Kenyan McDuffie urges Gray to drop Ivy City bus plan

December 13, 2012

Council member Kenyan McDuffie(D-Ward 5) is keeping the heat on Gray. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

A judge may have ordered a temporary halt to city plans to convert the grounds of historic Ivy City school to a tour bus parking lot, but the area’s D.C. Council member wants Mayor Vincent C. Gray to put the project on permanent hiatus.

Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) said in a letter that the Alexander Crummell School is an “inappropriate location for a charter bus lot, and I stand with the community in urging you to select an alternative location.”

Gray, in comments at a news conference Wednesday, showed no indication he would back off the bus plans, characterizing the judge’s objections as dealing with “procedural issues” that could be cleared up.

McDuffie said he expects neighborhood residents to offer an alternative proposal for Crummell, “a proposal that invests in the wellbeing of Ivy City residents and requires a different location for the bus lot.”

“It is my expectation that the city will consider this plan and afford it the great weight it deserves,” he said. “Ivy City deserves a thoughtful plan and positive investment from the city.”

Last year, the Ivy City residents saw a presentation featuring a “reimagined” Crummell from the District’s Department of Housing and Community Development. But Gray distanced himself from any concrete plans Wednesday: “I didn’t talk to anybody about preserving Crummell,” he said.

Jose Sousa, spokesman for Gray’s economic development office, had no comment on the letter Thursday. The lot’s renovation, which cost about $1.5 million in paving, fencing and landscaping, is almost complete.

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis | December 13, 2012