Monday, March 05, 2012

'Clear and present danger' in Anacostia. Why is this acceptable?

This post has been updated. See below. 

Initially I had a lengthy (and only minimally snarky) post written to address this neglect issue then I decided to chuck it and just get to the heart of the matter. I will leave it to those much more talented than I to make the parallels between a crumbling, vacant facade in Anacostia and the city's commitment to restore it.

What is the plan here?
  • It has been over two weeks (closer to 3 weeks) since the plywood first fell.  When is the plywood going to be reinstalled or removed? Despite a bus stop being less than 50 25 feet from the facade the sidewalk has been blocked off since Feb 24th when the Fire Department came out to assess the situation (FYI - at least a week after the plywood first came down). Pedestrians walking on that side of the block are left with little choice but to walk in the very busy street to get around the blockade.
Why is this acceptable?
  • My understanding is that this building experienced a fire at least five seven years ago (but I suspect it was earlier) that left the building in its current state but what are the plans for restoration and/or development? The longer the facade is exposed to the elements the more things will fall apart. What is the plan here? Is there a plan here? Why has this been okay? Why is this still okay?

If anyone has any insight or updates please share them. This facade is steps away from the gateway to Anacostia and any way you look at it,  this is not a very good look for Anacostia and it is an even worse look for development plans East of the River.

I guess the posters on the facade are pretty prophetic, "Clear and present danger."

Circa 2005


I know that the fire damage to those buildings was there since  at least when I started working in Anacostia in August 2004.  The buildings were still standing (they fell on cars one eventful day, at least 4-6 years ago or so!) after which they were shored up and the debris cleared, and the lot next door fenced off.  Its incredibly lucky no one was hurt.
Pic attached circa 2005 or so.  You can see the buildings are (barely) standing behind the facades. 
(The site has a history of neglect/danger).

Pictures from today (March 5, 2012):

Nothing beats a leisurely stroll in traffic.
Nothing to fear but neglect.

Photos from Feb 24, 2012 (the plywood had been down at least 7 days prior to this)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this site is currently planned for a Retail, Mixed Use, and Office development called "Anacostia Square," according to research I did for the DC Office of Planning for the Ward 8 Community Summit (July 2011). Or at least it was several years ago (the articles below are outdated). I'm assuming with the decline in the economy, there are no immediate plans to revive the project, especially considering the fact that other developments on that same block might be further along in the process.

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