Housing Complex

City Planning Summer Stuff at St. Elizabeths to “Give It a Geographical Location in Peoples’ Heads”

The big field, available. (Photo by Margot Mausner)

In the long term, St. Elizabeths East Campus is supposed be a new neighborhood full of companies, residents, and educational users. In the medium term, it's getting a collection of restaurants that'll serve the hungry Coast Guard workers who'll be moving in across the street.

In the short term—as in, this summer—the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development is arranging weekend activities for six acres of fields behind a fence on Martin Luther King Avenue SE (the kind of thing that sadly can't happen at Walter Reed or McMillan). To do it, they've kept on consultant Robert Charles Lesser & Co., which worked on the master plan, with a $250,000 sole-source contract.

The actual planning part, though, has been subcontracted to VerdeHOUSE, a year-and-a-half-old firm that connects people who want to throw events with people who own space. They're responsible for booking the field, at no charge to users, on weekends in July through the end of the summer. CEO Morgan Greenhouse has already blasted out the opportunity to her list of people who use space, and imagines there will be barbeques, soccer camps, concerts, and other "things that are inclusive and fun." The Ward 8 Farmers Market will open a second location there. The goal, she says, is to "give it a geographical location in peoples' heads."

Greenhouse has done projects in many parts of the city, but nothing yet east of the river (though she says she's tried, and not yet been successful). That bugs some of the folks who've worked there for a long time, like Arch Development Corporation, which put on a similar thing in Anacostia over the past few months.

"I have nothing against VerdeHOUSE," says Arch's CEO Duane Gautier. "But I find it very interesting that there are three to four organizations east of the river that could've put on these productions, and they did not put it out for a public bid...southeast organizations are not viewed as being able to run projects in southeast."

It also happens that VerdeHOUSE's other big project this summer is arranging events at the Powerhouse in Georgetown for the sons of Herb Miller, who's helping to lead the redevelopment of St. Elizabeths.

  • a change gon’ come

    I live within walking distance of this site. I apparently am not on anyone's email blast list, although I did hear about the second farmer's market location. Would be so nice if any of the local media would also print a map of where the farmer's market shuttle will stop?

    Anyway,it looks like East of the River folks don't get in on the planning, jobs, production side of these events, nor on the participant side? Um, this is what's normally called colonization, not community development. Really uninterested in becoming a staycation destination for the folks from the other side of the river unless Ward 8 folks get to at minimum sell 'em something and better yet, get some skills and jobs in the bargain. Of course, I did notice the agency is called "Economic Development," not "community development."

  • Meadows

    A Change,

    Please email me at dmeadows@dccouncil.us and I will include you on all communications possible concerning St. E's development.

    We seek input from all neighbors, friends, etc.

    David Meadows
    Office of Councilmember Michael A. Brown

  • http://www.congressheightsontherise.com The Advoc8te

    A Change--

    I don't have a map but I did get a listing of the Ward 8 shuttle bus stops and times. You can go to this link: http://www.congressheightsontherise.com/2012/06/free-ward-8-farmers-market-shuttle.html

  • danmac

    Dave Meadows
    Since you have read the GGW piece and comments will you ask CM Brown to address the issues raised here. Why is a $250,000 grant subcontracted? Why was the grant a sole source bid? Is there any requirement to provide employment to DC unemployed? If Not why not?

  • http://www.ward8farmersmarket.com Michael Segal

    The map of the shuttle bus is now on our website. For what it's worth, we are a DC based organization. All of our (very few) employees are DC residents and 40% of our food producers at market are DC based.