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Government and People
COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
COUNCILMEMBER, WARD 3
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
January 17, 2003
Mr. Joseph Cook, Chief
Land Resources Program Center
National Capital Region
National Park Service
1100 Ohio Drive, S W
Washington, DC 20242
Dear Mr. Cook,
I write to share my view on the National Park Service Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed land exchange between the National Park Service (NPS) and the Casey Mansion Foundation.
As the Ward 3 representative to the District of Columbia Council, I represent the residents in the immediate area along Foxhall Road. While many residents are very supportive of the proposed mayoral mansion on the site, and some support the transfer of land, a majority of my constituents who have expressed opinions publicly on the issue are concerned about or specifically oppose the transfer of national parkland to the foundation.
As a general proposition, I oppose the loss of green space available to the public. In the District and in upper northwest in particular, we have far too little parkland available for recreational uses. We have far too little public space available for organized uses including athletics. The National Capital Planning Commission in its Comprehensive Plan urged that Whitehaven and similar parklands be protected and maintained for the public.
The EA as drafted does not support the need for the NPS to deed four acres of national parkland to support the mayoral mansion. To date, the Executive Branch of the District government has not established either a transportation or a security need for the additional four acres. What is on the record to date indicates the initial site is adequate. The Mayor's Official Residence Commission recommended the Casey Mansion Foundation property on Foxhall Road, and concluded: "The proposed site and building are large enough to accommodate all reasonable security concerns."
Without a case having been made to transfer this particular parkland, I oppose the transfer of the full four acres for this purpose. I reserve the right to support the transfer of a significantly smaller amount of land should a case be made for doing so in the near future, based on security or transportation needs associated with moving forward on the mansion project.
Finally, I note that the land in question has not been appropriately maintained. I urge the National Park Service to protect and maintain this parkland so that it is attractive to passersby and usable by District residents.
Thank you for considering these views.
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