Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Progress seems to be on hold in Chinatown. Specifically, here's what I learned at Monday's Chinatown Revitalization Council meeting:
- Renovation of the future Chinatown Park (5th and Massachusetts Avenue NW) is on hold. This project, which would incorporate Chinese themes into the park and make it a well-suited gateway to the neighborhood, has been anticipated for a decade. There's still little movement because its ownership and control by the National Park Service makes putting as much as a sculpture in it an Act of Congress. We discussed seeking support from the DC Council and Congresswoman Norton to transfer the park to the D.C. government. In addition, Downtown BID is short funds for restoration by about $20,000. I suggested requiring the developer of the DC-awarded 5th and I lot to include this among the likely package of community amenities.
- The International Lantern Festival is on hold. This was a new idea, which has the support of the Taiwanese government, was tentatively schedule for May 2009. It is on hold until the new Administration is on board.
- Repair and restoration of the Chinatown archway is on hold. Mayor Fenty pledged to pay for needed repairs to the arch, but there is no money included in the 2009 budget.
2009 is the Year of Ji Chou, the Ox (the Chinese New Year begins January 26) , which is characterized by perserverence, hard work, and sustained effort. Let's hope that pays off with progress for Chinatown in the year ahead.