City Launches New Effort to Develop Hill East Boys and Girls Club
Neighbors’ Top Priority is a Community Space Amenity
by Larry Janezich
Saturday, the office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development (DMPED) launched a new effort to develop the long abandoned Hill East Boys and Girls Club. A previous effort in 2015 was withdrawn in the face of substantial community opposition to the single viable proposal which came in response to a tightly constructed set of requirements set by the then-project manager, the Department of General Services.
Councilmember Charles Allen, took credit on Saturday for bringing that effort to a halt and for moving responsibility for the development to DMPED, which he termed a more appropriate overseer.
The new effort is occurring under a relatively new process “Our RFP”, i.e. “Our Request for Proposals”, the goal of which is basing the development of a public property in accordance with what the community wants the development to be, and with greater transparency.
Early indications during the DMPED-sponsored community meeting on Saturday is that Hill East wants a development that includes a community amenity – a public space which will anchor the neighborhood and attract neighbors on a daily basis.
ANC6B Commissioner Daniel Ridge, in whose single member district the project lies, told the 40 plus residents who turned out for the meeting that the constant refrain he has heard was that residents pictured themselves as users of a common space in the development, and that they clearly wanted a community amenity they can walk to and have an opportunity to visit.
The structure of “Our RFP” process involved attendees breaking up into working groups of five or six members, and determining a list of their priorities for the development, which were then presented to the group. DMPED will extend the input process with an on-line engagement forum here: http://bit.ly/2jt6ghw
The report of the several working groups with respect to the use of the building reflected an initial preference for public space, housing, and a facility that will have no impact on parking in the neighborhood.
DMPED listed the allowable uses of the building, as follows: residential, place of worship, charter or public school, local government facility, recreation center, library, small health care facility, emergency shelter, boarding house, grocery store, private club, and a child/elderly development center. The building is not designated historic, and does not need to be preserved.
A second community meeting to further prioritize preferences will be held on February 16, at Friendship Chamberlain Elementary, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE. DMPED will then write and release an RFP in March or April. After four to six months for review – during which ANC6B would weigh in with its recommendation – DMPED will make a selection.
For a rate look inside the Boys and Girls Club, see previous CHC post here: http://bit.ly/2gsF8CZ