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11th Street Bridge Park on Pace for 2023 Completion—and the Anacostia May be Swimmable By Then

by Nena Perry-Brown

New rendering of the east landing of the Bridge Park with Environmental Education Center at right, courtesy of OMA+OLIN. Click to enlarge.

Nearly a decade since the idea was first floated, the 11th Street Bridge Park project (map) has made big strides keeping the repurposed infrastructure-turned-gathering place on pace for delivery in 2023, including new designs of what will be the project's Environmental Education Center (EEC).

This morning, Building Bridges Across the River and the Exelon Foundation announced a gift from the latter of $5 million for the project — but perhaps the bigger piece of news is that, by the time the park is completed, people may be swimming and fishing in the Anacostia River.

New aerial rendering of the Environmental Education Center, courtesy of OMA+OLIN. Click to enlarge.

"We are tantalizingly close" to the river being swimmable, shared Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) president Jim Foster, whose organization will be running the EEC. "Our mission is swimmable and fishable by 2025." He also hinted that, with all the progress AWS and their partners have made in recent years in improving the health of the river, long avoided by local residents due to pervasive pollution, the public could even see people swimming in the water by the time ground breaks on the park in 2021, and fishing in the river by the time the park is completed. The city would also have to legalize these activities, as it is currently illegal to swim or fish in the river.

New rendering of the Bridge Park trail entrance, courtesy of OMA+OLIN. Click to enlarge.

In the meantime, the project has surmounted the major approval hurdles and began its second design phase a few months ago. The EEC, for which newer renderings were unveiled today, is intended to both educate and serve as a model of sustainable design and stewardship of the River, incorporating solar panels, electric car charging stations, intensive stormwater management and energy storage components. Other efforts, such as the installation of a colony of mussels in the River to help oxygenate the water, are also ongoing.

New aerial rendering of the Bridge Park, courtesy of OMA+OLIN. Click to enlarge.

The equitable development component of the project has also seen continued success with the initiation of a 110-family 529 children's savings accounts pilot program which matches deposits 5:1 up to $1,800 and the Douglass Community Land Trust's first purchase of a 65-unit building on Alabama Avenue.

All renderings courtesy of OMA+OLIN.

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/another-investment-keeps-11th-street-bridge-park-on-pace-for-2023-completio/15690