January 27, 2006

Georgetown Gem Is Not a Mirage

A sign at the park site and its website annuonce a groundbreaking in 2005 for the Georgetown Waterfront Park, which will be "the final jewel in Washington, DC’s riverfront necklace of green." Only problem is that there was no groundbreaking last year and no physical signs of work this year either. Today, the park looks much like the parking lot pictured below in fact it is the parking lot below.

But requests for construction bids will go out in March, said a spokesman for the National Park Service. The intention is to begin the 18 months of construction during the spring. If all goes according to plan, work on the majority of the park will be complete by fall 2007.

"This magnificent green space will curve along 10 acres of waterfront extending from the Washington Harbour complex to Key Bridge, creating the vital last link in a contiguous park extending from the mouth of the Anacostia River to the District of Columbia Line," explains the park's website.

Key features include: a new promenade, "gracious lawns," bike lanes and "lighting that offers a sense of security during evening visits." Thus far, backers of the park have raised $12M of the needed $15M for the project.

So the forthcoming request for proposal will only cover phase I, the area extending from 34th St. to Wisconsin Ave. Phase II, which includes a grand plaza and the redesign of the existing park next to Washington Harbor, won't happen until the needed funds have been raised. Donations to fund can be made through this website.

More incredible than the park itself is the notion that this prime real estate was used as a parking lot all these decades. The only thing that would have been worse would have been to build a highway. Oh wait, they did! Now if we can only get rid of the Whitehurst Freeway, but we digress.


Oddballs and characters are selling land in SE paving way for condos and other developments. ... DC becoming more economically polarized. ... City reaches deal to swap land at old convention center for land at 9th St. and Mass. Ave. (next to the new convention center) for a large, large hotel. DC council must bless the deal.

Pix by DC Rob and the NPS.


Anonymous said...

I know I'm in the minority with this opinion, but I actually think the Whitehurst gives that area a unique and cool urban vibe. Yes, I actually LIKE how the Whitehurst impacts that area of Georgetown... It's not gorgeous, but it gives character. I also can't imagine anything but gridlock or heavy traffic further preventing pedestrians from accessing the waterfront if it were torn down.

t.s. said...

Notwithstanding the wonderful views, waterfront land often gets used for low-rent activities like parking because it's rarely between anything and anything else. By definition, it's marginal space.

Just a thought.