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Near Southeast DC Past News Items: Dec 20, 2007
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2 Blog Posts

This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post is my summary of ANC 6D's deliberations on the ballpark liquor license. It also references a meeting held last night between community leaders and city and team representatives (though my deadline was before the meeting, so the column couldn't actually include anything *from* the meeting).
The meeting included updates on the road improvements in the area and the Navy Yard Metro station upgrades, both of which are still on track to be basically done by opening day (the Metro station might "still need another coat of paint", it was said, but will be "serviceable").
The Nationals are still working out their parking plans, not only in terms of the lots near the ballpark but also the satellite parking at RFK, and all the additional planning that goes with it (traffic flow, signage, shuttle buses, drop off/pick up locations, etc.). It appears as of now that there might not be season-ticket-holder lots in Southwest at all, not even at Buzzards Point. There was also mention that stadium-goers will not be funneled through the South Capitol Street exit of the freeway--the team is going to try very hard to move fans through all the other close-by freeway exits, but not South Capitol Street.
Circulator buses will not be part of the transit plans for the first season. But they're planning plenty of bike racks around the ballpark perimeter, and are also still working on a bicycle "valet" parking service.
Also, there's tentative plans for two stadium job fairs, possibly on Feb. 2 and Feb. 26 (details still being worked out).
And, everybody knows that the first few games will be "a challenge."
The general tone of the meeting was more cooperative and collegial than some of these meetings have been in the past (maybe because Tommy Wells was there for the first part and everyone wanted to be on their best behavior). There's plans for more meetings and workshops between these "stakeholders" (I really hate that word) to try to hammer out the best plans for traffic, pedestrian flow, and "curbside management" (aka on-street parking) before it's all then unveiled to the community at public meetings. There was also agreement that the group should get together after the first homestand in April to talk about what works/what doesn't.
UPDATE: Speaking of public meetings, here is the official announcement about the Jan. 11 city council Committee on Economic Development oversight hearing on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium." It contains information on how to testify at the hearing, if you're so inclined.
 

Today it's Marc Fisher's turn to write about Gelberg Signs, the signmakers at Nationals Park; he talks mostly about their work in hiring disadvantaged DC residents, especially from the Artisans training program at Covenant House, a charity in Northeast that works with homeless young people. "Opponents of public investment in the baseball stadium scoffed at the idea that it would produce anything except the most menial jobs. But in addition to hundreds of construction jobs, the stadium is creating real, lasting positions in careers that, as Luc Brami says, 'can really support a family.' Jobs at Gelberg pay $10 to $30 an hour, with full benefits."
Plus, buried at the end is this item that will perk up everyone's taste buds: "Another bit of welcome news: They're making a sign to go above a Ben's Chili Bowl stand. The legendary U Street eatery will have an outpost at the ballpark."
UPDATE II: DCist does a bit of calling around and determines that Ben's Chili Bowl at the ballpark is not quite a done deal: ""We are in a good faith conversation with them, but it would be premature to say it's definitely happening. There is no signed contract yet."
And all the stories about Gelberg signs in the past few days make a bit more sense now that I see that there was an unveiling of the ballpark's exterior signage today at Gelberg's offices in Northwest. (Here's a link to the PR NewsWire piece, but the site hasn't been responding for the past few hours.)
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