APACC's wishes for 2017
The Anacostia Park and Community Collaborative, a broad coalition of nonprofit organizations from diverse sectors, envisions a community-led, equitable revitalization of the Anacostia River parks and adjacent neighborhoods in Wards 7 and 8, as well as a thorough cleanup of the Anacostia River. Through this process, we will foster the growth of a thriving, diverse, and sustainable community that actively accepts and takes ownership of the challenges and opportunities along this cherished water source to improve the lives and livelihoods of both current and future residents.
To get it done, APACC wants to work closely with our partners at the National Park Service and the District government, which have the primary responsibility to clean up and make key improvements in Anacostia Park, the Anacostia River, and the surrounding communities.
We will find the right mix of being persistent advocates, facilitators, and supporters when good things happen. We are confident that, working together, we can make our wishes for 2017 come true.
- The National Park Service and the District complete the toxic cleanup of Kenilworth Park. Ward 7 and Ward 8 are blessed with an incredible resource in hundreds of acres of riverfront parkland managed by the National Park Service, but for 75 years they have had to put up with a toxic mess in its front yard. It is long past time to get the toxics cleaned up and the land into productive community use.
- Robust park programs for east of the river children, youth, and adults are designed and implemented in Kenilworth Park. Cities around the world have created great educational, environmental, economic development, recreational, cultural, and training programs in urban parks for residents. We need to be aware of those, and encourage implementation of the best ones, in close consultation with the people who live in Wards 7 and 8. The National Park Service and the DC government must facilitate programming partnerships in the park to make this green space accessible to all #eotr residents, other DC residents, and visitors.
- DC government builds the Nature Center for kids on Kingman Island. DC has controlled Kingman Island since 1998, but little has happened. Since 2005 we’ve been looking at giant billboards with beautiful designs for a children's Nature Center on the island, which could be a great benefit to #eotr kids. It is time to get on with it.
- DC government and the National Park Service clean up the toxic chemicals on the bottom and along the shore of the Anacostia River. The people of Ward 7 cannot have a healthy and safe river until cancer-causing and other unhealthy chemicals are removed from the river. DC is spending millions to understand exactly what is there and formulate a plan, which by law must be released by June 2018. Then under the "polluter pays" principle, those responsible for putting the toxics there have to pay to for the cleanup. They can’t be allowed to stall. Similar plans are underway for shoreline toxics.
- DC Council passes and Mayor signs legislation to stop bottles and other trash in the Anacostia River. Cleaning up the bottom toxics and riverside areas is necessary but not enough. The river shouldn’t look like a trash transfer station. We have made progress stopping illegal dumping of trash and stopping pollution from plastic bags and Styrofoam containers. Now it is time to get the plastic and glass bottles out. DC, Montgomery, and Prince Georges Counties should pass bottle laws.
- DC government, NPS, and the community improve access to Anacostia Park and River. The Anacostia adjacent to Ward 7 is a wonderland of nature. But not many Ward 7 residents ever get to see it. To achieve a vision of a welcoming, green, and thriving waterfront, communities and government together must demonstrate the benefits of the river and welcome all Ward 7 residents to visit. Great waterfront parks promote healthy lifestyles, improving mental health and encouraging exercise.
- DC government and NPS expand training and education on and around the river and create a river economy. All around the world, rivers enhance education and help economies to prosper. The Anacostia could help the economy of Wards 7 and 8 by attracting visitors and creating jobs but it could also be a site for training in the new green economy for those who need jobs most.