By East City Art Editors
As the old 11th Street river bridges that connect Capitol Hill and historic Anacostia are being replaced, the District government and Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC are aiming to transform one of the spans into the city’s first elevated park.
When complete in 2016, the 11th Street Bridge Park will span the Washington cityscape and engage neighborhoods on either side of the river. Planners say the space will be a destination for outdoor concerts, play space, urban farming and learning about river systems. And, beneath the bridge there will be space for kayak and paddle boats to launch into the water.
Bound by the Washington Navy Yard and the National Park Service’s Anacostia Park, the Bridge Park will connect pedestrians and bicyclists to an existing network of riverwalk trails.
Scott Kratz, a Capitol Hill resident, has led the charge on planning, along with the D.C. Office of Planning and its director, Harriet Tregoning, who held public meeting efforts, soliciting ideas for the Bridge Park. Residents have also suggested ideas for concerts, art, food vendors and opportunities to integrate local history from Anacostia, Capitol Hill and the adjacent Washington Navy Yard.
A design competition is ongoing for Bridge Park. Architects and landscape design firms from across the country will compete for what is essentially a blank canvas. The firms will propose designs using the old bridge’s structural piers, which will be re-topped to create Bridge Park.
The top three concepts will be shared with community members and final designs selected next year. Bridge rehabilitation is expected to begin some time in 2014.
A version of this story originally ran in East City Art.