ANC6B Moves Playground on Eastern Market Metro Plaza Closer to Reality

The site of the planned Eastern Market Metro Playground, March 18, 2017, circa 9:00am.

Schematic of Eastern Market Metro Plaza. Playground would be located on Parcel 1.

ANC6B Moves Playground on Eastern Market Metro Plaza Closer to Reality

by Larry Janezich

Last Tuesday night, ANC6B signed off on combining the $50,000 pledged by Hine Developer Eastbanc  for EM Metro Plaza landscaping with Eastbanc’s pledge of $75,000 for a playground on the northeast quadrant of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza (Parcel 1 above).  The combined fund will be used for a playground to replace the “guerrilla playground” of plastic toys that neighbors contributed to the space before the city removed them last summer.

The resolution supporting merging the funds, which was adopted 9 – 0, was offered by Commissioner Diane Hoskins, in whose single member district the whole of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza lies.

The total of $125,000 is more in line with what will be necessary for the playground after taking into account establishing a safe play surface and a Historic Preservation Review Board-approved fencing.

Both pots of money were part of a community benefit package negotiated by ANC6B on behalf of the community, to partially compensate it for loss of open space occasioned by construction of the Hine Project.  Two other benefits resulting from the construction are a child care facility within the development and ANC6B office and community meeting space.   Under the terms of the agreement, the funds for the playground have to be contributed prior to the city issuing a certificate of occupancy for the office component of that project.  Eastbanc expects to apply for the certificate of occupancy in June or July.

Under the resolution the landscaping funds will be joined with and transferred to Barracks Row Main Street – which set up a non-profit to accept the money – who will undertake the coordination with the city for creation of the playground.

According to Barracks Row Mainstreet Executive Director, Martin Smith, ”If all the stars align, the playground could be up and running this summer.”  That’s a heavily qualified estimate, but if BRMS can pull it off, they deserve the applause of the community.  In any event, odds seem good that the playground will happen this year.

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