There's some new information on the Canal Park
front today, starting with the news that Olin
has been chosen from a group of seven invited applicants to create a new design for the park. They are the firm behind the National Gallery's sculpture garden and the Air Force Memorial (on the hill above the Pentagon), and are currently working on the new levee system at 17th and Constitution.
The new design will still focus heavily on low-impact design features and stormwater management abilities, with hopes that the park could be a "zero net energy" project through the placement of solar panels on lightpoles and perhaps even neighboring buildings. (I asked if there were going to be 30-foot-tall windmills, but the answer was no.) The stormwater management aspects could extend to future neighboring buildings as well, perhaps by capturing the HVAC condensation and/or stormwater runoff. There's also likely to be a new pavilion and cafe that weren't in the original design, as well as the possibility of building a fountain that could also be an ice skating rink in the winter.
The schedule to completion, though, is not a short one--preliminary designs were not part of the RFP process, and it's expected that the design and permitting process could take between 10 months and a year, which would put the start of construction in early 2010. Because of the extensive infrastructure work that needs to be done beneath the park site (for not only the park but the eventual surrounding Capper apartment buildings), the estimated length of construction would be about a year, putting the opening date in 2011.
But, for now, all anyone wants to know at this point is when the school buses will be gone, right? Construction on the new lot out at DC Village is apparently nearly complete, with "April" now being offered as the date when the buses can move to their new home, but will it happen? Perhaps there ought to be a Farewell to the Buses Pool--put your guess for the date when the buses drive off for good in the comments, and we'll see who comes closest. (And maybe we'll also have the first official JDLand reader gathering on the day the buses leave, so everyone can stand on the corner and sing "Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Goodbye" while waving them down the road.)
On the bright side, permits are already in the works so that, once the buses are gone, the three blocks will be cleared, graded, and sodded, to allow for use as a park while the design process is underway.
My Canal Park page
is pretty moldy right now (I've been on strike from updating it), but you can check it out to see how little it's changed in the last six years.