Where Could Public Statues/Memorials Be Located in the Neighborhood?

I was happy to read in yesterday’s Washington Post that the federal government erects about seven new memorials every decade and that in response to a crowded National Mall area the National Capital Planning Commission is beginning to consider federal land located in the District’s neighborhoods. While the proposed statue in the Post article doesn’t appear to be all that welcome in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where its been proposed, I on the other had welcome the opportunity to enhance our public space with sculpture and hope we would be lucky enough to be considered for one in the future.

The issue outlined in the Post deals with privately funded memorials, with Congressional approval, that would be placed on federal land. Keep in mind, the federal government actually owns a lot of the smaller park areas sprinkled throughout the city. In the immediate Park View area the land in question is limited to a scant few reservations, not all of which would be appropriate venues for a memorial. The map below shows a few of the parcels in our area that could be considered over time.

Possible memorial map(Map showing three possible locations for public memorials — if federally owned)

But, not all public land is federal. We also have some District owned parcels that could be good sites. I believe this is where we have more control over what the memorial looks like and where it is placed. I’ve already written about this a bit in the past when I wrote about the history of the Steuben monument and how nice it would be to have it returned to the small park at Georgia Avenue and Kenyon Street. I believe one of the key issues related to public sculpture is identifying funding for them. Along these lines, I also strongly feel that this is something that Advisory Neighborhood Commissions should consider when weighing in on land disposition or negotiating public amenities with developers. When these opportunities arise, it is my opinion that money generated from the sale of public land — or a portion of it in larger dispositions — needs to be reinvested in the immediate community from which the land was located.

I introduced such a resolution in May 2014 and received unanimous support from ANC 1A when support was given for the disposition of a small alley parcel needed for the redevelopment of the Petworth Liquors site on the 3200 block of Georgia. Now, we just need to get the DC Council to listen and act … a task I am definitely up to.




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4 Comments on “Where Could Public Statues/Memorials Be Located in the Neighborhood?”

  1. Cliff Says:

    Kent, this is great. I would love to see more public sculptures in our area, thanks for keeping your eye out for opportunities!

  2. Brian Says:

    Why not put them one in Grant or Sherman Circle?

  3. Park-what? Says:

    The Bartholdi fountain should be placed in Grant Circle instead of that hideous tree

  4. Emma Says:

    Your website is a dumb website I want to know about the memorials and other places so fix it

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