December 12, 2005:NORTON WARNS GSA THAT DEVELOPMENT OF ST. E'S CANNOT PROCEED WITHOUT APPROPRIATE...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2005
NORTON WARNS GSA THAT DEVELOPMENT OF ST. E'S CANNOT PROCEED WITHOUT APPROPRIATE FEDERAL AND CITY CONSULATION
Washington, DC—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today sharply criticized the General Services Administration (GSA) for plans to proceed on construction of the west campus of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital without producing a master plan for the entire campus, as required by the congressional committee of jurisdiction, on which Norton serves as ranking member (Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management). Norton also said that she was deeply disturbed that word of a possible $900 million investment for unnamed headquarters was made public before she or other Members of Congress were informed and briefed, even though she is scheduled to meet with Bill Guerin, GSA Acting Associate Regional Administrator of Public Building Service, on Wednesday.
The city has long understood that the federal government needs the west campus, which it owns, for federal agencies. Plans to place the new Coast Guard headquarters there are already underway, and the strong possibility that other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies would likely be housed there is no secret because there is almost no other site left in the District on which to build federal agencies.
Norton acknowledged that the District’s economy depends on retaining federal agencies but said that “this process can only work smoothly if it is a two-way street with the federal government getting the facilities it needs and the city getting the economic development and neighborhood livability that the federal presence has always brought.” Norton cited as recent examples, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms headquarters on New York Avenue, as well as the Southeast Federal Center, including the Department of Transportation, which is remaking an entire section of Southeast Washington near the Capitol. She said that locating DHS agencies on the St. Elizabeth’s campus poses special security requirements, but “with the appropriate and required consultation with her and other Members of Congress and with city and community officials, there are numerous ways to ensure that the development of the St. Elizabeth’s campus becomes another win-win for all concerned. We are not going to wall-off any section of the District for the first time in 200 years,” Norton said. “On the contrary, federal construction at St. E’s can and will be a reawakening of a long neglected part of Washington.”
The west campus is owned by the federal government and the east campus is owned by the District of Columbia.