|This article appears in the March 16, 2001 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Is the D.C. General Shutdown
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The official "master plan" for the area of Southeast Washington, in which D.C. General Hospital is located, calls for eliminating the hospital, and turning the area into an area of parks and museums, with adjacent commercial and residential development. Needless to say, poor people need not apply.
These plans have been developed by the National Capital Planning Commission, a Federal agency which is described as "the central planning agency" for Washington, D.C. and the entire National Capital Region. Commission members are appointed both by the President and the Mayor. The current chairman is Richard L. Friedman, a real estate developer from Boston, and a big Democratic Party contributor. Another commission member is a former vice-president of the American Insurance Association.
D.C. General is in the area known as the west bank of the Anacostia River, just north of the D.C. Jail, and about half a mile south of RFK Stadium. The land on which the hospital sits, is Federally owned.
The NCPC master plan, entitled "Extending the Legacy," calls for a new park on the west bank of the river, which "would replace RFK Stadium and adjacent institutional buildings with gardens, fountains and waterfalls connected to playing fields, marinas and a riverside nature preserve." It adds: "New housing and commercial development would complete the redevelopment of the area."
A specific version of the plan says that the area around RFK Stadium will become a new eastern gateway to the city, "featuring museums, memorials, parks and education centers extending to the waterfront. Larger institutions will be concentrated to the south, near the present jail and hospital, while smaller cultural and commercial buildings will be woven into the existing fabric of the neighborhoods to the north."
Councilman Kevin Chavous was recently quoted in the Washington Times as saying: "It's obvious what the Mayor is doing. There is no jail or hospital on the 25-year plan for the city. The only way to connect the dots is to follow the land and the money."