The Lower Georgia Avenue corridor in Northwest D.C. is going through a revitalization that may change the current living conditions of the area’s residents. The Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force informed residents along lower Georgia Avenue in Northwest D.C. about the latest revitalization efforts on Aug. 6 at Howard University’s School of Architecture and Planning.
Picture of Georgia Avenue poster. Photo by Linda Poulson.
Sylvia Robinson, the task force’s co-founder, said the meeting addressed the vision for lower Georgia Avenue, helped residents understand the development process, and looked at the university’s development projects. She said the meetings happen every two years.
“The reason why we’re doing this is because this is a complicated process, there are things people are interested in but don’t know where to start,” Robinson said. “The task force has always worked to break down the details to something that people deal with and understand, manage, know when to come to meetings, and interpret what’s coming down from the city.”
Priorities for revitalization include how the corridor will thrive and how businesses will be successful. Request for proposals will be required to competitively win grants to refurbish certain areas. “We specifically did this presentation because of the Planned Unit Developments that are coming to the neighborhood and we wanted people to be prepared for it by understanding the process,” Robinson said.
The process of the development is complicated due to intricate steps that involve map amendments, modifications, notice of intent, and public hearings. All requirements must go through the zoning commission’s process for approval.
Another issue of the Lower Georgia Avenue corridor is an extension from New Hampshire Avenue and S Street Northwest. The extension cuts between two Advisory Neighborhood Commissions – ANC1A to the north and ANC1B to the south.
Robinson said the commissions do things differently, operate differently, and may be making deals with developers the public is unaware of.
The Howard University session focused on the revitalization of housing units for students, affordability, and placement of open spaces. “The buildings have more of an antiquated process,” said Derrek Niec-Williams, executive director of Campus Planning, Architecture and Development at Howard University, led the session. “Models now are integrated systems.”
The campus plan was approved by the Zoning Commission of D.C. in 2012. The Towers, a residential area that houses juniors, seniors, and grad students, will be renovated. Meridian Hall was sold and two new residential halls have been built for freshmen and sophomores. A recreation center is currently being built along with new academic buildings. Howard is required to provide a Master Plan every ten years to the D.C. government.
“Everything is shifting, the real estate boom is bringing in richer White folks, those that have been here may be pushed out,” Robinson said. “My strategy is you get more people with voices, the harder it is to push them out.”