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The National Park Service is taking its sweet, federal time making improvements at Lincoln Park, the largest and most popular park in Capitol Hill. First, in late October, NPS blocked half of it off with a chain-link fence and gave no warning or explanation. Then, when pressed by D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells’ office for information, officials even boasted a little bit: “The contract period is for 90 days, however, we anticipate the project taking less than half of that time.”
So, doing the math, the renovation should have been finished by Feb. 19 at the latest. Instead, half of the park remains closed as construction equipment sits idle. Until Tuesday, no work had happened for several weeks.
The feds have two excuses: “a contract modification due to changes with the base material” and the weather.
“When the temperature falls below 40 degrees you really can’t pour concrete,” says NPS spokeswoman Janet Braxton.
Advisory neighborhood commissioner Nick Alberti, whose district includes the northeast half of the park, thinks bad weather is a lame excuse.
“I’m stunned that they would schedule a repaving project during the 3 coldest months,” Alberti writes in an e-mail. “It was either very poor planning or disingenuous to assure us that the park would reopen by Feb 19th.”
Park Service facility manager Frank Young reports that all work should be finished by April 30.