March 16, 2006


Linda Cropp's proposal to allow schools to partner with developers to renovate their facilities is an idea that has received a "lukewarm response," reported the DC Examiner. The idea is to allow developers to rebuid 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. Right? Not so fast.

The problem, some critics and council members said, is that the city doesn’t even know what properties it owns. DC Office of Property Management Director Carol Mitten said the first recent inventory of DC-owned properties is expected to be released later this month.

Mitten said DC needs to ensure the partnerships approved are equitable across the city — and "not just in prime spots coveted by developers," said the WE. Does this mean a deal in Tenelytown could be struck down because there is no corresponding deal in Anacostia? Not fair.

Sure let's make sure developers pay their fair share, but not forget the purpose is to improve our inadequate facilities in a low-cost manner. Strike good deals, but don't say no outright because the deals will benefit rich developers. This is not about preventing the rich from getting richer. This should be about improving schools.

A great example of such a partnership is the deal between the School Without Walls and the George Washington University in Foggy Bottom. Under the deal, GWU will build a dorm at 2130 G St. NW on a parking lot and renovate and expand the School Without Walls.

pix by commonroman

No comments: