Community Garden Could Become Substation Under D.C. United Deal
The complex series of land swaps needed to build a D.C. United soccer stadium at Buzzard Point will see several key parcels changing hands. Most prominent among them is the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center at 14th and U streets NW, which will go to the developer Akridge in exchange for land Akridge owns at Buzzard Point. But under the terms of the deal announced Friday by Mayor Vince Gray, the swaps are likely to claim a less-publicized victim: a community garden that could soon become a Pepco substation.
The District needs to acquire parcels at Buzzard Point owned by the utility in order to assemble the land needed to build the stadium. In exchange, the city will give Pepco land at 1st and K streets NW. According to Tony Robinson, spokesman for City Administrator Allen Lew, who negotiated the deal on the city's behalf, that land includes the community garden known as the Farm at Walker Jones.
The garden was never intended to be permanent; it's owned by the city and was slated to be part of the long-planned Northwest One redevelopment project. The retired teacher running the farm recently declared it done for, until news came that it would be taken over by the food education and activism group DC Greens.
Pepco needs to build a substation in the area to supply the fast-growing NoMa neighborhood. The parcel obtained through the D.C. United swap would likely become the site of that substation.
But the community gardeners are likely to have another two growing season to plant and harvest their roots and greens. Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey confirms that Pepco needs to build a substation in the area, but says the company "does not have any plans to develop the area for at least two years."
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