February 7, 2006

SENSIBLE. RATIONAL. NOT FOR US. Cheers to the Washington Post for calling attention to the idea of allowing developers to rebuild schools, public libraries etc. in exchange for the right to build condos on leftover land. It's a win-win and seems so simple and rational, but we live in Washington DC, not Stockholm. Rationality and simplicity often lose out here. Fresh thinking and new blood sometimes are as welcome as a drug-taking Mayor. Nevermind, you know what we mean.

Years after the Oyster School was built in Woodley Park in exchange for the right to build the Henry Adams House condos next door, few remember the screaming and carrying on (Think of a three-year old going to the doctor to get a shot). The debate lasted for years. Now the school is popular, safe and well-constructed, and DC has a boatload of new taxpayers living in the condos. But the project was a nasty fight every step of the way.

The expansive Marie Cook Learning Center at 2200 18th St. NW in Adams Morgan is another possibility for redevelopment. The school uses an out-dated open classroom model and needs plenty of work and, anyone who has walked along 18th St. knows the plaza near the tennis courts is underutilized. To get a sense of how intense, the fight over the school would be see look at this issue of the Kalorama Citizen Assn. newsletter.

In the West End, a similar fight is expected over the library and related police facility at 24th and M Sts. An unsolicited proposal for the development was submitted by the development-firm of Orr Partners of Northern Virgina.

Other sites pointed out by developers and city officials: Shaw Junior High at 925 Rhode Island Ave NW, Watha T Daniel Library at 1701 8th Street NW, the air rights over I-395 in NOMA, Hine Junior High at 335 8th St SE on Capitol Hill, just to name a few. DC Council Chair Linda Cropp in a bill exploring these partnerships would like city planners to evaluate which sites might work best.

Given the opposition to these sensible partnerships, DC Bubble will dangerously, foolishly compare some DC residents to the Palestians, who are often their own worst enemies. Sound like "some people" you know?

1 comment:

mark said...

The problem with some of these plans -- Watkins, Tyler, and Payne in SE, most obviously -- is the elimination of scarce athletic fields. A badly dimensioned "play area" is not a substitute for a field suitable for football/baseball/soccer. Community sports organizations (such as Sports on the Hill) have a hard enough time today finding fields for kids to practice and play on.