A Community Designs A Bridge Park

Written by Scott Kratz

From the beginning, the Bridge Park has been shaped and molded by the community. Before we employed a single architect, engineer or landscape architect, we spent two years engaging nearby residents. Programming ideas came from over 200 meetings with Ward 6 and 8 civic associations, faith leaders, home owners and renters. This community-driven design process continued with our nation-wide design competition as we created a “Design Oversight Committee” of local stakeholders to review and edit the design brief (the organizing document that drove the competition) even before design firms saw it. This group then met with our four final architectural teams several times during the design process and provided critical feedback to ensure the final renderings reflected their collective vision. At the end of a seven-month competition, the Design Oversight Committee used the same criteria as our competition jury to select the winning team. We also installed exhibitions of the four final team renderings at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, ArtReach at THEARC gallery and the American Institute of Architects downtown center and held on-line voting in partnership with the Washington Post. As it turned out, the community and the jury were unanimous for our amazingly talented team of OMA+OLIN.

We are now at the exciting point in the process where our architects and landscape architects at OMA+OLIN are refining the Bridge Park design. It is essential that the community continues to play an active role in that effort and to that end, we have created a group of local stakeholders to provide on-going feedback. This group will meet at regular intervals over the next two years with our design team. We convened this group earlier this month for a two hour meeting at THEARC in advance of presentations to federal review agencies such as the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission this fall. We would like to thank these dedicated folks for ensuring the future 11th Street Bridge Park is a space designed by the community and for the community.

This group includes:

  • Angela Adams, Public Art Administrator, Arlington Economic Development
  • Jack Becker, Anacostia Coordinating Council
  • Jenny Billfeld, Washington Performing Arts
  • Ruth Caplan, Greening Cleveland Park Committee
  • Ronda Chapman, Groundwork DC
  • Mark Corneal, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
  • Bruce Darconte, Near Southeast Community Partners
  • Meredith Fascett, ANC 6D Commissioner
  • Greta Fuller, ANC 8A Commissioner
  • Reverend Donald Isaac, Ward 8 Interfaith Council
  • Stan Jackson, Anacostia Economic Development Corporation
  • Arnehl Lyon, Hillsdale Civic Association
  • Ashley Milton, University of the District of Columbia
  • Tendani Mpulubusi-El, 8 Arts & Culture
  • Jennifer Ney, Anacostia Community Boathouse Association
  • Kirsten Oldenburg, ANC 6B Commissioner
  • Graylin Presbury, Fairlawn Civic Association
  • David Smith, The Pearl Coalition
  • Ariel Trahan, Anacostia Watershed Society
  • Roxanne Rucker, Kaboom!
  • Jim Schulman, Community Forklift
  • Vince Vaise, National Park Service

We are currently working with our partners at the District Department of Transportation to plan a larger public meeting next month for more input from the community. Stay tuned for details!