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Thursday, March 01, 2007

NPS's Carter G. Woodson Site Update

I attended last night's meeting about the National Park Service's plans for the Carter G. Woodson project. I am very grateful that Shaw Main Streets and the National Park Service held this forum to update the community on the status of the project. Here are some of the takeaways from the meeting:

+ The NPS could not provide a firm date for when construction would commence or when they expect the site to be open to the public. That said, they think that there is a lot of motivation within the NPS to have it online by the NPS's centennial celebration in 2016 (as in NINE YEARS from now!), if not sooner. We all hope sooner. Much, much sooner.

+ Nothing atypically slow characterizes the progression of this site. A lot has to be done before the first hammer can be swung. Indeed, the NPS repeatedly characterized the Woodson project as moving along briskly. Several studies must be completed (e.g., a Historic Status Report, followed by a Historic Resources Report) before we even start to think about the plans for the space and the buildings.

+ The NPS still has an eye on obtaining the corner building, 1544 9th Street (pictured at far right above), which is currently under renovation (reportedly to become all residences). Acquisition of this building (which they describe as an "at grade" building) would make it easier to make the other buildings ADA accessible (and I posit that this corner building's visibility from Rhode Island Avenue also desirable for the NPS). The NPS will move forward with the planning process regardless of whether or not they can purchase this building. Apparently the owner is asking the NPS for 3 times the building's market value. It seems that archictecural plans are still a ways off, so this isn't really affecting anything now.

+ The ASALH is not expected to move into the completed buildings, so their construction of a new headquarters is basically irrelevant to the project.

+ We are unlikely to see any temporary facade improvements prior to construction. The question was inadvertently posed specific to the Woodson home itself (for which there are concerns that any such improvements might hinder the study and preservation of the building); I wonder if the adjoining building, which has boarded up windows on the second floor, could get some sprucing up.

+ The NPS did a significant amount of cleaning and "battening up the hatches" types of work to the buildings when they first obtained them. Notably, the Woodson Home (and perhaps the others) received a new roof, and dumpsters were filled with trash left by vagrants in the long-vacant structures.

+ If you EVER see vagrants or any other criminal activity in or around the buildings, call the NPS police at 202.619.7300 to report it.


si said...

NINE years.
thats hysterical.

Anonymous said...


volvolution1 said...

"...the NPS repeatedly characterized the Woodson project as moving along briskly..". What a joke. Perhaps they should spend less time pulling over people on Rock Creek/George Washington Parkway and more time swinging hammers?

Ray said...

Your site and the 9-year wait for the Woodson house were apparently mentioned in the communter Post rag this morning. Mazel tov.

Shaw Rez said...

Thanks for pointing me to it, Ray. I just checked it out through the online print version. Very cool!

And thanks, volvolution1, for your comment which garnered a print edition shoutout!

Martin said...

View the meeting for yourselves here.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Carter should stop being so greedy. It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.

Rome wasn't built in a day folks. If they rushed through and did a sloppy job, the value of it wouldn't stand the test of time and would be a great waste. The community has valid concerns, but the time has passed for fruitless needling and snark and for residents to encourage City Officials and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton's office to make sure the NPS has every resource it needs to streamline the process. Ms Hazelwood, for the most part, seems to have dealt with all the questions handily and intelligently.

The added resource of the Park Service Police should also help us address crime around the property.

Thanks to Commissioner Chapple for making both sides of the story available for the community.

- Ingrid

Shaw Rez said...

Ingrid - thanks for your comment. I didn't think my post was particularly one-sided, but I am, as always, thrilled about Commissioner Chappel's posting of video of the meeting. I totally agree that these things take time and cannot be rushed. Nine years seems pretty excessive, but if that's what it takes, that's what it takes. And I totally agree wth you that we need to do all we can to make sure the NPS has the recources they need to see this to fruition.

Mr. Ray said...

Nine years. It took 2.5 years for the Chinese to build a rail line up to Lhasa, Tibet, and another 2 years to Kathmandu. Israel, Palestinians, and Jordanians will build an siphon and desalization plant to revive the Dead Sea in two years. Nats Stadium took two years. You are being fed a line of crap, folks. Glad no one told me about the meeting.