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Back to Mayor’s Mansion land swap

Casey Mansion Committee
Letter to National Park Service proposing change in land swap deal
December 23, 2003




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December 23, 2002

Mr. Joe Cook
Chief of Land Resources Program, NCR
National Park Service
1100 Ohio Drive SW, Room 220
Washington, DC 20242

Re: Proposed Land Exchange
National Park Service/Casey Mansion Foundation

Dear Mr. Cook:

Mrs. Casey and I have had the opportunity to reflect upon and discuss the public response to the land exchange between the Casey Mansion Foundation and the National Park Service (NPS) and I am writing to provide our reaction and proposed final modification to our agreement. We feel strongly that the NPS property adjacent to the Foundation property should be cleared of the exotic vegetation that is killing the trees and has taken over the property and that a second means of access to the Foundation property is an important security issue. There is no more logical or practical location for a second access point than the intersection with Whitehaven Parkway that is soon to be improved with a traffic light, and the fact that neither NPS, the trail clubs or any other local community groups have shown an interest in this property for 54 years is one of the reasons we stepped forward.

In light of the current difficulty in the public response, we would like to male one last attempt to cause the exchange to succeed. Following is our proposal:

The fact that the acreage that is subject to the exchange was originally a part of the Foundation property, was never intended to be park but road extension and is essentially derelict have engendered little apparent support and opposition as you are aware. Under the circumstances, we propose to eliminate the "no development" portion of the proposed exchange reducing the NPS portion of the exchange to just over two acres.

We will drop the Georgetown Waterfront houses as our proposed exchange property and change to using the Carter Woodson house and one or two properties from the Shiloh Baptist Church. The Georgetown property has caused only confusion and opposition from the anti-boathouse people. The Carter Woodson house is a National Register property that the City wants preserved as are important landmark of Black History. Helping to preserve this property, helping preserve an important row of Federal townhouses in Shaw and helping the Shiloh Baptist Church will produce a more tangible benefit to the City at large.

It is agreed that to the extent the land area is reduced that is received by the Foundation, the agreed upon appraised value will be reduced on a direct square foot basis. No greater value will be assigned to that portion of the property exchanged than that retained.

The deletion of the trail will be maintained, but the other provisions of the Second Amendment to the Exchange Agreement will be deleted. The adjacent property owner has objected to the trail out of concern for her property and the non-exchanged portion of the property is more appropriately accessed from Glover Archibald Park. The portion of the property that we are no longer proposing to acquire is the one for which the most concern has been raised; so, since this property is to be retained, NPS can conduct any further studies on its own property it wishes to.

The Park Service agrees to keep to the present schedule; to publish the amended plan as proposed herein at the end of the 30 day public response process on January 3rd; to submit the revised the EIS to NCPC on January 3rd, so that the NCPC hearing will be held on February 6th.

This process has been long and the reaction from the community, which previously had no interest in thus land, seems inappropriate. We would like to conclude this exchange with the changes we have proposed herein and move forward with the mansion project expeditiously. If we cannot do this, then I believe Mrs. Casey will rethink the entire project, as the spirit of her generosity will clearly not have been met in the reception we have been given. If you accept this proposal, we will enter into the necessary contract amendment during the week of January 6.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Richard W. Carr

Cc: Mrs. Betty Casey

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