Housing Complex

With NCPC Ruling, Gray Takes Aim at Fenty’s Jock Base

When Council Chairman Vince Gray let it be known he would run for mayor, the athletes of the city rallied to Mayor Adrian Fenty's side. Today, hours after the National Capital Planning Commission approved the transfer of a chunk of Fort Dupont Park from National Park Service to District ownership, his office blasted out a release claiming credit for the action. For all the haters out there, know that Vince Gray is a staunch defender of America's Pastime:

Gray Scores a Victory for District Youth with Baseball Academy NCPC Vote

Washington, DC – Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray today won unanimous National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) approval of a land transfer to remove the roadblocks in the way of the new Major League Baseball Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and Fort Dupont Ice Arena expansion.

Foreseeing the great recreational and educational benefits for youth, particularly children east of the Anacostia River, Gray has been pressing hard for 15 acres of federal land to be transferred to the city’s jurisdiction. The parkland–which will still be owned by the federal government–is located in the northern portion of Fort Dupont Park, bounded by Ely Place, Minnesota Avenue, and Ridge Road , SE .

Working with District government officials, the Chairman negotiated an agreement that removed or weakened restrictive covenants–or requirements–imposed by the National Park Service.  In earlier drafts of the agreement, if NPS determined that the District broke any covenant, control of the land would have reverted to the Park Service.  With site control assured, the District can now proceed with land disposition agreements and zoning that are needed.

The sometimes tense discussions that had the District and NPS at odds have been going on for more than two years.  However, in the end, Gray said, “The big winners today are young people in Wards 7 and 8 who have been longing for new baseball fields and organized activities that will not only provide them with new recreational outlets, but also groundbreaking academic and career development programs.  As a baseball player, I know how important athletics can be in shaping personal skills in all areas of life.  I am pleased we are taking steps to get these benefits to D.C. youth.”

When the District agreed in 2006 to build a MLB stadium for the Washington Nationals, the baseball team agreed to build the Youth Academy.  In anticipation of the land transfer, the Council of the District of Columbia set aside $11.3 million in construction funding two years ago. The Washington Nationals Dream Foundation formed a steering committee to help with fundraising and program development.  The Nationals already have committed $3.5 million dollars to the project as a result of the stadium agreement.

In supporting the transfer today, Nationals officials testified that their goal is to have the ballfields ready by next season and the academic buildings completed in 2012.  The Fort Dupont Academy will be patterned after MLB academies completed or planned in Harlem, Compton/Los Angeles, Houston, and Miami.

The expansion of the ice rink will allow thousands more youth to participate in Kids On Ice and other programs run by the Friends of Fort Dupont.  Ten thousand kids a year currently use the ice arena, but the demand is so much greater, Gray said. “It’s awful that we have to turn children away and this is an opportunity to serve many more.”

An environmental study that included extensive community outreach and input concluded that the land transfer would result in no significant impact on the environment.

“I am extremely pleased the barriers have been removed and we are now able to move forward.  I am proud to have been a part of this project from its inception.  I want to thank then U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who was very supportive from the beginning, and our Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton for her role in facilitating a project that both governments believe scores a home run for our youth,” the Chairman said.

Gray also expressed appreciation to the Washington East Foundation and DC Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities organizations for testifying at NCPC today in support of the land transfer.

  • Skipper

    He also leaps buildings with a single bounce, stops bullets with his manly chest, and does backroom budget deals in the dead of night with no input from the public.

  • D

    Watch Vincent Gray take responsibility for me getting a raise this year and the resulting tax revenue for the district.

  • maserfentyaintnogood

    Thank you Mr. Gray for staying the course in pursuit of this important project for kids in SE/NE. Now this will make a big difference in the lives of youth here in SE/NE in future years. It took a few years to get the federal government to see the light.

  • Sally

    Because if there's one thing Gray knows how to do, it's how to run a social agency program.

    Especially since the last one he led, he ran it right into the ground and into federal receivership.

  • Vincent Gray Looks Like Vincent Price

    Vincent Gray,

    Your leadership on this issue of non-importance just got me laid! Thank you Vincent Gray!

  • DC Voter

    The sun rose today. Gray and Barry are both seeking credit for this event.

  • Pingback: Baseball Academy finally coming to Fort Dupont Park « The Washington Syndicate

  • Brahmin

    I waste too much timing discussing Fenty on these forums.

    So I want Vince Gray to stop talking about Fenty. It is too much free advertising for a man the polls say has only 31 percent support. And there are a huge pool of voters aching to get to know Vince Gray. The Fenty people can throw out a fence but that comes across pety. A backroom deal has to involve some sort of largess and in the streetcar issue there was no such thing. He tried to save people at DC General and postpone a payment that will already be postponed due to the fact the streetcar is no way near completion. That is sensible on its face.

    Getting tied up sparring with Fenty is wasting time you can take introducing yourself to the voters. Fenty is his own opposition campaign. He showed up with staff seen behaving badly (in their unchecked exuberance) their seen knocking over signs and being brutish thugs..I think the Vince Gray campaign picked up votes after people saw what they did.

    Don't waste your time making your case that Fenty is a bad mayor. That case is close for a majority of District voters who still doesn't know your name.

  • politicaljunky

    A new young black breed based on hard work, entrepreneurhip and results has emerged leaving these soros seeking dc "jobs" behind.
    Blacks in dc area are v. smart and can tell riches from wealth. This explained why Michael steele won in 2004. Fenty ironically appeals to working blacks of all socioeconomic groups not to mention other up and coming newcomers who want a better DC.. These Gray cronies and old-guard blacks want to take DC to that model of a few black "elites" leading the masses in poverty, free housing, medicaid, stamps etc etc. This is waht the election is about.
    Now there is some noise about Fenty "over-reaching" on multi--million dollar deals, but its earned him near $46 million in campaign by this entrepreneur group and you got to admit if that was his strategy it worked. Question is will it overcome the Gray elite model or not. Lets see come election time.
    Fenty has done things very unorthodox and that has largely saved his behind. From Mcghee to new development projects using non-bureaucratic ways has at least made him look like an anti-establishment guy and now this climate fits in perfectly with his image.
    I agree he needs to tone down his "amateur" supporters and not be seen as union, thuggish as some Tea party videos depicted union workers confronting them. That gave the teaparty huge support and sympathy in this anti- establishment climate.