Plans have been in the works for over a year to turn three concrete piers that used to be the 11th Street Bridge over the Anacostia River into one elevated park. Located in the south east part of DC and next to the 695 bridge, the park will connect Anacostia Park and Navy Yard. After a seven month nationwide design competition, the design team of OMA and OLIN has been chosen to have the most comprehensive plan for the 11th Street Bridge Park. The winning design team has created plans for “a series of outdoor programmed spaces and active zones that will provide an engaging place hovering above, yet anchored in, the Anacostia River. Among those programmed spaces are an amphitheater, an environmental education center, a sculpture garden and a boat launch. The area will be accessible to communities on both sides of the river, and about the size of 3 football fields. The project promises to beautify the river and empower residents to build and own businesses to attract visitors to the area. This can be an anchor for economic development for both sides, can re-engage people with the river itself, can connect two different communities that have been divided for so long, and can be a safe place for active recreation.
The goal of the project is to create a connecting design with an appeal similar to that of the Providence River Bridge park in Rhode Island, although many compare the planned park to the High Line in New York City. A downside to these parks was that property values around it skyrocketed and the neighborhoods changed so rapidly that working-class residents were priced out and longstanding businesses were hit hard by the changing demographics.Committee members of the 11th St Bridge Park Project are asking officials to consider tax breaks for local artists and businesses, and set aside land near the bridge for affordable housing. There is great progress on raising funds for the project already. The 11th St. Bridge Park inspires hope for communities on both ends.