For those unaware from my many, random, sugar-fueled ramblings on this site, I’m a huge fan of the upcoming 11th Street Bridge Park! As a commuter from Ward 8’s Bellevue to Capitol Hill, I cross it twice daily, and it’s inevitable evolution as a “bridging” destination between DC’s physical and social east and west divides can only be a good thing. Having said that, a prospect even more exciting than a tricked-out bridge, however, is the bridge parks’ potential to catalyze any form of economic development in Anacostia—simply as a result of its existence.
Fine, I may be playing it a little fast-and-loose with the word “simply”, but you get my point!
Anyway, Capital Community News (whom I created the logo for forever ago . . . wow—forgot about that) has an interesting article entitled “New Elevated Park: A Bridge to Anacostia Development“. And while the article comprises lots of background information about the bridge park’s history and the unstoppable Scott Kratz, director of the project, etc., the most compelling arguments are summarized in the final two paragraphs, punctuated by the final quote of the article:
As early as groundbreaking, Tendani Mpulubusi El, chairman of the Ward 8 Arts & Culture Council, foresees the park as offering advancements for Anacostia residents. “The construction, developing, and planning of the actual building will create economic stimulus and opportunities for people,” says Mpulubusi El, who has lived in Anacostia since 2004. Like Wilson, Mpulubusi El has seen signs of economic growth in Ward 8 through dining amenities and the entrance of public charter schools, the redevelopment of the St. Elizabeths campus, and projects created by the Great Streets Initiative and business improvement districts.
Once construction is complete, employment opportunities will be provided through operations and maintenance, the bridge café, and the environmental center. Additional training and job opportunities could be provided through restoration technologies for the Anacostia River and urban agriculture. And with amenities such as kayak rentals, public art, and performances that will appeal to residents across the city, the bridge park will drive traffic to the neighborhood, stimulating outside businesses to set up shop in the corridor, says Mpulubusi El. “It definitely will be a catalyst for economic development.”
Although the immediate recipient of any economic development will most assuredly be Anacostia, all of Ward 8 and its environs will benefit economically . . . as long as the bridge lives up to its promise . . . and I’m kinda thinkin’ it will.