Mayor Fenty Reports on Chinatown Revitalization, Archway Restoration
From AsianFortune.com March 5, 2009 Edition
WASHINGTON–D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty reported on the District government’s progress on two major projects to further promote the cultural and economic development in Chinatown at his annual address held on Feb. 23 at Wah-Luk House in this capital city.
Some 200 people, double last year’s attendance, listened as Fenty delivered his second “State of Chinatown Address” at the meeting and community dialogue hosted by the Chinatown Revitalization Council (CRC), led by Chair Alex Chi, who also presided over the event.
On the Chinatown Cultural Development Strategy Project, Fenty said “This project will develop strategies to help reposition Chinatown as the region’s top destination for Chinese/Asian cultural businesses, programs, services, events and festivals.”
He then congratulated the teams, comprised of the Office of Planning and Office of Asian Pacific Islander Affairs and community organizations, for their progress.
Fenty also discussed the Friendship Archway Restoration, a project initiated right after his speech last year. The famous landmark was built cooperatively by the D.C. government and its sister city Beijing.
Fenty said restoration has been identified as an inter-agency effort between the Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM), D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). He added the RFP would be out by mid-March, followed by a 3-6 weeks assessment period. DDOT will be take charge of the road closures and providing the scaffolding. “We expect that the conservation will be complete by the end of the summer,” the mayor said.
During the 2008 State of Chinatown Address, the community requested security cameras to be installed. As of today, Fenty said the 7th and H Street NW camera had been installed. The 6th and I Street NW camera is currently under final review by the Metropolitan Police Department Chief.
Harriet Tregoning, Director of Office of Planning, gave an overall progress report of the on-going Chinatown Cultural Development Strategy (CCDS) study. She said the study is moving into the 2nd stage of development towards the five goals identified in the assessment during stage one.
There are five Task Force groups to address the corresponding goals: Arts and Culture; Design and Public Realm; Business and Economic Development; Residents and Neighborhood; and Community Leadership. The next task force summary meeting will be held March 18 here.. The final CCDS project study is due before the summer recess.
D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, a great supporter of the CRC, the CCDS project and many Chinese community events, said the CCDS study project should have a very specific plan to ensure effort and benefits are executed and fully realized.
Councilmember Jack Evans said he would support future projects, such as a Chinatown Park and other improvements to help revitalize Chinatown for years to come.
Soohyun “Julie” Koo, Director of DC Office of Asian Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) reported her office’s current efforts in facilitating the 5 task forces in further developing the CCDS project.
Gabe Klein, Director of DC Department of Transformation, reiterated the commitment to the maintenance of the Chinatown Friendship Archway and other tasks. Linda Argo, Director of Department Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and Diane Groomes, Assistant Chief of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and David Kamperin of MPD Commander of First District were also present and gave their respective briefings.
Alfred Liu, a practicing Architect in D.C., complained on the diminishing cultural presence of today’s Chinatown after the Friendship Archway and the Wah-Luk House construction. He lamented a plan to demolish the Chinese courtyard garden at the TechWorld building complex between 7the and 8th Streets to the City officials and the community audience.
Guangyuan Liu, Minister of Embassy of China, a special guest introduced by Chi, spoke on behalf of the Ambassador of China about the opportunities of cultural economic ties between the people of US and China. Liu pledged his support to efforts by the CRC and other groups in promoting the Chinese cultural heritage.
Dr. Allan Lui, Chair of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), reported on this year’s Lunar New Year parade. He said a report from the on-site fire marshals about a gas leak from a street manhole near the 5 story hanging firecrackers had caused the highlight of the parade to be called off–for the first time since its inception 39 years ago.
CRC Chair, joined by Mayor Fenty, Council Chairman Gray, Councilmember Evans, presented Director Tregoning with the “2009 Public Servant of the Year Award,” and. Art Ping Lee, the “2009 Distinguished Community Leadership Award,” and the Chinese Women’s League’s “2009 Outstanding Community Organization Award.”
CRC Chair Chi said the video program of the event will be available on District Cable TV Channel 16. Database for download and many photos of event highlights have been posted on www.chinatowncouncil.org and www.chinatownchamber.us
Chinese Lunar New Year Parade, Year of the SNAKE will be held on Sunday, February 10th, 2013 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Chinatown, DC