (Isn't August Supposed to Be Slow?)
Aug 5, 2011 2:30 PM
A slew of tidbits, some already tweeted, some not:
* The third Truckeroo food truck festival is now scheduled for next Friday, Aug. 12, from 11 am to 11 pm. They'll keep doing them monthly, through October.
* This isn't news for anyone who's seen the big holes punched in the sides, but work on the Boilermaker Shops retail space at the Yards is finally underway. It's expected to take about a year. This is where the new brewpub by the Churchkey folks will be, along with Buzz Bakery, Austin Grill Express, BRB, and Huey's 24-7 diner.
* Along with their announcement of a new Circulator route that will run from east of the river across the 11th Street Bridge and up 8th St. SE over to Potomac Avenue, DDOT has also announced that the Navy Yard Circulator route will no longer go into the Union Station garage. Instead, it will stop at a new location near the flagpoles in front of the building. There won't be any stop at Louisiana and D anymore, either. (See the DDOT presentation posted by DCist for the details, with the Navy Yard route stuff being on page 7.)
* The Capitol Hill Day School's blog is doing a good job keeping track not only of the renovation work at Dent School, but also on the progress on their temporary location at 5th and K, SE. The modular classrooms are arriving, plus there's now power!
* For people who don't stay glued to comment threads (for shame!), ANC commissioner David Garber recently posted with more details about the Georgetown University Health Disparities office moving into the retail space at Capitol Hill Tower: "I was reassured that this will not be a health clinic, and that it is better to think of it as the research center's "home base" on this side of the city. It will mostly be office space, and employees will spend most of their time outside the office at sites in Wards 6, 7, and 8, facilitating research on environmental health, obesity, and breast cancer research. I was told that no more than five clients would be visiting the office each day -- not as a medical clinic-- but that the space would likely also be used to hold meetings for the center's organizational and community-based task forces/committees."
* The Hill is Home gives an update on the 8th Street underpass, where a mural is about to be created to spiff up the space, and where the public parking lot is going to get new signage, lighting, and pricing to encourage Barracks Row visitors to use it.
* President Obama gave a big speech on jobs at the Navy Yard this morning, which will be notable mostly for how my Google News Alert for "washington navy yard" will take days to get back to normal.
There's probably more than this, but this has already cut into that mini-break I was trying to take....

Zoning Approvals Given for Temporary Capitol Hill Day School
May 17, 2011 4:25 PM
On Tuesday morning the Board of Zoning Adjustment voted to approve three exceptions and variances that will allow the Capitol Hill Day School to use the currently empty lot at 5th and K streets SE as a temporary location for its operations while its Dent School building at 2nd and South Carolina undergoes renovations.
This move, which has the support of ANC 6D and the Capitol Quarter Homeowners Association, would bring a "modular building" to the site this summer, with the school's expectation that it will return to the Dent building in early 2012.
There will be no on-site parking, but the school is leasing 29 parking spaces in the big parking lot one block to the east, on the site of the old Capper Seniors building (Nats lot "W"). And the Office of Planning report on the application says that DDOT has "agreed to prohibit parking between mid-June 2011 and the end of January 2012 on school days between 7 am and 6 pm on the east side of the block [...] in order to facilitate the drop off and pick up of students." (I'll note that this 7 am start time is one hour earlier than what was announced at the ANC 6D meeting where this plan was discussed.) CHDS representatives also told 6D at that meeting that they will be asking parents coming from north of the freeway to drive south on 4th, turn left on L, and then turn left on 5th to pull into one of their four drop-off spots, where students are then guided out of the cars. (Buses will pull in and out of these spots as well.) The spaces will be available for parking after 6 pm and on weekends and holidays.
There were few questions from the board; Commissioner May did ask whether this plan will negatively impact the long-delayed plans for the new community center to be built on the site. The current requirements placed on the community center project by the Zoning Commission as part of the Capper PUD are that the Housing Authority must apply for a building permit by July 1, 2012, and that construction must begin no later than June 30, 2013, dates which are far enough in the future to not be delayed by the Day School's occupation of the site.
The commission then voted to approve the requested relief; but, after a representative from the city's office of the attorney general raised some concerns, the hearing then devolved into a long technical and legal discussion of defining which conditions of a previous order were being addressed, which I totally admit to bailing out of. But in the end the project was still approved. You can watch the video of the hearing when it's posted if you want more information; and the Office of Planning report is also a very good resource for the zoning issues, plus there's a drawing on page 3 that shows how the temporary building will occupy the lot.
The Day School has a blog with information about the renovation project, and I imagine they'll pass along soon more details about when work will start at 5th and K.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center, meetings, zoning

ANC 6D Supports Temporary Capitol Hill Day School; Capper Update
Mar 15, 2011 10:25 AM
(There were a number of Near Southeast-related items on Monday night's ANC 6D agenda, so I'm going to break up the reports into a couple of posts. One or two more to come over the next day or so.)
Representatives of the Capitol Hill Day School came to 6D to ask for the commission's support on a zoning case that would allow the school to erect "modular classrooms" on the empty community center lot at 5th and K while their current location at 2nd and South Carolina undergoes renovation. As I wrote last week, the school would occupy the lot starting in June, with the intent of returning to the Dent School building in January 2012. There were a few additional details given last night:
* CHDS has secured 29 spaces in the big parking lot at 7th and L for faculty.
* They will be requesting from DDOT that six of the street parking spaces (half the block) on the east side of 5th in front of the lot be changed to No Parking from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays, to act as a drop-off zone for parents and buses. They will ask parents coming from north of the freeway to drive south on 4th, turn left on L, and then turn left on 5th to pull into one of their four drop-off spots, where kids are guided quickly out of the cars. (You can see this in operation at 2nd and South Carolina.) Their school buses would also operate in those spots during the day. But the spaces would be available for resident parking after 6 pm, before 8 am, and on weekends, with a "minimal" number of nighttime events beyond a Back to School night.
* Headmaster Jason Gray said that the school wants to be "as minimally disruptive as we can, be good community members, and leave the site better than we left it." They'll be landscaping the site (and fencing it), and will clear the lot and clean it up once they move out.
* In return for using this DC Housing Authority lot, CHDS has agreed to fund three scholarships for public housing children to attend the school, though details on how the students will be picked are still being worked out.
The commission voted 6-1 to support the zoning request, with only Commissioner Roger Moffatt voting against. The BZA will hear the case on May 17. If you want to know more about the CHDS renovation project, you can check out their wiki, and they are also keeping a blog on the construction project.
There was also a general update on the progress of the overall Capper redevelopment given by David Cortiella of DCHA. Some bullet points:
* Construction on the second phase of Capitol Quarter is actually a bit ahead of schedule; Cortiella said the first move-ins are scheduled for July/August, but I've heard from EYA that it may be more like May/June.
* DCHA is in the process of building a new lot for DPW so that it can move out of the New Jersey & K site; Cortiella expects this to happen by August, at which time site remediation and demolition can begin, working toward the building of I Street through to New Jersey Avenue (along with all manner of infrastructure work). This would take about 18 months.
* The financing for the mixed-income apartment project on Square 882 (just south of the Marine barracks) has apparently proven difficult to secure, and is still being worked on, with Cortiella saying he "expects" it by the end of the year.
* The community center's financing is dependent on whether a second bond can be floated to get the rest of the $55 million PILOT monies; the $29 million bond sold in 2010 is paying for infrastructure work around Canal Park and the DPW site, and by spring of next year it should be known whether this second bond will be happening.
* The entire project is still on track to eventually provide the 707 units of public housing that were on the site before redevelopment; about 337 have already been delivered.
(Plus, it wasn't mentioned at the meeting, but there's a lottery of up to 11 Capitol Quarter workforce housing units coming March 26.)

ANC 6D Agenda: Capper, Day School, Yards, 225 Virginia
Mar 11, 2011 12:37 PM
Very quick post to note that the agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now posted. The bevy of Near Southeast items include:
* An update on the Capper Hope VI redevelopment from the DC Housing Authority;
* The zoning case to allow Capitol Hill Day School to erect temporary structures on the Community Center lot starting in June while their school undergoes renovation;
* A Yards zoning amendment that would allow Forest City to "temporarily" (not more than 20 years) include office space in the second floor of the Lumber Storage Shed at the Yards Park, which would allow FC to move their offices there;
* And an update on "landscaping plans" at 200 I Street (still known in these parts at 225 Virginia Avenue).
There's also a lot of other items more of interest across the way in Southwest, although the items on "Safeway 'Customer Service' Procedures" and some others might be of note to Near Southeast residents as well.
Also, I might point out this item from the agenda, if you haven't noticed it before: "Community Concerns -- ANC6D residents may address the Commission for three (3) minutes, provided they have called the ANC office at 202-554-1795 at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting to supply the topic and request a time slot. (Statements must be submitted in writing for record purposes.) " The Community Concerns slot is now at the very end of meetings, however.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, at 600 M St., SW.

Capitol Hill Day School Looking at 5th and K for Temporary Space
Mar 4, 2011 6:55 AM
I don't have a lot of firm details yet, but: Apparently the Capitol Hill Day School folks, who have been searching for "swing space" to move to during renovations at their Dent School building at 2nd and South Carolina, are negotiating with the DC Housing Authority to set up modular classrooms on the vacant lot at 5th and K that was once and may some day again be the Capper Community Center.
If the deal comes to fruition, CHDS would occupy the lot for about six months, starting in June, with the plan of moving back to their renovated home in early January. What other facilities they might use in the neighborhood have not yet been firmed up, though it's possible they may negotiate the use of some space at Van Ness Elementary.
A Board of Zoning Adjustment case has been filed, though a hearing date has not yet appeared on the BZA calendar.
A final agreement is still pending, so more information will be available when that's done.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center

Documents and a Few Notes from Barracks Forum
Dec 2, 2010 1:09 PM
With the selection of a location for a new Marine Barracks more than a year away, there wasn't much big news coming out of Monday's public forum, at least not in terms of my focus, the area south of the freeway. (There were lots of discussions about the disposition of the Building 20, the barracks building at 8th and Virginia the Marines are trying to get out of--I'll be leaving the blogging about that part of the process to Norm Metzger, who has posted some thoughts from Monday's meeting.)
The handouts, displays, and presentation slides are now posted on the CIMP web site for your perusal. And it must be said that the feel of this meeting was more collegial and less antagonistic than some of the previous ones have been--getting Virginia Avenue Park out of the mix seems to have dialed down the temperature somewhat, though it's clear that both sides (the Marines and the community) are still cautious and not completely at ease in working with their counterparts.
At this point, there's much more focus on the process of it all rather than any specific outcomes--how the RFP will be written and what requirements it will have for developers, whether there will be a community representative on the selection committee (doubtful), and the like. Writing about process isn't really my cup of tea--I just want to know about what comes out at the other end! That said, If I had to come up with a few bullet points that were of interest or sounded new, here's what I'd highlight:
* The approach to finding a new site really has changed from when this started a year ago--originally, the Marines were only looking at public property (Virginia Avenue Park, Tyler Elementary, Square 882, the annex at 7th and Virginia, and inside the Navy Yard), but now there's the Square 929/930 option on the east side of 8th Street as well as the "Exxon" site at 11th and M. That changes how the process moves forward though, since there will now need to be special federal legislation to allow for a public-private venture. Doing this, though, means that any private lands that end up being used for the new barracks will stay on the DC tax rolls, since a developer will own the land and lease space to the Marines. It also pushes the timeline for the choice of a developer into 2012, with construction at least a year after the decision gets made. There will also have to be a NEPA process.
* The Marine Institute is "being BRAC'ed" out of the Navy Yard, and apparently will be moving to Building 20, taking up 25 percent of the new building (the maximum amount the Marines can occupy and have the building not need the security-required deep setbacks from the street). David Perry of Barracks Row Main Street called this news "a good thing." There will be lots of ensuing discussion about how the remaining 75 percent of that building/site should be structured. (North of the freeway! Outside of my boundaries!)
* It's been determined through the antiterrorism/force protection guidance that there can be underground parking at a new barracks, but that the parking control gate would need to be 82 feet away from the barracks.
* The US Department of Transportation expressed its interest in sharing a child care facility with the new barracks, since USDOT moved 6,000 employees to Near Southeast in 2007 without any sort of day care offerings.
* The DC Housing Authority seems open ("let's have a dialogue," David Cortiella said) to talking about the community center site at 5th and K, which the Marines would probably want to gobble up if they decided to build the new barracks on the annex site. A community center would then be part of any shared-use facilities built. But DCHA has some timing issues that would need to be ironed out, the biggest being that they are required by the Zoning Commission to file building permits no later than July of next year.
* Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID talked about how the BID wants to see the RFP laid out, including urban design guidelines that would need to be adhered to: no blank walls, first-floor retail uses, no major surface parking, no loss of parks, no street closures (though he acknowledged that one might be tough), and preservation of existing historic buildings; using these guidelines on the 8th and 11th Street sites would be a big boon to the efforts to revitalize lower 8th Street (which David Perry of BRMS also talked about). He also mentioned making sure no land goes off the tax rolls as an important issue.
* The Barracks' commanding officer, Col. Paul D. Montanes, put particular emphasis on his desire to integrate the barracks with the community, specifically mentioning the Navy Yard's brick wall as something he wants to avoid. He called this process a chance to build something special, not "an eyesore or a prison," and said that he considers the Marines at the barracks to be "ambassadors," and he wants them to be part of the community.
There was a lot more (maybe I should scan my illegible notes and post them!), but those were the big items; you can look through the materials if you want to know more. (Never use me as a stand-in if this is a topic you're really interested in--go to the forums!) At the end of the meeting they handed out a draft Community Development Objectives document, which will be the topic of discussion at the next forum, on Dec. 7 at Eastern Market's North Hall from 7 to 9 pm (preceded by another open house from 5 to 7 pm). If you want to submit your comments to the Marines about any aspect of the process, you can do so online. (If you're just checking in, here's my previous posts on the search so far.)
UPDATE: City Paper was there, too, and has a more general summary, for people who maybe haven't been following along.
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More posts: Barracks, Community Center, 8th Street, meetings

Parents Group Trying to Get Van Ness School Reopened
Sep 12, 2010 4:21 PM
A group of neighborhood residents organizing as "Parents on the Capitol Riverfront" have come together over the past few months to lobby the DC public school system and city officials to consider reopening Van Ness Elementary School, which was caught up in the DCPS downsizing at the end of the 2006 school year, after most of its student body moved away with the closing of Capper/Carrollsburg. Elementary school-aged children who live in Near Southeast are now in the boundaries for Amidon-Bowen Elementary School across South Capitol Street in Southwest, which is a bit of a hike from locations like Capitol Quarter.
In a recent e-mail to me, representatives of the group explained their motivation: "A quality school is not only good for the kids, it's a necessary amenity for retaining existing and attracting new residents to our neighborhood. We love our neighborhood and are dedicated to living in DC, but that dedication rests upon the opportunities available for our kids. The amazing Canal Park planned for the neighborhood is great and will be well-used by kids and adults alike, but it takes a school to keep the community of families here."
Over the past few months, the group has met twice in small targeted meetings with Michelle Rhee, as well as with Tommy Wells, and are working to get another meeting scheduled with Rhee that could include all neighborhood parents. There is also apparently a survey from DCPS being distributed by e-mail regarding Van Ness and the number of children in the area, and the parents' group is wanting to be sure that the survey gets to everyone with kids.
DCPS has told them that, in order for a viable elementary to be opened (grades Pre-K3 though 5), it needs to have 250 students. The group says that they've been told that "it might be possible to phase in the school, starting with Pre-K3, Pre-K4 and Kindergarten for the first couple of years and then slowly expanding up through 5th grade," so they are trying to determine exactly how many school-aged children are in the neighborhood, along with possible projections of how many more might arrive over the next five years. They are also looking at whether a large number of parents currently on the waitlist for Brent Elementary might be willing to send their children to Van Ness out-of-boundary, to help increase the number of potential students.
The parents' group now has a Google Group set up, where any interested neighborhood parents can request membership.
The school's location at 5th and M, SE, is one that has been being eyed for a while by various interested parties, and there have been talks in the past about perhaps selling the land with a requirement that the purchaser build a new school close by. Another discussed option has been co-locating a new school building with the long-delayed Capper Community Center. And the Marines have also been looking at the school's land, either as part of their space needs for the new barracks or as a place where other landowners (like the Housing Authority) could relocate planned uses if the Marines were to take their land for the barracks.
The original Van Ness Elementary School, on M Street between 3rd and 4th, opened in 1909, and was for much of its life a segregated school for black children. (You can see it at far right in this photo from 1939.) It was replaced during Integration by the current building at 5th and M in September of 1956, although the old school building at 4th and M (eventually known as the Lenox Annex) remained on the city's property rolls under varying uses. In the 1970s it was a special education school, then an adult education center in the 1990s, but finally the building was demolished in the late 1990s for what has since become the 300 M Street SE office building.
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More posts: Capper, Community Center, Van Ness Elementary

Norton Objects to Proposed Sites for New Barracks
Sep 2, 2010 12:52 PM
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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More posts: Barracks, Capper, Community Center

Zoning Commission Allows Community Center Delay
Jul 13, 2010 3:11 PM
At Monday night's Zoning Commission meeting, the commissioners voted 3-0 after a brief discussion to approve a request by the DC Housing Authority and the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopers to extend (again) the approved timeline for the long-planned Community Center at Fifth and K. The commissioners saw letters of support from both ANC 6B and 6D (you can see 6D's letter here), and seemed appeased by the notion that the $7-plus million required to build the center is figured into the $25 million that DCHA plans to eventually receive from a second bond offering (after the $29 million one late last year that's paying for infrastructure improvements), once the market improves.
In return for 6D's support for the time extension, the Housing Authority agreed to a number of conditions, mainly having to do with status reports and project updates, but also agreed (according to the letter) to "work with the ANC, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Marine Corps to implement the agreement governing use of the Marine Corps' playing fields for the community." This is apparently a reaction to attempts to gain wider public access than is currently given to the fields at 7th and Virginia barracks as was originally agreed to when DCHA transferred that land to the Marines back in 1999.
The new time extension for the community center calls for building permit applications to be filed by July 1, 2012, with construction having to begin within 12 months of that date.
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, Community Center, meetings, zoning

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.

Capper Hope VI Task Force Meeting; Harry's ABRA Hearing Date; Car Thief Captured
Jun 28, 2010 10:32 AM
A few bullets for a warm Monday:
* DCHA is holding a Capper/Carrollsburg Hope VI task force meeting on Tuesday at 6 pm at 400 M Street SE. The agenda includes an overall status report, an update on the (stalled) community center, outreach efforts to former residents, and a presentation on the community benefits fund. "Hope VI" refers to the $34.9 million HUD grant awarded to DC in 2001 to replace the 700 Capper/Carrollsburg units with an equal number of new public housing units as well as another 800-plus market- and workforce-rate units, which has so far begat Capper Seniors #1, 400 M, and Capitol Quarter, along with plans for another five apartment buildings and two office buildings still in the pipeline.
* The Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration has officially posted the application by Harry's of SE & SW to open a liquor store at New Jersey and I in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey. The hearing date is set for August 23, with any protests or other "petitions" needing to be filed by August 9 (happy birthday to me!). More about Harry's plans here.
* Via Norm Metzger, this from Saturday's PSA 105 meeting: "A suspected car thief was arrested near 3rd and K Street SE. Vigilant neighbors reported suspicious activity and were able to stop a crime in progress."

Comparison of Potential New Barracks Site
Jun 21, 2010 3:27 PM
Via ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger, the Marines have sent out a one-page Comparison of Key Components chart, looking at the four possible sites for a new Marine barracks that appear to still be in the running (Square 882 is not on the chart, so this letter must have worked). There's not necessarily anything new in this table, but if you haven't slogged through the documents on the project's web site, it's a nice quick overview of the pros and cons (from the Marines' standpoint) of each location.
It does look like maybe they're looking at using their current Annex site at Seventh and L a little more intensely than it seemed in their early public workshops, with the possibility of expanding its footprint westward to Fifth Street, which would mean taking over the site where a new community center is to be built, and demolishing the parking garage built just east of Fifth in 2004. (But a new community center could be built as part of the "shared uses" scenario that the Marines are looking to enter into as part of their new plans to "create a win-win solution" for both the community and the USMC.) The baseball and soccer fields currently on the site would most likely be taken over in this scenario.
The Square 929/930 and 11th Street Exxon sites both would mean that the Virginia Avenue PARK AND Garden would have to be relocated, and though the document says that "replacement sites to be provided with goal of no net loss," the PARK AND garden's fans are fighting hard to not lose their current location.
The option of relocating the barracks to a site within the walls of the Navy Yard is also still on the table, though with the Navy talking about its own needs for an additional 700,000 square feet, it would seem difficult to reconcile the two expansion plans within the finite space of the WNY.
There probably won't be much news on the Barracks front until the "charrette" in September (details TBA), unless the Development Fairy makes a surprise appearance before then and finds a location that pleases all sides. For more background on the search up to now, read my previous entries.
(UPDATED to prevent hordes of Virginia Avenue Park fans from burning me in effigy for mistakenly referring only to the garden and not the entire park.)
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