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What you said about what we said last week
Is D.C. making the same mistake in Mount Vernon Triangle that it made in NoMa? In last week’s Housing Complex column, Aaron Wiener argued that developers and planners erred by not incorporating public parks into NoMa as the neighborhood developed, an oversight currently being repeated just to the west. Part of the blame, wrote Logan Res, rests with the National Park Service, which owns several small, neglected, triangle-shaped plots in Mount Vernon Triangle. “These spaces may not be suitable for children’s play areas but they most certainly should be beautifully landscaped, maintained, and have nicer lighting, water features, and trees. They are a public shame in the current condition. Why on earth wouldn’t NPS want some private or city funding to spruce them up?”
But the increasingly residential area should appeal to families, commented Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association board member Matt Kozey. “The next 1 to 5 years of our neighborhood’s life will dictate whether the young professionals who were drawn to all the conveniences of the area will want to stay to raise their children. Without safe places for those kids to play, that will not happen. The 5th and I parcel presents the District with an opportunity to help ensure the vitality of the neighborhood for a decade by sacrificing short term tax revenue for long term, sustained growth.”
Reader h st II took a build-high-then-green stance: “Sure, better planning is nice, but you are missing the overall point: With the tax revenues these neighborhoods generate, spending $50 million (especially 10 years down the line) is nothing to the D.C. government. Get the tax monies first and finding the money for parks in no problem.” Ditto commenter JP: “The vacant lots in MVT are way too valuable to use as park space. It would be nice to maybe use a fraction of one of parcels are a small space, but that is the last remaining space near downtown and must be used for more residential buildings.” Some neighborhoods, JP argued, just aren’t meant for kids. “The idea that anyone will be raising children in MVT is ridiculous. The neighborhood is bounded by New York and Massachusetts avenues, and the cross streets are also very congested. It is simply not a safe place to have little kids running around….The families can move north of N.Y. Ave. if they are looking for more space to live and play.”
Wiener’s article led to a more philosophical debate about urban life on Twitter: In high-density areas, should we want parks at all? “I question whether parks make a neighborhood neighborhoody,” tweeted @sharrowsDC. “I would rather have mixed-use density and lots of places for people to live, shop, eat, and work. A bench and some grass isn’t nearly as valuable to me as more retail and housing options….We live in a city. There’s nothing wrong with wanting buildings here.”
Glower of Attorney
Next year, D.C. will elect for the first time its attorney general—but for reasons including the likely-to-be-limited power of the office, no lawyer has announced intentions to run, Will Sommer reported in last week’s Loose Lips column. SEis4ME defended the ballot initiative in which District voters chose to make the position an elected one. “Residents didn’t know what to expect. In fact, we’re no different than those in the rest of the country who support/vote down referendums. In this instance, voters were absolutely right to vote in favor of referendum thanks to nepotistic relationship between the then-mayor and A.G. We had no choice.” But reader drez argued that voters made the wrong corrective to what they saw as the overreaches of former Mayor Adrian Fenty’s attorney general, Peter Nickles: “The remedy for Nickles was to vote Fenty out. Not to create an independent power center that will inevitably be filled by a mayoral-wannabe lawyer/political hack. That was a huge strategic mistake that could only be made in a highly partisan environment and, in reality, was a tactic in the aspersion campaign against Fenty. That the same people who helped enact it are now backtracking is an implicit admission of this.”