On Monday evening, the Walter Reed Community Advisory Committee met for its September meeting at the new DC International School building located in the southwest corner of the WR campus. The meeting was a high level overview of some of the concerns that have been raised over the past few months. The developer had an opportunity to address those questions.
What is the Walter Reed Community Advisory Committee?
The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) was created by the Walter Reed Army Medical Center Community Advisory Committee Amendment Act of 2013. The CAC provides input on a range of topics relating to the implementation of the project, such as construction concerns, traffic, connecting residents with employment and business opportunities and a host of other issues. The members include:
- Randall Clarke, Shepherd Park neighbor and representative for Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development Brian Kenner
- Sherryl Newman, representative for Ward 4 Council Member Brandon Todd
- Stephen Whatley, representative for ANC 4A
- Tanya Topolewski, representative for ANC 4B
- Margaret Singleton, representative for the Brightwood neighborhood
- Leila Batties, representative for Shepherd Park neighborhood
- Alice Giancola, representative for the Takoma neighborhood
- Caroline Kenney, representative for Hines | Urban-Atlantic | Triden, the project Master Developer Representative
DC International School
Mary Shaffner, the Executive Director of the DCI International School was on hand to welcome the audience to the facility. DCI has grown to serve dual-language students in grades 6th through 11th, with their first graduating class coming next year. The school serves 1,060 students. They are very excited about their new building and recently completed the construction of a gymnasium and a playing field.
Walter Reed Update
Next, Hines | Urban Atlantic | Triden Managing Director Vicki Davis took to the floor to address a wide variety of recent developments for the project. Most of what she shared was a summary of information that we’ve covered in recent blog posts, but there were a few tidbits of news as well.
Certified Business Enterprise & First Source Report
The developer is charged with providing at least 35% of the contract work for the project to Certified Business Enterprises (local, small & disadvantaged businesses). Also, the First Source program requires that at least 51% of new hires for the project must be District residents.
Ms. Davis reported that so far, 77% of infrastructure construction to date has been performed by CBEs, spanning 14 different companies. She says that these companies have been “100% First Source compliant”. Of the $2.7 million spent so far, $2.1 million of work has been done by DC businesses.
There have been 21 outreach events to attract more local companies and upcoming opportunities to work on Abrams Hall as a sub to Ellisdale Construction include the need for fiber cement panels, final cleaning, Windows, Trash Chute installation, caulking and waterproofing and more.
Dust Mitigation Plan
To address neighbors’ concerns about dust caused by the demolition of the massive concrete reinforced hospital building, the developer has committed to taking several actions. Among these are monitoring the air quality on a continuous basis and sharing an updated dust mitigation plan. Their demolition contractor submitted this very detailed mitigation plan for public review.
Four Dust Boss water fans are now in operation when construction drops are scheduled. Two mobile PM10 air quality monitors are in continuous, 24/7 operation around the hospital. These machines measure the mass of dust in the air. To date, the testing has put conditions in the lower end of the spectrum for air quality concerns.
The DC Department of Health Chief of Staff Dr. Jacqueline Watson was present to explain her department’s monitoring activities. She stated that the department has activated location based “tracers” within their public health monitoring systems for zip codes 20011, 20012 and 20015. The city’s doctors will be able to track certain disease outcomes. If any unusual indicators related to respiratory illness or other conditions begin to appear, the Department will be alerted and additional actions can be initiated.
Other Project Updates
The renovation of Abrams Hall is well underway. When completed in mid-2019, 80 low income seniors and 79 formerly homeless veterans will have brand new homes become the first residents of the new Walter Reed!
The apartments and condominiums slated for the corner of Georgia Avenue and Aspen Street NW may begin pre-sales next spring, in preparation for delivery in late 2020.
The development team has been in talks with Metro about how to reconfigure or enhance bus lines to service the interior of the campus again.
Enhanced Communications Plan
Finally, Ms. Davis outlined the measures of the newly enhanced communications plan for sharing information with the wider community. In addition to the new Whatley-Powered™ flyer service, where ANC 4A Chairman Steve Whatley hand delivers information to all 900 residents of his single member district, the developer has installed four bulletin boards along the perimeter of the property. These will be updated every thirty days. TheParksDC web site will be updated more frequently and development staffers have joined most of the local listservs.