Capitol Hill BID Pushes Back on Metro Plaza Maintenance – Says They Can’t Do It
By Larry Janezich
The unresolved question of who is going to maintain Eastern Market Metro Plaza/Park tables, chairs, public space furniture and other tasks moved to the front burner Wednesday afternoon, when Patty Brosmer, President of the Capitol Hill BID, said they can’t do it.
At a Department of General Services virtual briefing of the Eastern Market Metro Park Advisory Team yesterday, Brosmer said that maintenance of the plaza/park was totally separate from the Capitol Hill BID operation. She said the additional work would “require resources we don’t have”, and that the BID has been using Covid Payroll Protection Program funds to maintain the spaces around the Metro entrance but they can’t do it forever.
“The city came in and built this and left it up to us to maintain,” she added, “but it’s a big deal to wipe down furniture a few times a day”. She said this is a problem common to all eleven of the city’s BIDs and by no means do they accept the additional tasks – “all of them are up in arms about it”. The BIDs – Business Improvement Districts – are private public partnerships funded by property owners that provide enhanced services in commercial and mixed use neighborhoods.
The issue of who would take care of the plaza/park has come up from time to time, and there was once talk of reaching a contractual agreement with the BID. It appears that this was never formalized and the BID’s responsibility was taken for granted by the DGS contractor and others. ANC6B02 Commissioner Jerry Sroufe – whose single member district includes the Plaza – commented that his recollection was that the BID was to maintain it and if not, we need another answer.
Managing public space furniture is more problematic than it sounds, as users move the tables and chairs to seek shade or suit their convenience. Just returning the furniture to the hard surfaces where they are intended to be rather than on the grass requires considerable time and attention. Sometimes, plaza furniture has been found far afield.
Nichole Opkins, representing CM Charles Allen’s office expressed surprise that the BID had brought this up so late in the game.
Brosmer said she had had a conversation with the city two years ago and were fine with emptying the trash, but weeding and furniture care involves a lot extra and “we can’t do it”. She offered to provide documentation of what the city told her they would take care of.
Opkins said she would continue discussions with Brosmer and bring the Department of General Services and the Department of Parks and Recreation into the loop as well.
The Metro Plaza renovation is nearing completion, and the children’s playground on parcel one between 8th and 9th Street, has proven to be extremely popular and successful with the playground and splash pad often attracting more than 100 people to the destination and a gathering place. CM Charles Allen got the $15 million in budget authority for the project.
Patty Brosmer has been the President of the Capitol Hill Business Improvement District (BID) since its inception in early 2003. Prior to that, she was a consultant to the interim board during the 3-year formation phase of the BID.