Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Florida Market destruction legislation hearing, Weds. October 11th

Fruits and vegetablesAnother item just added to the Upcoming Calendar in the right sidebar:

ROOM 412, PUBLIC HEARING, COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, Sharon Ambrose, Chairperson

Agenda items:

"New Town at Capital City Market Revitalization Development and Public/Private Partnership Act of 2006,"
Bill 16-868. To create a public/private partnership between the District of Columbia and New Town Development, LLC for the purposes of economic, social and cultural revitalization of a 24 acre site located in Ward 5.

This bill has been entered by Councilmember Orange, and is co-sponsored by Councilmembers Barry, Cropp, Evans and Patterson.

For many many reasons this legislation is misguided. Although there's no point in divulging the strategy before the hearing... But it's not like my reasoning isn't out there, such as in the blog entry "Is the Florida Market Going Down?"

Apparently, Robert Bobb, when he was still City Administrator, ordered the DC Office of Planning to work with the people proposing this New Towns venture, which has a couple decent ideas, but mostly eradicates the market, which is one of the last vestiges of light industry in the city. Rather than look toward models like the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco or the Italian Market in Philadelphia, or even the Midtown Exchange in Minneapolis (which has some issues in my opinion) they propose a 21st Century version of Urban Renewal.

But the New Towns people are going around making presentations, not stating that there is supposed to be a forthcoming public planning process in response to their (odious overall) proposal.

And like urban renewal, they are asking for eminent domain authority and as much as a few hundred MILLION dollars in subsidy (nice work if you can get it).

And since new construction costs a lot of money, to stay, the average tenant would have to pay rents 5-10 times greater than their current cost. This means that most of these businesses are likely to close.

What was it that Sam Smith said last year in writing about Kelo v. City of New London --"those that are eminent get the domain." It helps to be connected to people like Vincent Orange and John Ray...

Why is it that people are still enthralled by urban renewal, as well as unable to learn from all of its many mistakes?

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