Work on southeast DC's grand Canal Park will be set in motion on Tuesday, at least officially, when the District holds a formal ceremony to celebrate the new park that will grace the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood a few blocks from Nationals Stadium. Actual construction has not yet been scheduled, but the park's caretakers are showing progress, having just selected Davis Construction to build it and Blake Dickson Real Estate to locate a suitable restaurateur for the pavilion on the park's southern end.
The 3-acre park will offer a variety of water features, but its most iconic feature will be the pavilion designed by Studios Architecture. Wayne Dickson of Blake Dickson notes that Canal Park will be an environmental improvement as well as an aesthetic one, and projects that the Canal Park Development Association will select a "family-oriented" restaurant that offers positive synergy with its green locale.
Despite the lack of hard start dates, promoters are sticking to a late 2011 completion date . The design incorporates a boardwalk, "rain garden," three pavilions, ponds, a large fountain, sunken amphitheater, and seasonal ice rink
The District is picking up a $13.5m tab to ensure the success of the park in what is destined to become the centerpiece of the neighborhood. The bill is a relative steal compared to what DC spent on the stadium next door, and the Lerners can't even charge for admission. Total costs for the project have not yet been determined. William C. Smith & Co., one of the early developers in the area, is an organizer of and contributor to the park development association.
Philadelphia-based OLIN is the landscape architect for the project. The federal government still owns the land in arrangement that gives full control to the District, which in turn has a 20-year agreement with the Canal Park Development Association to develop and manage the land. The canal that once ran across the site connected the Anacostia to Tiber Creek (now buried under Constitution Avenue), which ran to the C&O canal.
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