This past Friday, the former mayor and current Ward 8 representative issued a statement condemning both Mayor Adrian Fenty and Deputy Mayor Neil Albert’s handling of the development process. The full text of the letter follows below, courtesy of The Washington Post [grammatical errors in the original].
January 30, 2009
Honorable Adrian Fenty
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Dear Mayor Fenty;
This letter is to express my disappointment at the way you and your administration has handled the Poplar Point development. The announcement this afternoon terminating the partnership with Clark Realty is another staggering blow to a project that was already hindered by an unfocused approach. I told you over a year ago that your quick change in direction to put the project out as an RFP would stall the efforts to keep things moving in the right direction. I still believe that the original approach was the best option to rapidly plan and execute this critical development. The setback today demonstrates how your administration's decision making places the promise that is Poplar Point farther out of the reach of the residents of Ward 8.
For over three years the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, heads of civic associations, ministers and other community persons have spent hundred of hours giving input in what we in Ward 8 wanted to see at Poplar Point. Moreover, I have personally met with Deputy Mayor Neil Albert at least a dozen times as it relates to the development of Poplar Point. Early on he discussed with me the attitude of Council as it related to the original approach to the project. I told him repeatedly, that the great majority of Councilmembers, for the sake of urgency and expediency, would support the sole source deposition if the community were in agreement with the plan, which they were.
It has always been understood that this would be a complicated process. The clear attitude was to support a direction that would allow planning and other preparations to keep pace with the mountain of federal requirements that have to be satisfied. This is no longer possible, at minimum a year has been added to the process.
I have never seen the Ward 8 community so unified behind a project such as Poplar Point. Now I will be forced to face my constituents and community leaders to tell them we are headed back to the drawing board. Over my concerns and those of the people, many of whom it took a long time to convince to support any project at Polar Point, you charged ahead without us. I am certain that this serious misstep will have a lasting negative effect on the public support for the project. In addition, it will be difficult to attract a quality developer to the project. Even so, I remain optimistic that your administration will move quickly to resolve this situation. Your next steps will be crucial in maintaining the promise made to the citizens of Ward 8.
I look forward to your response on this important matter.
Councilmember, Ward 8