A new year always brings so much promise. And after the year we all just went through, 2021 brings an extra special opportunity to turn the page on the past and imagine a brighter future. Read on for why we are so excited about what this new year will bring.
Designing & BUILDING a Bridge
This past year, our talented design team of OMA+OLIN along with our engineers at Whitman, Requardt & Associates completed the schematic design of the 11th Street Bridge Park. Our next big contract with our partners at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will take us to 100% design and the solicitation of our general contractor in the next 12 months. This should lead us to breaking ground in 2022 to realize this community driven civic space. Stay tuned for a series of public meetings with our architect, landscape architect and engineers for updates on our progress!
A Year of Festivity
Exposure to green space is essential to reinvigorating bodily and mental health through exercise and relaxation. We are seeing it right now, as people flock to parks and green spaces to relieve the anxiety of isolation, maintain a sense of metal wellbeing and physical presence. Indeed, research has shown that older people’s health is linked to the quantity, quality and proximity of local green and blue space.
To that end, our 2021 programming will explore future park programming and kicks off with our Anacostia River Festival April 9 – 11. With our partners at the National Park Service and National Cherry Blossom Festival, we will present a blend of virtual and (safely distanced) in person events that includes fishing demonstrations, kayak and canoe exploration of the mighty Anacostia and a celebration of Anacostia’s rich history through an oral history project. These events culminate on Sunday, April 11 with streamed content featuring community non-profits providing a taste of what’s to come when the park opens in a few short years!
The Anacostia River Festival is book ended with our fourth annual Taste of the Harvest event in October. Hopefully by the fall, we will be able to safely gather in person with food cooking demonstrations, local musical acts, garlic planting in THEARC Farm and our super popular roasting s’mores around an open fire. We can’t wait to see you!
Investing in Our Community
Over the last five years, the Bridge Park has shifted traditional methods of infrastructure investment by focusing on people first. This justice-centered project addresses systemic disparities by delivering access to healthy food, creating permanent affordable housing, leading workforce training, supporting local small businesses and amplifying the voices of nearby residents. In 2021, this includes continuing our partnership with Manna on the monthly Ward 8 Home Buyers Club that to date has seen 85 Ward 8 renters become home owners capturing generational wealth. In partnership with Skyland Workforce Center, we will hold our 18th construction training workshop early this year. We are piloting a new program providing resources to build and improve websites of three Anacostia small businesses to increase on-line revenue streams. In May, we kick off our C.R.I.S.P. CSA providing low cost healthy food to local residents. And this month we start our third Community Leadership Empowerment Workshop (CLEW) supporting Ward 8’s champions – change happens from the ground up.
The Bridge Park’s strong foundation of equity, collaboration and shared power is even more important today as social infrastructure such as parks, libraries, schools – which will be critical for healing, safety and supporting the rebirth of thriving neighborhoods and civic life. Gathering spaces where communities meet, have shared experiences and make connections across income, race and geographic barriers, are key to developing stronger, more resilient societies. Civic spaces like the Bridge Park create opportunities to develop empathy, understanding and shared values¾ all critical actions in times of divisiveness and isolation.
We are thrilled to have you along this journey with us – and in a few short years, walking across that bridge.