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Barry to Fenty: 'Another Staggering Blow' to Poplar Project

Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry registered his frustrations about the fizzled partnership between the city and Clark Realty Capital development company on the Poplar Point project. Below is the letter he sent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on Friday night.

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.


Marion Barry
Councilmember, Ward 8


By Marcia Davis  |  January 31, 2009; 4:46 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council , Economic Development , Mayor Fenty  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Developer Dropped from Poplar Point Project
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Go Barry! Sock it to the Mayor. I think that this smells funny. Clark wouldn't just walk away. There's another story and I hope that the DC Examiner will dig deep to discover it (b/c we all know the Post won't do it!).

Posted by: concernedcitizenindc | January 31, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Scary that things have gotten to the point that many folk in the city have more faith in the former mayor-for-life than the current mayor.

Posted by: qazqaz | January 31, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Someone please bring a robe for our Emperor.

Posted by: logosdesigns | January 31, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I am just glad to see Mr. Barry telling the truth and putting it out there. The way things are going in DC are absolutely ridiculous. Never have I seen our nation's capital this messed up and it has only taken the first half of one administration to do it. What platform could there possibly be to run for reelection? Let's see: Crime is out of control. The schools are worse than when I took over. Yes, tax money was stolen, tracing back to when I was on City Council and I didn't go after getting the money back from the bank when we could have. Redevelopment for poorer or more challenged areas is unimportant. My motorcade is busy so we have to run lights at times even though the president doesn't. I overspent for the summer jobs program and that's my bad. I fire people and demand that everyone else in my adminstration does it or I'll fire them, too. I can get around laws: I'm in charge. Yes, I let people not pay the bills for the baseball stadium. What is it to you? Yes, I let DC United escape.
Let's start counting the votes now.

Well, just like when Marion Barry asked the mayor why he was closing all of those schools in Ward 8 and he said because I'm the mayor, Marion Barry is asking him why he messed up a project. Why? Because Marion Barry is City Council and SOMEONE needs to hold the accountability mayor accountable.

Posted by: southyrndiva | February 1, 2009 7:07 AM | Report abuse

As predicted Mayor Fenty threw the residents of Ward 8 under the bus. Whatever animosity he has for Victor MacFarlane and the other developers of Poplar Point, it's the residents that end up suffering for it. Early on DC United had a clear and viable plan to re-energize the community, provide employment and middle income housing. Now the lot sits empty and costing instead of generating revenues. Well done Mayor Fenty, you've personal agenda has hurt the residents of the District more than you thought possible.

Posted by: CHICO13 | February 1, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone really expect anything different? After Detroit, this is the worst run city in the country.

Oh, can anyone lend me a ladder? I can't climb out of this pothole. Thanks.

Posted by: Hoost | February 1, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Good letter Mr. Barry. It's nice to see that at least one politician in this town is dedicated to the people. All I have to say at this point is that Adrian Fenty is a fascist. The guy listens to no one else's council but his own and follows his line of government with a stubbornness that should never deserve to hold office in a democratic society. Fenty does what he wants when he wants and it really does seem that he has no care for the people in Ward 8 or their well being. I applaud the post for publishing this letter and just wish that we could see the same kind of even handedness in David Nakamura's articles on the subject.

Posted by: pittmancb | February 1, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I thought this was going to happen. I don't think developers have any stomach for yet another mixed-use waterfront property right in the vicinity of National Harbor.

Posted by: alewis4 | February 1, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

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