Saturday, September 19, 2009

*goodlinks: expect the unexpected

vacant home on W Street SE - ready for revival

A Class 4 tax rate for blight? via Washington Business Journal
the DC Council recently lowered the vacant property tax rate from $10 per $100 of assessed value to $5. But Ward 4 councilwoman Bowser is fighting to recognize the benefit of a higher tax: property owners are finally acting.

Art Monk and Charles Mann Sell Former City Property for Millions, Bail On Anacostia Job Training Center, via Washington City Paper
for many years the Good Samaritan Foundation has been promising to open a job training center in the old Carver Theater on MLK Ave near the metro station. Now its former-Redskins founders have sold the building to Howard Road Academy. Another school on our main street within a block from Metro?

And We've Got Tracks, via Barry Farm (re)Mixed
the Anacostia Streetcar Line is finally under construction, and tracks are actually being laid on Firth Sterling Avenue now. Nobody yet knows if this will be a boon for the neighborhood, but my fingers are crossed that investors and developers see this exciting new form of transportation as reason to start building.

11th Street Bridge Under Troubled Wires, via DC Mud
it's no secret that overhead wires aren't allowed in the Federal City, but now the National Capital Planning Commission is threatening to disallow wires crossing the new 11th Street Bridges, arguing that they might interrupt important views to the city's monumental core.

Waterfront Precidents
, via City Block
following up on a discussion about narrowing the Anacostia River to encourage more urban development on both sides, this blogger explores urban waterfronts around the world and compares their features to our own waterway.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Anacostia Neighborhood Library a'Rising

construction workers at the library's "beacon"

Work on the new Anacostia Neighborhood Library is well underway, with what looks like most of the steel structure already in place. One of my worries was that this was going to seem like a small building for the site and that it might not be big enough for the geographical area it has to serve. Seeing it in person helped change that - its 20,000 SF in two stories is definitely not small.

the view from Good Hope Road - kind of obscured by the fence

from the alley between Good Hope and U Place SE

from U Place SE, looking southwest

another shot, more straight-on, from Good Hope

Taking into consideration the promised-but-stalled buildings projects over here, it's pretty great seeing something really rising. Projected opening is Fall 2010.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Piedmont Blues Tonight @ Honfleur

Come out to the Honfleur Gallery this evening at 7PM to kick off the fall arts season with Piedmont Blues and dedication of a new installation light sculpture on the gallery's cornice. The new neon public art piece by DC light sculptor Craig Kraft is entitled Anacoeti, and was created as a site-specific installation acting as a beacon of light and color for Honfleur. The sculpture, funded by a grant from the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, and will be lit and dedicated during the concert intermission.

Phil Wiggins, a leading exponent of the Piedmont Blues, will perform live at the gallery at 7pm. Joined by blues musician and activist Rick Franklin, under the name of “Wiggins and Friends”, the duo exemplifies this local blues style - specifically the Piedmont-style guitar.

Tickets ($10) are available at the gallery; 1241 Good Hope Road SE, by telephone at 202-580-5972, or on the web. The current exhibit is East of the River, the third annual exhibition hightlighting artists from wards 7 and 8 and will be on view from August 1st to October 15th. For further inquiries, please contact Briony Evans Hynson, Creative Director at 202-536-8994 or

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

GSA Breaks ground on St. E's Campus!

This morning was the groundbreaking for the new consolidated headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard at the West Campus of St. Elizabeths in Ward 8. In attendance were Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Senator Liberman, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Mayor Adrian Fenty, Councilman Barry, and GSA Administrator Paul F. Prouty.

It was raining, but the boarded-up campus was alive with U.S.-manufactured government vehicles and the excitement that this. is. finally. being. built!

local and federal leadership breaks ground on Homeland Security campus

Senator Joseph Lieberman, I - Connecticut

Napolitano and Norton talk with the news media

Overall it was a great event. All the public officials spoke at the podium, each highlighting different benefits and challenges associated with bringing the mega-project to Ward 8:

  • Lieberman connected DHS' history with that of the Roosevelt's Pentagon, and noted that this is the largest building project (aside from Eisenhower's highways, I assume) since the Pentagon.

  • Napolitano was excited to have a consolidated headquarters - and expressed gratitude for how much simpler holding meetings and bringing connectivity and community to the Department will be.

  • CM Barry highlighted the project's importance to Ward 8 and the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the new HQ. He called attention to the hardships associated with living and working in Ward 8, but, citing Psalm 30:5, said that "We could go on and on about the weeping. But this is the morning for Ward 8."

the first building - Coast Guard - viewed from the River

Exciting times. Ward 8 is on the rise.

Paris on the Anacostia - Today on Kojo

the first segment of today's Kojo Nnamdi show is titled Paris on the Anacostia: A Provocative Idea for DC's Waterfront. From the WAMU site:
It's an amazingly ambitious proposal by a set of architects trained to imagine the future as it could be. Join Kojo to explore a newly unveiled plan - more than four years in the making - to NARROW the Anacostia River, and remake Washington's Waterfront, with the goal of bringing in new businesses, training new workers, and completely changing the relationship between folks East and West of the River.
The show airs today at 12:23 PM on NPR, and will be available online Here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Banana Tree coming to MLK Ave

the former abandoned car lot at MLK and Maple View is in progress to become The Banana Tree, a fruit and vegetable market by the founder of the Funky Flea Market in Northeast DC.

So far the lot has been cleared and the small building on site painted a bright green and yellow. When I spoke with the owner (a vegan), he said he was inspired by the lack of healthy food options in the neighborhood and plans to source his products from Maryland and Virginia farms.

Opening is projected for March 2010 when the next produce season begins.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

(Anacostia's own) BK Adams at CityVista Busboys

Next Saturday our very own artist in residence BK Adams' work will be featured at the 5th and K NW Busboys and Poets.

Click to Enlarge

BK is the guy in the background

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

FIOS comes here first

the first FIOS box in the District ... 19th Street SE in Fairlawn

This morning Mayor Fenty, Councilwoman Cheh, Verizon officials, and the Chief Technology Officer met in Fairlawn to officially activate the first FIOS cable in the District of Columbia. And it came east of the river first.

the officials lined up to press the button at the same time that somehow fused the necessary cables together

after the button-pressing, Verizon technicians did the real work...

Fenty and Cheh celebrate!

Bringing FIOS to the District is a big deal because it means increased options for cable, phone, and internet. It's fiber-optic broadband, which brings us up to speed with neighboring suburban jurisdictions, and makes DC that much more attractive for those interested in moving in.

The first neighborhoods to get it will be Barry Farm, Brightwood, Columbia Heights, Crestwood, Fairlawn, Fort Stanton, Friendship Heights, Historic Anacostia, Petworth, Shepherd Park, Sheridan, Tenleytown, Van Ness and Woodley Park.

Click Here for Verizon's press release and more info the technology