Housing Complex

Mayor to Tenleytown Residents: Fine, Build Your Library

At a press conference yesterday, Mayor Adrian Fenty gave the Tenleytown community his blessing: Yes, after four years of back-and-forths, they could build their library.

So now the library's on track to be completed in 2010. The city had wanted to build a more ambitious mixed-use development with housing at the site. A public/private partnership could have funneled money to the nearby Janney Elementary School, also by the site. But the developer's plans never got the go-ahead, and the community got testy, with some people "filing public documents requests, threatening lawsuits and making unsubstantiated charges of corruption," according to the Washington Business Journal.

Clearly, the mayor's still smarting a bit from the loss, considering this was the quote used in his official press release:

  • “We are right on top of a Metro station and we think there is enormous potential for this site...There is a real opportunity to provide a new state-of-the-art library, new housing, improved playgrounds and green space and a funding stream to support and accelerate the modernization of Janney Elementary...At the same time, achieving all these objectives will take careful planning in these tough economic times. We are going to keep working with our development partners to determine the best path forward, but we also want to make sure the residents in this community get the amenities they have been calling for as soon as possible.”

Can any of that still happen?

At least one person, Robin Diener with the Library Renaissance Project, speculates not: "It’s very unlikely to be a public/private partnership in the future. They’re not going to build underground parking. And they would have [needed] to build that first...I do think there’s every indication, even if they’re not saying so, that this is dead, in terms of public private partnership. Yeah, maybe in the future they could build office space over it."

Image by KCIvey, Flickr Creative Commons

  • Cassie

    Actually, the charge was that cronyism rather than the public interest was driving the project and that charge seemed pretty well substantiated. http://www.anc3e.org/documents.html has the detail -- look at Causes for Concern and then the FOIA documents that follow.

    Certainly it was enough to get Director of Development David Jannarone (who was working with his ex-bosses at Roadside from his first weeks at DMPED to get this public land made available for private development) taken off the project. And the Roadside-Cheh connections (via Susan Linsky and campaign contributions) were also disturbing. In the end, the ANC's charges were substantial enough to keep the project out of Roadside's hands.

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