Citizens’ Poplar Point Working Group
The Citizens Poplar Point Working Group is a broad-based, collaborative effort of residents interested in the future of the Poplar Point area of the District of Columbia. The 110-acre site is located on the east side of the Anacostia River adjacent to the Anacostia Metro Station, near the new Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge.
Three respected DC-based nonprofit organizations joined forces to create the citizens’ working group in late 2021: The Anacostia Coordinating Council (acc), the Anacostia Park and Community Collaborative (APACC), and the DC Environmental Network (DCN). None of the groups has any direct financial interest in the future of the area.
The citizens’ working group is co-chaired by our APACC Coordinator, Brenda Lee Richardson, and Doug Siglin, both of whom have been involved in Anacostia River-related planning and advocacy for more than two decades. Other charter members of the working group include Spenser Balog, Kelly Collins Choi, Absalom Jordan, Anne Lewis, Trey Sherard, Chris Weiss, and Charles Wilson.
The group will hold public listening sessions to solicit the public’s views and ideas on the future of Poplar Point, the first of which will be on January 26th. Over the next several months, the group will seek to develop a proposed plan for Poplar Point based on citizens’ ideas.
Poplar Point is currently owned by the U.S. government and managed by the National Park Service. US Public Law 109-396, passed by Congress in 2006 and signed by President George W. Bush, requires that the site be transferred to the District of Columbia when certain conditions are met. Little of significance has happened in the fifteen years since the law was passed. One condition is remediation of past contamination caused during prior use of the site by the Navy, the Architect of the Capitol, and the D.C. government. A joint National Park Service/D.C. Government study process under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act has been slowly moving forward for several years. Another condition is approval of a land use plan by the Secretary of the Interior. The law requires that no fewer than 70 acres of the site be designed for park purposes in perpetuity.
Much of the site is currently undeveloped and covered with vegetation, including several designated and protected wetlands. The entire area is a floodplain. About a third of the site is given over to the National Park Service’s National Capital East headquarters and the United States Park Police headquarters, including its Aviation Unit, with large attendant parking lots. The two headquarters buildings were built by the Navy more than 70 years ago.