Downtowner DC Feb. 21, 2018

Ground Broken for New Frederick Douglass Bridge

The groundbreaking for the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge over the Anacostia River — and the reconfiguration of connections to South Capitol Street, Potomac Avenue, Q Street SW, Suitland Parkway and Interstate 295 — a $441-million project, took place Feb. 13 with the mayor in attendance. The new bridge, with traffic circles at each end and dedicated lanes for pedestrians and cyclists, will be built parallel to the old one, which dates to 1950. Completion is set for the fall of 2021.

Will FBI Stay on Pennsylvania Avenue?

Earlier this month, the General Services Administration issued a report recommending that FBI headquarters remain at 935 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, with the existing J. Edgar Hoover Building demolished and replaced. Estimated price tag: $3.3 billion. The new headquarters will house 8,300 employees, down from 11,000; the remainder would relocate to West Virginia, Alabama and Idaho. An earlier plan had the headquarters moving to Greenbelt or Landover in Maryland or to Springfield, Virginia.

Impact Hub Shuts Down

After four years, business incubator Impact Hub closed its doors at 419 7th St. NW at the end of January. Court documents from November and December show missed rent and utility payments and a stay preventing eviction prior to Feb. 1. The network’s parent, San Francisco-based social entrepreneurship firm Mission Hub, is also closing up shop in D.C. The landlord, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, filed an eviction notice after Mission Hub failed to pay nearly half a million dollars.

D.C. General Shelter Closing

Mayor Bowser released a plan and a timeline for closing the D.C. General Family Shelter by the end of the year, keeping her promise to close the outdated shelter on the way to replacing it with safer, service-enriched facilities. D.C. General houses about 250 families on a daily basis. In the coming months, the Department of Human Services will work to reduce the hospital’s use as a shelter, gradually moving families to permanent housing or to other locations.

Bill to Remake Federal Parks in D.C.

The DowntownDC Business Improvement District supported the passage of H.R. 2897, a bill sponsored by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and authorized by Mayor Bowser and the director of the National Park Service. If passed by the Senate, the bill will authorize cooperative management agreements for federally-owned parks in D.C. Plans for Franklin Park, the largest downtown, include the fixing of broken sidewalks, a new fountain and children’s play garden and programming such as exercise classes and movie screenings.

Fair Elections Act Passes

After years of organizing and campaigning, the Fair Elections Act passed the District Council unanimously. The Working Families Party is calling for the mayor and the Council to fully fund the program, which will provide matching funds to local candidates who focus on fundraising from D.C. residents in lieu of accepting big donations. The Working Families Party hopes the program will promote economic and racial equity.

D.C. Continues to Flirt with Amazon

Mayor Muriel Bowser took Brian Kenner, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, along on a Silicon Valley business trip. Bowser and Kenner are working to get Amazon to choose D.C. as its second headquarters, known as HQ2. According to Bowser, it was D.C.’s first trip targeting the West Coast as a source of business development. It comes after the D.C. government put out a request for information regarding a new “inclusive innovation fund.”


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