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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Woodson Park Update (Sorta)

I just noticed two informative comments posted to Rob Goodspeed's report on the technicality holding up the improvements to the Carter G. Woodson Memorial Park. The comments were posted by the person formerly charged with administering the funding for it from the National Trust. The comments reiterate the need for the community to press city hall to allow this project--and other notable Shaw projects, also discussed below--to move forward:

Thank you for the great article. I was the person administrating the Washington Convention Center Historic Preservation Fund for the National Trust. I no longer work for the National Trust, but I have not lost interest in the project.

A couple of corrections:

1) The $2.5 million was for more than just the Woodson Park. It included public art at the Watha T. Daniel Library and in front of the Kennedy Rec Center, as well as streetscape design guidelines for the major commercial corridors.

2) The budget for each art site not only included a substantial artwork, but also included all of the site improvements and upgrades. Because the art sites are located on (technically) Federal Highways, the National Trust was able to leverage the Washington Convention Center’s $100,000 contribution to streetscape improvements into a $2.5 million initiative through the use of transportation enhancement funds (Federal and local).

3) The chosen art sites were based on a community-wide process that allowed the community to select and prioritize potential sites for streetscape improvements.

4) Now that the library project is back on track, the community needs to press DDOT and the city to return this site to the list. Craig Kraft, a local artist, was awarded this site. The DC Public Library approved his work. And I am pretty sure Mr. Kraft would be delighted to have his project revived.

5) The National Trust’s initial contract with DDOT was based on a competitive process during which DDOT asked for proposals that could utilize Federal Transportation $.

I encourage the community to press the city to resolve their outstanding contracting issues and honor its promises to the community. While I worked on this project in a professional capacity, I live in Shaw and it is a community that I believe in and have supported in numerous ways over the last 15 years.

You deserve these important streetscape improvements and it is part of the convention center’s mitigation of its impact on your historic neighborhoods. The money for these projects was budgeted for this fiscal year. So, it should be ready and waiting for you if you can succeed.

I wish everyone luck. One day I would like to be able to walk down Rhode Island Avenue and sit at Dr. Woodson’s feet and imagine him imparting his knowledge.
And here is comment number two from the same person:
One more thing I should add... Ray Kaskey was awarded the Carter G. Woodson site. For anyone who has not seen it, he has designed a monumental statue of Woodson (something that the neighborhood could really be proud of). And City Arts, a local non-profit, was awarded the Kennedy Rec Center site, an art project that would involve local youth.

So, all of the artists are ready to go for each selected site. If only the city can find a way to honor its commitment to pay for the art and the site improvements...


IMGoph said...

this looks like something the ANC should be made aware of, as well as our councilmember.

then, we'll all just have to bug them incessantly about getting things done!

Alexander M. Padro said...

I've been working on resolving the contracting dispute for at least a year, as has Councilmember Evans. I'm glad to say that DDOT is finally making some headway, and we should have an announcement of a resolution soon.

--Alexander M. Padro
Commissioner, ANC 2C01