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9 Blog Posts Since 2003

UPDATE: Here are a few photos from the ceremony, along with a closer peek at the construction underway.
(Original entry) Just got back from the ceremony at Diamond Teague Park; while I'm working on the photos, here's the press release about the event, which I'll note contain the same April-for-the-piers, July-for-the-park timeline I've been mentioning (and yes, I'm being lazy and just reproducing the press release--rough morning!):
"Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on Friday joined community leaders in a groundbreaking ceremony for Diamond Teague Park, an $8 million waterfront park that will link Nationals Park to the Anacostia River.
"'Diamond Teague committed his life to restoring, protecting and preserving the Anacostia River,' Mayor Fenty said. 'This park will be a fitting tribute to his legacy and it will mark our commitment as a city to carry on his work.'
"The park is named after 19-year old Diamond Teague, a member of the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC) who was murdered in 2003. The ECC members -- many live in communities along the river's banks -- work to improve the river's health and protect the plant and animal species that call the Anacostia home.
"[...]It will connect the ballpark to a pair of public piers and a 20-mile network of waterfront trails. A 250-foot pier will be built to host commercial vessels such as water taxis and charter boats. The pier will also include slips for the ECC and the District's fire and life safety vessels.
"The park will feature a separate 200-foot environmental pier for educational groups, kayaks and canoes. The piers are expected to be complete by baseball's Opening Day, April 13, 2009.
"Construction and planting work on the upland portion of the park will be completed by July. Muralist Byron Peck and City Arts are also working to complete a memorial dedicated to Diamond Teague that will be unveiled later this summer.
"The cost of the $8 million park is being covered through dedicated revenue streams tied to a number of adjacent economic development projects that surround the park including Florida Rock's one million square foot mixed-used project directly to the West of the park and JBG's U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters building to the East."
 

So far I haven't heard of any events in Near Southeast for Monday's Day of Service that is part of the inauguration schedule, but I have received word that the Earth Conservation Corps (who occupy the pumphouse where Diamond Teague Park is soon to be) is participating in "Renewing the Anacostia Together," which is "a tree-planting and community service project in celebration of the Presidential Inauguration Day of Service." This event at Anacostia Park has been put together by Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, along with other members of the Maryland congressional delegation and DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. Alas, I see from the info page that it's already reached the maximum number of RSVPs (350!).
 

A few items to catch up with from my lazy past few weeks:
* The Examiner looks (again) at the city still paying $500,000 a month in rent for 225 Virginia Avenue (aka the old Post Plant) even though there are no plans to use it, which apparently continues to drive Phil Mendelson nuts. The city requested expressions of interest from developers to take over the lease in the fall, but has yet to announce any deal. The Examiner piece frames the continued payments for an empty building against the District's budget shortfalls: "The last thing Fenty should do, Mendelson said, is 'dump the building below cost' just to escape the lease. 'It makes sense to me to use it,' he said." If you want the entire sordid past of the city's relationship with this building, browse through my 225 Virginia news items.
* Also from the Examiner, a story last week on how the murder of Diamond Teague remains unsolved: "Diamond Teague was 19 years old and going from the rough streets of D.C. on to college when he was gunned down on his Southeast Washington front stoop, and police are still looking for his killer. Teague had earned a scholarship to the University of the District of Columbia by helping with projects for the Earth Conservation Corps, a nonprofit organization for disadvantaged youth. Teague was the drummer at Galilee Baptist Church and an avid basketball player, and friends and family said he had managed to avoid the street life and violence that had marred his neighborhood." The park named in his honor is expected to open this spring.
 

Today's Post has a profile of the Earth Conservation Corps, noting how the environmental awareness group "aims to have events in the children's play zone at Nationals Park as soon as this week. The ballpark plans include having young corps members interacting with an owl and a hawk, and having members facilitate educational games and activities. The group will also encourage fans to walk to its facility in the Old Capitol Pumphouse, steps from the ballpark, at Diamond Teague Park, after games." The ECC is also the recipient of a three-year grant totaling $120,000 from the Nationals Dream Foundation. The article says that the city is still planning to build the new docks at the pumphouse this summer or fall, to enable water taxi service to begin there by the opening of the 2009 baseball season. You can see my ECC/Diamond Teague Park page for photos and renderings of the plans for the park.
 

During my poking around on the DC Office of Cable Television web site recently, I discovered that many of the groundbreakings and other events in Near Southeast this year that have been broadcast on the city's cable channel 16 are also available On Demand; the same goes for council hearings, available on Channel 13's On Demand page. (I kinda sorta knew that the On Demand stuff was there, but when I checked it many moons ago, it didn't seem quite so complete, so I hadn't looked back in on it for a while.)
So if you've missed any of the following four-star telecasts from 2007, you can watch them at your leisure:
* The July bill-signing ceremony at the Earth Conservations Corps pumphouse where the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation were officially abolished;
* JPI's June "groundbreaking" for its four projects along I Street ("Capitol Yards");
* The January groundbreaking marking the start of the Navy Yard Metro renovation and Monument's Half Street project;
* And pretty much any ceremony anywhere in the city the mayor was at since the beginning of the year, plus a lot of other presentations and events. (Be sure not to miss the Reporters' Roundtable "Snitching Debate.") Check the dropdown boxes on the On Demand page for the offerings. I've added the above links to all of the various project pages in case you're desperate to find them again someday.
Two of the most recent shindigs haven't gotten added to the lineup yet--the Oct. 22 kickoff ceremony for the Capitol Riverfront BID (in which you can find out where the "Traveling Roadshow" moniker originated), and the mayor's remarks at the Nov. 13 turf unveiling at the ballpark. Ditto with the Waterside Mall Demolition program, which is currently playing on Channel 16 but hasn't yet made it to On Demand. But perhaps they'll show up eventually.
 

This morning the DC Council Committee on Economic Development is having a public oversight hearing on "Projects Managed by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development" (it's being broadcast live on DC Cable 13 and live webcast, if you're interested). The hearing is still ongoing, and is addressing many projects around the city, but there were two Near Southeast-related items in Deputy Mayor Neil Albert's opening statement that I thought were worth passing along now.
First, it's been decided to not continue to use the old Anacostia Waterfront Corporation space at 1100 New Jersey Avenue after all, and so the expanded Deputy Mayor's office will be split between the Wilson Building and the old National Capital Revitalization Corporation office space at 2020 M Street, NW, and the office moves should happen this week.
Second, Deputy Mayor Albert mentioned Canal Park, saying that "coordination of the site survey, and various site management plans including erosion and stormwater management are scheduled to begin in the next month." He also said that his office is in discussions with the Office of Property Management to relocate the school buses currently occupying two of the park's three blocks to other sites in the city, and that he "expects to have a solution soon." Canal Park is one of the items specifically on the agenda for an Oct. 1 oversight hearing, so hopefully there will be more concrete news then.
If there's additional news from today's hearing, I'll update this entry.
UPDATE: Nothing earthshattering from the rest of the hearing (which, admittedly, I've been listening to with one ear, since the vast majority of it has been on topics outside of Near Southeast). In answering council member Wells's concerns about who will be in charge of the upkeep of the new parks being planned, Deputy Mayor Albert mentioned possible public-private partnerships with the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District for Canal Park and the Earth Conservation Corps for Diamond Teague Park, though he stressed that neither of these have been officially decided on. Wells also asked about whether there's thoughts of creating a Water Authority to help streamline decisions that will have to be made that effect the rivers (such as water taxis, ferry piers, possible new boathouses, etc.); Deputy Mayor Albert said that they've hired a consultant to help them decide how to handle these issues. And, one last tidbit--Albert mentioned that there will be a groundbreaking at The Yards in mid-October.
(If you're interested in Poplar Point or the Southwest Waterfront or the West End library deal, you might want watch for a replay of the hearing broadcast, because those subjects were much discussed. Marion Barry made clear he was not pleased with how the city has handled Poplar Point, and said that he and the Ward 8 community "will oppose any Poplar Point proposal that doesn't include a stadium.")
UPDATE II: Here's a Washington Business Journal blurb on today's hearing, focusing on the savings to the city from the consolidation of the AWC and NCRC functions in the Deputy Mayor's office.
 

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

Here today, I am righting a wrong that has left me filled with guilt for years--I'm finally adding a page on my site about the Earth Conservation Corps's Old Capitol Pumphouse location, tucked away between Florida Rock and WASA on the edge of the Anacostia River. See the ECC's own web site for more information about what this group does for local youngsters and also for the river. (They certainly will have a front-row seat to the stadium!) And while I was out, I snapped a couple of shots to add to the WASA page as well as the Capper Seniors page, with construction on both #1 and #2 proceeding along. I also updated the Capper Seniors #1 slideshow. Just because.
UPDATE: I got on a slideshow roll this afternoon, and updated and enlarged the three existing ones (DOT, Capper Seniors #1, and Capitol Hill Tower), and then added two more Capitol Hill Tower slide shows, including one of the project's southeast corner, so you can watch the Star Market go from stand-alone to oppressed neighbor. So go play with them.