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More Funding (and Perhaps a Small Hitch) for 11th Street Bridge Park Land Trust

by Nena Perry-Brown

Last month, UrbanTurf reported on the Bridge Park Land Trust, an in-progress initiative administered by the 11th Street Bridge Park project to secure land for affordable housing in the neighborhood surrounding the planned park.

Yesterday, the Trust announced a $250,000 commitment from JPMorgan Chase as part of their ongoing effort to amass funding for land acquisitions.

“To date, with this important announcement from JPMorgan Chase, we’ve raised $500,000 towards the community land trust,” Scott Kratz shared. These funds, which include a previous commitment from Citibank, put the land trust on track as it continues to take shape and solicit feedback from the community.

“The delta [in average home price] between homes west of the River and east of the River is about $390,000, so it emphasizes the urgency of ‘now’ to acquire properties while they’re still relatively inexpensive east of the River and hold them in perpetuity for affordable housing,” Kratz explains. “So we’ve been thrilled about the response that we’ve received from funders, and this is the first step to building a larger acquisition fund.”

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Portion of map showing where Addisons held land patents

However, there may be a bit of a bump in the road to implementing a land trust. Christian Addison of the Addison family has come forth regarding land east of the Anacostia River for which his family has historically held land patents. Land patents are the most supreme form of landownership, with land typically granted to an individual or company by the government (and thus becomes increasingly rare over time).

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Map of Chechester tract from land patent document recorded in Prince George’s County Circuit Court

The Addison land patents date back to the 17th century; the family owned thousands of acres of land in Prince George’s County, some of which was ceded to the District in the late 18th century. One of these patented tracts is the Chechester, a 400-plus acre swath that includes Poplar Point.

Kratz says that the Land Trust hadn’t been aware of any specific claims prior to UrbanTurf bringing it to his attention. “It looks like, in the research that we’ve done, which is not super-extensive, that that Addison property was sold [in the 1800s],” Kratz said. “At least from our research, it doesn’t seem like the Addison family has title to any of that property but that’s something that we can continue to look at.”

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Map of targeted Bridge Park land trust area

One potential acquisition that the Land Trust intends to explore are the recent scattered sites in Ward 8 that the city announced will be released for an RFP this spring. In the meantime, Addison is interested in a dialogue with the Bridge Park team in order to ensure that matters are handled properly where his family’s land is concerned.

“The parts of the property that we sold and the parts of the property that we never owned [are] still eligible for them to do what they’re doing,” Addison told UrbanTurf. “I’m not trying to stop development from moving forward. My main objective is restoring my family’s history.”

See other articles related to: land trust, land patent, 11th street bridge park

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/more_funding_more_problems_for_bridge_park_land_trust/12391

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