On Thursday, May 16th, the Federal Commission on Fine Arts (CFA) gave approval to designs for the Eastern Market Metro Park (EMMP) Plaza presented by the Department of General Services (DGS)-led EMMP Design Build Team.
CFA is the federal agency charged with reviewing design and architectural development in designated areas of the District. Their approval of plans is required to move forward with construction. CFA has posted the full DGS presentation, and it is available online.
DGS had presented an earlier set of plans to CFA on March 7, at which point the federal agency asked the design team to treat Parcel 1 (the site of the George Didden Tree) and Parcel 4 (the site of the entrance to Eastern Market Metro) separately, rather than trying to unify the two. At the April 3 community meeting held by DGS, team lead Cassidy Mullen said that CFA told DGS that they were trying to do too much, and to simply the design.
April 3 Design:
Changes to the design were made in response to CFA concerns, and are visible below. On Parcel 1, the shapes of the layout were softened. There are two playgrounds (#1) accommodating separate age ranges, shaded by the current, preserved tree canopy. A nearby splash pad (#2) will be surrounded by a seat wall for safety and supervision, and a nearby seating area with movable furniture will allow for picnicing. The recreational lawn (#3) complements a nearby shaded seating area (#6) which DGS calls ‘the Nature Room.’ A plaza surrounding the George Didden III Tree (#8) facilitates community events.
May 2 Design (CFA meeting May 16):
EMMP Plan as approved by CFA after May 16 meeting. CFA will supply additional notes asking for further refinements to Parcel 4. Image: Courtesy DGSThe water feature on Parcel 4 (#22) was relocated closer to Eighth Street to facilitate the flow of pedestrian traffic. Space for the use of the Southeast Library (#16) was increased, and it is a nook with seat walls to accommodate small groups. A grove of trees (#15) and landscaping help insulate the space from noise. The tree bosque has been expanded, and a public art space (#14) added at Seventh and Pennsylvania, although the implementation of this will require the relocation of bus stop elements by WMATA.
A representative for DGS said that the approval from the CFA will be accompanied with notes for alterations to the plans for Parcel 4. Those notes are expected to be sent to the DGS team in a formal letter sometime the week of May 20th, she said.
A community meeting has not yet been scheduled but is expected in June. The DGS team must appear before CFA again prior to construction for final approval.
Learn more about the project by visiting the DGS EMMP site at https://dgs.dc.gov/page/eastern-market-metro-park-project