Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - Dec 17, 2008
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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.)



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