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National Capital Planning Commission waterfront plan

Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor Memorandum of Understanding

In “NCPC: National Capital Planning Commission,” an undated brochure issued in 2001, the NCPC describes the Legacy Plan:

“In 1997, as part of its long-range planning responsibilities, the Commission released its framework plan for the Washington’s Monumental Core, Extending the Legacy: Planning America’s Capital for the 21st Century redefines Washington’s Monumental Core by creating opportunities for new museums, memorials, and federal office buildings in all quadrants of the city. The Legacy Plan preserves the historic character and open space of the Mall and its adjacent ceremonial corridors while accommodating growth and new development. The plan expands the reach of public transit and eliminated obsolete freeways, bridges, and railroad tracks that fragment the city. It reclaims Washington's historic waterfront for public enjoyment, and adds parks, plazas, and other amenities to the urban fabric. Using federal resources to generate local investment, the Legacy Plan will spur community renewal well into the twenty-first century.

“The National Capital Planning Commission, working with leading planning and design professionals and with business, community, and federal and local government partners, developed the plan in response to the anticipated demands on the Nation’s Capital in the coming century. Tourism is expected to double over the next 50 years, automobile traffic could increase by a third during the next 20 years, and site for many new memorials, museums, and federal buildings must be found.”

The NCPC’s brochure, “Extending the Legacy: Planning America’s Capital for the 21st Century,” undated but issued in 1997, includes among its economic development proposals: “Convert the area around RFK Stadium into a new eastern gateway to Washington, featuring museums, park and educational centers,” and includes this general map:

Map of city with areas planned for change

The “Extending the Legacy” brochure also labels the following map detail, "The Anacostia waterfront could become a dramatic center for recreation, entertainment and learning.”

detailed drawing of envisioned RFK-DC General area

Extending the Legacy,” the plan itself, was issued in 1997. It is available in PDF format on the NCPC’s web site. The plan says of itself that: “It redefines the Monumental Core to include adjacent portions of North, South and East Capitol streets. It reclaims and reconnects the city’s waterfront, from Georgetown to the Potomac River to the National Arboretum on the Anacostia.”

In the plan, the riverfront area that now contains RFK Stadium and DC General Hospital is entirely redesigned: “East Capitol Street will become the link between the traditional Monumental Core and the Anacostia River. While the existing Capitol Hill neighborhood of quiet streets and historic row houses will remain undisturbed, the Anacostia waterfront will be transformed into a new ecological precinct, with the river and parks as the centerpiece and environmental stewardship as the theme. The area will celebrate parks, islands and wetlands; an aquarium is proposed for Kingman Island. The RFK Stadium site, now mostly parking lots, will contain a major memorial, surrounded by new housing and commercial development. This proposal for the Anacostia waterfront would not only increase total park acreage in the District, but also make it more accessible to more people for more activities.” This is further expanded, with more explicit references to DC General Hospital, later in the plan: “For East Capitol Street at the Anacostia River — another area in need of revitalization — the plan proposes a new environmental park containing wetlands, an aquarium and a regional education center focused on making the river part of Washington’s daily life. The park would replace RFK Stadium and adjacent institutional buildings with gardens, fountains and waterfalls connected to playing fields, marinas and a riverside nature preserve. New housing and commercial development would complete the redevelopment of the area.”

A small amount of further information about plans for the Anacostia Waterfront Park is in the NCPC’s December 1999 report, Washington’s Waterfronts: Phase I.

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Memorandum of Understanding

THIS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING is entered into this 22nd day of March 2000, by and among the following entities:

General Services Administration
The Government of the District of Columbia
Office of Management and Budget
Naval District Washington
Military District Washington
Commanding Officer Marine Barracks Washington
US Department of Labor
US Department of Transportation
National Park Service
US Army Corps of Engineers
Environmental Protection Agency
District of Columbia Housing Authority
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
National Capital Planning Commission
District of Columbia Sports and Entertainment Commission
District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority
National Arboretum of the United States Department of Agriculture
US Small Business Administration

(Each a "Party" and collectively, the "Parties").


The Parties, each of whom owns land on, or otherwise has an interest in the waterfront of the District of Columbia, have joined together to create a new partnership that will help to attain a vision for the waterfront areas. This partnership will build on the great historic plans for the District of Columbia as an investment undertaken in partnership with the people of the District of Columbia (the "Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor" or "Endeavor"). The Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor envisions a new, energized waterfront for the next millennium that will unify diverse waterfront areas of the District of Columbia into a cohesive and attractive mixture of recreational, residential, and commercial uses by capitalizing on one of the City's greatest natural assets, its shoreline. The Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor will contribute to the revitalization of surrounding neighborhoods, provide enhanced park areas, develop Government-owned land for the benefit of the people of the District of Columbia and the federal and District of Columbia Governments, where appropriate, increase access to the water, where appropriate, and enhance visitor participation in the activities and opportunities provided along the new waterfront. The Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor will contribute to urban revitalization through better coordination of waterfront development, as well as provide greater access to adjacent neighborhoods, where appropriate, and connect the waterfront and its adjacent neighborhoods with Downtown, the Mall, Georgetown, Capitol Hill, Southwest and the Anacostia neighborhoods. The Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor will provide for investment in building the capacity of surrounding communities to create wealth and jobs, as well as mechanisms for enhancing local labor force development through training and apprenticeships. Upon completion of the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor and concurrent private and community efforts, the Parties believe that the waterfront of the District of Columbia will rival that of any of the great cities of the world and serve to maintain the City as one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world.

The Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor is made possible by the commitment of the United States Government and the federal parties listed above to devote time and resources, as agreed upon by the parties to the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor, and by the willingness of the District of Columbia Government to engage in the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor. In furtherance of the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor, the District of Columbia Office of Planning will develop a plan for the Anacostia Waterfront in partnership with the National Park Service and the General Services Administration. Over seventy percent of the subject land area and over ninety percent of the subject shoreline is currently publicly owned, with the Department of Defense and the National Park Service among the major landowners.

The Parties have joined together to sign and implement this Memorandum of Understanding to set forth their goals and requirements for the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor in a spirit of cooperation and shared vision. By working together, the Parties believe that they can cause the dream of a new waterfront for the Federal City and the District of Columbia to become a reality. This is a great and good endeavor which will leave an inspired legacy for the future citizens of the District of Columbia and the people of this great nation. It will be one of the most important partnerships ever made between the District of Columbia and federal governments.


The Parties agree as follows:

  1. Specific Goals. Among the specific goals of the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor are the following:
    1. To realize the full potential of the District of Columbia's waterfronts (the "Waterfronts") in order to enhance the quality of life for residents of, and visitors to, the greater Washington, DC area through a partnership which will provide access to, where appropriate, and improvement of the Waterfronts. For purposes of this Memorandum of Understanding, and as more fully described in Exhibit A, the Waterfronts consist of, inter alia, both shores of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, and landmarks such as the Southwest Waterfront, Fort McNair, the Navy Yard, RFK Stadium, the Anacostia River parks, the National Arboretum and the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. It is clearly understood by all of the parties to this agreement that security is the number one priority of military installations. Consequently, where issues arise concerning public access to waterfront areas on military installations, the installation commanders will be the ultimate decisionmakers.
    2. To ensure that the Waterfronts are planned and developed to provide the appropriate development potential for the District of Columbia and the federal government. This development will preserve the environment and encourage the use of sustainable development techniques. Waterfront development should be planned to take advantage of its location, particularly view corridors and where appropriate, access to green spaces.
    3. To build on existing relationships to ensure that Waterfronts are planned and developed with the participation and input of surrounding communities and community organizations. The Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor will build on existing relationships between the City, federal agencies, and the Washington, DC community (e.g., the Bridges to Friendship initiative).
    4. To assess existing infrastructure with respect to anticipated future demand, particularly with respect to transportation, storm water management, wetland restoration, and bulkhead rehabilitation. The infrastructure will be planned in order to support the mix of private development and park protection and rehabilitation desired by the District of Columbia Government, the federal government, and the surrounding communities.
    5. To build a framework by which the Parties will develop a cooperative plan for the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor.
    6. To develop a timetable and appropriate implementation and management mechanisms for the realization of the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor. The implementation should assess the impact of development in the project area on environmental quality, economic development, access to open space, where appropriate, and sustainability of the entire region.
    7. To build on existing plans for the District of Columbia, including the L'Enfant Plan and the McMillan Plan, to create consistent and compatible development.
    8. To bring economic development, employment, and recreational opportunities to the communities surrounding the Anacostia River consistent with all applicable laws.
  2. Endeavor. The parties agree to partner in the Endeavor for the purpose of carrying out the terms of this Agreement. The signatories, or their designees, for each of the constituent federal agency parties shall meet with the Mayor of the District of Columbia, once a year, to review the status of the Endeavor and the progress of the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor.
  3. Management. The coordination of the Endeavor will be the responsibility of a Joint Management Committee comprised of one or more representative(s) from each of the Parties. The primary responsibility for coordinating the affairs and activities of the Joint Management Committee shall be borne jointly by the representative of the General Services Administration and the District of Columbia Office of Planning. The Parties agree to appoint their initial representatives to the Joint Management Committee on or before April 19, 2000 and to schedule an initial meeting of the Joint Management Committee on or before April 26, 2000. The Joint Management Committee will make recommendations regarding joint planning and project development matters. The individual agency or agencies affected will be responsible for obtaining all required approvals from planning and permitting agencies and ensuring compliance with all applicable local and federal rules, regulations and statutes. The Party that appointed a member may remove and replace that member at its sole discretion.
  4. Community Participation Process. The parties recognize the importance of public participation in the planning and implementation of projects along the Waterfront. To that end, when appropriate, outreach will be made to the community and stakeholders to discuss proposals and plans. As appropriate, the Endeavor will work with existing organizations and others. This process is only for the area designated in Appendix A and will not supersede requirements and missions of the parties.
  5. Planning. The Parties involved with the Endeavor will collaborate with the overall planning effort for the Anacostia Waterfront that is being developed by the District of Columbia Office of Planning in partnership with the National Park Service and the General Services Administration.
  6. Funding for the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor. It is the intention of the Parties that the costs of the planning process may be funded by the parties involved, consistent with the missions, authority, and budget process of each constituent Party.
  7. Implementation. It is the intention of the Parties that implementation will be an effort by the appropriate parties and others in the private and public sectors as will be determined by the Joint Management Committee. The Joint Management Committee shall make recommendations with respect to implementation and where appropriate, shall facilitate coordination among relevant stakeholders. Recommendations shall be coordinated with appropriate federal and local bodies.
  8. Timetable. Within sixty (60) days of the date the parties enter into the MOU, the Joint Management Committee will agree to the initial scope of the Endeavor's planning efforts, including community participation mechanisms for the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor; will establish mechanisms to review projects and provide recommendations to appropriate agencies/organizations; and will develop a list of initial projects that can be completed relatively quickly to further the stated goals of the Endeavor and to provide momentum for the Waterfront Revitalization Endeavor.
  9. Miscellaneous Provisions.
    1. Entire Agreement. This agreement constitutes the entire agreement among the Parties with respect to the subject matter thereof.
    2. Admission. Parties who own land on or otherwise have an interest in or concern about the waterfront of the District of Columbia may join the Endeavor at any time throughout the term of the Endeavor.
    3. Amendment/Modification. This Agreement may be amended or modified with respect to a party upon notice by a party to the agreement.
    4. This agreement is intended only to improve the management and collaboration on the matters referenced herein and does not create any new regulatory, permit, zoning, or other federal or District of Columbia approval requirements or any enforceable rights against the United States, its agencies, its offices or any person.

Anacostia Waterfront Revitalization Initiative Geographic Boundaries

Waterfront Revitalization Initiative map

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