After I passed on Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning‘s thoughts about the possibility of bringing back some kind of redevelopment authority yesterday, Mike DeBonis predicted I’d be getting a call from Councilmember Jack Evans. Sure enough, Evans rang today to set the record straight on how the last redevelopment authority died—and warn against establishing another.
Some history then: Evans helped create the National Capital Revitalization Commission back in 1998, modeled on the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation, which Evans characterized as generally successful (with the notable exception of the FBI Building). But the NCRC, he says, “never worked.”
“What makes these things work or not work is good people,” Evans said. “And we never had good people. It became this giant collossal thing answerable to no one.”
As Fenty was coming into office, Evans pushed legislation to fold both the NCRC and its sister organization, the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
“And it worked,” Evans says. “It worked a lot better than having those two entities and their boards of directors.”
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Evans abolished the old redevelopment authorities, and he thinks bringing anything like them back would be a terrible idea.