Housing Complex

What the District’s Building in the Next Six Years

Peanuts for the Central Library.

I'm still digesting the $6 billion, no-new-taxes budget that Mayor Vince Gray dropped on Friday. The first headline grabbers were attempts to raise revenue: Extended hours for alcohol sales, new automatic speeding cameras, a centralized system to make sure you've paid your taxes and fines, and more performance parking. Then came the cuts: Healthcare for undocumented immigrants, the Housing Production Trust Fund, and locally-funded welfare programs.

While all this is raining down, let's run through the capital budget: The building projects D.C. wants to undertake between now and 2018 (for fiscal year 2013 alone, the total is $1.1 billion). Herewith, an non-comprehensive list. 

  • St. Elizabeths East Campus and the McMillan Sand Filtration Plant were the big winners among the District's large real estate projects, landing $122.8 million and $48.1 million respectively for infrastructure development. Skyland Shopping Center and Walter Reed got a few million dollars each for blight clearance and planning.
  • The Martin Luther King Library was not a winner. Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper had asked for $60 million to make upgrades to various building systems, and only got $5.12 million.
  • Other libraries are in luck: Just like last year, there's $16.55 million for a new Woodridge Library in 2013. In the out years, the budget includes a new Lamond-Riggs branch and large renovations at the Southwest and Northeast branches. Cleveland Park and the Palisades got a few million dollars each for scopes of work for their own upgrades.
  • The District apparently wants someplace to hold the city's archives. There's $500,000 to develop plans for a "state of the art" facility, "comparable to state archives in managing their historic records," that will hold records from folks like George Washington, first Washington Mayor Robert Brent, Frederick Douglass, and Woodrow Wilson.
  • A $17 million inmate processing center for the D.C. Jail at Reservation 13.
  • $5 million to start implementing projects that will come out of the whole Sustainable D.C. thing, like increasing composting capacity and designing a zero waste strategy.
  • Renovations or new construction of eight fire stations, including a $5.9 million facility on the southeast corner of Georgia Avenue and Butternut Street NW.
  • $22.8 million for the Office of Planning's various studies, including a small area plan for the Bates/Hanover neighborhood.
  • $2.5 million for the winner of an interagency competition "to develop and implement projects that support priorities from the Mayor's Ward 8 citizen summit."
  • $5.8 million to replace the roof at Judiciary Square, including a partial green roof.
  • Lots of money for recreation centers, including $8 million for a new facility at 45th and Van Ness Street NW, $18 million for one at Barry Farm, and $31.3 million for upgrades to swimming pools.
  • $8.239 million for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.
  • Lots of schools.

More to come!

How things break down. (Diagram from the Capital Improvements Plan)

  • bfd

    wonder if any of that school money will be going towards empty un-staffed library media centers. since half of DCPS library staff will potentially lose their jobs with this budget.

  • Cap City Records Panhandler

    Does Vince Gray even have a library card?

  • LOL

    Now where would one put an archive? A library perhaps?

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  • c

    I wish DC had better libraries, and more library funding, but I'm not having a sad over the cuts to MLK. As far as I can tell, MLK's main purpose is for the homeless to check their email, and it serves no function that can't be provided by the neighborhood libraries. Large library systems in other cities are shifting their focus to developing quality neighborhood branches, making them inviting places that people actually want to linger.

    Also, I cringe whenever someone mentions the great Mies van der Rohe and his stupid building. Whatever vision he had for the MLK library, it's clearly not working. Just turn it into an office building already, and use the savings to improve the branches where people actually live.

  • deedle

    $22.8 million for planning studies, and nothing for the Housing Production Trust Fund. Let them live in schematics!

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