D.C. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans: Reverse the alley giveaway to GWU and reform alley closure law

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On July 10th, the Council of the District of Columbia gifted a public alley worth $2.8 million to the George Washington University.  This giveaway is a low-point for the Council and the Councilmember that initiated it, Jack Evans.

The public interest has been disregarded in favor of giving a $2.8 million windfall to a connected political ally.  Taxpayers stand to gain nothing from the deal because the construction will simply merge three dorms that already exist into a larger, multiplex-style dorm.  There will be a net-zero gain in jobs or tax revenue from the new building.  The impact of this project is to squander valuable resources, take away much needed money from the pockets of the poorest District taxpayers, and simply give it to one of the District's wealthiest institutions.  The only benefits from the deal were financially for GW and politically for Jack Evans.  The question must be asked: Why did the Council giveaway 2.8 million dollars when there are historic community assets starved of much needed investment?

The spirit of Alexander Crummell has created a dynamic synergy between cross-town communities.  Crummell was appointed pastor in 1875 to head St. Mary's Episcopal Church in now thriving Foggy Bottom Community.  The poor condition of the Crummell School reveals the irresponsibility of giving away valuable District property when historic assets like Crummell School in Ivy City remain in desparate need of investment and economic infusion.

As all jurisdictions do, we have limited valuable public resources that our leaders are elected to protect.  We fear that the Council and government will continue to waste the District's valuable and limited public resources with future land giveaways while allowing our historic assets to languish.

As taxpayers of the District, we ask our leaders to:

1. Reverse the alley giveaway to GW.

2. Require GW to contribute the value of the closed alley to a new Metro entrance for Foggy Bottom and restoration of the Crummell School.

3. Reform alley closure law to require adequate compensation to the District and surrounding community for future closures.

4. Stop alley giveaways until alley closure procedures are reformed.

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