Memo to City: Plan Ahead

Old Convention Center Redevelopment Massing DiagramI was pleased to see my post about the redevelopment of the DC convention center received links from DCist and DCBlogs. As I expected it appears I am thoroughly out of the loop on the matter, however, and the developers held two public meetings in the past year to solicit public feedback on the redevelopment plan and issued formal master plan this past April. Details about all of this are on their website, which I somehow didn’t find in my research for the previous post. The final plan differs slightly from the hard-to-make-out sketch I posted yesterday. I’ll withhold my comments about the plan until I get a better look at them, but the real lesson here for DC government is to start planning ahead – this process could have been started much earlier, minimizing the city’s lost tax dollars while the land sits (nearly) empty.

Watha T. Daniel LibraryThe DC public libraries made a similar mistake when they closed four branch locations in 2004 (including my neighborhood library) and canceled the contract for their re-construction in order to fit them into the mayor’s blue-ribbon task force’s central-library oriented recommendations. Two years later the branches are still closed and there are no concrete plans for their re-opening. Unlike the convention center redevelopment, this case isn’t about lost tax revenue but fairness: city residents have been deprived access to a vital community resource. It’s simply an irresponsible and way to govern.

Author: Rob Goodspeed