A couple of people e-mailed me about a story they heard on WAMU’s March 26 Morning Edition referencing congressional interest in Reservation 13. While the majority of the story focused on how Congress has taken more control of tourist hotspots around the Capitol and the Mall, David Hawkings, editor of the CQ Roll Call Daily Briefings, ended the report with the following reference to Reservation 13:
“Congress deeded that land [Reservation 13] over for economic development. The city has some different ideas about that, maybe a new home for the Redskins, and Congress is raising its eyebrow forcefully on that one as well.”
You can listen to the clip on the WAMU website (comment re: Reservation 13 at 3:35).
While I don’t know the specifics of congressional concerns or who is raising them, I did look up the Federal and District of Columbia Government Real Property Act of 2006 (H.R. 3699), the law that transferred control of Reservation 13 and the Old Naval Hospital (now the Hill Center) to the DC government. The law sets out four specific conditions for conveyance of Reservation 13. Below is Section 101, subsection B in its entirety:
(b) CONDITIONS FOR CONVEYANCE OF RESERVATION 13.-As a condition for the conveyance of U.S. Reservation 13 to the District of Columbia under this section, the District of Columbia shall agree-
(1) to set aside a portion of the property for the extension of Massachusetts Avenue Southeast and the placement of a potential commemorative work to be established pursuant to chapter 89 of title 40, United States Code, at the terminus of Massachusetts Avenue Southeast (as so extended) at the Anacostia River;
(2) to convey all right, title, and interest of the District of Columbia in the portion set aside under paragraph (1) to the Secretary of the Interior (acting through the Director of the National Park Service) at such time as the Secretary may require, if a commemorative work is established in the manner described in paragraph (1);
(3) to permit the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia to continue to occupy a portion of the property consistent with the requirements of the District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2002 (Public Law 107-96; 115 Stat. 931);
(4) to develop the property consistent with the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation’s Master Plan for Reservation 13 (also known as the Hill East Waterfront). (emphasis added by me)
The law clearly states that as a condition for the transfer of Reservation 13 from the federal government, the District shall agree to develop the land consistent with the Reservation 13 master plan. And the law also outlines other features of the master plan, such as the extension of Massachusetts Avenue SE to the river, the creation of “Monument Circle” and the requirement that property be set aside for CSOSA (currently housed in Karrick Hall).
As I’ve mentioned before, a Redskins training facility that takes up more than half of the 50-acres available for development on Reservation 13 is clearly not consistent with a master plan which calls for three distinct districts, retail, housing, healthcare and office uses. And from the legislative language above, a training facility also appears to violate the conditions of the federal land transfer.
Maybe that’s why Congress is “raising its eyebrow forcefully?”