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For the past decade, Barracks Row Main Street has worked tirelessly to preserve and enhance Capitol Hill’s historic 8th Street, SE, commercial corridor and to revitalize its business community.
The group’s focus is the five blocks of 8th Street that stretch south from Pennsylvania Ave S.E. to the terminus of 8th Street at the Washington Navy Yard along M Street, S.E.
Barracks Row is located eight blocks east of the U.S. Capitol.
Last Updated on Tuesday, April 08, 2014, 4:56 PM
Repairs to 8th Street Sought
The streetscape on Barracks Row, installed in 2003-04, has begun to show the effects of its own popularity. Ten years ago Barracks Row Main Street petitioned the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) for the funds that added brick sidewalks, new trees, and historic lampposts to the corridor, but it’s clear now that the Row needs maintenance. We documented over 120 issues that need repair, most involving broken pavers and broken or missing bricks.
Help may arrive soon in the form of a grant from DDOT. The thinking in 2008, as the ballpark was completed, was that with the arrival of throngs of fans, season after season would be willing to pay special game-day rates at DC’s programmable parking meters, a part of this windfall should be shared with nearby neighborhoods that would experience the wear and tear of 81 annual home games.
Authored by Charles Allen and sponsored by Tommy Wells, the “Performance Parking Pilot Zone Act” was passed in 2008, and DDOT has been setting aside a portion of ballpark meter monies ever since to be distributed to affected neighborhoods. The funds may only be used for non-automotive projects. This year local groups including BRMS, the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, and the advisory neighborhood commission (ANC) were invited by DDOT to submit competitive proposals for the grant money.
Second Grant Request – Reinstall Tree Boxes
There is also a second Performance Parking Fund project requested by BRMS, a logical extension of our application for money for sidewalk repairs. This is to re-install the tree box surrounds that were once an integral part of historic 8th Street SE. When the new streetscape was completed, the original tree box surrounds were removed and never seen again.
DDOT has not revealed yet which grant proposals will be selected, but neighbors as well as ANC 6B are all rooting for our projects.Chis Hutson, who lives nearby, observes that“having broken bricks and muddy sidewalks on such a landmark street as Barracks Row … looks like we don't care about our neighborhood.” Longtime 9th Street resident Anne Seymour noted, “I fondly recall the elegant tree surrounds on Barracks Row. Our neighborhood is known for its beautiful gardens, and Barracks Row has the opportunity with new tree surrounds to switch from dirt and mud puddles, to become a showcase.”
GWellness Foundation Grant for Virginia Avenue Community Garden
BRMS is currently applying for a grant authored by the GWellness Foundation - managed by students in the Human Services at George Washington University - for the Virginia Avenue Community Garden, located at the terminus of Virginia Ave. and 9th Street, SE. Tragically the Garden's shed was vandalized and many tools were stolen, and the Garden's rainwater harvesting system is in need of an upgrade. The grant application will hopefully give them a larger, more secure shed as well as a new and improved method to water their garden sustainably.
The Garden has 60+ plots, and benefits many residents of the neighborhood. They host seminars on gardening to local scout groups and schools, routinely donate part of their harvest and funds to the local non-profit 'So Others Might Eat,' and even have fruit trees bordering their garden that anyone can pick from. The awarding of this grant would fund great additions to the garden and help spread healthy and sustainable practices in the neighborhood!
Barracks Row Main Street is a designated DC Main Streets commercial district. Barracks Row Main Street is funded in part by the Department of Small and Local Business Development.