The "continuing resolution" that Congress has imposed on city spending puts the District government in an awkward position. Some activities cannot get started; others are being run according to last year's specifications. Things will remain that way until the House and Senate agree on all of the programs and projects in the 1978 budget, including the convention center. But one new project may soon get under way, even before Congress passes a budget: Thanks to a convenient loophole in the budget process, the Shapiro tract, 4.6 acres of land in the Adams Morgan section of town, can finally be bought by the District government.
Community residents have maintained the tract for the past 12 years, turning it into an important recreation area. But its future it into an important recreation area. But its future was in doubt, even as late as last week, because the city couldn't bid on the land. All of the money that city officials needed to purchase the park was in the 1978 budget - identified as "reprogrammed funds," money that had been left over from other activities. Traditionally, only the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees need to approve spending "reprogrammed" money, since it isn't a new budget request. Earlier this month, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate subcommittee, agreed that local officials could purchase the site. Just a few days ago, Rep. William Natcher (D-Ky.), chairman of the House subcommittee, also gave his okay.
Their approval of the purchase now makes a park in the Adams Morgan area a distinct possibility. We think the House and Senate subcommittee chairmen did just the right thing.