Update on Eastern Market and Southeast Library

Chuck Burger (gesturing), Chair of the EMCAC Membership Committee, explains how the committee came to its conclusion that a new organization “Eastern Market Preservation and Development Corporation” is not a proper “reconstitution” of another organization with an identical name.

Update on Eastern Market and Southeast Library

by Larry Janezich

Eastern Market – Speculation on the winner of the bid for the $300,000 grant from office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Development study on the future of Eastern Market is focusing on Nil Buras, principal at the Washington, DC firm of Urban Cloud – Classic Planning.  A decision has been made but not an announcement.  According to Eastern Market Manager Barry Margeson, the Department of General Services is in the process of finalizing the grant agreement for an October project start.  The purpose of the study is how to address the declining vitality of Eastern Market as a community center and resource, in the face of competition from new destinations such as Union Market, The Wharf, numerous farmers’ markets, as well as changing demographics and shopping habits.

Nir Buras is a Washington, DC, based PhD architect and planner with over 30 years of in-depth experience in strategic planning, architecture, and transportation design.  He has worked on the Washington DC Dulles Metro line, the US Capitol, and the Senate and House Office Buildings.  He is the author of “The Art of Classic Planning”– a critique of modern urban design and planning.  For more, see here:  https://classicplanning.wordpress.com/author/classicplanning/

More Eastern Market – Last Wednesday, the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) decided by a vote of 6 – 0 – 2, that the recently-incorporated Eastern Market Development and Preservation “Organization” does not represent “reconstitution” or revived” Eastern Market Preservation and Development Corporation (a duly incorporated entity now defunct) which under statute is entitled to a seat on EMCAC, thus denying the application of the newer organization for a seat on the board.  The vote was 6 – 0 – 2.  The motion to accept a committee recommendation that the application be denied, was made by EMCAC Chair Donna Scheeder, and included language recommending that EMCAC undertake a review of the statute governing Eastern Market to address how certain membership and process issues can be remedied legislatively.

Southeast Library – The selection committee for the new design for Southeast Library, headed up by DC Public Libraries Executive Director, Richard Reyes-Gavilan, heard am hour long presentations from each of four finalists on September 10th and 11th.  The meeting was closed to the public, and participants had to sign non-disclosure agreements.  The selection committee will decide on the winner in late September or early October.  The winning design/build team will subsequently launch a period community involvement and hold a series of community meetings to solicit input from residents on the final design.

Construction on the $23.5 million renovation and the 2 year closing of the Southeast Library is scheduled to begin at the end of in 2021.  As of now, there is no plan for an interim library and some of the current programming will likely be held at the Northeast and Southeastwest Libraries.

The community is represented on the selection committee by ANC6B Commissioner Jerry Sroufe and Friends of Southeast Library President Neal Gregory.  The rest of the dozen or so members of the selection committee are DC Public Libraries personnel.


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2 responses to “Update on Eastern Market and Southeast Library

  1. Joe Snyder

    I was at last Wednesday’s EMCAC meeting. When those impersonating the EMPDC were denied a seat, it may have been my imagination, but in the cavernous expanse of the North Hall I thought I heard a choir of Boystown orphans singing ‘Hallelujah, Hallelujah.’

  2. David MacKinnon

    My understanding is that the Southeast library will likely close at the beginning of 2021 not the end as the target for completion and opening is sometime in 2022 the 100th anniversary of the SE Library. Also I think you meant that during closure the current programs would likely be scheduled at NE and SW, not SE libraries.