There’s an article in the Post about giving private developers access to develop public land and spaces in return for sorely needed infrastructure. What’s particularly relevant about the piece is that two of the named sites are in Central/Eastern Shaw: the Watha T Daniel library and Shaw Junior High School.
Something needs to be done about Watha T Daniel. Construction was going to begin on it this year I think, but that was scuttled and we’re back to the drawing board with more plans being drawn up. That empty library looks like, to borrow someone else’s description, a refugee camp sometimes with so many camping out outside the place. Hardly the image the neighborhood wants to present to Metro passengers exiting there.
After reading the article, I think I, personally, can support idea of public/private partnerships to rebuild schools and libraries. Consider this:
With the costs of fixing schools and libraries estimated at close to $2 billion, said D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, “I don’t believe we can tax our way out.”
Honestly, I don’t want to pay any more taxes than DC residents already do. We shoulder a pretty high tax burden because of all of the land that isn’t taxable by the DC government. Let’s create a bigger tax base and spread the burden across it.
Simi Batra, a neighborhood association president, says:
“You don’t sell your public spaces to finance school construction; that’s not how it’s done,” Batra said. “Because what happens the next time a renovation needs to be done? In a hundred years, there will be nothing left to sell.”
Actually, that’s wrong. Theoretically a larger tax base (from new residents and businesses) and a more responsible government will be able to annually fund the public buildings so that they never get back to this horrid state.
I guess I can live with some responsibly planned higher density if we get better schools and libraries.