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OP Joins Push for West Heating Plant Green Space

The community would like to see part of the federal property become park land after its auction later this year.

Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning urged the General Services Administration to include a copy of the West Heating Plant site's comprehensive plan, which includes a large swath of green space, in any materials distributed to bidders in the upcoming auction of the federal property.

The West Heating Plant is a surplus federal propery at the southeasternmost edge of Georgetown, bordered by Rock Creek Park, the C&O Canal, the Georgeown Waterfront and 29th Street.

It is currently unzoned. GSA's environmental assessment examined the possiblity of fully developing the site, to include converting the existing structure into residential or office use and building a new structure on adjoining open space and a silo pad. 

Georgetown civic groups and Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans have been lobbying for zoning restrictions and possibly a set-aside of park land on the property prior to or directly after sale.

Evans and community leaders met with Dan Tregoning last week; her letter to Tangherlini was the direct result of their conversation. 

"It is important that any future developer understand that they will need to work with the Distrit staff and Zoning Commission to zone the site and that District law requires that zoning not be inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan," wrote Tregoning.

The plan, she notes, calls for the portion of the property outisde of the existing building to become parks land.

These conditions are precisely what the neighborhood groups have been lobbying for.

"There is a real opportunity for a park to be established that would link the C&O Canal Historical Park with Rock Creek Park and provide visual and public access to the Georetown Waterfront Park," wrote Tregoning. 

The GSA declared the property surplus last November. Since the plant was decommissioned in 2000, it has cost the government an estimated $3.5 million to maintain. An ebay-style online auction is planned for this November.

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