Signs were posted Wednesday, Feb. 26 announcing that the Eastern Market Metro Plaza (EMMP) Park on parcel 1 will close for construction as of Tuesday, March 3.
Signs indicated that the playground, which was installed last August, would be closed together with the park itself. According to preliminary plans presented at the Jan. 22, 2020 community meeting by the Department of General Services (DGS), and verified at the Feb. 26 EMMP Advisory Team (EMMPAT) meeting, that section of the park will be temporarily inaccessible during construction.
The entire site, defined by the 800 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE bounded by Eighth, Ninth and D Streets SE, will be fenced-off from the public, with most construction facilities for workers expected to be placed along Ninth Street SE. Construction is expected to last until early- to mid-June.
Plans for Parcel 1 include two playgrounds, a spray park, picnic areas, a leisure lawn and a new tree to replace Big George.
The work beginning in March will only affect Parcel 1. Work on Parcel 4 (the location of the Metro entrance) and the other parcels is slated to begin in fall, 2020.
Final Approval Expected Thursday
DGS will appear before the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Transportation and Public Space (TPS) tomorrow, Feb. 27, for final approval on construction permits, which is expected to be granted, said Commissioner for the Single Member District (SMD) Steve Holtzman (6B05), who attended the Feb. 26th Community Advisory Team Meeting.
The construction entrance is on Ninth Street SE, just south of South Carolina Avenue SE.
However, Holtzman said that since the District Department of Urban Forestry had asked that no large machinery be used on the site in order to avoid damage to tree roots, much of the work is expected to be done by hand or with smaller machines. That means that much of the construction entry will be trucks related to the moving of earth.
Parking, always a concern in a Hill project, has been a point of contention. The team has reserved parking in commercial lots in the area, said Holtzman, and workers parking on the street are subject to potential removal from the project.
Holtzman said that he had met with the construction team lead and had faith in the site management.
Holtzman said he still had questions about the lighting plan, which he felt was insufficient for public safety in the north end, near the planned playgrounds, and in the Southeast corner (the current site of the temporary playground). However, DGS has agreed to review the lighting in a third phase of construction, which Holtzman said would allow for corrections to the practical experience of the park at night. The commissioner has also raised repeated concerns with the maintenance plan, but said that this was well on its way to a resolution.
The Eastern Market Metro Park Advisory Team (EMMPAT) met Wednesday, Feb. 26 and additional information is expected to be issued. This story is updating.
DGS did not immediately reply to inquiries. The story will be updated with information as it is received.
You can learn more about the project and contact the EMMP DGS Team by visiting the DGS EMMP Website.