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PAUL COLEMAN’S INTEResting article on land grabs along the borders of Rock Creek Park (“Land Grab,” The District Line, 7/21) caused no tears. It is no great loss to the people of the city if a few plots of the hundreds of acres of wilderness in that park are used privately. If the intruding homeowners will just remove their fences, that should suffice. Then their former patios can revert back to brush and poison ivy. Howlovely!
What does make one cry, though, is the grabbing of parklets and public spaces in the heart of town that formerly were used by the public. There are three examples in Georgetown: Once there was a small neighborhood park with a beautiful view on 36th Street at the top of the “Exorcist steps” that was fenced in for use as a private garden by earlier owners of 3600 Prospect St. NW. The residents of 2600 Q St. several years ago grabbed the little parklet in that part of 26th Street that was too steep for paving and made it their walled-in side yard. The third example is commercial. The developers of Georgetown Park and the Market House grabbed the eastern half of Potomac Street where it used to circle the Market and are using it as an outdoor cafe. Even if the city got paid for these three pieces of land, the public is no longer able to use them.
Other takings: The small grassy triangle at Foxhall Road and MacArthur Boulevard was used for years as the site of the Palisades community Christmas tree. Now it has been “landscaped” out of public use by the developers of 1400 Foxhall Rd. And finally, the managers of the National Building Museum are attempting to cut off convenient access to their building by closing F Street between 4th and 5th Streets NW. Washington City Paper readers may know of other such land grabs around town.