AWC to Showcase Parkside Bridge Design Proposals

Posted March 6, 2007 at 4:13pm

Northern Ward 7’s Parkside neighborhood is an isolated square of homes, abandoned lots and one elementary school. But the Anacostia Waterfront Corp. hopes to make it a gateway to Ward 7 and the parkland that surrounds it.

That vision will come one step closer to fruition Thursday, when the six finalists for the AWC’s Parkside Bridge Competition show off their design proposals for the pedestrian bridge that crosses over busy Kenilworth Avenue Northeast and links to the Minnesota Avenue Metro station. The finalists were asked to use landscape design, innovative engineering and public art in their creations.

The reception is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Neval Thomas Elementary School, located at 650 Anacostia Ave. NE. A jury panel is expected to choose one design and make its recommendation to the District Department of Transportation by the end of the month.

The AWC, which oversees development along the Anacostia River, plans to spur the development of 2,000 new housing units and 500,000 square feet of commercial and retail space in the Parkside area. Currently, the neighborhood has only a gas station within walking distance.

The AWC has moved forward on a flurry of projects and ideas recently in the wake of a D.C. City Council bill that would eliminate the quasi-government agency and fold its duties into the office of Mayor Adrian Fenty (D). Today, the Council’s Committee on Economic Development will hold a hearing on the progress of the AWC and other agencies, including the Sports and Entertainment Commission, which oversees the development of the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium. The hearing will start at 10 a.m. in the Council Chambers at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

D.C. Officials to Discuss Education Reform Ideas

The Ward 6 Democrats are holding a community forum tonight on the proposed education reforms to D.C. public schools. A discussion panel will include Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells, School Board Member Lisa Raymond and the Deputy Mayor for Education’s chief of staff, Eric Lerum.

Control of the public school system would be placed under the office of Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) if the mayor’s proposal is accepted by the D.C. City Council. The proposed takeover has caused much controversy since Fenty took office, with some claiming it will cut bureaucracy and help improve a failing system and others skeptical of such a big change.

The forum will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. tonight at Hine Junior High School, located at 335 Eighth St. SE. After the panel discussion, the audience will be able to ask questions.

D.C. OPM Seeks Pieces of Old Naval Hospital Fence

Pieces of the Old Naval Hospital’s historic cast-iron fence have gone missing during the years of the building’s disrepair, and now officials are hoping residents will return them.

The D.C. Office of Property Management is asking for the pieces back so the elaborate 1864 fence can be restored. But don’t worry: They don’t blame the neighbors for their foraging.

“Over the years, people — as people do — have taken them to preserve them. It was clear that the hospital grounds and the hospital themselves were not taken care of,” said Bill Rice, spokesman for the OPM. “We would like them to get back to us.”

The fence is being restored to coincide with the restoration of the hospital itself, for which the OPM already has requested proposals for its design.

Anyone who has any pieces of the hospital’s fence or can help find them should call OPM Project Manager Elena Rocha at 202-671-2804 or e-mail her at elena.rocha@dc.gov. All information and help is welcome, and no questions will be asked.

— Emily Yehle