Some D.C. City Council members hinted yesterday that the District government's plans to build an ornate arch over H Street NW in Chinatown may face opposition later this month when the council is asked to approve $500,000 in construction funds.
During yesterday's council meeting, some members asked Mayor Marion Barry's representatives to isolate the project's funds from a list of $167.5 million in city construction projects for the current fiscal year. The council is scheduled to vote April 16 on a resolution to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds to finance the projects.
The $1 million arch is designed to symbolize the District's sister-city relationship with the Chinese capital of Peking and is to be financed equally by the city and the People's Republic of China.
But a group of Chinatown residents, many of whom left their homeland during the communist takeover, are opposed to accepting a gift from China.
Council member John Wilson (D-Ward 2), whose ward includes Chinatown, has introduced a resolution opposing the arch's construction.
Wilson said that he is negotiating to get the mayor to agree to two archways in Chinatown, the one that the city has proposed and another to be financed by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.
The association wants to build two arches over H Street -- one at Fifth Street and the other at Ninth.