I attended last week’s forum regarding the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site (“Woodson Site”) development and was pleased to learn of the behind-the-scenes progress that’s been made to bring us closer to seeing new life breathed into the Parks Service’s buildings in the 1500 block of Ninth Street.
Gayle Hazelwood, Superintendent of the National Capital Parks-East division of the National Parks Service (“Parks Service”), provided a briefing on the status of the development of the Woodson Site. She reported that in recent months, the Parks Service developed three alternative action concepts for the Woodson properties. The Parks Service will next develop a Draft General Management Plan, which will flesh out the three alternatives and include concept drawings for the same. After public comment on the Draft General Management Plan, the preferred alternative will be identified. Funding will be requested in spring/summer 2010. Superintendent Hazelwood expects that the Woodson Site will be operational by 2015. The Parks Service remains in negotiations to acquire the vacant corner property at Ninth and Q Streets, NW (1544 Ninth Street, NW). According to the online real property database, there is an outstanding tax balance of $58,252.19 for 1544 Ninth Street.
Pending development of the Woodson Site, the Parks Service will work with the community to better secure and beautify the properties. Namely, responsive to neighbor requests, the Parks Service will seal the areas under the front stoops are used by vagrants for storage of personal belongings, trash, alcohol, and other items. The Parks Service will also work with neighbors to install planters and to remove graffiti from the buildings. The Parks Service repeatedly encouraged citizens to call the Park Police at 202.619.7300 to report any suspicious or illegal activities at the properties.